The angst between some members of the council and the citizens' coalition formed by Ayala in 2007 to overturn a 4-1 vote by the council that approved the Lins' 51-home housing project at the end of Hearst Drive is sadly not over. Since then, Ayala's coalition has successfully battled the Lins in court, fielded Measure PP that won voters' approval to block development on steep hillsides, and sponsored Measure D that won voter approval at the ballot box in June 2010 scuttling the council's approval and the Lins' right to build their houses. Now the Lins are in court with litigation this time against the city of Pleasanton arguing that a once-signed development agreement trumps the 2010 measure D vote and setting the stage for possible damages if they continue to be denied development rights on the 600 acres they own. Adding to this longstanding, hugely costly litigation is now a new proposal from the Lins to build only 10 houses instead of the 51, a proposal submitted to city planners who have yet to consider it.
Ayala's concern was with the wording "settlement agreement," a term the Lins' attorneys used in their latest request that the City Council "stand down" in the lawsuits, including an appeal before the state Court of Appeal to overturn an unfavorable ruling by a Superior Court judge against the Lins. The stand-down would last until the city acts on the Lins' 10-home petition. Presumably, although the Lins haven't said so, they would drop the appeal and possible damage suit if they receive building permits and can proceed to build the proposed million-dollar-plus homes in the southeast hills. Karla Brown, a Realtor, who is part of the Ayala coalition, told the council Monday that this would be like asking a contractor to do more work on your house while you were suing him for the faulty work he'd already done.
Hosterman was among a majority on the council who approved the Lins original plan for a 51-home development in Oak Grove, which included a gift to the city of nearly 500 acres of parkland and open space and was considerably less than the 100 homes they had earlier asked to build. To her and the council majority, and many in the community, the Oak Grove plan had merit, even benefits. But the majority vote on Measure D showed voters felt otherwise and it's the council's duty now to make sure the Lins either drop their legal actions against the city or see them through on appeal before anyone in City Hall turns the first page on a new building plan. Ayala and her coalition asked the right question. We all agree that the Lins' 10-home plan looks good, but it needs to be considered through the normal approval process, not as part of a stand-down agreement that allows the Lins to hold the threat of resuming their litigation against Pleasanton over our heads if they don't like the outcome.