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San Ramon council to discuss Tassajara Valley cemetery

Original post made on Jun 19, 2014

A new cemetery proposed for the Tassajara Valley will be the discussion topic during a San Ramon City Council workshop Tuesday (June 24).

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, June 19, 2014, 3:45 PM

Comments (28)

Posted by Dan Kibler
a resident of Danville
on Jun 19, 2014 at 5:53 pm

This is development outside the urban growth limit. Go take a look for yourself and decide if you think we should preserve beautiful, historic rangeland or destroy it forever with an unnecessary cemetery that will suck up precious water resources.

Web Link

Posted by Bill
a resident of Danville
on Jun 20, 2014 at 7:39 am

This is a needed resource and not a bunch of tract homes that no one seems to care about. This entire project would "suck up" less water than any commercial or residential development.

Posted by JRM
a resident of Danville
on Jun 20, 2014 at 8:14 am

Someone please enlighten me, why is San Ramon reviewing this? Is this piece of property within their geographic area of review? Given San Ramon's history of rampant development one has to worry.

Posted by LBV
a resident of Danville
on Jun 20, 2014 at 11:28 am

Bill, this land is zoned for Agricultural Use at present. This "cemetery" would require a Special Land Use Permit. NO residential or commercial developments can be built there, so it is NOT a matter of this or that. It's a matter of this massive urban monstrosity of 140,000 burial plots OR keeping the land as was intended... for its current agricultural uses, without using further water resources or interrupting the wildlife habitats in that area.

JRM, San Ramon is likely having a Study Session because it is proposed to be developed just behind many residences in San Ramon. So it would make sense that they would get involved to see how the residents feel about it. It is under the jurisdiction of Contra Costa County and their Supervisors will make the final decision as to whether or not this Special Land Use Permit is approved. Send an email to Contra Costa County Supervisor for District III (which includes the Tassajara Valley and the proposed cemetery) Mary Nejedly Piepho: if you are against this. She oversees this Eastern section of Contra Costa County.

See for more information on this proposed massive urban cemetery.

The more people that show up to be present and/or voice their concerns against this the higher the likelihood that the land will stay as is!!! Please come to the meeting!!!

Posted by williams
a resident of Danville
on Jun 20, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Just curious-if a member of my family passed away tomorrow, what choices would I have for burial places? We have lived here for 25 years and it seems to me a local cemetery is a good idea.

Posted by LBV
a resident of Danville
on Jun 20, 2014 at 5:25 pm

williams, please see this link from

Web Link

It says "No need for a new cemetery in the Tri-Valley" and has additional downloadable information:

"Based on expected population growth, death rates, and the increasing choice of cremations rather than full-body burials, the existing cemeteries within 15 miles of this site have more than enough space to handle the anticipated need for the foreseeable future.

"Although the Tri-Valley Committee concluded that there was a need for a new cemetery in the Tri-Valley area, they provided no data or analysis to support this claim. Simply saying that there is a need does not make it true."

Here is the downloadable pdf from this link as well providing info as to why another cemetery is not needed at this time.
Web Link

Posted by LBV
a resident of Danville
on Jun 20, 2014 at 5:45 pm

Also, "williams" if you "Yelp" cemeteries in the East Bay CA area you can't believe how many come up. Even the Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland has had over 165,000 interments and several new sections have been designed and opened there in recent years. See link: Web Link That is what the Creekside Memorial Park Cemetery will be like.. a massive urban development.

Why in the world would we need ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY THOUSAND burial plots here, where there is a designated agricultural land use zone? There is not even a market for this, according to this article here: Web Link

Posted by Holly
a resident of another community
on Jun 20, 2014 at 7:15 pm

Dear williams,

As LBV noted, there are already plenty of large cemeteries in the area. In addition, these existing cemeteries aren't that far away. For example, it takes about 17 minutes (according to Google maps) to get to the proposed Tassajara cemetery site from both the center of San Ramon and from the center of Danville. But from the center of San Ramon to the Lone Tree cemetery in Hayward is only 21 minutes, and from the center of Danville to the Oakmont/Queen of Heaven cemeteries in Lafayette is 18 minutes (21 minutes from San Ramon). Pleasanton and Dublin are also within 17 to 22 minutes of existing cemeteries (Lone Tree in Hayward and Memory Gardens/St. Michaels in Livermore). It's hard to believe that saving less than 5 minutes of driving time outweighs the many significant and permanent problems that the proposed cemetery would cause for everyone who lives, works, drives, rides, or plays in the Tassajara Valley, or for those who simply appreciate an unspoiled area.

Posted by Lori
a resident of another community
on Jun 24, 2014 at 6:39 am

None of the comments have touched on the biggest concern of many TV residents: water! We are in a severe drought. Many of us are hauling water already. The number of wells proposed by this cemetery would draw from our already limited water resources. Without water, we cannot do anything with our properties. So many people want to see Tassajara Valley remain agricultural. Without water, we cannot do this!
Let them connect the water from Mustang Soccer Complex to Windemere Parkway and use EBMUD resources. Let the people of the valley tap into this resource so we can remain agricultural.
San Ramon is not just concerned because this backs to their housing: San Ramon has the interest of the entire valley because of future development. Our title paperwork says San Ramon; we fall in their area of interest. They want a voice in this; where is our voice?

Posted by Ms. bunny
a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 24, 2014 at 6:47 am

Bill is absolutely right. LVB simply doesn't want it. A cemetery in this area WOULD break-up the ugly massive overbuilt look of Dougherty which is one less than aesthetically pleasing valley at this time with few exceptions. There is ENOUGH housing there that has ALREADY destroyed HABITAT as well! OPEN space such as in a cemetery setting lends itself to unobstructed views and is far more "user friendly" as a wildlife habitat of sorts than housing. Whose kidding who here? The archaic idea that it will "suck" up water is ludicrous. WHERE has LVB been of late? Unfamiliar with hardscape finishes, types of artificial grass and other landscape technologies that could easily make this the most viable saving resource area compared to what's ALREADY been developed (again, the incredibly ugly "wall to wall" housing) If you believe LVB's "doom and gloom" approach? Then you're behind the times without a clue when it comes to the viability of such a project.

Posted by realist
a resident of Danville
on Jun 24, 2014 at 9:54 am

Mary Piepho, the Supervisor that "represents" the Tassajara Valley, Blackhawk, and some of unincorporated Danville, has never met a developer whose plans she didn't like. She was the champion of the "New Farm" development proposal that would have turned TV into a massive homesite.

A rich developer, Sid Corrie, is behind this cemetery plan. Ergo, Piepho will undoubtedly get it through unless some sort of lawsuit stops it. Although there are 4 other County supervisors, including Candace Andersen (she is mostly just a sock puppet) who represents Danville and San Ramon, they will likely defer to whatever Mary wants because TV is "her" jurisdiction.

Posted by LBV
a resident of Danville
on Jun 24, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Obviously I don't agree with Ms. Bunny. As you can see from the website (some info from that website I've reiterated below) there are plenty of reasons that this massive urban cemetery with 140,000 burial plots will not be aesthetically pleasing and does not lend itself to unobstructed views. Quite the opposite. And, again, it is not a matter of more residential or commercial developments (it is NOT zoned for that now or will it be in the future), but a matter of just leaving the zone for agricultural purposes only, not allowing a "Special Use Permit" for the land. Here is why it is not aesthetically pleasing and why it is not without unobstructed views Ms. Bunny:

"1. Large scale, URBAN land use, not suited for the agricultural and open space nature of the Tassajara Valley. The proposal includes MANY HUGE STRUCTURES, totaling over SIXTY-THOUSAND square feet (ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE/CHAPEL, INDOOR MAUSOLEUM, FOUR OUTDOOR MAUSOLEUMS, COLUMBARIA, ETC.), including a 42-FOOT TOWER ON THE ADMIN/CHAPEL. It would create about 13 acres of impervious areas (roads, buildings, parking lots with spaces for 82 cars).

2. RIDGELINE DESTRUCTION. It would reduce the height of a highly-visible ridge by up to 30 feet and put structures (mausoleums and columbaria) on it. Total grading would be over 500,000 cubic yards, of which over 130,000 cubic yards would be excess, to create flat space for grave sites on the ridge and to build up the lower area near Camino Tassajara for buildings, parking lots and additional grave sites."

Also, the way it is planned there would be huge, unsustainable water use and it is not even needed.

Posted by JV
a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 24, 2014 at 6:16 pm

There should also be a cremation facility provided alongside .. there are many of us who follow that practice.

Posted by spcwt
a resident of Danville
on Jun 25, 2014 at 6:56 am

Seems like a cemetery would create a lot of funeral traffic, especially on weekends. That valley is not easily accessible.

Posted by Ms. bunny
a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 25, 2014 at 9:23 am

Sorry LBV, you're over reacting. BTW? It's TOO LATE to return this land to agricultural use zoning. Even you should know by now? The "dye is cast" in regard to developer usage. Mr. Corrie is proceeding with his plan yet making every attempt to minimize the impact. So I believe we should minimize the "damage" to be done and am all for a cemetery. Again, you really don't understand a cemetery is the LEAST invasive project COMPARED to more housing which IS, the ultimate alternative, not "leaving" it as is. It's too "late in the game" for that. If he is willing to further reduce the size and scope in some key points? I hope he will as that would be a win for what already, is GOING AHEAD.

Personally? I don't think much of anything EXCEPT more housing or another commercial development would be infinitely uglier and aesthetically unpleasing. Look at the HUGE Forest Lawn smack in the middle of LA - it is a breath of fresh air and beauty compared to all buildup around it and far more massive. Yeah. I disagree with you 100%. We CAN'T go backwards now, only forward.

Posted by Jason
a resident of Blackhawk
on Jun 25, 2014 at 10:38 am

How many people love to live next to cemetery? Did they even ask the people that live around that area? I do not want use the back road if they build this. It's a disturbing sight for many to have to drive through cemetary to get home. People please voice your displeasure to Contra Costa County Supervisor. Go for more information stop this unnecessary project.

Posted by LBV
a resident of Danville
on Jun 25, 2014 at 11:14 am

It's not too late Ms. Bunny. The Contra Costa County Supervisors have not issued a "Special Use Petmit" for this development to go ahead. It's currently zoned for agricultural purposes And the surrounding neighbors were at the meeting last night and are very opposed to this. Especially since they can't get enough water now for themselves from their wells. ALL of our property values will likely drop (Blackhawk, Windemere, Alamo Creek, Monterosso, Shadow Creek, Wendt Ranch, Tassajara Ridge, Tassajara Ranch, etc.) and we will be known as the new Death Valley of the East Bay. A massive urban cemetery development near your home is certainly not a strong selling point. It gives many, especially of certain cultures, the "heebie jeebies". Contact the Contra Costa County Supervisors via email if you are against this. This is about revenues and is not for us, the people of the Tassajara Valley.

Posted by JT
a resident of Danville
on Jun 25, 2014 at 2:11 pm

To those that think the cemetery is a good idea. I will provide a few key points against the cemetery. I encourage you to provide cogent rebuttals, to bolster your case.

1) THE CEMETERY IS NOT NEEDED. Please see the excellent market analysis of cemetery capacity in the Tri-Valley area. Please provide your rebuttal with your own expert analysis.

2) THE NEIGHBORS DO NOT WANT THIS PROJECT: Please provide your rebuttal

3) CEMETERIES ARE NOT DESIGNATED AGRICULTURAL USES: The developer wants you to believe that watering headstones and green grass is an agricultural use. Why, because mowing green grass is like harvesting hay? Why, because the worms that eat the decaying human bodies can be counted as an agricultural use?
Why, because plots can be claimed as family gardens marked with decorative headstones?
Please, do rebut this one too.

4) THE CEMETERY WILL HAVE AN IMPACT ON THE GROUNDWATER, which is currently being drawn on to supply existing existing homeowner. Please show us some analysis to refute this. Perhaps you can do a homeowner survey to establish a base point.

5) THE CEMETERY WILL BE A VISUAL BLIGHT. OK, the supporters don't have to rebut this, as I will accept that they believe that a cemetery is more beautiful than truly agricultural open space.

6) CEMETERIES ARE GROSS TO LIVE NEXT TO. OK, the supporters don't have to rebut this either, as I will accept that they like living next to cemeteries, and that it is a high point of their driving experience when they pass by them.

7) THE CEMETERY WILL INCREASE TRAFFIC. Please rebut, as at times there are many cars coming in for one burial.

Thank you for your anticipated rebuttals.

Posted by James von Halle
a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 25, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Why not put a cemetary in the vacant lot at the corner of Bollinger and Camino Ramon.

Posted by LBV
a resident of Danville
on Jun 25, 2014 at 6:12 pm

James, I'm sure you're just joking around and I'm really not against regular sized cemeteries. But this, to me, is not a cemetery. It is a MASSIVE URBAN DEVELOPMENT. 140,000 Yes, ONE HUNDRED FORTY THOUSAND burial plots. I can't even fathom that next to this two-lane road with all of its surrounding beauty and nature.

Posted by LBV
a resident of Danville
on Jun 25, 2014 at 7:25 pm

Here is a Youtube video link from the meeting last night:

Web Link

Posted by Ms. bunny
a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 26, 2014 at 7:42 am

Sorry LBV, I support this project heartily and have written a letter to city supporting WHY it's a good project for the valley with the caveats scope and size SHOULD be tempered a bit more. I'm all for it. It's going to happen. NO doubt about it in my mind. Dear God, when I look at that valley (I avoid it like the "plague") I see what a mess of congested housing it has become. Ugly beyond words. I've seen MANY cemeteries in cities that lend themselves to a calming, cool, aesthetically pleasing view COMPARED with this uglier-than-sin massive housing. In fact? My SIL lives in Ashland by a lovely old cemetery that breaks up the housing and lends itself to great beauty in the area. Sorry your vision is limited in this regard, but I'm all for the project; I think size/scope CAN be mitigated to a degree and further? I believe it can be done most tastefully and well within the confines of water usage.

Posted by JT
a resident of Danville
on Jun 26, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Re @Ms.Bunny: I respect your supporting the cemetery, however I would also suggest that you stand in the minority to say that cemeteries lend themselves to "great beauty." Perhaps using your logic, we should start converting city parks and open space to cemeteries. Perhaps we should start adding cemeteries to our National Parks, such as Yosemite. Wouldn't it be beautiful to have a 140,000 plot cemetery in Yosemite Valley. Such a nice thing to marvel at. I think it would fit in nicely to those Americans that want to have a destination burial.
So I have to question why you would support a cemetery in on agricultural zoned land outside the Urban Limit Line. Does your family have a financial stake in this, in the business. Did you pre-buy a plot? Are you being paid as a consultant? Are you so worried that when you die that there will be no plot left to bury you?
Maybe you can proffer one reason as to what direct advantage there is to YOU, the individual voter, the resident, of supporting this cemetery. It would be acceptable to say that the advantage to me is that I prefer to look at cemeteries over the nature. Or I perceive there to be an advantage of putting in a cemetery because it would then preclude a housing development and the resultant impacts on traffic and noise.

But to say this is a great idea? To who, for who?

I'll add to the notion of it becoming the Tassajara Valley of the Dead.
Or perhaps they can propose a garbage dump.
Or maybe even a cattle feed / slaughter operation like Harris's Ranch on Rte 5. These latter two suggestions to me are on par with a cemetery. NO cemetery in T-valley!!!

Posted by Ms. bunny
a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 26, 2014 at 8:31 pm

Hey JT, a cemetery lends itself to ALL OF US EVENTUALLY (lol!) This has less than nothing to do with a "financial stake" dear (are you serious? Get a grip man) It has to do with development that IS UNDERWAY AS WE SPEAK - THE DEVELOPER'S RIGHT TO DEVELOP THIS LAND IS GOING FORWARD. Have you not been following this for the past year? (apparently not) So you don't care to look at a cemetery but wall to wall housing. Be my guest.

Yeah. I think out of all the possibilities with the exception of KEEPING it agriculturally zoned? (ain't gonna happen) IT'S THE BEST. THE GREATEST.

Read it and weep kid...

Posted by Windemere Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 27, 2014 at 12:09 am

Besides the environmental impact that has already been discussed in many other forums, it is also a cultural issue for the majority of people closest to the proposed cemetery. Asian Americans have a strong aversion to living near a cemetery. Please respect other cultures. We do not want this cemetery built near our homes. Contra Costa County can not go against the will of the people living near the proposed cemetery.

Posted by Ms. bunny
a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 27, 2014 at 7:31 am

Sorry WR, this ISN'T about the INDIVIDUAL CULTURAL NEEDS of each CULTURE - it is about living in America and western protocol when it comes to land development and usage. Please don't play a "race card" here, okay? Inappropriate. Living near those who've passed before us? is a "given" with American Indians being buried EVERYWHERE across America. Just because they don't have a headstone doesn't mean they aren't THERE. Y'all just don't want to be reminded.

A cemetery is definitely preferable unless agricultural zoning can be changed and I would submit? That "ship has sailed". It's going to happen. It's just a matter of size and scope and water usage which ALL can be mitigated - PERIOD.

I'm looking forward to something far more aesthetically pleasing as this cemetery WILL BE, than what I see when I look out the top of the hill towards Dougherty today. Massive housing, "concrete to concrete" that has raised the temperature of that valley easily by 5 degrees since development with no air passing through whatsoever. YUCK.

I've lived by a cemetery in Santa Monica...It was lovely, ethereal, spiritual and JUST FINE. No sillyas* "heebee jeebies" here...I honor life that has come before me in a myriad of way's and this is just ONE MORE WAY to do so. The need is here. The idea worthy.

I absolutely 100% support it's construction and existence as part of San Ramon.

Posted by Windemere Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 27, 2014 at 8:53 am

It is also a race issue and it is totally appropriate to bring up because the majority of people living near the proposed cemetery are Asian Americans. We have the same right as all Americans do to voice our opinions regarding this proposal.

Posted by JT
a resident of Danville
on Jun 27, 2014 at 11:26 am

Ms Bunny. Thank for clarifying...OK, you have no financial stake, and you support it because you believe that a cemetery is preferred over a housing development. I'll acknowledge and respect your perspective.

That said, I am not a believer in the absolutism of property rights. The perspective that landowners can develop their land however they feel.
If that were the case, I could by the houses that surround you and convert the property to a shrine for cremated remains. I am guessing I could get Tens of Thousands of ashes interred around you. I'll bet you would object and claim that I can't do that because it is zoned residential. But I could claim that my "project" is residential as the ashes of loved ones are resident in their graves, that their spirits are now residents of the neighborhood. Sorry for the relative absurdity, but you can see that there are neighbors to consider when making changes to land use.

I also tend to save "It's gonna happen" for things like the sun rising or earthquakes striking. Not for a cemetery in a Valley where residents don't want it and it is not needed, and it is a permanent destruction of the land. even more so than grapes and solar panels. Please find me one modern instance of a graveyard being converted back to, let's say a sports field, or a housing project, or an field of tomatoes.

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