Town Square

Sign the SOS Danville Open Space Preservation initiative

Original post made by SOS-DANVILLE, Danville, on Feb 8, 2013

If you are registered to vote in the Town of Danville and concerned about Open Space preservation, please sign the Save Open Space-Danville Initiative Petition this weekend at the following times and locations:
Saturday, Feb. 9:
Danville Farmers' Market from 10:30-12:00

Fresh'n Easy/Walgreen's 10:30-12:30

Sunday, Feb. 10th:
Danville Lucky's 10:00 to 12:00

Once the petition has 6000 valid signatures, the Danville Town Council will be required to place the initiative on the ballot in a special election. If passed by the Town of Danville voters in that election, the initiative will provide additional protection for agricultural, general open space, and park and recreation land within the Town of Danville. In particular, the initiative will preserve and strengthen the right of Danville voters to choose whether to approve development proposals for land designated in the Town of Danville's General Plan for Agricultural, General Open Space, or Parks and Recreation use (or "Open Space" for short). That right was established by Danville Ballot Measure S, which passed overwhelmingly in November 2000.
The initiative will accomplish three primary things:
* It removes the 2020 expiration date on Measure S, thus protecting indefinitely voters' rights to decide the future of Danville's Open Space.
* It reaffirms that Danville voters get to decide whether to allow clustered residential development (known as "P-1 clustered residential development") on Open Space currently designated for Agricultural use.
* Finally, it says that when a Williamson Act (agriculture preservation) contract expires, the land will retain the one unit per 20 acres A-4 zoning designation it had while under the contract, and that changing the zoning on agricultural land will have the same requirements as changing the agricultural land use.

Background: In November 2000, Danville voters overwhelmingly adopted Measure S. According to its authors, Measure S offered "Danville residents a deciding voice in any proposed change to areas not planned for development. Danville voters would have to approve any change in use" on Open Spaces. (Rebuttal to ballot argument opposing Measure S.)
Despite this clear promise, the Town of Danville has continued converting Agricultural Open Space to residential use without a public vote.
In 2008, without a public vote, the Town Council approved residential development of the 459-acre Elworthy Ranch. KB Homes is now building a nearly 100-dwelling development there adjacent to San Ramon Valley Boulevard. Currently, the Town is considering approving residential development on Magee Ranch Agricultural land in the Diablo Road corridor. The Town has already said that it does not plan to put this project approval before the voters.
Moreover, the Town's proposed 2030 General Plan, in its current draft, would explicitly open all remaining Agricultural land in Danville to Residential use with no public vote required. It states that when contracts protecting agricultural use expire, land that had been zoned one home per twenty acres will automatically be rezoned to allow four times as much development. The draft Plan also proposes to allow P-1 zoning (clustered residential development) in agricultural areas. These changes would effectively re-designate almost all of Danville's remaining Agricultural land as Rural Residential land, without a public vote and contrary to the clear intent of Measure S.
Call to action: Danville's remaining Open Space is in danger. To protect your right to decide whether to allow residential development on Open Space, please support the initiative.


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Posted by Rick Pshaw
a resident of Danville
on Feb 8, 2013 at 2:33 pm

The city fathers (and mothers) will just ignore a petition, Why don't you just start a recall drive. They won't ignore that, I assure you.

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Posted by JRM
a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Feb 8, 2013 at 4:13 pm

We signed at Trader Joe's 2 weeks ago, and had to stand in line to do so. Ironically a Trader Joe's manager came out and told the signature gatherer that she would have to move a bit because the entrance was so clogged with those of us standing in line. The wait to sign the petition exceeded the time I spent in line waiting to check out at the register. Perhaps a good omen for the cause. I am also curious to learn more about the suggestion to explore the option that the town buys the land to create a space we all can enjoy.

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Posted by SOS-Danville
a resident of Danville
on Feb 8, 2013 at 7:41 pm

@Rick: Thanks so much for signing the initiative petition! Once the legally -required voters signatures are obtained,the Town is legally required to put the initiative on a special election ballot. If it passes, it becomes law just like Ballot Measure S did. As you know, the Town is now trying to circumvent Measure S,requiring SOS-Danville to do the petition, possibly referend the draft 2030 General Plan, and possibly have to sue the Town to enforce the law. That all takes a lot of effort and money, and is why the Town apparently thought it could ignore Measure S with impunity.