News

Planning commission OKs Ruby Hill right to govern home design

Denies bid by homeowners in dispute over newly-finished house

The Pleasanton Planning Commission Wednesday reaffirmed the city's longstanding agreement that gives the Ruby Hill Architectural Design Guidelines Committee municipal-like powers to handle its own development standards.

The action came in a 5-0 vote at the end of a near-three hour public meeting which pitted homeowners Divya and Anvil Reddy against the committee over a design and structural dispute over their new $2-million-plus home on West Ruby Hill Drive in the upscale gated community.

Pleasanton architect Terry J. Townsend, who represents the RHADGC, said the home as constructed violate a number of architectural guidelines, and that the Reddys have failed to make changes required by the committee or even to meet with the committee board to discuss compromises.

These include the stark white color of the home, not the more subdued colors Ruby Hill requires, too-tall columns with light posts in the front, two separate two-car garages, including one with a marble floor and ornate windows that donate match the conventional wooden doors of the other, and a partially-constructed backyard gazebo that, when completed would have a domed roof 15-feet high, again too high to comply with Ruby Hill standards.

Although city staff recommended allowing some of the architectural style and structural parts of the Reddy home that go against the Rudy Hill guidelines, all five members of the Planning Commission said no.

Their vote against the Reddys' application for city planners and its design review staff to take control of the dispute was not only a strong rebuke of the Reddys' petition but a reaffirmation of the agreement at the time Ruby Hills was built to give developers complete control over the homes constructed there.

That policy, which Townsend and others who addressed the commission Wednesday night, has worked well for the more than 800 homes now built in Ruby Hill, has worked to the advantage of both Ruby Hills residents and the city, planning commissioners said.

Once the RHADGC signs off on all aspects of a home's design and construction, and advises the city in writing, then the city completes its routine construction inspections and issues an occupancy permit.

The Reddys have lived in their new home since it was completed after posting an $80,000 bond to cover the cost of structural and design changes that could be required.

Commissioners urged the Reddys and members of the RHADGC, who were at the hearing, to meet to work out their differences. However, they made it clear that no permanent occupancy permit was likely to be issued by Pleasanton until the RHADGC says it is satisfied that all compliance issues have been resolved.

Comments

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Mikail
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Dec 13, 2013 at 10:00 am

As a member of the Ruby Hill community, I know that everyone is aware of the rules before they build. To push back after you buy and build is simply disingenuous.I have seen the home and although tastes are very personal, my opinion is that it is pretty unattractive.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Mark
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Dec 13, 2013 at 12:53 pm

As another Ruby Hill resident, I would strongly second Mikail's comments. Not only is the home vastly discongruous with the community's architectural tone, and in violation of the covenant, but it is apparently the result of agreements entered into by the owners in bad faith. There is absolutely no basis upon which to allow them to continue their disregard of the neighborhood's regulations. No matter the cost of bringing the home into compliance, the owners have two choices, and two choices only: make the necessary changes, or move out and hope that potential buyers will want to do it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mo Money
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 13, 2013 at 1:19 pm

sounds like the planning commission's capitulation is just around the corner.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Dec 13, 2013 at 4:45 pm

If it was my house, I would have 168 windows installed so that I could enjoy the view 365 days a years...all around the clock!

anony


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 13, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Agree with Mo Money, seems to me City (and Planning Commission) has become a proxy for the powerful HOA. Some statements in this report attributed to RHADC don't add up. These homeowners don't need to succumb to propaganda or bullying (as the City did a few years ago) by the same group of RH bosses that denied this City an elementary school a years ago.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Like it
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Dec 13, 2013 at 5:08 pm

I too am a Ruby Hill resident and I absolutely love this gorgeous home!

I am not jealous of this house as those neighbors who wrote some earlier negative comments. I wish more homes are built like this, not the tasteless McMansions that litter Ruby Hill. It may be time to replace this Ruby Hill Architect with someone who understands good design.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by George
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 13, 2013 at 11:45 pm

Since Ruby Hill is behind gates, it should be up to that HO board. It's not like anybody driving down the streets of Pleasanton is going to be offended, since they will not be seeing it. As long as structural safety standards are met, I don't think it's an city issue.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Kelly
a resident of Happy Valley
on Dec 14, 2013 at 1:08 am

I'm pleased that the city isn't going to waste time and resources on this matter. We looked at homes and considered possibly building in the RH community, but decided against it because we actually preferred the better mix of homes in the Happy Valley area. If they wanted more freedom to build as they wish, they could have considered the area where we moved to with mansions but more freedoms. Having said that, when you buy or build in RH, the HOA rules are very clear and you are required as a buyer to sign off on them when you buy there. This family needs to bring the home into compliance, shut up and quit wasting city resources.

And for those hating on these larger homes, many pay $3K or more a month in property taxes just as we do so stop to consider the revenue these homes produce for our beautiful city.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Too funny
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Dec 14, 2013 at 1:22 am

So 799 homeowners in Ruby Hill are expected to play by the rules and this family built a two million dollar house because presumably they thought the community was beautiful, and then want the city to save them because they CHOSE to avoid the very rules that brought them there. I don't live in Ruby Hill, but know these neighborhoods with large homes/mansions do positive things for the Pleasanton communities in terms of overall home values and producing revenue as the previous poster suggested. This community wouldn't bring to Pleasanton what it does if these architectural rules didn't apply. And hey, why involve the city in this if it can be avoided. Many of the homes there are simply stunning and different enough to be individually unique, but with a powerful enough HOA that won't allow one idiot to change the overall feel of the neighborhood or cause property values to drop, specifically for those surrounding the home that is out of compliance. Good call on this one.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Who Cares
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Dec 14, 2013 at 8:19 am

Seems like a case of "neighbors' envy, owners' pride".

I don't see what the problem is- I remember seeing other homes with white paint in Ruby hill on my visits.

Just because City decided to stay out doesn't mean HOA is right. Why different rules against this home when other homes have it.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by rubyrez
a resident of Amador Estates
on Dec 14, 2013 at 8:24 am

I have lived in Ruby Hill for the past 10 years. We moved here from the midwest (yes, experienced huge "sticker shock") because of a promising career oppo and could have relocated anywhere in the Bay Area. Because we liked Pleasanton and the Ruby Hill community, we chose here.

That career oppo turned south and the business dramatically declined. We are re-employed but have been barely able to hang on financially. The cost of selling a home and moving into a different space is also extremely expensive.

This post is not to solicit sympathy from anyone because we chose to purchase here based on the info we had at the time. But I want to remind others that not everyone in Ruby Hill has unlimited wealth. We pinch pennies, shop at Costco, and yes even use coupons as well.

The purpose of planning regs and HOA regs is to ultimately to preserve property values. These RH neighbors...the Reddys...apparently lack virtue and respect for others in this community. The RH HOA deserves to receive full reimbursement for all their legal costs in defending the HOA regulations.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Dec 14, 2013 at 10:10 am

What if a house is a work of art?

For example, I would have 365 marble size holes made and filled with crystals balls.

Every morning, when the sun shines through, it would light up the interior of your house/toilet and look like a beautiful sky inside...cool or what?

Like a prism, there would be rainbows everywhere everyday 365!!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Zzzzz
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 14, 2013 at 10:13 am

Goliath hoa unleashing its wrath with choice weapons in its arsenal.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Poker
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 15, 2013 at 11:11 am

Cop-out by city!

Operating behind closed gates doesn't mean Hoa is above the law.

I will reserve my judgment till I hear the other side, whose views were not represented in this one-sided news story by PW clearly intended to please the big and powerful bosses.

I don't think we have heard the last on this issue.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 15, 2013 at 2:06 pm

The city has nothing to do with it. The HOA agreement is between the Homeowners' Association and the property owner. The agreement is present in the package of forms which are executed during the closing process. If you don't like the HOA, either try to change it before you sign, or don't sign.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Deems
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2013 at 8:37 am

Over the weekend........... learned from friend this HOA is facing lawsuits from different homeowners for Board's violation of its own Rules, fraud, and discriminating against certain homeowners...........Now I know........... why City got involved in this issue, and rightfully so. Ruby hill is part of the Pleasanton after all..........


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Carli
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Dec 16, 2013 at 10:17 am

Board cannot operate outside of governing laws and civil code, same rules apply to all residents. Board should follow the damn rules, stop discriminating, stop wasting our money! This family has majority support of the community but people are afraid to speak out openly against RHOA. I see many homes in ruby hill with white paint, are you going to ask all these homes to change the paint colors now? RHOA money is better used to fix common areas in disrepair.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Li
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2013 at 12:22 pm

Let me guess and I can bet my two cents on it, these homeowners must have used an "outsider" builder and not from the "inner" list which has HOA "blessings".


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by CW
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Dec 16, 2013 at 2:49 pm

I am a Ruby Hill Resident and I was at the planning meeting, so I know what happened versus all the comments that have been stated in this thread. The Planning Commission was correct to vote 5-0 to let the HOA make the final decision. The reason for this is their job is to ensure that HOA follows the rules that they the agreed to when Ruby Hill as first started and was submitted to the city of Pleasanton. They also stated that their job was not reviewing the designs since the HOA had that duty. Another thing they stated that the homeowner did take it to court before going to the Planning Commission and the judge threw the case out!

There are a lot of interesting comments that have been stated in this thread.

This is a simple issue of when you move into a community that has a HOA you agree to the terms of the agreement. This homeowner did not follow this. What he submitted to the HOA as plans on what they were going both to build (and both the home owner and HOA agree to) was not what he built. You do give up certain freedoms but in return you know what the standards of the community that all of us have to follow will be. If you want to build your own custom home outside the guidelines of a community that has an HOA then go purchase a lot where there is no HOA.

The home is nice but it was not built to the agreed upon specifications that both the HOA and the Homeowner agree to. Also I built my home in Ruby Hill 17 years and did have to go thru the hassle of the Review Board. Both parties agreed on the plan and we built the house to those specs. We did not have any of the issues that this homeowner has brought up.

Just my two cents!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by mom
a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Dec 16, 2013 at 2:49 pm

When will we here from the Reddys? I want to here their story. They seem like highly educated folks from India. Surely, they should know their rights. There is something amiss in the whole story.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by mom
a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Dec 16, 2013 at 2:55 pm

here=hear.
Sorry for the typo, due to autocorrect.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Dec 16, 2013 at 3:17 pm

I know who is gonna lose the legal battle...tee hee...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Dec 16, 2013 at 3:41 pm

(Post removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff as irrelevant to this thread.)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jill
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2013 at 4:54 pm

The city can only enforce the city code. If the HOA has restrictions, that is between the homeowner and the HOA. The city does not have the ability, not should they, to enforce anything in a HOA since the city is not responsible for creating the HOAs and modifying them.

I am sure very little city money was spent on this as both the planning department and the planning commission really have no jurisdiction over a HOA


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Neota
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Dec 16, 2013 at 4:55 pm

(Post removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff for containing unverified or personal information.)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gee wizz
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 16, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Wow wow shame

The dark underbelly of the SECRET SOCIETY of ruby hill !!!!

Power struggle at its finest, err ugliest.

City is the government not this overbearing hoa, and city buckled under pressure of powerful hoa lobbyists.

This is land of laws not thugs who want to deny due process to a family.

WRONG, highway is not the only way. END discrimination.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Avila
on Dec 16, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Like other posters said, many homes in Ruby Hill have white color paint. I saw many white color homes over the weekend visiting my business partner's home there. He said many in the community feel for the Reddys, but they just don't want to mess with the irrational board hell bent against this family.

White is not the special home color reserved only for Caucasians and HOA Chiefs, these poor Indians should be allowed to use it on what appears like a gorgeous home. City may have been bullied into submission, but Reddys are right to take their fight for justice to Courts. It's obvious they are not getting any here.

HOA is wasting easy money for their ego trip, spending others' money like its theirs. They will surely lose on this count with so many other homes in this neighborhood having white exteriors.


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