Thursday, August 30, 2007

Campaign to Save Our Las Trampas Ridges

Please support the legal challenge of the Sierra Club and East Bay Regional Parks to hillside development at Las Trampas known as the Northwest Specific Plan. The challenge is to require the City Council to abide by the General Plan which requires hillside developments be voted on by the citizens of San Ramon before approval.

If you support this legal challenge you can contribute by making your checks payable to:

"Sierra Club Foundation"

Add a note in the memo area to read:
"San Ramon Litigation"

Mail your contribution to:
San Francisco Bay Chapter
Sierra Club
2530 San Pablo Avenue, Suite 1
Berkeley, Ca. 94702-9918

This donation is a tax deductible contribution with no maximum limit to the Foundation!

Please contribute as much as you can. We are looking to gather $10,000.00 by the end of this year and the same next year. The Sierra Club is donating $20,000.00 and has asked the citizens of San Ramon to match that amount. We will be campaigning throughout the summer for contributions.

If you can contribute $100.00 we can meet our goal. Groups and Homeowners Associations can contribute more to get to our goal. If you have already pledged money to the lawsuit, please send it in to the address above.

If you would like to help by having a meeting of your neighbors to raise funds, we would be glad to speak to the group about the lawsuit and the City’s future.

Help us help San Ramon maintain our quality of life, our green hills and open space.

Thank you,
Jim Gibbon, AIA
Jim Blikenstaff, Sierra Club

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Las Positas Golf Course Now on the Chopping Block

Could This Happen In San Ramon?

Article from Contra Costa Times Newspaper: Development May Drive Golf Course to Redesign

February 7, 2007
Contra Costa Times

Developers are out-of-control in the Tri-Valley and are gobbling up more of our quality of life. Another example is in an article in the San Ramon Valley Times dated February 7, 2007, page A3 entitled "Development May Drive Golf Course to Redesign."

The article states, "a vast plan in Livermore would develop 150 acres would include a road extension that could rearrange the layout of the 18-hole Las Positas Golf Course (next to Airway Blvd) and, an adjacent nine-hole executive course." Our concern is that this would reduce the size of the golf courses; create huge traffic impacts; and, would be another example of over-development in the Tri-Valley thus creating over-crowding. The article states, "the overall plan would reserve about 42 acres for commercial use which would include 150 tenants – including a Nieman Marcus and a Saks Fifth Avenue store, a food court and a parking lot spanning just under three acres." Is this 42 acres being taken away from the 150 acre golf course of open-green space? The article is not clear. Jeff Shafer, golf course manager, stated, "traffic would not affect the golf course, which hosts 90,000 rounds of golf a year." We need to fight for our quality of life, to maintain our open green spaces (ie. golf courses) and say NO to more shopping centers and three acre parking structures.

If you are interested, go to the Planning Commission at 7:30 p.m. February 13th at City Council Chamber, located at 3575 Pacific Avenue, Livermore.

Could this happen in San Ramon too?

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.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

San Ramon Golf Course Initiative Measure

The Golf Course Initiative was written and prepared by the people of San Ramon to go before the voters in the November 07 Election to give the people the choice to protect these 250 acres from future development.

The "Save Our Golf Courses as Parks/Open Spaces Initiative" is to take the control from the City and, give it back to the people! If the people of San Ramon vote to protect the two golf courses from future development, and keep them zoned as Parks, then the only way the City can change that in the future, is with another vote by the people. This is the most permanent way to protect this land.

Actual Wording Of The Golf Course Initiative Follows:


The City Attorney of the City of San Ramon, California has prepared the following title and summary of the chief purpose and points of the proposed measure:


This initiative amends Section 4.4 of the City of San Ramon General Plan by deleting golf courses from the "commercial recreation" land use classification and by adding all golf courses to the "parks" classification. Additionally, the initiative adds language to the parks classification stating (a) that any future rezoning of golf courses shall be approved only by majority vote at a Citywide general election and (b) that golf courses would be excluded from the City's acres/population parkland quotas.

3 Petition for Submission to Voters of Proposed Amendment to the General Plan of the City of San Ramon

To the City Council of the City of San Ramon,
We, the undersigned, registered, qualified voters residing in the City of San Ramon, hereby propose an amendment to the San Ramon General Plan relating to zoning San Ramon's golf courses and petition you to submit the same to the voters of San Ramon for their adoption or rejection at the earliest possible regular general election. The proposed General Plan Amendment, Title, and Text of the measure read as follows:
SECTION 1. Title
This measure shall be known and may be cited as: Save Our Golf Courses as Open Spaces Initiative.
SECTION 2. Findings and Declarations
The people of the City of San Ramon find and declare as follows:
(a) Many golf courses are being lost to "infilling" in suburban areas. This occurs in cities like San Ramon where there are Urban Growth Boundaries which don't allow cities to develop outwardly.
(b) San Ramon's golf courses have been zoned Park since their inceptions. Recently, the zoning designation was duly changed by the City Council to Commercial Recreation (CR). CR, as defined in the City's Zoning Ordinance, is a very broad designation which includes, amongst many other potential uses, cogeneration facility, transitional housing, and scrap and dismantling yard.
(c) There is little open space left in San Ramon. Unless our golf courses remain zoned Park, most assuredly they will be developed to their legal "highest and best use". Profits would be too great to expect otherwise. These open spaces would be lost forever.
(d) Therefore, we the people of San Ramon to preserve our open spaces, to maintain the character of our neighborhoods and quality of our lives, to avoid overcrowding of our schools, traffic congestion, noise and air pollution, wish to have our golf courses remain zoned Park.
SECTION 3. Purpose and Intent
In enacting this measure, it is the intent of the people of San Ramon to put strict limits on uses of the golf courses and limit the ability of City government to change their uses. The people's underlying purpose is to maintain golf courses as open spaces with only two permitted uses: parks and/or golf courses. To this end, the citizens want rezoning of golf courses to be reserved for themselves by requiring approval by majority vote in a Citywide general election.
  • Commercial Recreation. Golf courses, s Sports and fitness clubs, horse stables, and amusement parks at intensities of up to 0.35 FAR.

  • Parks. Public and private recreation sites and facilities at intensities of up to 0.10 FAR, including all golf courses. Future rezoning of golf courses shall be approved only by majority vote in a Citywide general election. Golf courses will be excluded from the City's acres/population parkland quotas.

4 Notice of Intent to Circulate Petition: Notice is hereby given by the persons whose names appear hearon of their intention to circulate a petition within the City of San Ramon, California for the purpose of qualifying a measure to amend the City's General Plan relating to zoning of the City's golf courses. A statement of the reasons for the proposed action as contemplated in the petition is as follows:
(Include Section 3 here).

To help expedite the City's tasks, the petitioners propose that the ballot title and summary state: SAVE OUR GOLF COURSES AS OPEN SPACES. INITIATIVE GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT. Amends San Ramon's General Plan to return San Ramon's golf courses to their original zoning of Park. Any future golf course rezoning would be subject to majority approval of the people of San Ramon in a Citywide general election. Golf course acreage would not count toward the City's parkland quotas.

The undersigned, all registered voters in San Ramon, have filed this Notice of Intent with the San Ramon City Clerk on June 14, 2006 specifically to obtain the City Attorney's ballot title and summary so that they can begin gathering necessary signatures to qualify the measure for the earliest possible regular general election. Signed by Ray M. Howard Jr., Thomas Perillo, and Janis Desmarais

Permission to publish this golf course initiative on San Ramon Talk was granted by:

Save Our Golf Courses as Open Spaces Campaign

A Key Feature of The People's Initiative

Once the "Save Our Golf Courses As Open Spaces" goes to the people for a vote to protect these two golf courses as Parks or Open Spaces, then, the City officials will not be able to change it again in the future, without another vote of the people. With the General Plan Amendment "GPA" for golf course zone, the City could change it again anytime in the future with another GPA (without the vote of the people).

Monday, August 21, 2006

Mayor Wants To Change The Golf Courses Again

San Ramon Mayor H. Abram Wilson, Now Agrees That Commercial Recreation Zoning Was Not The Best Zoning For The Golf Courses

Video clip courtesy of TV30 "Mayors Report"

San Ramon Mayor now agrees that CR, Commercial Recreation zoning allows too many loop holes for developers to take advantage of, "and anything can go on Commercial Recreation." This, after City Council said that Commercial Recreation was the way to go with the golf course rezoning. City Council passed the golf courses unanimously from Parks to Commercial Recreation the month before.

Hundreds of people spoke out against Commercial Recreation rezoning of the golf courses over the past six months. The Mayor and City Council said they listen to the people, though they pushed through the rezoning unanimously to CR.

Good work Mr. Mayor. What took so long for it to sink in? Mr. Mayor, are you going to change your mind again next month? Are the rest of the City Council members agreeing with you on this proposed change? Can we really believe you, that you and the rest of the City Council will follow through with this proposed change to Golf Course zoning, especially after you said, "those people didn't know what they were talking about."