Monday, October 23, 2006

Golf Course Neighborhood Update

Can You Believe It?

On October 10, 2006 the City Council Voted and Approved the Golf Course (GC) Zone for Canyon Lakes and San Ramon Golf Courses. Bridges, the other San Ramon golf course, still remains as a Parks (P) zone and is inconsistent with the other two golf courses.


This San Ramon City Council story is more like a saga then a short story. The City Council could have taken care of this issue nearly a year ago and saved the San Ramon Taxpayers money, not to mention the wasted time they incurred on themselves and the San Ramon Citizens.

On July 25, 2006 after seven long months and many meetings with hundreds of people standing up before the Planning Commission and, urging the City Council repeatedly not to change the zoning of the golf courses, and, to KEEP the golf courses (Canyon Lakes & San Ramon Golf Club) zoned in "Parks" (where it has always been) and, NOT to change them to Commercial Recreation (a new land use developed by the City Council/Planning Department which is Commercial Development with many unrelated uses to a golf course), the Council completely ignored the wishes of the people and VOTED AND APPROVED THE NEW ZONE CALLED "COMMERCIAL RECREATION (CR)."

A group of citizens filed an Initiative with the City of San Ramon soon thereafter, and, they need 4,000 signatures to put it on the Ballot for November 07, in order to let the citizens of San Ramon decide the future of the 250 acres of golf course open space, not the City Council.

In August, 2006, Mayor, Abram Wilson announced on Channel 30 TV the City Council has changed their minds and, now realize the CR zone was not the best for the City, and will now begin the process to Re-Zone the two golf courses from CR to a Golf Course Zone. It will take another three meetings with the Planning Commission and, another three meetings with the City Council to vote and approve it. Why Mr. Mayor and Council did you waste the Citizens time by refusing to listen to us and, then to do what we asked for after you rezoned to CR and, to use City funds of over $20,000.00 to fix your error?

The Bridges Golf Course (the newest golf course on Bollinger Canyon Road) was annexed to the City of San Ramon in 2001 and, the City chose to leave it zoned under, "Parks." That way it cannot be touched by developers.

On October 10, 2006 after three more months of meetings, the City Council Voted and Approved the Golf Course (GC) Zone for Canyon Lakes and San Ramon Golf Courses. Bridges still remains as Parks (P) zone and is inconsistent with the other two golf courses.

The Council created a window of opportunity for the owners of the golf courses when they rezoned the 250 acres of Open Space from Parks (P) to Commercial Recreation (CR) on 7-25-06 that continued through 10-10-06. The Council was warned by Citizens multiple times that this rezoning would create legal entitlements for the owners of the golf courses if they choose to sell or develop the golf course property.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great Spin job Jan!!!

You should be in PR.

Ben Franklin 2006 said...

What took the City Council Soooo long to see that Commercial Recreation Zoning for the Golf Courses was not in the best interest of the citizens of San Ramon? Could it be that it was the potential to have a ballot referendum by the people to protect the Golf Courses? No, that couldn't be the case. It must have been that the Council Members finally listened to the community members.

It is interesting how the council members seem to vote as a block? The fact that the Mayor came out with a statement that he "now agrees that Commercial Recreation was not the best zoning," for the golf courses in just a short one month period of time after being passed by all the Council members. Then, the entire council flip flops their votes to have it changed to Golf Course only zoning. What changed in that one month period of time?

Did a golf course change ownership hands during that short period of time? Was there something going on behind the scenes that the community is not aware of? Or, could this simply be a matter of political survival?

If these council members seem to vote as a block, then does that mean that they are talking behind the scenes also? This council seems to let the community talk, but they themselves never seem to discuss the issues (or rarely discuss the issues) in front of the people. What is up with that? Other local cities in the Tri-Valley area are seen discussing their local issues on the local TV stations all the time in their council meetings.

The Mayor on several occasions seems to put a squelch on discussions amongst themselves in the Council Meetings. He seems to place an emphasis on consolidation instead of openly discussing the issues. For example in one of the meetings where the new RV law was being talked about by a couple of council members, the Mayor tried to stop the discussion between the two council members, instead of allowing them to discuss a certain point. It was apparent from the one member that he simply wanted to understand a particular point that the other was making. Once the discussion was finally allowed to take place by the Mayor, then it was clear to both members understanding of the issue.

The point is, that the City Council meeting is a place to discuss the city issues in an open environment, for everyone to be allowed to watch and understand the thought processes of the Council Members. It is not meant to be a place where they come out in some sort of block idea before discussion is held in a public forum. While the Mayor has stated on several occasions that they follow the "Brown Act" for open meetings, one has to wonder if this is truly the case. In fact, many of the meetings seem to be scripted before hand. The Mayor often talks with the pronouns "us" and "we" when referring to the City Council policies, before many of the policies are even adopted by a vote. It's as though he talks for all of the City Council Members.

Maybe, the whole Golf Course Zoning issue could have been taken care of at the beginning, if the City Council had really listened to the San Ramon Citizens to begin with.

Ben Franklin 2006

Anonymous said...

This statement concerns me greatly. "The Council created a window of opportunity for the owners of the golf courses when they rezoned the 250 acres of Open Space from Parks (P) to Commercial Recreation (CR) on 7-25-06 that continued through 10-10-06. The Council was warned by Citizens multiple times that this rezoning would create legal entitlements for the owners of the golf courses if they choose to sell or develop the golf course property."

Can you research this issue and tell us what legal entitlements were created for the owners of these golf courses? If there were in fact entitlements granted, those generally are perpetual, regardless of the zoning of the properties. For example, the condo conversion maps that the county granted to certain apartment complexes were entitlements that the City can't revoke. This is a major issue, so I would appreciate you finding out for us.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if the zoning was ever changed for Canyon Lakes -- back to Parks or did it get "lost" somewhere?