Monday, October 09, 2006

Southeast Hills Development

One of the last remaining open space preservation opportunities in Pleasanton is in our Southeast Hills. This area stretches from our southeastern urban boundaries of Vintage Hills and Kottinger Ranch, from Shadow Cliffs in the north, to Callippe Preserve Golf Course in the south, and to Highway 84 in the east. More than 2,000 acres of ranch land and open space!

There are several development proposals in the works that threaten these hills – Oak Grove (originally conceived at 98 homes), Lund Ranch II (up to 150 homes), the Sportorno developments (roughly 72 homes) – that could threaten the integrity of this open space and the habitat they provide to a variety of species. Traditionally, this type of development has been very controversial in Pleasanton, resulting in divided City Council’s, citizen referendums, lawsuits, and endless land use battles that have not always been settled in the best interests of our community at large.

Understanding the history of these issues – because we have lived it “on the ground” – Vice Mayor Matt Sullivan and I envisioned a better way. Why not let the neighborhoods and the developers work together – facilitated by the highest levels of city government – to see if a compromise agreement could be reached that both parties could support?

Underlying this concept was the Vision of 2,000 acres of open space protected in perpetuity, certainty for both the neighbors and developers that “this was it” – no more expensive and exhausting land use battles – and the protection of our eastern Urban Growth Boundary from further threats to development. It was definitely a long shot – but something that we thought worth trying.

We approached the neighbors, the landowners, and the developers with our idea. There was certainly skepticism, but somewhat to our surprise, they were willing to give it a shot! We chose the project that furthest along the development applications process with the City – Oak Grove (formerly known as Kottinger Hills, owned by the Lin Family of North Livermore fame). A project 15 years ago proposed by the Lin’s was approved by the City Council, but then referended by the citizens in a bitter fight. This project had some history!

Representatives of the neighborhood and the developer worked for months on the issues: traffic on Hearst Drive, loss of open space, the environmental issues associated with hillside development in a pristine area, and general loss of neighborhood Quality of Life – not to mention the animosity left over from the previous referendum. Primarily due to the willingness of all parties to accept compromise an agreement was reached! Instead of 98 homes, the developer and the neighbors agreed on 51. The City would be deeded 500 acres of open space for protection from development forever! And Hearst Drive would be the recipient of traffic calming and other mitigations to lessen the impact of this new development. This agreement was later ratified by the Kottinger Ranch HOA, sealing the deal.

This plan will still work it’s way through the public process – an Environmental Impact Report, then to the Planning Commission for approval, and finally to the City Council for the ultimate say. But this process has been a stunning success! Our Vision was one of empowering the neighborhood, putting them on a level playing field with the developer, and seeing if something positive could result. It worked!

And I can’t wait to take this process to the rest of the Southeast Hills. Stay tuned!


At 6:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is Leadership!

You have shown vision and guts in everything you do as our Mayor. We need you for the next two years - and beyond!

At 1:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One can’t help but notice how Steve Brozosky supports and endorses the notoriously corrupt Congressman Richard Pombo for the 11th District. Pombo and Brozosky, two of a kind. Here is the proof:

…and also look at what Pombo and his good friend Jack Abramoff have been up to. Great endorsement Brozosky.

At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 10:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any progress on Greenbriar's Lund II PUD?


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