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Council OKs homes atop Kottinger Hills--Again!

Original post made on Oct 3, 2007

Ending four years of community meetings, public hearings and countless land use, geotechnical and architectural studies, the City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday to allow the construction of 51 super-large estate homes in the Kottinger Hills in exchange for the gift of nearly 500 acres of public open space, hiking and equestrian trails and other amenities.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, October 3, 2007, 5:47 PM

Comments (15)

Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Oct 3, 2007 at 7:12 pm

Just read this news article.... In my opinion, we are witness to perhaps a worse case of NIMBYism.

Reported: "They said the homes and public park visitors could add more than 600 car-trips per day on Hearst Drive..." Let's do the math. 51 homes. Let us assume that each home generates two outbound trips with a return trip each day. That computes to 204 car trips. And maybe this is a high-end estimate. Now, the park has to take up the remain 396 car trips per day. How many of you out there believe that each and every day this park is going to have 198 visitors, which would generate nearly twice the number of car trips generated by the residents? If you think this would be the case, please describe to us an analogic case of a similar park in the Tri-valley.

Conclusion: simple hyperbole.

Reported: "My home is 3,950 square feet," said Bob Grove of the nearby, gated Grey Eagle community. "These homes would be three times as big...." So, what is the average house size in Pleasanton? Especially, what was the average house size in Pleasanton in the 1980-1990 time frame? Let's give a guess. Maybe, 2000 square feet? Plus or minus. When Kottinger Hills was built was it important to the rest of the community that these houses were twice the size of everyone else's house? Were we aghast at these giant houses, and did we wonder how Kottinger Hills would look on this hilly part of town? Probably some of us were. But, here we are today. Big deal, people live in 4000 square foot homes in Kottinger Hills! I don't feel particularly upset about this.

My opinion is that Pleasanton is getting a really good deal. Small number of homes and a large donation of land for Pleasanton to keep open space. This Lin family has owned large tracts of land in the valley for a long, long time. North of the freeway they have owned significantly large tracts and they convinced Dublin to approve many developments on their land which we see today as having been built or are in the process of being built. They seem to have gotten a good return on investment over in Dublin. These developments have density that would certainly be unwelcome in Pleasanton. Oak Grove represents maybe their last large tract that happens to lie in Pleasanton. They have rolled over and accepted the present deal, rather than persisting to develop what you see across the freeway. I view this as a success.

Referendum? For what? If enough of Pleasanton cares to approve one, then bring it on. I'll be happy to vote it down.

Posted by Janice
a resident of Mission Park
on Oct 3, 2007 at 11:20 pm

Nothing is ever perfect. A lot of open space is great. Where will they find the land for affordable housing? There are challenges to still be met. Hooray to the City Council for voting and making a stand.

Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 4, 2007 at 8:04 am

Oh I wonder how long it will take for someone to organize a referendum! Janice, I too am glad for the way the council voted. They are making a stand for all the work that went into making a compromise between the City and the property owners. It seems there is an element of folks out there who are intolerant of compromise and want everything their way or the highway.

I almost choked on my water laughing when I read about "outsiders," "unattractive non-native people" and "teenagers".

Posted by Brian
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 4, 2007 at 12:06 pm

I don't have an opinion on Oak Grove but wanted to correct something that Frank said.

There is a standard planning and traffic equation for car trips per single family home. Generally, it is estimated that each single family home will generate 10-12 single car one-way trips a day. So given that, the resident discussing the car trips that will be generated from Oak Grove was right on from an objective point of view.

Posted by Tom
a resident of Country Fair
on Oct 4, 2007 at 4:10 pm

I agree with some of Frank's comments, especially some of those concerning the Lin family.

And what do you know? Somebody in the press (Jeb Bing) FINALLY decides to disclose that the Lins "live elsewhere, but are major property owners and developers throughout the region." That's rarely mentioned in news articles involving them--typically just their names are listed and that's it.

Do you know where they live? I do. Taiwan. Ask Marty Inderbitzen, their attorney. He'll confirm if you ask him, but he never readily offers that fact up. Gee, I wonder why?

Pretty sad that the Lins never make, nor have, at least that I'm aware of, any effort to appear in person to speak with or meet anyone themselves. Attorney Marty Inderbitzen, who lives on the top of Casterson Ct. in Kottinger Ranch, btw, and won't be bothered much by the traffic issues involving Hearst Drive, and James Tong, a long-time local property developer, are the Lins' spokespersons. We never hear directly from the Lins.

The Lins won't be bothered or affected by any of the development they've created in the past, present, or future, either.

I should point out that I don't live in Kottinger Ranch. I'm just tired of the Lins and their continuing influence on the Tri-Valley in general. Their grand development plans never seem to end.

I think it would be interesting, and beneficial to Pleasantonians, if Mr. Bing and/or some other members of the local press would embark on a series of investigative reports on the Lin family, when they acquired all of their property, where their former landholdings in the Tri-Valley are, how they have been developed, what holdings do they still have, what are they proposing to develop on them, and when will they and Messrs. Inderbitzen and Tong be done, in essence, having a huge hand in the development of the Tri-Valley.

Indeed, to repeat Frank's comments, be aware that the Lin family has owned large tracts of land in the Tri-Valley for a long, long time-- and they still own more that has yet to be developed.

Frank's comments regarding the Lins and Dublin are spot-on. Now Mr. Inderbitzen and the Lins are trying to convince Dublin to build 4 high-rises on undeveloped land in Dublin they still own. That's right, skyscrapers anywhere from 16 to 21 stories tall. Is that what you want to see in the Tri-Valley? Not me. Unfortunately, Dublin's Mayor, Janet Lockhart, has yet to see a development she didn't like. Only saving grace is she's termed out after next year, so maybe Dublin will elect a 'slow growth' mayor, but looking at their out of control and poorly planned growth over just the past 5 years (see Hacienda Crossings and Dublin Ranch), I doubt it.

Frank's wrong about one thing, though. The Lins certainly haven't rolled over. They've won--just like they have for almost 30 years. They'll make hundreds of millions of dollars more off of the sale of the lots and homes in Oak Grove, and Messrs. Inderbitzen and Tong will continue to line their pockets with the most assuredly big fees they are happily paid from the Lins.

There's nary a new development built in the Tri-Valley in the past three decades (and counting) that the Lin family hasn't had their hands in.

Maybe they'll share some of their riches with their Taiwanese neighbors, the majority of whom assuredly aren't nearly as rich as they and Messrs. Inderbitzen and Tong have become at our expense.

They all have contributed to the mayor's and select council members' campaign coffers, too, btw.

Something else to think about.

Posted by Jose
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 5, 2007 at 1:53 am

I agree with Frank. These are just scare tactics. People need to calm down, pure and simple.

The biggest problem is people wanting low income housing in Pleasanton. People seem to be living in a "box" and think if you give someone a chance they will change. Growing up in the Hayward / Union City area, I've seen types of people who would take these houses. Now I understand there are hard working people that live in these cities, but we won't be getting those types... Just look at the types other low income housing developments get (Like actually go there yourself and see! Or is it too dangerous? If you do go, I think you might be surprised.)

Another disadvantage of low income housing is it goes against the whole point of owning a home. Let's say these are hard working people, and they live in this house for five, ten, or fifteen years. Well guess what, there will always be a cap on how much the house can be sold for. These people won't be able to make anything close to what the actual market value of their house should be.

I moved to Pleasanton to avoid the types of people low income housing brings in (thugs, criminals, and their friends; aka: gang members). Hopefully I won't have to move out down the road because of that reason as well.

Posted by Mr G
a resident of Ironwood
on Oct 5, 2007 at 12:17 pm

I do not have an opinion about big houses build there. But I do have a concren when they mention that park will be open to hikers/equestrians. Did they decide to exclude mountain bikers from the park? For some reason bikes considered non-existent minority for the parks. But based on my experience there are probably 10-15 mountain bikers per equestrian. Are we building park/open space for some elite users? If not then City concil should make clear that open space/park will be mountain bike friendly as the second largest group after hikers using the parks. Mountain bike park users usually do not add significant car trips, as they ride their bikes to the trailheads and neighborhood parks.

Posted by Mountian Biker
a resident of Country Fair
on Oct 5, 2007 at 12:29 pm

Only allowing hikers and equestrians does make it sound like only the residents of the proposed elite neighborhood would be allowed to use the trails. Hopefully, this was just an oversight on the reporter's part and bikers are included in the plan. Some clarification would be nice.

Posted by Concerned Resident
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Oct 6, 2007 at 12:59 am

Mr. Hadley and the HOA have done a VERY poor job of communicating information to the local homeowners. Zero information in newsletters for more than 12 months. Zero information via e-mail until the night before the final vote! His assertion that a majority of Kottinger Ranch HOA members support this deal are off the mark - yet he states it over and over again. No vote or formal tallying of opinions has been taken in well OVER 1 year. The proposal has changed substantially yet they have never been brave enough to take a REAL vote from all homeowners (vs. a show of hands from a few homeowners almost 1 1/2 yrs ago).

Posted by Jack
a resident of Valley Trails
on Oct 6, 2007 at 9:33 am

If I lived in Kottinger Ranch I would be upset as well. For the rest of the city, it seems like a good compromise. No doubt people were upset by the development of Castlewood, Kottinger Ranch, Golden Eagle and every other project in the foothills. People do have a right to reasonably develop private property.

I also want to know about the mountain bike issue. Preserved open space should be avaiable to everyone.

Posted by Steve
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Oct 7, 2007 at 4:23 pm

I am also concerned that the trails will not be true multi-use trails and will exclude mountain biking. I've ridden my mountain bike on more than 500 rides in Augustin Bernal and Pleasanton Ridge parks in the past 6 years. I see other mountain bikers, hikers and runners all the time. I have never seen a horse in Augustin Bernal park, yet there is a trail up there where horses are allowed and mountain bikes are prohibited. That trail should be open to mountain bikes, as it is practically unused. I have passed horses in Pleasanton Ridge about a half dozen times in six years. Clearly mountain bikers are the second largest user group in the open space parks around Pleasanton. Any new trails should be multi-use, which means open to mountain bikers.

Posted by Nan
a resident of another community
on Oct 8, 2007 at 4:28 pm

The trails at Oak Grove WILL BE multi use and can be used by hikers, bicyclists and equestrians. The Trails Ad Hoc Committee and Parks and Recreation Commission insisted on it.

Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 18, 2007 at 1:57 pm

Yet another initiative drive! The front page of today's Independent announces an initiative drive to save Oak Grove. The last paragraph cites Kay Ayala saying something about the UGB in relation to Oak Grove:

"We have a UGB on the southern boundary. The general plan calls for creation of a ridgeland preservation ordinance. That's how to make the UGB stick."

The Oak Grove development looks to be within Pleasanton's UGB. Am I missing something here or were Ayala's comments taken out of context?

Posted by Becky Dennis
a resident of Foxborough Estates
on Oct 18, 2007 at 7:30 pm

Hi, Stacy -

I'm not sure what that statement means either. But you are correct that the Oak Grove housing is all within the UGB. Also, in today's Times story they seem to be saying that Oak Grove isn't the target of their initiative, but rather other potential developments in southeast Pleasanton. However, their website is all about Oak Grove. Perhaps they are planning a referendum in addition.

Posted by I really want the park that I can actually use
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Oct 20, 2007 at 8:31 am

You can be sure that Councilwoman McGovern will side with them. You'll be able to hear her easily from her big house built right on top of a ridgeline shouting that she doesn't want any more houses built even near a ridgeline. What a hypocrite!

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