Are you willing to accept possibly 1000 or more daily car trips per day on Diablo Road? Around Town, posted by fed up with Diablo Road corridor traffic, a member of the Los Cerros Middle School community, on Aug 23, 2011 at 12:01 pm
Wake up residents of the Diablo Road/Blackhawk Road/Green Valley Road/McCauley Road corridor! School is about to begin and with it the dangerous, fuel-guzzling, time-wasting commute all of us in the Diablo Road corridor now bear. As if the traffic situation were not bad enough, Danville is just about to make it a whole lot worse! The Danville Planning Commissioners and Town Council are about to approve a project by SummerHill Homes called Magee Ranch East and West that will add possibly 1000 car trips per day on Diablo Road, many during the peak commuting times. What can we do to stop that ill-conceived project? Call, visit, write, and/or email the Danville Town Council members and the Danville Planning Commissioners and TELL THEM YOU HAVE HAD ENOUGH and that they should VOTE NO ON SUMMERHILL'S PROPOSAL!! Also, sign the petition at www.save-our-creek.com. Finally, contribute money to our legal/expert battle by sending a check payable to "Save Our Creek", to P. O. Box 314, Diablo, CA 94528.
Following are the names of the Council members and the planning commissioners that will decide our fate:
Posted by Concerned in Danville, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 23, 2011 at 12:44 pm
Thanks for sounding the alarm! And day-to-day traffic is not the only problem the Summerhill project will create. How about an already impossible emergency evacuation being made even more dangerous? What about the already overcrowded Green Valley Elementary school? How about additional flooding concerns created by the project? And let's not forget the destruction of the natural beauty we all enjoy along the mile or more of Diablo Road impacted by this development. It's the same natural beauty our Town Council promotes as one of the virtues of life in Danville on the Town's website.
To our Town Council - wake up and smell the coffee. What are you thinking? Why are you even considering this project? Your constituents want to know and deserve answers.
Posted by Hal, CDSI Research , a resident of another community, on Aug 24, 2011 at 9:25 am
It seems your journalism is required. A legal challenge by regional neighborhoods to Danville's "Traffic imposition by diversion" is brewing in our Diablo Vista region, Alamo to Blackhawk, and initial legal opinion suggests Danville exceeded its planning authority. Our state and county officials are now aware of this action and county departments are on notice that further review of Danville's approval requires their immediate actions.
Posted by Concerned resident, a member of the Green Valley Elementary School community, on Aug 24, 2011 at 12:28 pm
To Tom -
A great number of residents are seriously concerned about health, safety, environmental and lifestyle impacts of this huge project. It is not an exclusionary concern. The communities along the Diablo Road / Blackhawk corridor are unique in the very limited street access into and out of their communities. Adding traffic loads beyond local street capacity not only severly impacts lifestyles of these residents, but can pose very serious life-safety issues. It isn't a question of "I got mine, you can't have yours." That's reactionary and simplistic. Presumably, you wouldn't have any objection if Acme Chemical built a PCB / dioxin recycling plant next door to you?
Posted by concerned citizen, a resident of the Diablo neighborhood, on Aug 24, 2011 at 2:04 pm
Well said, "Concerned resident"! Furthermore, people considering buying a home in the proposed new subdivision will have to ask themselves whether they want to be mired in the horrific traffic jams that will result when the subdivision is fully populated. Also, Los Cerros and Green Valley schools are currently at capacity and prospective homebuyers with school-age children will have to consider whether they will even be able to obtain spaces for those children in those local schools. In short, why would anyone want to live in SummerHill's project? Sadly, SummerHill will be taking the "mine" away from all of us in the Diablo Road corridor.
A question for Simplistic Tom: Do you work for SummerHill Homes?
Posted by just the facts, a member of the Green Valley Elementary School community, on Aug 25, 2011 at 8:27 am
Do you realize that the buses that have transported children to Green Valley, Los Cerros, and Vista Grande for the past two years could end any time? The county traffic congestion relief sales tax measure (Measure J) that funds about 90% of the cost of those buses expires in about 20 years, but every few years the programs that are funded by Measure J are reevaluated by the County's Measure J Board and money could be reallocated somewhere else! Moreover, the SummerHill project will last forever---it doesn't expire along with Measure J! Let's hope Danville decisionmakers look at the long term and don't try to ignore the fact that the Diablo Road corridor is already OVER ITS TRAFFIC CAPACITY! Let's just hope any need for an emergency vehicle is timed for a non-peak traffic period....
Posted by Hal, CDSI Research, a resident of another community, on Aug 25, 2011 at 4:29 pm
Neighborhoods e-exchanges in Alamo, Green Valley and Diablo have been provided expert review of the traffic impact of the Summerhill development by a Caltran analyst/engineer (retired) including review of traffic studies used by Danville to justify the project. Within Danville's documentation is planned diversion of traffic into Diablo and Alamo and further diversion east past Blackhawk and southward to Crow Canyon and Dougherty Valley Roads.
With requests in progress to county Supervisors Piepho and Uilkema, neighborhoods are planning to start reviews at various CCC-MAC meetings, AIA, and CCC-PW Transportation division to determine if Danville had the authority to plan traffic diversion and imposition beyond their boundaries. Further, CC LAFCO will be requested to review the scope of authority taken by Danville to determine if the city is beyond its specifications of incorporation and general/municipal laws that determine specifications and authority.
The combination of the Weber Ranch and Hap Magee Ranch projects compound such traffic imposition by diversion and demand new review of both projects based on their combined impact.
Those interested may wish to visit the following meetings:
CCC-MAC ("Alamo MAC") September 6, 6PM at the cottage at Hap Magee Ranch Park, Danville.
AIA Planning Meeting (Transportation) September 14, 7PM, Creekside Church, Alamo.
You can find other meetings such as P-2B and P-5 by visiting www.alamore.org.
Posted by Scott, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 26, 2011 at 7:46 am
I'm afraid I'm with Tom. I have lived in Danville for almost 40 years. The concerns raised, all of them real, have all been raised in the past - in fact when they were building the houses of those now most affected by this sub-division. They built those houses anyway, and you moved into them. Welcome to the neighborhood. You do not get to shut the gate behind you. We are going to have to find ways to accomodate the new people and their impacts, just like we found ways to accomodate you.
Posted by Hal, CDSI Research, a resident of another community, on Aug 26, 2011 at 8:55 am
In many ways we all hear comments that excuse cities, districts, our county and their developers from being good neighbors. There is a basis of community definition that holds all participants as good neighbors working to the common good. Any development that creates an imposition on such good neighbor requirements makes the developer and the approving government poor neighbors and not part of our regional community.
In this case, Danville decided to impose its lack of goodwill as a regional neighbor on surrounding communities. There was a failure in due process and public consideration because regional communities were excluded from the authority of Danville in approving such impositions on our region's traffic.
Let's not excuse autonomous actions by Danville's town government or accept their lack of authority to divert traffic into regional communities. Such autocratic rule is not valid in Danville or our regional community.
Posted by Very Concerned, a member of the Los Cerros Middle School community, on Aug 26, 2011 at 11:39 am
Your argument sounds like one for unrestrained growth. Decades of experience across this and other countries have proved that to be very bad urban planning policy. Certain roads, communities and environments have inherent capacities (even with mitigation and improvements). The Diablo / Blackhawk Road corridor is past that capacity. It is not a question of "closing the gate." Danville has ample and RESPONSIBLE infill opportunities to meet its allocated share of future housing needs WITHOUT this project. SummerHill is proposing an enormous subdivision, with zoning changes from current Agricultural to proposed PUD-1, which allows higher density, second dwelling units, reduced setback requirements, reduced infrastructure and sidewalk requirements -- all dramatically inconsistent with the communities, and dramatically in excess of the area's capacity to handle traffic and emergency services. I believe strongly in property rights - both the developer's and mine. SummerHill does not have the "right" to change existing zoning and build a major subdivision that will dramatically impair my property rights, change my lifestyle, change the nature of my community, and place my family at risk in an emergency situation. All residents along this corridor and beyond should oppose this project, and let Danville know we'll hold them to their promise of a small town way of life, not gridlock.
Posted by just the facts, a resident of the Diablo neighborhood, on Aug 26, 2011 at 3:43 pm
Exactly, "Very Concerned"! I am in 100% agreement. And let's not forget to mention that Green Valley and Los Cerros are now at their limits! Green Valley diverted students this year. Los Cerros now has 50 new 7th graders, and all classes are full. Forget trying to change your child's schedule in any way. There is absolutely no leeway in scheduling. Now Danville is going to add the kids from at 93 and possibly over 123 dwellings to the crowd trying to get into the local schools! Protect your children and oppose SummerHill Homes! Your child's education is at stake.
Posted by Scott, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 26, 2011 at 8:33 pm
@ Very Concerned
For unrestrained growth? Hardly. I'd have preferred they not build your house. I am simply stunned by the hypocrisy of people who live in the 'last' house built but oppose the building of the 'next' house. People who believe someone "does not have the 'right' to change existing zoning and build a major subdivision that will dramatically impair my property rights, change my lifestyle, change the nature of my community, and place my family at risk in an emergency situation..." even though that is exactly what happened when they developed that corridor in the first place.
And then there's the complaining about a decision made by the Town of Danville by people who live in a community that has intentionally separated itself from that town because they don't want to be subject to it decisions and its taxes. And then the Town won't listen to you. Go figure.
It just kind of seems to me that you have made your bed. Yet it does not seem to be working out for you. Maybe instead of separating yourselves you ought to become part of the community and work with it.
Posted by JRM, a member of the Vista Grande Elementary School community, on Aug 26, 2011 at 11:17 pm
Of course Scotty and Tommy are together...I have lived in Eugene and Boulder and have met folks like then before...they do not understand the fundamental market law...to increase value, create scarcity. Just like Chevron Oil integrates into their fundamental revenue growth plan. Summerfield...go to Fairfield.. Tom and Scott are simply trying to blur the lines of living in San Ramon/Dublin and our town. NEW FARM is next folks...the Jordanian Transportation Minister that is paying Tom Koch to push it through our County Supervisors. I say no. Keep Danville being Danville...
Posted by Geoff Gillette, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 29, 2011 at 9:50 am Geoff Gillette is a member (registered user) of Danville Express
I just wanted to take a moment and provide some information regarding the proposed project at Magee Ranch.
The Town of Danville has received an application to develop 78 homes on 410 +/- acres from SummerHill Homes. The Town, through the Planning Commission and the Town Council, is the lead agency of the development proposal.
The owners of the property are within their rights to seek entitlements on their land.
The application is still in the review process. An Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is being prepared and will include a traffic impact study. The EIR should be brought to the public for review later this year. The public will have the opportunity to comment on the EIR during the public comment period. Public hearings on the EIR are not expected to take place until into 2012.
Once the EIR is completed, the project itself will be fully vetted through the Planning Commission and the Town Council. During this phase public hearings will be scheduled when residents will have opportunities to give input on the project.
In the meantime, information regarding this development application, including proposed project plans, the Town’s review process and answers to many of the questions that have been raised regarding this application, can be found on the Magee Ranch/SummerHill Homes project page on the Town website at Web Link.
Posted by just the facts, a resident of the Diablo neighborhood, on Aug 29, 2011 at 5:10 pm
Get your facts straight, Scott. Diablo has existed for over 125 years, since the Oakwood Stock Farm was here in the 1800's. Diablo tried to incorporate around the time Danville decided to but did not a sufficient commercial base to support incorporation. Diablo never "separated from Danville". It was never part of it!!
Secondly, obviously neither you nor Tom live in the Diablo Road corridor. You don't know what the traffic or creek situation is here. Neither of you seems to understand the concept of a road or a creek being "OVER ITS CAPACITY". I know of no other organized effort to oppose any of the developments that have ever been built in this corridor. But at this point, everyone here realizes that enough is enough!
Thirdly, THERE IS NO RIGHT TO REZONING! That is why Danville Town Council members must VOTE TO REZONE THE PROPERTY!!
Posted by Very Concerned, a member of the Los Cerros Middle School community, on Aug 30, 2011 at 10:15 am
You accuse me of being in a community that has separated itself from Danville to avoid paying taxes. By your ad hominem attack, you establish your utter lack of credibility. I live in the (incorporated) Town of Danville. I pay Danville taxes. I have property rights. This is MY TOWN, not SummerHill's! I am "part of it" and I am "working with it." That doesn't mean I have to lie down and let my community be raped by a San Ramon developer for profits, as you demand!
As for your "last house" argument, you absolutely argue for unrestrained growth. Since my house was added previously (you argue), there should be no limit on adding more houses. That is utterly false logic, and it completely ignores the iron-hard reality of "capacity." Let me make it very simple, so you can grasp it.
Imagine a pipe that can handle 2 gallons per minute flow. It has no flow. You add a half gallon. Then another half gallon. Then another half gallon. Then one more half gallon. Oops! We're at capacity, right? Better stop. Don't want the pipe to bust, right? Nope! Ol' Scotty thinks we should keep on adding! Let's go to three, four, five gallons per minute! Why, you can't stop adding, because, after all, other folks added flow earlier. We can just keep on adding flow forever, right Scott ol' buddy?
Wrong! I say again, this is MY COMMUNITY! I have children here. They attend schools here. We pay taxes here. And SummerHill has NO RIGHT to re-zone property to add up to 127 dwelling units to a community of roads and schools that has REACHED CAPACITY and cannot support more! Like putting 5 gallons per minute flow in a pipe that can only handle two gallons per minute, the result is dangerous! Perhaps your home is not in the "danger zone," SCott, but mine is. And my family's rights to be safe OUTWEIGH a developer's rights to build new homes that an existing community, school system and roads CANNOT SUPPORT. Enough is enough.
If you don't want to live in my community, Scott, that's fine. But don't you DARE tell me I don't have a right to assert my property rights and oppose this proposed major new subdivision that will drastically alter my lifestyle and endanger my family!
Posted by Real Facts, a member of the Green Valley Elementary School community, on Aug 30, 2011 at 10:58 am
To Geoff & the Town (and anyone who wants the truth!):
Let's be honest about some things, shall we?
First, 78 "homes" is not the real number, is it? You mean 78 LOTS, with up to 127 dwellings on them, but you (ie, the Town) don't like to admit that. Fact: The proposal is to re-zone from Agricultural to PUD-1 to allow "second dwelling units" -- which in turn are included for the precise purpose of meeting affordable housing requirements. In other words, the project, as proposed, can have up to 127 dwelling units with 127 separate families living on it. That is rock-hard fact! Why won't the Town come out and say that? The Town has a financial interest here. Danville's "hide the ball" game by endlessly reciting the "78 homes" number is disingenuous, and exposes the Town's pro-development bias.
Second, you say "The owners of the property are within their rights to seek entitlements on their land." That is pure pro-developer propaganda, and you know it. You expose the Town's bias by putting forth such superficially true but utterly meaningless statements. Fact: I also have the right to "seek entitlements" to rezone my house for a brothel, or perhaps a nuclear waste facility, or a rock concert venue. But my right to "seek" it, doesn't mean I have a right to have it happen! And your selection of the meaningless phrase "right to seek" is a transparent effort to sway residents in favor of the development. "Why, shuck, folks, we're just lettin' the owner do what he's entitled to. Y'all ain't against property rights, are ya?" Rubbish! Nobody - not me, not Magee, not SummerHill -- has the right to do whatever we want with our land, and you should admit that! Rights, including property rights, are relative. Your right to swing your arm stops at my nose. And this development is a punch in the nose to our community!
We'd appreciate more forthright communication from the Town, if it can't manage to be neutral on the issue.
Posted by Citizen Paine, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 30, 2011 at 11:09 am
I deplore 'scare' tactics.
Now, a thousand trips/day, If True, SEEMs like a lot. But the fact that the opponents repeatedly give us No Context, at all, leads me to assume that it's not so much, really. C'mon folks, it's not Halloween -- give us some reasoned discussion -- instead of a deceptive name like Save Our 'Creek', and disjointed "facts" designed to inflame, rather than inform.
I'll also say that 78 homes on 400+ acres (4-5 acre lots?) doesn't give me much concern for crowding, either -- vs. the prior post's turgid rhetoric about school buses not being able to turn around in the development.
Posted by Concerned in Danville, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Aug 30, 2011 at 12:17 pm
I'd like to respond to Geoff, Scott, Tom and Citizen Paine. First, the 1000 incremental car trips per day figure is not a scare tactic meant to inflame empers. It's the initial estimate presented in a legitimate independent traffic study initiated as part of the review process of the proposed SummerHill Development. CHECK YOUR FACTS!
Second, 78 homes on 400+ acres doesn't sound bad. Only problem is that that's not what is being proposed. Talk about twisting facts to suit your point of view. Summerhill is not interested in building 78 homes on 400+ acres. They want to create 78 lots to build up to 127 dwelling units on much less acres. The bulk of the 127 dwelling units would reside on 23.5 acres. Now doesn't that sound like high density to you. It should because that's Summerhill's objective and that's why they call them Cluster Homes. They will be densely clustered because it's not economically feasible to build otherwise and because cluster homes are consistent with the General Plan. And if the project isn't consistent with the General Plan then it is subject to Measure S and a vote by the public. And neither Summerhill or the Town appear to want that. Again, CHECK YOUR FACTS!
And as far as all the comments go that try to denigrate the efforts of concerned homeowners who have "theirs" and want to selfishly keep others out. All we are saying is that we don't think it's fair to us to have our quality of life, our safety, our property values, our children's education and so on compromised so that Magee and Summerhill can make a boatload of money at our expense. We can't go back and undo the fact that we have homes in the area but we can have our objections heard without making us bad people. That's the kind of "scare tactic" and intimidation you are accusing us of. So stop making it personal and deal with the facts. Again, CHECK YOUR FACTS!
Posted by Real Facts, a member of the Green Valley Elementary School community, on Aug 30, 2011 at 1:07 pm
To Citizen Paine,
I also dislike "scare" tactics, and believe in both context and reasoned discussion. However, I can't help the fact that when you put this proposed project in context, with known facts and data, and look at it with reasoned analysis, it's just plain scary!
The ITE (Institute for Traffic Engineers) regularly publishes a Trip Generation Table (the current edition is the 8th) that urban planners use for determining how many car trips a proposed project or subdivision will generate. Now, that table would appear to underestimate the number of trips a project of this nature in our demographic will generate, based upon the disastrous experience in the Windemere Ranch / Dougherty Valley developments, where the table badly underestimated the numbers of families and children that the project would generate. As a result, the new schools those developers built are overcrowded and beyond capacity, with no remedy. That horse is out of the barn and there's no putting it back. Not a scare tactic, but hard-knock, real experience.
However, the ITE Trip Generation Table (8th edition, which you can look up or purchase) estimates that this project will generate more than 1,000 daily car trips. (Again, that would apear to be an underestimation based on real local experience. Frankly, my home generates a whole lot more than 4 round-trip car trips per day! I bet yours does too!)
More context: If you've driven down Diablo Road in the mornings, you know the road and this corridor is beyond capacity. Specifics: It takes 20 minutes to travel one mile. Context: That is WITH the TRAFFIX reduction program. Not "hypothetical" or "scary" -- just actual reality.
Now let's move to the "possible" context. What if TRAFFIX is discontinued? And what if we add those 1,000 or more car trips per day on top of that? That scenario is entirely LIKELY (more than possible) with this proposed subdivision. Is it scary? YES! A scare tactic? No!
Let's talk more reasoned context: How would emergency vehicles have ingress or egress during peak traffic times? How long would emergency services be delayed? What if (god forbid) the community had to evacuate due to wildfires or other large-scale mergency (like earthquake)? There are only two ways in or out for the entire community served in this corridor: east and west on the same road!
The simple fact is that this road corridor is beyond capacity at peak travel times, and this major new housing development would dramatically impact our lifestyles (at best), and put us in danger (at worst).
That doesn't consider school diversions, potential creek flooding and erosion, the environmental impacts, the property values, etc. etc.
Like you, I like facts and reasoned argument within context. But you can't do that wihtout the facts. And Danville is playing hide the ball with us. It is not 78 homes -- it's up to 127 dwelling units and 127 separate families! The communities that this project would impact cannot fairly sustain that impact. It is a project inconsistent with the roads and surrounding area. You just can't change the geography. If you're a family with kids, you can't ensure you have TRAFFIX to rely on, and you can't avoid peak travel times. So you are stuck with this impact. And you can never ensure that you will need emergency services only in off-peak hours. The project is utterly inconsistent with what Danville promises us: "Small Town Atmosphere; Oustanding Quality of Life."
I can't help regarding the name of the group that is working to bring awareness to the community, and to fund truly independent analysis (not developer-funded and Town-interested analysis) of the impacts of this project. I wouldn't put too much in the name. The project, and the work they're doing regarding it, is important.