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Thursday, March 22, 2007

San Ramon Mayor Refuses To Listen To Citizens' Concerns

Mayor H. Abram Wilson and the San Ramon City Council have already made up their minds about making San Ramon be like Concord.


Three Eight Story Office Buildings

The Mayor wants over 100 feet tall office buildings that are 8 stories in height. He and the City Council want to increase the traffic congestion in the intersections of Bolliger Canyon Rd. and Alcosta Blvd., Bollinger Canyon Road and Camino Ramon, and the on ramps and off ramps to Highway 680. He and the City Council want to give away approximately 15 to 20 acres of city property in exchange for a small 3.5 acre parcel that is too small to house the City Hall, Police Department, Library, and Transit Center. The Mayor wants to increase the traffic hazards for people crossing Bollinger Canyon Rd. at the Iron Horse Trail. The City Council thinks this is the best thing since apple pie. Their taste buds are salivating so much that they refuse to even consider what the ultimate cost of a Downtown Center is going to cost the citizens of San Ramon.

With recent traffic accidents that have happened on Bollinger Canyon Rd. even one involving a Highway Patrol Officer in the middle of the day because of traffic congestion, a Downtown Center, with a super concentration of development, with a major increase in traffic to and from this Downtown area, and a Dougherty Valley that will have four times the number of people currently living and commuting on Bollinger Canyon Road, it will only exasperate the situation.

SAN RAMON - A California Highway Patrol officer on a motorcycle was injured Saturday afternoon when the officer's motorcycle collided with a vehicle on Bollinger Canyon Road just west of the Interstate Highway 680 under crossing, according to a statement released by the CHP.

The incident occurred around 12:50 p.m. when CHP Officer G. Garcia exited I-680 going south on Bollinger Canyon Road. Garcia entered the intersection at the end of the off ramp and had almost cleared the intersection when the officer's motorcycle collided with a 2004 Honda vehicle.


This is ridiculous, for the Mayor and the City Council to be so blinded by their egos, to ignore the concerns of the citizens. What are we doing here? Why is having 8 story office buildings good for San Ramon? Why would we want to have to spend millions on new firefighting equipment, just to be able to handle 8 story office buildings? Why is this good for the City to give away land that we own, for something that puts the City into a little corner?


Places The City Into a Little Corner


The price tag for this Downtown plan is pegged at the $750 million mark, and climbing. Sunset Development has agreed to foot the $750 million price tag in exchange for what? What happens when there are cost overruns? Who pays for these? Oh, but we hear revenue sharing with the City. What happens if the rentals are not filled? Will the citizens have to foot the bill in higher taxes? If the City is an owner of commercial property, does that mean the City is going into the leasing business? This plan has not yet been fully exposed. It is wise to hold off giving a yes or no vote on any plan until all the facts are in.

But, maybe this Mayor and City Council know something the citizens do not. Who knows, maybe they have had back room dealings with Sunset about the new City Center and have not shared that information with the public. Maybe all the public input meetings are just for show, and they have already made their minds up. If this is the case, and the San Ramon City Council has already made up its mind, then we have much bigger problems in San Ramon, than lack of a downtown center.

Signed San Ramon

PS By-the-way, read the Introduction to San Ramon News.

15 comments:

SOS said...

Wow, just what we need in San Ramon, Highrises. Let's just keep building, buildings taller and taller. Why stop with eight floors when we could go to 16 floors? No, No, No... Let's go higher! We need more people, yes we do, says Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Where does it stop?

Stop! Stop! Stop!

Anonymous said...

Why does the Council and Mayor want three, eight story buildings (as part of the newly proposed City Center) when the citizens fought hard just a couple of years ago, to keep the maximum height in San Ramon to five stories. Here we go again! They just don't get it. They don't care what the people of San Ramon want, as long as it satisfies their lust for more!

John Harper said...

Being new to San Ramon, I am not familiar with past battles. I think you make some good points though.

But here's a point of mine. When people can't put their name to their opinions, they carry little weight with me.

San Ramon said...

Thank you for your comment John.

Since you are new to San Ramon, and I suspect particularly new to this blog, we have given the opportunity for members of the community to remain anonymous. Read our Privacy Policy pages to see why this is important, especially in light of the Internet. Please, don't just lightly dismiss online privacy, because, it is granted by the Constitution of the United States.

The postings in these various blogs stand on their own merits.

If the points in this posting made you think, then it has accomplished something. You are welcome to continue posting comments if you wish, and look forward to hearing from you more often.

Sincerely, a San Ramon Citizen

Anonymous said...

WOW, eight story builidings and no sky walk. The city council has not told you that Bollinger canyon rd. will be widen up the hill going east and transit center will have light rail connected to BART. The citizen of san ramon need to get together and put a stop to this plan. And have a city center built for the people.

Anonymous said...

You say the Mayor "refuses to listen to citizen's concerns". Who is he not listening to, and what do you base this? I don't believe the City Center plan has been finalized yet, to the best of my knowledge.

As to building height, the theatre proposed in the other plans was 120' high. I guess the office buildings are the only ones that are of concern.

The Bollinger Canyon widening and light rail plan is a result of Dougherty Valley development, not the City Center. This widening is not a new thing. The light rail is probably 50 years away, if it happens at all.

I would hope that this website and it's proponents would stick to facts. It is important to have sources of information that don't distort or inflame and play on the emotions of people.

GB said...

Mayor H. Abram Wilson and the San Ramon City Council have indeed shown an unwillingness to listen to the citizens of San Ramon. In fact, the City Council Members already had their pro approval speeches all set up before the plan was even unveiled. Other websites have even written that the plan seems to have been set in stone.

Upon the unveiling of the plan, in front of many of the inner circle of San Ramon politicians and other locals earlier this month, when the question was asked what the cost was going to be for this Downtown center, the Mayor refused to give an answer other than saying, (paraphrase) "that is something we will talk about in the future." It was later released (after the meeting) from one of the Council members that the cost was $750,000,000.00. Why didn't the Mayor release that information to begin with?

The Mayor and City Council Members were quoted as saying that there would be no cost to the citizens of San Ramon.

There is always a cost on everything. You don't get something for nothing. The city plans on giving away land that it owns, to get in return 3.5 acres for a small civic center built into a corner, with no room for expansion. The land that is being given away has value. The city is giving away a valuable resource that could be monetized in other ways. The cost to the citizens is in money and or property lost and the potential loss of future city services and community resources.

With Bollinger being widened to handle the increased traffic from Doughtery Valley, a Downtown center located here will only exasperate the level of traffic and congestion.

We need to consider all the facts before a plan is ever approved. Mayor Wilson and the City Council would be wise to consider all the ramifications before they come out blindly saying this is the best thing for San Ramon. Mayor Abram Wilson has shown on local television to be an advocate for this plan regardless of the consequences.

This type of behavior by Mayor Abram Wilson is not acceptable and shows a lack of responsibility in considering all the facts.

Anonymous said...

How much money has been spent to date in the previous aborted, unsuccessful planning attempts of previous councils?

Anyone know the answer?

Rosalind Rogoff said...

"How much money has been spent to date in the previous aborted, unsuccessful planning attempts of previous councils?

Anyone know the answer?"

Yes. The answer is $3.5M+. You can find the breakdown in my new commentary on the San Ramon Observer, www.sanramonobserver.org.


Roz Rogoff, www.sanramonobserver.org

GB said...

Roz, I couldn't find the breakdown.

Roz Rogoff said...

It's in the text of the commentary.

The Cannon-Dworsky plans approved in 2001 came to $770,000, The Fisher-Friedman conceptual design approved by the new council in 2002 came to $224,000. Turner Construction had billed $55,000 when they were fired in 2002, and Swinnerton was paid $386,000 in 2003. The Fisher-Freidman building designs were $1,675,000. The first EIR by Brandman Associates was $152,000 and the Subsequent EIR that Brandman is doing now is $320,000.

Considering how expensive the conceptual plans for prior designs were, Sunset must have a sizable amount invested already.

Roz

Roz Rogoff said...

I have some corrections to my last message, on the breakdown of the money spent on past City Center designs. Fisher-Friedman didn't use $100K of the $1,675,000 budgeted, and Swinnerton didn't use $90K.

The $320K approved for the Subsequent EIR being done now for the new City Center Plans has not been spent yet. Whatever the final amount is will be reimbursed by Sunset Development.

That drops the cost of plans from my first estimate of $3.5M to $3M.

Roz

Anonymous said...

As a long-time resident of the San Ramon Valley I have not agreed on several decisions made by the city of San Ramon. I think the new Civic Center plan is ridiculous. It seems that Sunset developers must have bribed the City of San Ramon so they could build excessively large structures not usually permitted by the city. The developers also get a lot of currently public land. Why doesn't San Ramon just rebuilt the civic center on its current site and make it several stories tall and make Sunset abide to current regulations. I think this lot should be left as public land and the citizens should get more say in the plan. San Ramon should not be inviting Sunset to break set building regulations probably because of a big bribe by Sunset. Local developers and the city of San Ramon should listen to the concerns of the citizens before making decisions.

Anonymous said...

I am looking forward to our downtown. We can ride our bikes to the local cafe. It will be great!!

Anonymous said...

I would very much look forward to a downtown with perhaps a lightrail from Windemere so that folks can walk or bike to a local cafe.

It can be planned correctly to discourage vehicles and encourage other modes of transportation.

I also think Scottsdale, Arizona is a good model that San Ramon should follow.

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