A housing project approved four years ago is finally getting built in southern Danville.
KB Home has taken on the development of 97 homes and apartments along the west side of San Ramon Valley Boulevard near the town's border with San Ramon.
The project was approved by the Danville Town Council in 2008, but the land sat vacant due to California's poor housing market.
The 84 homes and 13 apartments will be built on 12 flat acres at the bottom of a 460-acre hillside parcel near a preschool, nursery and old ranch home.
The rest of the property will remain open space with about 230 acres being donated to the East Bay Regional Park District.
Earlier this year, KB Home purchased the 12 acres from the Elworthy family. The Town Council approved a final development map on Aug. 14.
Bulldozers appeared at the site within weeks.
"We're always looking to build in communities in need of new housing," said Craig LeMessurier, director of corporate communications for KB Home. "We want to build homes for families and this is a great place to do that."
One condition of approval was that San Ramon Valley Boulevard will be widened to four lanes at that juncture to accomodate traffic going in and out of the development. KB Home will pay for that.
What the developer won't be paying for is the patrol and maintenance of a parking lot that would be used for the open space.
That provision was in the original plans when other parties were involved, but it was not included in the final plans approved last month.
Bob Doyle, East Bay Regional Park's general manager, said his district has been involved in this project for more than a decade with the understanding the subdivision would pick up the parking lot costs.
Doyle said the district will still accept the land donation, but it's uncertain right now how public access will be secured.
"We work very well with developers," he said. "This is unfortunate. We're very disappointed."
Also disappointed is Pat Isom, a Danville resident who has been active in open space issues in the community.
She said Measure S, a ballot measure approved in 2000, requires the city to let voters decide on projects in which land use designations are changed. This issue has also been brought up on the Summerhill housing development.
City officials have said the Elworthy project began before 2000 and isn't covered under Measure S.
Isom is also concerned about traffic on San Ramon Valley Boulevard, but she said her main dispute is over the lack of a public vote.
"It's mostly the process that is disturbing," said Isom.
David Crompton, Danville's principal planner, said the parking lot fees were not in the August approval and the city doesn't have the authority to require KB Home to honor a private commitment made under a previous developer. He also said the 97-home project is a good one.
"We think this is a good approval," he said.
LeMessurier said KB Home doesn't plan to voluntarily pay the fees or make the new homeowners do it.
"It was not part of what was approved. We're ready to move forward," he said.
The model homes are expected to be open in January. KB Home hasn't announced yet the price of these new homes.