Saturday, April 29, 2006

San Ramon City Council's Hidden Agenda

Summary of Facts on the Proposed Rezoning of San Ramon Golf Courses

April 26, 2006

* San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson has said, "Commercial Recreation for the golf courses was decided by the General Plan Committee of citizens." That is a lie! It has been confirmed with five members of that Committee, that Rezoning the golf courses was N E V E R discussed, and never proposed by the citizens on that Committee!

* The Planning Commission requested the Minutes of those meetings to confirm discussion of the golf courses changing from Parks to Commercial Recreation (CR). The minutes showed NO discussion of changing the golf courses to CR. If this really was discussed, then why is it so invisible, and how did it get changed in the General Plan?

* Over 450 San Ramon residents signed Petitions that were given to the Mayor, City Council, and Planning Commission saying NO to rezoning the golf courses from Parks to Commercial Recreation. And, NO to the increased building intensity from .10 FAR to .35 FAR (a 250% increase in building intensity) along with many Commercial Development land uses not even related to golf courses.

* The Mayor, City Council and Planning Commission totally ignored the 450 San Ramon Residents who signed the Petitions to keep the golf courses zoned as Parks. They also ignored the many emails, letters, speakers and over 230 residents at the Planning Commission Meetings. Who are our Elected Officials working for? Are there some hidden motives behind our elected officials?

* Did you know the Planning Commission's Proposed Golf Course - Overlay (.10 FAR) in the Proposed Zoning Ordinance is actually "governed by the Primary Zone of the Commercial Recreation definition in the General Plan 2020." This directly contradicts the purpose of the overlay to keep it protected as a golf course!

* The Commercial Recreation/Golf Course Overlay is NOT effective for protecting our golf courses from development. Once this is voted and approved, it gives the owners NEW entitlements under the law.

* We believe the only way to protect the golf course land as open space and, to keep it zoned as "Parks" undevelopable land) is to bring an Initiative before the voters this November.

* The City Council has only two Public Hearings left before they vote on May 23, 2006 to make it law:

May 9, 2006 at 7 p.m. - Alcosta Community Center

May 23, 2006 at 7 p.m. - Alcosta Community Center

Corrections - To What City Staff Has Said

* The General Plan 2020 and, the Proposed Zoning Ordinance both allow for golf courses to remain as a "Parks" designation, and would be consistent with each other as required by law.

* Our City Staff and Officials say they cannot do a General Plan Amendment to keep the golf courses zoned as "Parks." They have just REFUSED to do one.

* The City is in fact currently proposing TEN General Plan Amendments GPA's; ( mostly to DOUBLE the building density and, number of units allowable per acre in multiple projects; change Open Space and Parks to Residential outside the Urban Growth Boundary; increase the building density to .70 FAR up to Maximum of 1.35 FAR (very similar to the City of Concord); and, give unprecedented authority to the Zoning Administrator without accountability to the people), all in opposition to the voter approved General Plan 2020.

* Golf Courses cannot be counted against the City's required Parkland numbers according to the General Plan. As a result, the City cannot use this argument to disallow golf courses to be designated as Parks.

* Golf Courses are privately owned sites and, "do not have to be land that is owned or leased by the City" according to the General Plan. City staff have miss-quoted the General Plan and, said, "golf courses cannot be zoned as Parks, because they would have to be land that is owned or leased by the City." This is NOT TRUE.

What is going on with our San Ramon Elected Officials? Why are they doing this? Who in their right mind would want to increase the building intensity on golf courses? Is it incompetence or something more sinister? What is their hidden agenda?

Mayor H. Abram Wilson
Vice Mayor Carol J. Rowley
Councilmember David E. Hudson
Councilmember Jim Livingstone
Councilmember Scott Perkins

San Ramon Council's Email Addresses and Phone Numbers

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

San Ramon Golf Courses - Summary 4/19/06

Questions to the City Staff and Planning Commissioners – Still Unanswered

1. How did the Golf Courses get changed from Parks to Commercial Recreation (CR) in the General Plan?

Answer: City staff: "The General Plan Review Commissioners implemented CR with increased building intensity to .35 FAR for the golf courses."

2. Three General Plan Review Commissioners stated they never even discussed CR for the golf courses. They are not even familiar with the Commercial Recreation designation. "Where did it come from?"

Answer: The Planning Commission requested the "Minutes of the Land Use Committee" (part of the General Plan Review Commission) and, there was NO discussion of the golf courses being changed to Commercial Recreation.

Question to San Ramon Planning Staff: Then, as a result of the above, when did the golf courses get changed to Commercial Recreation .35 FAR in the General Plan?

City staff: "It happened in 1995 when Club sport was changed to Commercial Recreation."

3. When in 1995 did the golf courses get changed in the General Plan to Commercial Recreation? And, who changed them? Why were the surrounding homeowners not notified?

Answer: The City ignored these questions, and refused to give answers:

As a result, some citizens filled out a "Request for a Public Record" form at the City Clerk's office, and were charged $29.30 for the following documents that were delayed beyond the normal ten days. The law allows for an additional 14 days under unusual circumstances (Gov. Code 6253 (c). The City of San Ramon then delayed an additional 15 days to April 6, 2006 (which extended it beyond the date the Planning Commission took their final vote to approve the Golf Course Overlay on April 4, 2006). The Planning Commission was urged to wait for these answers before taking a final vote. They ignored these requests and proceeded to approve what the City staff has recommended as RZ18 – Commercial Recreation (.35 FAR)-Golf Course Overlay (.10 FAR) for the San Ramon Golf Course and parts of the Canyon Lakes Golf Course.

Documents Requested on 3/14/06 to City Clerk/Planning Dept.: The 1995 General Plan Update is: "Resolution No. 95-114 – Documents per this resolution. GPA 95-003, all documents relating to the change from Parks (P) to Commercial Recreation (CR) for the Royal Vista Golf Course and Canyon Lakes Golf Course."

Answer: In the Planning Commission Staff Report dated September 19, 1995 a General Plan Amendment GPA 95-003 was recommended for approval. Page 8 of 28 reads as follows:

"Economics of Land Use" is an entirely new section, and is included in recognition of the increasingly important relationship between the local economy and land use decisions.

4. The creation of a new Commercial Recreation (CR) land use

Designation, to be applied to the two golf courses in the City

(Canyon Lakes and Royal Vista), and the Club Sport facility

and its adjoining tennis courts at the current terminus of

Bollinger Canyon Road in Canyon Lakes.

Why wasn't there a Public Hearing Notice mailed to the surrounding homeowners? Why wasn't the Public Hearing Notice (1/8 page ad placed in the paper) no earlier than ten days prior to the Public Hearing Date? Why were the affected citizens left out of this process? Did the City Planning Staff have to notice three public hearings for the Planning Commission and three for the Council?

Question to Planning Staff: Where is the copy of the (1/8 page Newspaper Ad) placed for the Public Hearing Notice? Where is the list of who the Public Hearing Notice was mailed to? And, when were these notices mailed or placed in the paper?

Answer from Planning Staff: "You didn’t specifically ask for the list of who the Public Hearing Notice was mailed to." "You need to fill out another Public Record Request Form to specifically ask for that." 4/13/06

Our request above stated, "all documents relating to the change from Parks to Commercial Recreation." Why were these not provided by the City? Another delay tactic?

We believe the City did not properly notify the surrounding homeowners of the two golf courses, and/or notice the Public Hearings properly in the newspaper with an 1/8 page ad. The citizens were cut out of this process back in 1995 with that General Plan Update. This was done in error. And, as a result, the City implemented Commercial Recreation in the General Plan in 1995 without the knowledge or notification of the citizens who lived on, and around the golf courses who are the affected property owners.

Now, the City states, "we must make the Proposed Zoning Ordinance consistent with the voter approved General Plan 2020." This change to (Commercial Recreation .35 FAR) from (Parks .10 FAR) for the golf courses was never proposed by the citizens of the General Plan Review Committee. It was proposed "under the radar" and implemented by the urging of City staff without proper Public Hearing Notification to the Citizens.

In addition, the City states that the reason they are changing the golf courses to Commercial Recreation is because they don’t want the golf course acreage to be counted towards their Parkland numbers. And, as a result, they anticipate acquiring more parkland from developers. This makes no sense, because the General Plan 2020 (approved by the Voters) already states that the golf courses cannot be counted towards required Parkland as shown below:

The current General Plan 2020 reads as follows:

Section 6.5I-1 Establish and maintain a standard of 6.5 acres of

Public parks per 1,000 residents, and public

Facilities to be within one-half mile of all homes

With only usable acreage considered in meeting

This standard.

It is the City's intent to meet this criterion with

Functional acreage only. Private recreation

Facilities (such as golf courses and homeowners'

Association amenities including mini parks, tot-lots,

And picnic areas) shall NOT BE SUBSTITUTED


Now is the time for our San Ramon elected City Officials to recognize their errors and, to stand up and do the right thing! Otherwise, it is time for a Recall.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Planning Commission Approves Golf Course Rezoning

Planning Commission Voted to Approve Commercial/Recreation .35 FAR Zone for Golf Courses with a Golf Course Overlay at a .10 FAR. This was the City Staff's recommendation and Commissioners refused to do a General Plan Amendment requested by hundreds of citizens. Now it goes to City Council for final approval. This may be at the next scheduled City Council meeting on April 11 at 7:00 pm. It is not clear at this time if it will be on April 11 agenda or the next scheduled meeting that would occur on April 25 at 7:00 pm. It might be wise to attend both because information from the city staff is not flowing promptly.

The documentation from city staff showing when the golf courses were changed to Commercial/Recreation is non-existent in discussion. Sources indicate that they are waiting for documentation from city staff for this information. However, this is taking excessively long from city staff and will be available at the earliest Friday, April 7th.

Stay Tuned

City Council may decide to place this in the agenda at the last minute.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

San Ramon Late Notice

Tonight is the final vote for the Planning Commission on the golf courses!
April 4th, 7pm.
City Council Chambers

Getting the correct information from the city is like pulling teeth.