The attorneys, Stuart Flashman of Oakland, and Kristina Lawson of the San Francisco law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, made different points in their letters to Lowell but basically contend that there's been so much tinkering with the original Measure PP that environmental reviews and possibly a new vote may be needed. Whether their arguments would ever hold up in court if either of them actually files a lawsuit would be decided then, but they're on the mark when it comes to "tinkering." Actually it was understood and publicly stated both before and after Measure PP went to voters that the document was vague in many of its assertions and applications and "needed work," a term used at the time.
Since then, the authors of Measure PP and others, along with Pleasanton city staff, carefully scrutinized the language in the document and various committees and commissions held discussion meetings. In one glaring difference over one aspect of Measure PP, the city Planning Commission voted unanimously to include streets and roadways as being subject to the hillside ban while a few weeks later the City Council voted 3-1, in agreement with its city staff recommendation, to define roads as infrastructure, not structures, that would be exempt from the new law.
That change infuriated many in the community who packed the City Council chambers two weeks in a row to insist that no roads ever be built on the hillsides, a viewpoint both Flashman and Lawson also make in their letters threatening lawsuits. If enforced, such a ban would hamper further residential development in the southeast hills and along parts of Sunol Boulevard where roads on steep hillsides and ravines would be needed to reach new homes that are currently allowed on flatter land sites that the roads would serve. In the so-called Oak Grove acreage on level land above Kottinger Ranch, for example, landowners Frederic and Jennifer Lin have the right to build homes on 10-acre lots on much of their 600-acre property, but a no-road provision in Measure PP would mean there would be no roads to reach those homes.
Neither Flashman nor Lawson are bashing the intent of Measure PP. They just argue that so many changes have been made to the proposed ordinance since its approval that voters may need to see it again. In any event, Flashman contends that the ordinance, as it now stands, also should undergo an analysis under rules covered in the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, a costly and time-consuming process that the Pleasanton city attorney at the time said was unnecessary because citizen initiatives, such as Measure PP, are not subject to a CEQA evaluation.
In the meantime, development plans that cold be affected by a road-ban ruling under Measure PP continue in the city and public approval process.