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SavePleasantonHillsides Referendum Petition-The Grand Deception

Original post made by Resident of Ventana Hills, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Jan 25, 2016

To all those considering signing the referendum petition,

Here's some facts to consider before you sign:

1. The latest full-page ad in the 1/22/15 edition of the Pleasanton Weekly on p. 9 is a complete and total misrepresentation of the Lund Ranch II project, designed to instigate fear in order to compel voters to sign the group's referendum petition. The Mayor and City Council, on 1/5/16, approved a project of 43 homes, of which, ALL of them will be built on FLAT land, in a VALLEY, with NO homes to be built on ANY hillside or ridgeline whatsoever.

2. Residents of Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek, along with Allen Roberts of Gray Eagle, a gated community at the top of Crellin Road, and Councilmember Karla Brown, a resident of Kottinger Ranch, a subdivision of some of the most expensive homes in Pleasanton, of which many could never have been built under Measure PP because they sit on hillsides and ridgelines (involving thousands of truckloads of dirt removal to create the pads for those homes on those hillsides and ridgelines), object to a road being extended from Sycamore Creek Way to access 31 of the 43 homes to be built. They are using the argument that a road is a structure, and that that is part of Measure PP, to thereby leverage Measure PP to force the rescinding of the project's approval.

3. The SavePleasantonHillsides group claims to be a 'grassroots' effort to protect Pleasanton's hillsides and ridgelines/safeguard Measure PP. The definition of 'grassroots,' as found on Wikipedia:

"A grassroots movement (often referenced in the context of a political movement) as defined by Webster's Third International Dictionary, is one which uses the people in a given district as the basis for a political or economic movement. Grassroots movements and organizations utilize collective action from the local level to effect change at the local, regional, national, or international level."

SavePleasantonHillsides is using paid signature gatherers who are not residents of Pleasanton (i.e., are not local), at a cost of approximately $30,000 to $50,000, bankrolled by an unknown number of wealthy individuals in order to acquire enough signatures to put their referendum on the ballot.

4. Residents of Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek are on record several times requesting that ALL traffic to the Lund Ranch II project be accessed through Lund Ranch Road, which currently is a dead end road in Ventana Hills.

5. Residents of Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek signed documents when purchasing their homes that clearly stated Sycamore Creek Way would be extended into the future Lund Ranch II housing development.

6. The Mayor and City Council approved a compromise re: traffic access into/out of Lund Ranch II, whereby 12 of the 43 homes will be accessed via Lund Ranch Road, and the remaining 31 will be accessed via Sycamore Creek Way (via Sunset Creek Lane). Part of that approval requires the building of a very short road (the City can confirm the exact length) that will not be visible to the public.

7. Greenbriar Homes, the developer, agreed to building just 43 homes. The original plans for Lund Ranch II, part of the City's General Plan for over three decades, calls for approximately four times as many homes. Greenbriar is giving the City 174 acres of the property as permanent open space, which amounts to the remaining amount of the property (89.5% according to Greenbriar) which they can NOT build on, due to Measure PP (i.e., hillsides and ridgelines).

8. The Mayor's and City Council's decision was a compromise decision to strike a balance between honoring previous, long-standing obligations previous City administrations had made to the residents of Ventana Hills and Mission Hills, in addition to following through on similarly long-standing plans to provide road access to Lund Ranch II via Sycamore Creek Way (extending it by building Sunset Creek Lane). The Mayor and City Council, in reaching their decision, also took into account PUD-87, which is the major apartment (approx. 350 apartments) and retail complex being built on the southeast corner of Bernal and Stanley. Much of the traffic resulting from that project will be traveling on Bernal, with a strong likelihood of much of it adding to the existing cut-through traffic that flows through Ventana Hills and Mission Hills via Independence to Junipero to Sunol Blvd.

9. Re: SavePleasantonHillsides claim that the Mayor and City Councilmembers previously voted/determined/finalized that "roads are structures," that is not true, as what's known as a 'second reading', or vote on that matter NEVER has taken place.

10. The SavePleasantonHillsides group claims that the Mayor and City Council's approval of the Lund Ranch II project sets a precedent for future projects. According to former City Attorney (now retired), Jonathan Lowell, he clearly stated during City Council meetings held in late 2015 that that was not the case, and that the Mayor and City Council could make determinations on whether projects adhere to Measure PP on a case by case basis.

11. The developer, Greenbriar, can reject any future decision to further reduce the number of homes in the Lund Ranch II project by filing a 'takings' lawsuit against the City, which could expose the City to tens of millions of dollars in liability. The former City Attorney stated anything below 30 homes, in his opinion, would put the City at risk of losing in court. Regardless of whether or not Greenbriar accepts a 30 home project, which would require the cancellation of the current project, and Greenbriar submitting an entirely new project proposal, it does not eliminate the fact that the residents of Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek are on record for NOT wanting to accept ANY traffic for Lund Ranch II through their neighborhoods (insisting all traffic go through Ventana Hills and Mission Hills via Lund Ranch Road), and are now using the argument that it violates Measure PP to succeed in doing so because they refuse to accept the Mayor's and City Council's majority compromise decision. Greenbriar, if the referendum qualifies and is approved, will need to decide which makes more sense/would be more profitable to them--building a 30 home project, with no guarantee that reduced project will be approved, or filing a 'takings' lawsuit against the City to recoup lost potential profits.

12. The referendum petition, if successful, will result in costing taxpayers at least $247,000 to put on the local ballot, based on the cost per person Alameda County charges for doing so, times the minimum number of valid signatures required to qualify the referendum to be put on the ballot.

Think about what paid signature gatherers (the vast majority) are telling you in order to get you to sign on the dotted line, in addition to the few who aren't being paid.

Then you need to think and decide, is this referendum petition really about protecting Measure PP and "Saving Pleasanton Hillsides", OR, is it really about protecting the self-interests of two of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Pleasanton, who selfishly insist on a "Not In My Backyard", or NIMBY attitude under the guise of protecting Measure PP/Pleasanton's hillsides and ridges, and are bankrolling/paying out-of-towners several dollars per signature to absolutely ensure that they get enough local residents to sign their petition to ensure a referendum gets on the June ballot so they can continue to pursue those NIMBY self-interests.

Ultimately, you need to decide--have the City continue to spend considerable, further time, money, effort and resources for who knows how long (think years) on further debating and planning, yet again, the Lund Ranch II project, or decide that the compromise decision, where no one gets everything they wanted--not Ventana Hills and Mission Hills residents, not Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek residents, nor Greenbriar Homes--makes the most sense for ending this matter once and for all, moving on, and by doing so also preventing the City from any potential exposure to a takings lawsuit that could cost all of us tens of millions of dollars.

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