Planners look at environmental report for Elworthy project | January 18, 2008 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Newsfront - January 18, 2008

Planners look at environmental report for Elworthy project

Residents voice concerns about noise, traffic and other impacts

by Jordan M. Doronila

The Planning Commission held a hearing last week to discuss the environmental impact on a residential development on the Elworthy ranch in Danville.

"I really enjoy living there," said Laura Farrell, a neighbor who lives near the property. "We enjoy the wildlife and open space. I'm concerned about the draining and slide issues."

Commissioners looked at the environmental report for the development of single-family homes and apartment units on the property, which is on San Ramon Valley Boulevard, one mile south of Sycamore Valley Road. Dozens of residents living near the property attended the hearing Jan. 8.

"It's a standard document," said Commissioner Steve Condie. "It was a responsible thing to do to have an EIR prepared because it is a pretty big size development."

The 459-acre property is on the west side of I-680, situated on the eastern slope of Las Trampas Ridge overlooking the San Ramon Valley. Elworthy LLC, the developer, has proposed to build 84 single family houses and 12 apartment units. The total 96 units would be built on approximately 12 acres on the site, adjacent to San Ramon Valley Boulevard.

The plan says 232 acres of the land's upper portion would be dedicated to the East Bay Regional Park District, and 186 acres would be a scenic easement where there would be no future development.

Kristie Wheeler, of RBF Consultants in Walnut Creek, explored numerous aspects in her environmental report: aesthetics; air quality; biological resources; horse pastures; the red-legged frog; the Alameda whip snake; nesting birds; roosting bat species; and archeological resources. Her report also looked at geological formation, hazardous materials and water.

Residents spoke about noise, traffic and other impacts on the land caused by development.

Wheeler said development would create a less than significant impact, and Elworthy would mitigate any potential impacts, such as air quality and endangered species. Town staff members said they were pleased with the report.

"We think it addresses the potential impacts," said Principal Planner David Crompton. "It suggests reasonable areas for mitigation that need mitigation."

Condie noted no action has been taken on the environmental report. He said it is possible the commission could accept the report but deny the application.

The next Planning Commission public hearing on the Elworthy project may be in March, Crompton said.