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Residents come out in droves to contest draft General Plan update

Original post made on Dec 12, 2012

It was standing room only at Danville's Planning Commission meeting Tuesday night, as hundreds of residents turned out to learn about and comment on the draft 2030 General Plan. Many carried signs and cheered loudly as speakers called for change, transparency and local control.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, December 11, 2012, 10:45 PM

Comments (41)

Posted by Libby
a resident of San Ramon
on Dec 12, 2012 at 5:27 am

I hope the good people of Danville continue to fight to maintain the quality atmosphere and charm that defines their town. San Ramon has become a place I no longer recognize. Too much commercialism, too many chain stores and too many people. If I had known 10 years ago what San Ramon would become I would not have set down roots here for myself and my family. Keep up the good fight, Danville residents!

Posted by Bill
a resident of Danville
on Dec 12, 2012 at 7:10 am

Planning is so important to maintain the quality of the small town feel. When and if the residents abdicate their responsibility to control planning opens the door for outsiders who, "know better what we need" to move in and make changes. This is usually profit driven for housing or commercial development and those we elect are often co-opted by big business and their big dollars to approve development that does not conform or meet the needs of our citizens and community. These big businesses usually come from outside our community and are very adept at manipulating our rules and regulations, then turn them against us for their own gain. Summer Hill development is one great example and so is the term "Low Income Housing", which usually means if other communities have to do this so does Danville. If one works hard to be able to move to a more desirable community how is it that those that haven't worked as hard are able to have it given to them? You see here is the rub, that to even mention this makes you look like an intolerant individual and those that want to take advantage of political correctness know this and exploit to the hilt.

Posted by Tonya
a resident of Danville
on Dec 12, 2012 at 7:29 am

We attended the meeting last night. I was so glad to be there and to listen to the proposal, concerns and complaints. Never in my 17 years in Danville have I ever felt so incredibly DUPPED by our representatives. I cannot urge the residents enough to be present at the next meeting about this Plan. Show your support for our Town. Keeping it it the way you like it - the reason why you moved here.

More people = over-crowded schools, more taxes to pay for more schools; parking; crime rates rise; fire and police service increase, as will our taxes... and it goes on from there. Like one woman quoted last night, "Build it and they will come; don't build it, and they won't."

Posted by Danvlle Resident 20yrs
a resident of Danville
on Dec 12, 2012 at 7:52 am

Community awareness and activism (positive) is crucial. Having sat through 5+ years of a general plan update in Emeryville and the continuing discussion in West Berkeley, I've learned first hand the pressure the residents and land owners MUST keep on the elected representatives. These plans and guidelines are TOTALLY controlled by appointed - NON elected staff, and consultants. They steer the process, sometimes to the detriment of the community. They are self-serving appointees, with their own agenda. Vigilance!!!

Posted by Arlene
a resident of Diablo
on Dec 12, 2012 at 8:10 am

Fantastic that so many members of the public attended this meeting and the previous one on November 27th!! Both meetings had standing room only and 99.9% were against the Town of Danville’s plans. Please urge your friends to speak out and attend the next meetings. This is the only way that we can preserve our town. And sign the Danville Open Space Preservation Initiative. The Initiative is intended to preserve and strengthen Danville voters' existing Measure S rights to decide by ballot measure whether land designated in the General Plan for Agricultural, General Open Space, and Parks and Recreation use can be converted to another use, such as Residential.

Danville is planning to redesignate much land to high-density residential use. The Magee/Summerhill project along Diablo Road east of Green Valley is one such project that will create havoc. We are extremely worried about the excessive traffic and danger on the already small and hazardous Diablo Road. If there were any emergency like a fire, etc., people would not be able to get to safety. Drive there today during school and commute times to get an idea of the problem! There are four schools in the area that already contribute to horrendous traffic now. In addition, the development will cause an adverse effect on our schools, creek and erosion problems, and overall damage to our property value. We moved to the area because of its rural beauty and small town feel. You – The Public – Can Keep It This Way If You Stay Involved!

Posted by Member
a resident of Danville
on Dec 12, 2012 at 8:16 am

I have lived in Danville for over twenty years. It is a wonderful place to live. I was originally from a small town and have always liked that.
I understand why so many folks are against adding so much more housing and all. BUT the comment about " People who work hard deserve to live here and " Those who have not worked as hard do not "
I have news for whoever made that comment ! I have lived here a long time I worked hard all of my life unfortunetly due to some business choices I had to sell my home and now am strugglying more than any time in my life.....Even if Danville is known to be a very affulent town. I am sure there are many others in simliar situations to mine.
Again I understand why folks do not want more housing. But that comment about those folks not deserving to live here really upset me ! Maybe this person above ? Would consider me in the group of folks that don't deserve to live here?????????

Posted by cardinal
a resident of Diablo
on Dec 12, 2012 at 8:36 am

Fortunately, they did not come out in drones.

Posted by Sara
a resident of Danville
on Dec 12, 2012 at 8:53 am

I taught in a town with tons of low income housing--Redwood City_it is now a crime infested ghetto-it used to be the pride of the peninsula--wake up people!! Let SF and Berserkley become complete cities for this group--hey--Oakland too--already a MESS.

Posted by Diane
a resident of Alamo
on Dec 12, 2012 at 9:55 am

To those who think the low-income housing, clustered properties, and expansion are being driven by 'profit,' you are partly right...

it's tax revenue. 'Profit' for your elected and appointed/non-elected state representatives and their colleagues across the board.

CA voters have brought these types of changes upon themselves in the name of 'fairness' at the voting booth.

One reaps what one sows.

News for Danville: the crops are in.

Posted by Louise
a resident of Danville
on Dec 12, 2012 at 9:59 am

We shall see if local government, i.e., town council and planners, serve the people in Danville or they serve their own goals and the goals of outside political forces and developers. Yes, people have to come together and let the officials in Danville know that they don't like the direction the planners and politicians are headed in. Sign the petition,write letters and come to the meetings. Higher density and affordable housing is another way of saying, spread the wealth around through subsidies and entitlements. Our prevailing political leadership from Washington to Sacramento is sending a message loud and clear. You cannot have what you worked for unless you give a larger and larger portion of it away through mandates, laws, regulations and oh, I forgot, higher taxes.

Posted by Julia
a resident of Alamo
on Dec 12, 2012 at 10:12 am

You people in Danville get what you deserve...You are so naive. You knew all this was going to happen...but you still voted and put in the the three fools. You made your bed now sleep in it and stop complaining.

You live life like a bunch of are totally confused.

Every morning look in the mirror and say, but I thought things would be better...

Folks diapers and politicians must be changed frequently...AND FOR THE SAME REASON.

Again Go Alamo...Julia Pardini from sensible and beautiful Alamo

Posted by spcwt
a resident of Danville
on Dec 12, 2012 at 10:25 am

Proponents of high density housing do a great job of masking their proposals in benign terms. Who could possibly be against “affordable housing” and “smart growth?” That’s like being against cute puppies.

And don’t we all need to do our part to stop climate change?

There aren’t any penalties if Danville doesn’t comply with SB 375, right? If Danville doesn’t meet the state mandated low-income housing allocation, it will miss out on transportation funding incentives, but it won’t suffer a fine or loss of state revenue, right?

A Danville Council member once told me privately that they will meet the mandate by zoning certain areas for high density, but that’s not the same thing as approving a high density project. You still need a builder to make a proposal that makes economic sense, which isn’t easy to do when selling units at below market prices, given Danville’s high real estate prices. And the Council can typically find reasonable grounds to reject the proposal. The type of project the Council would likely approve might be housing for seniors or a nursing home, as there is a need in the valley for that.

Doubtful seniors are going to cause a crime wave.

Posted by Greg
a resident of Danville
on Dec 12, 2012 at 11:54 am

The real issue here is transparency, not the plan itself. The fact is that if Danville does not go along with the ABAG guidelines for higher-density development downtown, it would lose out on it's share of the 277 billion fund that ABAG distributes to it's members who develop in ways to combat global warming. It's about money.

The affordable housing mandate comes from the State, and, again, if Danville doesn't comply they lose State money. The State requires 15% of new development to be affordable.

If 200-250 new units are built in town, that's maybe 30 or so units set aside for residents making below Danville's median income. Single parents, seniors, teachers, etc.

It's a little disturbing to see the snobbery in this town as people grab their pitchforks in protest of a few more bottom-half citizens.

What the city council needed to do was clearly explain how much money would be lost if Danville did NOT comply with either the global warming or the affordable housing requirements, and what that loss in funds would represent in our overall budget.

Clearly the Council feels that the sacrifice of letting in a few more poor people is worth the extra $$. If they had explained it clearly to the crowds, most of the crowd would probably feel that way too.

Posted by fed-up Danville resident
a resident of Danville
on Dec 12, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Why do our elected representative think that they do not have to represent us? It appears that they think they know what is best and will do as they ____well please. I wonder how many of them have connections with the people who are planning to build these houses and apartments?

Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Dec 12, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Thanks for a clear-headed exposition, with actual content, Greg and s-omebody.

Obviously, the Crusty Uppers among our comment-ers are seeking to avoid tragedies like this, from NYC: Web Link

Hey, it happened there, maybe. So grab yer tinfoil hats, folks, lest them po-folks lovin' mind agents on the Town Council infest us all!

Posted by Juley Hull
a resident of Green Valley Elementary School
on Dec 12, 2012 at 12:51 pm

As many speakers have said, and much more eloquently than I could ever hope to do, we don't need FORCED growth. We need sensible, careful growth, as decided by the residents, voters, and tax payers of Danville.

The minute we agree to re-zoning our agricultural land in the General Plan, we open ourselves up to even more pressure from the State & ABAG.

How about we tell them "No way!" right now, instead of fighting an even steeper uphill battle later on?

We all know that once we approve a tax, a bond, or what have you, it never goes away. Gradually there seems to be a need for ever increasing funding, and once it sunsets, we resuscitate it by renewing & even increasing that tax or bond.

The proposed changes are too far-reaching in too short a span. We must REJECT P-1 Zoning altogether, and allow the voters to have a say in what happens to this community regarding A-2 and A-4.

To the person who wrote he is struggling because of poor business decisions & what-have-you, I believe what many of us are concerned about is Low Income Housing being a euphemism for high density structures for Section-8 housing, which brings in whole host of problems which have been discussed. I doubt this applies to you.

We are not trying to sound elitist, it is not up to us whether or not you or anyone else can afford to live in Danville, we simply suggest that people who cannot afford to live here need to live where they can afford it. If that means selling a property & renting an apartment to live in Danville, so be it. There's no shame in that.

Section-8 Housing, if you are unfamiliar with it, is subsidized housing for low income people, where the County or State (?) decides what the fair rent is instead of going with market rate. Often, and I know this is a generalization, but, many of these people are already receiving other entitlements and are long-term low-income people who do not find the motivation to earn their own way. Many of these families bring several children into small dwellings, into what is already a high-density building. They do not pay property taxes, so they are a drain on our services, which are already strained as it is.

If anyone has a problem with what I am saying, let me tell you that I have witnessed this other kind of lifestyle up close, so I know that there is a genuine reason for concern here. I am not saying all of these people are "bad", but they often don't know any other way of life than to take from the taxpayers. Unfortunately, people living in poverty also become desperate and may become or may already be criminals.

What I say is not politically correct, but it is based in truth.

Global Warming is a FACT, people, and there's no point in denying it no matter how scary it is. Regardless of WHY it is happening, we need to implement legitimate, scientifically-proven, methods. But we need to do it individually, and as a community, not by force but through incentives.

We cannot undo in 20 years what it took 130 years or more to create, no matter how urgent the situation. Some of these mandates are tantamount to telling people to stop having children because we have no place to put them all! How popular would that be?

Posted by Bret
a resident of Danville
on Dec 12, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Hull and Sara are RIGHT-dealing with THiRD generation entitlement ppl is common--enough! What happened to celebrating what is earned rather than boo hooing those running the scam--where's the "affordable housing" next to Pelosi or Feinstein? Any in Hillsborough or Beverly Hills? Doubt it. Danville will be ruined like Milpitas and Freakmont to the south. Watch the crime spiral with the huge "mixed" housing on Dougherty. They do not do a criminal background check nor look to LEGAL status.

Posted by guynextdoor
a resident of Danville
on Dec 12, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Folks, this is the manifestation of U.N. Agenda 21. The U. N. could'nt impose it nationally so with the help of their liberal American friends they have undertaken to implement it at the state, regional and local levels. It's written in the U. N. committee's strategy. If we don't take federal and state money Danville can be the "town" it is and that the majority wants it to be. I personally dislike being told that if we don't conform to "One Bay Area" the state will come in and make us do it. With some misgivings I'll give the Planning Commission and the Town Council the oppoetunity to heed the voices of the people by putting the issues on the ballot and voting the resolutions accordingly. There's always another election and if warrented the entire Council could be replaced in the next 2. By the way I see no benefit to us property tax payors for officials constantly pushing to increase the tax base. It just means more staff, more promotions and higher salaries overhead expense to the current taxpayors but no reduction in our taxes. And I might add the the periforal expansion should pay for its own infrastructure.

Posted by Norm
a resident of Danville
on Dec 12, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Juley says:

"Section-8 Housing, if you are unfamiliar with it, is subsidized housing for low income people, where the County or State (?) decides what the fair rent is instead of going with market rate. Often, and I know this is a generalization, but, many of these people are already receiving other entitlements and are long-term low-income people who do not find the motivation to earn their own way. Many of these families bring several children into small dwellings, into what is already a high-density building. They do not pay property taxes, so they are a drain on our services, which are already strained as it is."

First of all... section 8 properties are owned by individual investors and there certainly already are section 8 renters in Danville already (gasp). This affordable housing initiative has absolutely nothing to do with section 8. And no, the renters don't pay property taxes, the owners of the properties do.

There are already a bunch of lower-priced condos and townhomes in Danville, selling at price points that would absolutely be considered "affordable."

In Dublin, there are "affordable" condos up to around $400,000 where the buyers need to meet specific income restrictions. Imagine the horror if some more families moved to Danville who could ONLY afford a $300,000 to $400,000 house? (that was sarcasm)

Everyone is focused on the low-income angle, but that's not really the issue at all and it's hilarious how it's bringing all of the snobs out of the woodwork.

The real issue is that the Council has done a lousy job explaining what we as a community stand to lose if we DON'T comply with these new standards.

It's also worth noting that most of the rezoning was probably going to happen anyway and the rezoning itself is a good thing. There are a lot of under-utilized properties downtown that could use some rehabbing.

I'd make the assertion that it's the "low income" issue that's got everyone grabbing their pitchforks, not the traffic or the zoning or anything else. 20-30 more below-median-income families aren't going to make our precious schools go to pot.

Get over it people. Danville could use more affordable housing anyway.

Posted by Huh?
a resident of Danville
on Dec 12, 2012 at 5:51 pm

The combination of ignorance, entitlement, indignation and downright lunacy (U.N. Agenda 21! Should have seen that one coming, eh?) among the folks who apparently believe that the Town of Danville can simply roll up its sidewalks, thumb its nose at the rest of the County, State and nation and say "We've got ours, Jack! Take your <sniff> poor people <sniff> elsewhere" is either funny or sad, depending on your frame of mind.

There have always been poor people. Some old, some children, some adults. Always have been. It would be nice to simply insist that all of them live "somewhere else" (and just drive in to mow our lawns, clean our homes, etc.) but for some reason the rest of the County and State take exception to that degree of privilege for one municipality, and insist that Danville at least make it **legal** for housing affordable to less than wealthy folks to be built and occupied. The plan doesn't require it to actually be built - that's for the private sector. What you're demanding are laws which make it **impossible** to build less expensive housing.

The oh-so-smug Danvillites can demand that their privileges must be defended by the city pols but you should recognize that what you're demanding is actually the denial of rights to others - not all that different from the laws which used to forbid Negros, Chinese and Catholics from owing property in certain neighborhoods.

I guess some things never change, eh?

Posted by Juley Hull
a resident of Danville
on Dec 12, 2012 at 10:58 pm

That is ridiculous. This is NOT a racial issue, this isabout our property values, that we pay VERY high taxes on, crime rates, etc. I don't care WHO lives here, as long as they can "afford it". That does not make me a snob at all.

NOBODY should have the right to dictate to us that not only do we have to provide additional housing, but it has to be "affordable." Landlords of Section may pay property tax, but it's based on a lower value that is dictated by the State rather than the Market. They take in reduced rents, but they don't mind because they can count on the Government checks to come in every month. I used to live next door to one.

It doesn't change the fact that the rest of us will bear the burden for services that aren't fully funded. I don't know if you're a property owner, but I'm tired of having more & more bonds added to my Bill, now up to 6(maybe more?), because the State isn't giving us proper funding. Danville hasn't been a "Rural" Community for 15+ years! We are a suburban town.

You definitely have some issues that cause you to take offense at what I said. As for THIS being the only reason for our protests, you are not listening very well.

Posted by William
a resident of Danville
on Dec 13, 2012 at 7:17 am

This discussion is falling right into the developers hands. Get the citizens to argue among themselves and instigate factions. Have one group that is against development and another that will say that if you oppose it your discriminating against some disenfranchised group and of course this is politically incorrect. The developers count on this and it works every time. Ever heard of the approach of divide and conquer?

Posted by Steve from Alamo Oaks
a resident of Alamo
on Dec 13, 2012 at 9:40 am

The housing element requires yearly quotas of housing into the distant future that must be met or severe penalties and lawsuits follow. Ten years ago, Foster City pleaded that they were completely built out, but they have had to tear down newish construction to increase the density to comply. There is no alternative under the requirements. Pleasanton, believing that they were in control of their future, capped their growth at 29,000 housing units. They were sued by the State of California and a housing advocacy group and recently "settled" by paying that group 2 million dollars and allowing, without restriction, 3300 new housing units to be built by next year, 2500 of which are "affordable". Read all about it. Google "Pleasanton approves deal to end lawsuit". This is the truth about being a city.
Danville, if you want to get out of this situation, the only solution is to un-incorporate your city and merge back into the county, where your assignment of a "fair share of housing" will then be included with the county's allotment and then spread over the 350,000 acres and 12 unincorporated "cities" that make up the county's compliance territory. The county only has to accomodate 700 units per year spread over that vast territory where all levels of income make it easy to accomodate that range of "affordable" housing. Learn about it and do it while you can. It will be difficult but it can be done.

Posted by Huh?
a resident of Danville
on Dec 13, 2012 at 10:15 am

"I don't care WHO lives here, as long as they can "afford it". That does not make me a snob at all."

Actually, that's **exactly** what that makes you. It doesn't matter if your belief in your own superiority and the inferiority of others is based on wealth or race or religion - either way, your insistence that only "your kind of people" should be entitled to live in "your city" is the essence of snobbery.

Nothing under discussion requires you to do anything at all. It just prohibits your municipal representatives from enacting laws which effectively prohibit the people you look down on from being able to live in the city.

Posted by spcwt
a resident of Danville
on Dec 13, 2012 at 11:33 am

Un-incorporating Danville and becoming part of Contra Costa county sounds like a radical step. Wouldn’t you risk having the County imposing its will on Danville? If you keep the Danville city council in place, can’t they go along with California law (wink, wink), but effectively keep out undesirable development? If you turn control over to the county, you never know what they might do. Not all county supervisors have Danville’s best interests in mind.

Pleasanton got sued because their housing cap made it impossible to comply with California’s Housing Element Law (§ 65580 et seq). That law says cities must pass, as part of their General Plan, a “Housing Element,” which is designed to “make adequate provision for the housing needs of all income groups, including accommodating the local government’s share of the RHNA [Regional Housing Need Allocation].”

Pleasanton didn’t pay a penalty. They had to pay Urban Habitat $1.9 million for its attorney fees and adopt a plan that didn’t have that growth limit. As part of the settlement, they agreed to approve certain high density projects.

Instead of going that route, why not play the game? Adopt a plan that accommodates Danville’s share of RHNA. Then sit back and wait for a developer to propose a development project that makes economic sense. And when that project never materializes, you can commiserate with ABAG and Urban Habitat about the lack of affordable housing in Danville and what a shame it is that we can’t stop climate change.

Posted by George
a resident of Danville
on Dec 13, 2012 at 11:58 am

I find it almost comical that the residents of Danville, who the majority of whom are democrat and voted for measure D and for Obama, and for all Democrat representation, are NOW opposed to low income housing in their neighborhood. Limousine Liberals are always for something until it comes to their backyards. Wind power is fantastic until it blocks my ocean view. You reap what you sow Danville. Vote for global warming alarmists, and enjoy the benefits.

Posted by miSFit
a resident of Diablo
on Dec 13, 2012 at 12:06 pm

If Corte Madera can cut its ties with ABAG then so can Danville!! See news story here: Web Link

Posted by Denise
a resident of another community
on Dec 13, 2012 at 1:11 pm

I live in a city that is working hard to turn around the affordable housing problem that has been created over the last 20 years. Once you open the door, it floods. It is very difficult for a city to "control" its own growth, but I commend Danville for attempting to do so.

Affordable housing is needed, but the manner in which this state and through ABAG, executes these requirements is oppressive.

I have learned that trying to turn the tide on affordable housing is an uphill battle; if you try, you are called derogatory names. It's the 21st century - labels only, rather than substance, issues, and details, is what fits for many. I decided long ago to disregard the name calling and push for substance, issues and details.

In my road of learning the complex government subsidizing housing maze :

Section 8 housing is paid for by HUD. People who qualify are on a list and receive a voucher, and can use it to find housing that is qualified under Section 8 guidelines. Anyone who owns a home, duplex, condo, that wants to HUD to qualify them can do so, then they can market the property for rent and include as potential rentals, those who hold Section 8 vouchers. Your local housing authority oversees and administers this program and HUD pays significantly to their salaries. In my community, HUD is paying higher rent values for certain housing (2 and 3 bedroom housing) than what a landlord could get on the open market, which is inappropriate under HUD regs. But this over market rate makes many property owners move to rent to Section 8 voucher holders. And unfortunately, this changes a neighborhood for the worse.

The RHNA numbers (regional housing numbers) which are mandated by the state and then administered by ABAG is a separate government subsidized program. The city/town/county is required to rezone land if need to ensure zoning for high density, affordable housing.

But further, you then have the "housing advocates" threatening that it will oppose your housing element if it does not eliminate any "conditional use" permitting process for multifamily development so the process of notice to residents of the development is removed; no arguments in front of planning commissions or appeals. Watch out for those "hidden" elements in the plan. The fight is focused on the RHNA numbers and zoning issues, but it is in the details.

I wish Danville luck in fighting these mandates; Push as hard as you can to fight the mandates and give, if necessary, only that what is necessary to avoid the elimination of funding or sanctions.

Because, once that door is open...... your city over 20 years will look very different.

Posted by Huh?
a resident of Danville
on Dec 13, 2012 at 3:09 pm

"I find it almost comical that the residents of Danville, who the majority of whom are democrat and voted for measure D and for Obama, and for all Democrat representation, are NOW opposed to low income housing in their neighborhood. Limousine Liberals are always for something until it comes to their backyards."

I find it comical that George is ignorant of the fact that Danville has 25% more Republicans than Democrats - a fact which is remarkable enough in the Bay Area to have received a fair amount of press. Web Link

No, this is the same old Republican sense of entitlement coming forward. But that's just "reality", and George clearly isn't burdened by reality-based thinking, is he? Global warming is just "alarmism", after all. Just another FoxNews propaganda victim...

Posted by Juley Hull
a resident of Danville
on Dec 13, 2012 at 3:31 pm

"Danville, if you want to get out of this situation, the only solution is to un-incorporate your city and merge back into the county, where your assignment of a "fair share of housing" will then be included with the county's allotment and then spread over the 350,000 acres and 12 unincorporated "cities" that make up the county's compliance territory."

Thank you, Steve, I agree completely. Thank you for your words of wisdom, Denise, William, & others.

It seems as if Huh? and others are looking for any excuse to argue. Me-thinks they feel inferior, so they blame others to deflect it from themselves.

Huh?, you are a TROLL! Stop arguing just for argument's sake and throwing insults around like they're going out of style.

By the way, I'm a middle-of-the-road Democrat! Hah!

Posted by Louise
a resident of Danville
on Dec 13, 2012 at 4:20 pm

I was waiting for some intellectual to bring up the race card and they did. That's an easy generalization but it has nothing to do with high density and traffic that most are concerned about with increased housing whether affordable or not. I for one don't care what color or creed anyone is as long as they pay "their fair share" and are a law abiding member of the community. It is having unelected officials (ABAG) dictating to Danville what should or should not happen because they give out money. I thought Danville had enough revenue/funds to handle all of its programs, parks, employees and services? So Danville planners and council are going to dance to the music of the ABAG piper? I'm sure the town accountants and staff can manipulate the numbers so that it appears Danville needs the funds. They have their own jobs at stake too.

Posted by Huh?
a resident of Danville
on Dec 13, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Steve is right. The only way to duck the responsibility to allow the construction of lower cost housing in Danville is to disincorporate, so that the jurisdiction with that responsibility is the county, which can then create the opportunity for such construction in other parts of the county.

But be careful what you wish for. County planners are 1000% more amenable to developer's plans and schemes than the local bunch. You might find that low income house being built on the Summerville site!

You see, folks, it's all about responsibility. And that includes the responsibility to bear some of the cost, expense, and hassle of dealing with people who are too poor, or too crazy, or too old, or otherwise "undesireable." You might think that moving to a high priced zip code gives you a pass on that responsibility, but the rest of the county and state disagrees.

Posted by Diver
a resident of Danville
on Dec 13, 2012 at 5:17 pm

There is another way, get the landed ag land zoned R-100 (5 acre lot) and require a "mother-in-law" unit to satisfy the low cost housing. Danville seems to approve these all the time. Large lot with keeps rural character and has some one other than taxpayer keep it visually nice even on a hillside. Make sure to include allowing a horse, chickens goats etc. for the rural aspect. Alos make sure it is deeded no sub-diving.

Posted by Look at the Photo
a resident of another community
on Dec 14, 2012 at 6:02 am

People who would qualify for such "affordable" housing are police officers, teachers, disabled, social workers, etc. These are people who drive to your town and provide services, but have few local housing options available in the area. Please look at the photos of the attendees at the meeting and ask, "What's wrong with this picture?" For a town in the middle of the most beautiful and diverse area in the country, the town doesn't reflect this.

Posted by Maryann Cella
a resident of Los Cerros Middle School
on Dec 14, 2012 at 8:50 am

I am reprinting below an email I sent yesterday to all SOS-Danville members. Please see our website at

Please note that SOS-Danville representatives will be at the Farmers' Market and Trader Joe's Saturday morning between 10 and 12 to collect signatures on our Open Space protection initiative petition. The initiative will protect and strengthen Danville voters' existing Measure S rights to decide whether Agricultural, General Open Space, and Parks and Recreation lands can be changed to residential or other uses. We need 4000 registered Town of Danville voters to sign the petition in order to place it on the ballot in a special election.

"THANKS SO MUCH to the many of you that attended the Tuesday night Planning Commission hearing about the draft 2030 General Plan and the draft Sustainability Action Plan. Special thanks to those that came at 6:15 and helped gather signatures and distribute signs: Sheila and Paul Truschke, Kathy and Mike Jones, Ray Brant, Harry Baggett, Arlene Reed, Joan and John Hines, Roger Tuma, Denise Armanino, Denise Regna, and Juley Hull. Apologies if I missed anyone! WE GOT ABOUT 150 SIGNATURES!!

We ran out of the 50 signs I had brought for our supporters to hold. The signs were yellow and standard letter-sized, and read "OBEY MEASURE S!" AND "NO RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT ON OPEN SPACE". The "Obey" signs were taken first-- I will print more of those next time. Supporters held up the signs before and during the meeting to great effect!

OVER 300 WERE IN ATTENDANCE! There were numerous reporters and photographers present as well. Even though the Commission had opened a side room to accommodate overflow, there were still people standing around the room and in the hall just outside. Rich Oas spoke at the meeting to say that the next meeting should be in a much larger venue with more parking. He reported that he was forced to park far away and that others got so discouraged about the poor parking situation especially given the cold, drizzly rain that they went back home. Thanks for pointing that out, Rich. Let's hope the Commission listens in regards to the next meeting.

The Town opened the meeting with a self-serving presentation about how the proposed 2030 General Plan will change almost nothing----which we know is false. They went head-on to deflect our legal attack on their flouting of Measure S by showing slides relating to the 86 home/12 apartment KB Homes development of Elworthy Ranch and how wonderful it will be. That project should have had a Measure S vote! Their point appeared to be this: who cares if you got your vote? Look at the wonderful project we got for you! We later pointed out that had the public had a chance to vote on that project, it would have undoubtedly turned it down! The Town used various techniques to add about 80 homes to what could have been built under the property's existing A-4 ( one home per 20 acres) zoning.

They bragged about how the Council had put Measure S on the ballot and how that showed their intent to protect Open Space----deliberately omitting the fact that Measure S was put on the ballot by the Council to defeat Measure R, a CITIZENS' initiative that would have given the public much more control over development of Open Space. Todd Gary, SOS-Danville Steering Committee member and an attorney, skillfully pointed that out later when he had a chance to speak. How ironic---the Council puts Measure S on the ballot to defeat Measure R, and now the Council won't even follow Measure S! For the record, Measures R and S both passed but Measure S got more votes so it became law and Measure R did not.

The Town had also prepared a self-serving flyer about the draft 2030 General Plan. It states that "[t]he draft 2030 Plan is largely a 'factual update' of the 2010 plan, as Danville is a largely 'built out' community. Nothing in the 2030 General Plan would significantly change this." On the back page, the untrue and misleading statements are even more explicit: such as declaring that Agricultural lands are not "Open Space"! Check out p. 52 of the 2010 General Plan to confirm that the Agricultural land use designation category is listed under "Open Space Areas" along with "General Open Space" and "Parks and Recreation". Also look at the Land Use Map on page 45, where there is a list of "Public and Open Space" areas. The list consists of "Public and Semi-Public", "General Open Space", "Agricultural", and "Parks and Recreation" lands. Moreover, the title the Town gave to Measure S when it was on the ballot was "Danville Open Space Preservation Initiative" applying explicitly to land designated for "Agricultural, General Open Space, and Parks and Recreation" use (see Measure S).

The crowning half-truth (and I don't use that term casually) on the flyer is the only bold-face statement on it: "[t]he draft 2030 General Plan does not propose any change to Measure S." As if adding P-1, Planned Unit Residential development, zoning as an allowable zoning on Agricultural land does not change Measure S by allowing its circumvention! In any case, the Council could not legally directly "change" ---i.e. rewrite---Measure S because it is a voter-approved ballot measure. Under CA law, only the voters can change Measure S directly.

Needless to say, at the conclusion of the Town's presentation, SOS-Danville members and Stuart Flashman, our attorney, pointed out the flaws in the Town's presentationand the Town's flyer. We called on the Town to remove the illegal changes to the 2030 General Plan that add P-1 clustered residential as an allowable zoning on Ag. land, and that upzone all the A-4 Ag. land in Danville to A-2, effectively quadrupling the number of homes entitled to be built on such land. Speakers included Stuart Flashman, SOS-Danville's attorney; me, Todd Gary, SOS-Danville Steering Committee member and attorney, Sheila Truschke, Roger Tuma, former Council Candidate Bob Nealis, and Rich Oas, and some others whose names I did not know. Please forgive me if I missed naming any of our speakers. I will estimate that 75 or more SOS-Danville members were in attendance.

A large, vocal contingent of opponents of the Town's implementation of ABAG's housing allocation to Danville was also in attendance. According to the Town's agenda for the meeting, the 2030 Plan will allow the Town to redesignate up to 35 total acres, mostly within the Downtown area, to allow multi-family residential developments, or mixed uses including multi-family residential. The Plan will also create a new residential high-density zoning to allow 25-35 units per acre (more with density bonuses) to be built on such lots. Existing multi-family zonings will also be recalibrated to allow for higher densities than previously allowed. One such redesignation is for the Darby Plaza site at the corner of El Cerro and El Pintado, next to the 680-North on-ramp. With density and other bonuses, possibly 75 apartments could be built on that lot.

If you haven't already, please send an email or letter to the Town ([email protected]) expressing your opposition to the Plan's agricultural sections. "

Posted by Tango
a resident of Danville
on Dec 14, 2012 at 9:21 am

Julia is right. We put three clowns in charge and they are all spineless. Not wanting high density and preserving a small town feel is NOT being a snob nor is there any lack of concern for those that cannot afford Danville. We moved here and are raising our children to be good citizens within the low density and small town feel. Nothing wrong with that at all. What we do have is three clowns so concerned about AGAG becaue they don't have the intelligence or guts to stand up to a bunch of bureacrats. We should impeach these clowns, at a minimum and at the next meeting make our voices known, loud and clear

Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Dec 14, 2012 at 3:36 pm

No one has commented on one seeming contradiction: This meeting was very well attended by people opposed to developing the last scraps of open land that we have; probably 80 to 90% of the 300+. And yet, Mike, Renee, and Newell won by a landslide. Very odd indeed. From Tuesday's meeting, you would have thought they would have LOST by a landslide.

I'm not against low income housing, especially for seniors, teachers, and other civil servants, it is just a matter of finding a place for such structures. And sadly, Danville is running out of room.

Posted by for the record
a resident of Green Valley Elementary School
on Dec 14, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Renee did not win by a landslide, only a plurality of the votes among the 5 non-incumbents: 14% for Renee; 11 for Nealis; 9 each for Jelincic and Sullivan, and 7 for Hock. Most people did not want her to have the third seat.

Also, the Council deliberately waited until just before the election to release this draft 2030 General Plan so there would be no time to make it an issue in the race. Now we know why Doyle and Arnerich were so desperate not to have any new voices on the Council that might expose the colossal fraud that is the new Plan.

Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Dec 15, 2012 at 9:01 am

It was still a sizable margin, enough to make you wonder if all the money she spent on cheesy (and disingenuous) tv commercials and yard signs influenced those unfamiliar with her pro-development backround. It is hard for me to understand why so many Danville residents voted against their own interest.
Of course, that happens on a national scale every two years when low income/low information citizens vote republican.

Posted by Sylence Dugood
a resident of Danville
on Dec 15, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Intriguing discussion. I have to admit that I'm perhaps a bit more agnostic on this issue than most of those who have taken the time to present their opinion. I do wonder if we as a society or 'village' think that we have finally got the population density equation (# of residents and typical household sq footage per parcel of land) just right relative to any other era of existence in this valley. Based on the thoughts presented herein, it would appear that many to most think we have. We surely must think that one more house or flat per given lot will simply exceed the latent carrying capacity of what a good natured, proper town can support. I suppose that we must feel pretty good that given per capita distribution of beings on this modest portion of terra firma that we have gotten it right particularly in comparison to the Spanish,Mexican, early settlers and ranchers as well miners ever did. Makes one think, I suspect.

Posted by JRM
a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Dec 21, 2012 at 3:53 pm

I signed the petition at Trader Joe's today!

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