Pleasanton Weekly

News - September 30, 2011

Council calls special meeting to consider agreement with Oak Grove developers

Lins willing to delay court actions while city looks at new building plan

by Jeb Bing

The Pleasanton City Council has called a special meeting for 7 p.m. Monday to hear public comments on an agreement it is considering to delay litigation with developers while allowing time for city officials to consider another building plan by the same developers.

Called a "stand-down" agreement, developers Frederic and Jennifer Lin would seek approval from the state Court of Appeal to postpone a hearing now set for Oct. 11 over their suit against the city, the City Council and City Attorney Jonathan Lowell. The Lins are asking the court to overturn a judgment in the Superior Court against their claim that a development agreement once-signed by City Manager Nelson Fialho should allow them to build a 51-home development called Oak Grove in Pleasanton's southeast hills.

The city has hired Amrit Kulkarni, an attorney with the firm of Meyers/Nave, to argue against the Lins appeal. The stand-down would spare the city from adding to its already large legal bills during the delay.

In the meantime, the Lins want the city to proceed with a review and action on their request to build 10 million-dollar-plus homes on the Oak Grove site, instead of the 51. Presumably, although the Lins haven't said so, a final OK by the city for the new project would lead to the Lins dropping the Court of Appeal action and a possible property rights damage suit against the city.

Former Councilwoman Kay Ayala, who formed a citizens' coalition in 2007 to seek to overturn the council's action that year that approved the 51-home Oak Grove plan, said the council should flatly reject any agreement with the Lins.

"They've lost every legal claim they've made so far and it's highly unlikely the Appellate Court would overturn a Superior Court ruling that went against them," she said. "In fact, it's likely the court won't even hear their appeal."

Ayala and two others who are part of the coalition—Allen Roberts and Karla Brown—urged the council last Monday to let the litigation proceed and not agree to tie any new development to the Lins' lawsuits. With the council adjourning to consider the Lins proposal in a closed session, they asked that the council at least schedule a public meeting to discuss the proposal openly before making a decision.

The upcoming Monday night meeting is a result of that plea.

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