In the wake of the Pleasanton City Council voting 3-1 to endorse a project to add 43 upscale homes to Lund Ranch in the city's southeast hills, Pleasanton residents on both sides of the debate shared their thoughts about the council's decision and a new referendum effort aiming to overturn it.
The following are Letters to the Editor published in the Jan. 15 edition of the Pleasanton Weekly:
Accept Lund Ranch decision for all Pleasantonians
Paid signature gatherers are soliciting Pleasanton residents right now in various locations around the city in an effort to gain signatures for an unnecessary referendum regarding a recent decision by City Council.
Sponsors of this signature-gathering petition, while claiming to be protecting Measure PP (saving hillsides), are really trying to keep Lund Ranch II exiting traffic out of their subdivision. Bridle Creek and Sycamore Heights have known about this exit plan since purchasing their homes, yet are taking a "Not in My Backyard" approach to try to overturn the public process and buy their way out of the planned exit route of traffic from the Lund Ranch II development.
Instead the residents of Bridal Creek and Sycamore Heights would rather push all exiting traffic through already traffic-burdened neighborhoods of Ventana Hills and Mission Park, specifically Junipero Street. A large park in Mission Hills already has children at risk today from existing traffic; any further traffic will only further endanger the children that play at this park.
A referendum on this topic will cost Pleasanton residents up to $350,000 and is an unnecessary taxpayer expense when the City Council has already done their job and made a sound decision. Please be aware of all the facts before signing any petitions to have a referendum go to the voters. Our City Council has done their job and their decision should stand.
-- Vicki LaBarge,
PP is threatened
After campaign promises were made to follow Measure PP, the council majority ignored their own definition of a ridge and voted to remove a ridgeline protection because it was inconvenient for the Lund Ranch II project.
The council also approved a road and significant grading in an area they had earlier established as "open space." Council ignored the definition of a structure in the city municipal code, instead making up a new definition of a road as "infrastructure." How can such steps give residents confidence of hillside protection in the future?
Although I applaud the Pleasanton Weekly for finally acknowledging PP as a positive step, I wish I could share the Weekly's optimism that our hillsides and ridges are now safe from development. The approving council members stated each hillside project in the future would face different interpretations of PP.
Developers create development plans, EIRs and public hearings without knowing what the PP rules are until the final hearing by the City Council. Pleasanton residents must come argue on every project to have their PP upheld. Haven't we learned anything from the five-year turmoil that was Lund Ranch II?
Because of these actions, a group of citizens across Pleasanton have joined to put the project approval on the ballot so everybody can vote and reaffirm we want our hillsides and ridges protected. Our effort is not to force traffic on a different neighborhood, it is about protecting Pleasanton's natural hillside beauty for all. Please sign so you can decide.
-- Allen Roberts
No referendum needed
After over 20 years of planning for a large development of homes, and more recently a thorough review and approval by Pleasanton's planning staff, Planning Commission and City Council, a much smaller plan of only 43 homes has been approved on Lund Ranch II (PUD-25), land zoned for housing in our General Plan. This small development is located in southeast Pleasanton in the valley, well below visible ridgelines for Pleasanton's residents due to Measure PP.
This is a perfect example of long-term planning, Pleasanton ridgeline protection, careful traffic routing and compromise. Only 31 homes, far less than the 125 originally planned, will gain access through Sycamore Heights/Bridle Creek neighborhoods (via Sunset Creek Lane), and because of compromise by Ventana Hills and Mission Park residents, 27 homes that were originally planned to go through Sycamore Heights/Bridle Creek will exit via Ventana Hills/Mission Park neighborhoods (via Lund Ranch Road).
Let's not waste up to $350,000 of our money on a referendum that's not needed. For more information, visit www.ProtectPleasantonNeighborhoods.com.
-- Amy Lofland,
Accept Lund Ranch decision for all Pleasantonians
The City Council's Jan. 5 approval of a massively scaled down, 43-home project built on flat land in southeastern Pleasanton is fair. Opponents want to reject it via referendum because they object to where some of the roadway access to the project will be -- a 50-yard, inconspicuous extension of a dead-end road to access some of the homes.
The City Council struck a compromise to honor obligations made by previous city administrations to Ventana Hills and Mission Hills residents, and longstanding plans (in writing) for the entire project to be accessed via Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek neighborhoods. Residents of those latter two neighborhoods want all of you to accept their own personal interpretations of Measure PP.
Their referendum is not about honoring Measure PP (saving hillsides), it's about benefiting their own "Not In My Backyard" self-interests by routing all traffic through the former neighborhoods, currently suffering from cut-through traffic, which will increase once a 350-apartment plus retail complex at Stanley and Bernal is completed.
It will cost all Pleasanton taxpayers up to $350,000 to put their referendum on the June ballot. Should all Pleasanton residents be footing that bill to benefit a select group of residents' NIMBY self-interests?
All of us should accept the compromise, which guarantees 177 acres of protected hillsides and ridges and adds to our property tax base. The compromise benefits all Pleasanton residents and is why I'm not signing their referendum. I strongly urge you not to, either.
-- Mark Priscaro,
Truth about referendum
Residents of Pleasanton are being asked to stop Lund Ranch development by signing a referendum at grocery stores and schools. I'm not signing for the following reasons:
1. A small group of residents are paying $30,000-$50,000 to an outside firm to collect the signatures. They do not have enough Pleasanton residents that are against the project to collect signatures.
2. This group is telling people that Measure PP is being violated when it is not.
3. It is going to cost the Pleasanton taxpayers up to $350,000 to put this on the ballot if they collect the required signatures.
4. The road connection from Lund Ranch to Sunset Creek has been planned since 1991.
Let common sense prevail.
-- Kay Ayala ,
City Council member, 1996-2004
Good gov't deserves praise
The Lund II development approved during the Jan. 5 Pleasanton City Council meeting has been a long and complex decision process that impacted multiple neighborhoods, included a prominent builder, required the careful consideration of longstanding agreements and the application of a sensitive and valued city initiative.
The Pleasanton City Council carefully considered each of these important factors and delivered a decision that represents a sound compromise that protects our city and provides 177 acres of open space for all of our citizens to enjoy.
Local government often is accused of getting it wrong; this time the mayor and the Pleasanton City Council got it right. Pleasanton was well served -- no referendum needed.
-- Bill Spain