In case any of you missed Save Our Creek’s news this week, Save Our Creek’s attorney has determined that the Town of Danville is currently planning to deny Danville residents their legal right to a vote on the SummerHill Homes project…and perhaps other future developments near you.
At the heart of the issue is the fact that the northwestern parcel of the Magee Ranch land (where SummerHill is planning to cluster most of its development) is designated for agricultural land use. And, under the 2010 Danville General Plan, agricultural land use is NOT compatible with SummerHill’s residential P-1 zoning application.
So what does this mean? Well, under state law, the Town of Danville needs to change the land use designation for this parcel from agricultural to residential in order for the project to proceed. That triggers Measure S (the 2000 Danville Open Space Preservation Initiative) – which was put in place by Danville voters seeking to protect agricultural land and open space from developments like the one proposed by SummerHill Homes.
And Measure S dictates that Danville residents get to vote, by ballot measure, on whether or not they approve of the land use change.
But the Town of Danville has said it has no intention of either changing the land use or holding a Measure S election. And the only defense they have offered Save Our Creek is that the Town of Danville just took the same approach with the recently approved Elworthy Ranch project, which also involved a large P-1 cluster development on agricultural property.
Moreover, in one media article, the Town’s Principle Planner, David Crompton, and City attorney Robert Ewing’s statements are outright laughable. They say Measure S is not triggered because the Town (and the developer) are not proposing to change the land use designation from Agricultural to Residential, but are “merely” rezoning. And this is precisely the problem – it is ILLEGAL to do this!
Certainly it seems (at least to an outside observer) that there is a pro-development bias coming out of the Town – as evidenced by Elworthy and other recently approved projects. But does this bias stretch to the Town blatantly sweeping the legal rights of its residents under the rug?
I would also like to know whether these practices are coming solely from the misguided hands of staff, or if Town Council members are fully aware and/or leading the charge?
For my part, I am hoping that it is the former. Maybe I am a fool, but I expect the people we elected to represent us and start asking questions. After all, aren’t they supposed to work on our behalf? If they don’t, my proverbial “crystal ball” tells me that we will likely see changes come re-election time…not to mention a lawsuit from Save Our Creek!