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Magee Preserve development returns for reconsideration by Danville officials

Original post made on May 28, 2019

The Magee Preserve proposal has been a hotly debated topic in Danville for several years, and discussion over the project is slated to continue when the Danville Planning Commission convenes for its regular meeting on Tuesday.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, May 27, 2019, 8:18 PM

Comments (4)

13 people like this
Posted by Concerned Voter
a resident of Danville
on May 28, 2019 at 8:20 am

There should be little doubt that this project will be approved by the Planing Commission if not tonight, in short order. The real question is what will the Town Council do with this when they receive it in their laps. Based upon the quote below from Newell Arnerich last December, there is absolutely no way he can support a project of this size. Or will we see him simply forget that he said this and continue to tow the line for expansion in our town. If and when he does approves this development of more than 70 homes, you might want to ask him how that is consistent with his stated words of just a few months ago that "our growth is done".

“If you come back (to Danville) 30 years from now, I can stand here and tell you that population sign that you see won’t change very much because we planned it that way. You will see 30 to 50 people added and that is it. Our growth is done“
Newell Arnerich
December 4, 2018


2 people like this
Posted by Long Term Resident
a resident of Danville
on May 30, 2019 at 3:41 pm

I'm not certain where I stand on this one. However, I don't object to Newell Arnerich possibly changing his position if he has received new information in the past 6 months which allows him to make a better decision. I also don't know what context in which the comment attributed to him was made. Near zero growth seems impossible simply from the fact that the state is placing more pressure on communities such as Danville to build more medium and high density housing for low income families. Even if Danville achieves near zero growth, look south at the hills in San Ramon where thousands of new homes are being built. That will add to traffic and congestion whether part of Danville or not.


6 people like this
Posted by SOS-Danville Group
a resident of Danville
on May 30, 2019 at 6:57 pm

SOS-Danville Group is a registered user.

In a highly-orchestrated display of special-interest partisanship, Danville Planning Commissioners voted Tuesday night 6-1 to approve Davidon Homes’ environmentally-appalling 69+ home Magee “Preserve” project. Voting in favor of the plan were Paul Radich, Chris Trujillo, Robert Combs, Mark Graham, Archie Bowles, and David Havlik.

The lone dissent was from Commission Chair Andrew Verriere, a local attorney, who stated his opinion that the Town had not complied with the Court’s order to fairly examine bicyclist safety impacts from the project’s 840 more car and truck trips per day on the substandard, narrow, no-shoulder, winding 1 ½ Diablo Road, and on a winding section of Blackhawk Road nearest the project entrance. We applaud Commissioner Verriere for his integrity.

The next step in the process is the Danville City Council. Their vote is not yet scheduled.

THANK YOU TO THE MANY RESIDENTS THAT CAME TO THE MEETING AND WENT ON THE RECORD IN OPPOSITION TO THE PROJECT. We are blessed to live in a vibrant community where residents volunteer their precious time to protect all of us and our Measure S-protected open spaces, and improve our community.

In rubber-stamping the Davidon proposal, Commissioners discounted the concerns of many local residents, including a firefighter, a retired fire department battalion chief, and a survivor of the Oakland Hills 1991 fire, that the projects’ traffic will significantly further erode the ability of residents, including the project’s homeowners, to evacuate in case of a wildfire or other emergency situation, and that the project itself will increase wildfire risks created by its further encroachment into wildlands. The area is in the highest wildfire hazard severity zone and local residents have recently been warned by PG and E that their power may be shut off for extended periods of time if winds and weather conditions create high wildfire risk from downed or sparking lines.

The Commissioners also discounted nearly three hundred letters from bicyclists attesting to their fear of traveling the Diablo Road/Blackhawk Road corridor. Bicyclists and motorists alike know that the road is precarious for all users. Flying in the face of common knowledge and common sense, Commissioners pointed to an analysis by the Town (called "BLOS")that found, to the contrary, that the road is in the main “acceptable” for bicyclists use and that 840 more car trips per day from the project won’t make it “significantly” worse. There will be no mitigations or other improvements for Diablo Road/Blackhawk Road bicyclist safety required as a condition of approval of the project.

Instead, the Commissioners seemed entranced by the idea of an unplanned, unfunded multi-use trail, not signable for bicyclist use according to the CA Highway Design Manual, that might be built in the future on the slide-ridden hillsides south of Diablo Road. To avoid subjecting the trail to critical scrutiny, it will not be a condition of the Project. Long-time residents will remember that improvements to Diablo Road and a trail were promised in connection with the earlier 1987 Magee Ranch development, but, thirty years later, have not been implemented.

The Commissioners also discounted the increased water flow down the Green Valley Creek, and the risk of increased flooding and erosion. The developer said it was willing to work with some homeowners regarding erosion, but made no commitment, and, again, said nothing about the downstream homes that abut the Creek, nor the culvert under Diablo Road at Alameda Diablo that is known by County Flood Control to be woefully undersized and thus would cause flooding in large storms.

As for Open Space, they ignored entirely that the Agricultural Open Space protected by Measure S will become a housing clustered development, and that there is no guaranteed protection for the rest of the ranch, like a conservation easement to a conservation land trust or a dedication to a park.

Commissioners also discounted concerns about traffic congestion and emergency vehicle access during congested periods. Commissioners said that it wasn’t the developers’ fault that the corridor was so congested, and that Diablo road is crumbling at its edges, has little to no shoulders, and is substandard widths. Under the Commission’s illogic, the risky existing congested conditions have little bearing on their decision to give the go-ahead to the developer to build nearly the maximum possible number of homes on the ranch under its existing land use designations with no improvements to the windy stretch of Diablo road, no safe passage for bicyclists, and not even an evacuation plan in place for emergencies.

Should the Council, as we expect, approve the project in the coming weeks, we plan to seek a public vote through a referendum petition. Please send an email to maryann.cella@gmail.com to be put on my email list and/or to volunteer to help with signature-gathering. Donations may be mailed to Danville Open Space Committee, P.O. Box 295, Diablo, CA 94528. Or donate to Danville Open Space Committee via the button on this website, www.sosdanvillegroup.com. A suggested donation is $250; donations are not tax-deductible. In accordance with the Fair Political Practices Act, the names of donors and their occupations are subject to public disclosure.

Please stay tuned for further updates.


5 people like this
Posted by Olivia
a resident of Blackhawk
on Jun 3, 2019 at 12:30 pm

And Danville also has a $90 million apartment (yes, apartments) project located in the heart of Danville with 144 units. To be completed by summer of 2020. Hard to believe all this new construction in our beautiful little town. Lived here my entire life and SO much growth it’s hard to believe.


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