SummerHill Homes has long maintained that its proposed development of Magee Ranch is in the best interest of Danville’s countryside aesthetic and in line with Danville’s general plan.
However the simple truth is that the majority of the 410 acres that SummerHill is looking to develop is currently zoned A-4 Agricultural Preserve District, which permits only one home to be built every 20 acres. And most of the remaining area is zoned A-2 general agricultural district, which allows for a minimum of 5-acre lots. As such, the company has submitted a rezoning request to allow it to build significantly MORE homes than currently allowed, on the low lying areas along the Diablo Road corridor (in a cluster configuration).
SummerHill says “clustering is encouraged to permit the development of suitable building sites and preservation of open space areas,” (see page 6). But the reality is that building properties in the hills costs a heck of a lot more from an infrastructure standpoint (i.e. building roads and hooking up utilities) and, as such, is a lot less profitable. This is something that Wendy Baker (Director of Development for SummerHill Homes) even admitted during a neighborhood meeting on Nov. 3, 2010. In fact she outright said that it would not be cost effective for SummerHill to build homes in the hills, under current zoning.
I also question whether or not there would be as much demand for large lot “ranchettes." Perhaps the 3,000-4,000-square-foot homes that SummerHill is planning to cram onto 0.2 acre lots is more appealing to buyers – and therefore likely to offer higher profit margins to SummerHill?
Personally, I have no problem with seeing the odd home scattered about in the hills of the Magee Ranch land, especially as the hillside ordinance preserves the actual ridge tops. It is no different to the homes that already exist along Blackhawk Road. And I am sure that existing residents along Diablo Road (who will have SummerHill’s new development literally in their backyard) would agree.
In addition, there would surely be a lot less impact to traffic and flooding along the Diablo Road corridor if the proposed development is shrunk by more than 30 percent, to align with the current zoning of the land – including number of homes and their location.
I would love to know your thoughts and where you stand: Do you want a higher volume of homes in low lying areas along the Diablo Road corridor (ostensibly to preserve the hillside), or would you prefer significantly fewer homes under current zoning?