Latest News Articles From The San Ramon Tribune

Friday, February 29, 2008

Parties Jointly Announce Settlement of SROG's Lawsuit

San Ramon for Open Government
For Immediate Release

Date: Friday, February 29, 2008

Contacts: City of San Ramon: Marc Fontes, Economic Development Director, 925 973-2578

Sunset Development Company: Alex Mehran, President and CEO, 925 866-0100

San Ramon for Open Government: Jim Gibbon 925 786-8280

JOINT PRESS RELEASE

Parties Jointly Announce Settlement of SROG’s Lawsuit Against the City of San Ramon, Challenging the City’s Approval of the San Ramon City Center Project

The City of San Ramon, Sunset Development Company, and San Ramon for Open Government (“SROG”) jointly announced the settlement of SROG’s lawsuit against the City, challenging its approval of the San Ramon City Center Project and the accompanying Environmental Impact Report. The City Center Project, which was unanimously approved by the City Council in December, will feature a new City Hall, library, transit center and police headquarters, along with residential living, office space, retail, and entertainment components. The settlement agreement will also result in SROG dropping two referendum petitions it has been circulating to challenge development agreement amendments for the Project.

SROG had sued the City alleging that the approval violated the California Environmental Quality Act and the City’s 2020 General Plan.The settlement calls for Sunset and the City to make a number of changes to the project, including: reducing the heights of the project’s tallest buildings to no more than ninety feet (resulting in reducing the office buildings from seven to six stories), reducing the condominium buildings adjoining the Iron Horse Trail to a maximum of seven stories, and taking several steps to reduce the project’s traffic and air quality impacts.

The project changes also include reducing the project’s total office space and associated parking by almost fifteen percent, expanding the three-year trial free shuttle program to cover both the City Center and the rest of Bishop Ranch, scheduling express shuttle buses to and from BART for both AM and PM commute hours. In addition, the City and Sunset will support a pedestrian/bicycle-accessible flyover crossing busy Bollinger Canyon Road at the Iron Horse Trail.

The settlement also requires all CityCenter buildings to be “LEED – Silver” certified – a high level “green building” standard that promotes sustainability and will reduce the project’s environmental footprint.

Along with the project changes, the settlement commits the City to moving forward with enacting a local ordinance requiring that any future buildings outside of CityCenter in excess of five stories go on the ballot for voter approval.

SROG spokesperson Jim Gibbon stated, “We were concerned that this project, while desirable in some respects, was going to overload city streets, block out regional views, and set a bad precedent for the future. While the changes that Sunset and the City have agreed to, do not fully address all the issues that prompted the lawsuit and the referendum petitions, we think that the changes do make it a much better project.”

Sunset’s President, Alex Mehran, is pleased that the project will move forward on schedule. “We have always felt we have proposed a project that the citizens of San Ramon want to see happen.We’re pleased that this settlement will allow the project to move forward on schedule and San Ramon will realize its longstanding goal of having a downtown.”

San Ramon Mayor H. Abram Wilson echoed the City’s satisfaction with the settlement. “We think this settlement is a win for everyone concerned, especially the people of San Ramon, who will get the CityCenter they have wanted for so long.”

# # #

County Places Road Block to Tassajara Valley

The Contra Costa Times reported that Contra Costa County is putting up a road block at the moment, in regards to San Ramon expanding the sphere of influence to Tassajara Valley.

San Ramon's environmental impact report has sent "red flags" to the Contra Costa County's Local Agency Formation Commission, the agency which oversees annexations. The report states, "no new development is being contemplated" but, the San Ramon General Plan refers to possible "future development of the area."

Additionally, the environment impact report was found lacking in many areas including: "potentially significant environmental effects, conversion of agricultural land, loss of open space, effects on utilities and impacts on public services," was stated by Local Agency Formation Commission's executive director, Lou Ann Texeira, in her letter to the city.

Danville leaders are also concerned because the San Ramon environmental impact report did not take into account the traffic and other environmental impacts that would directly affect Danville.

Note: The current county's voter-approved urban limit line in the Tassajara Valley bars any development until at least 2026. But, having San Ramon's sphere of influence extended into the Tassajara Valley could bring development to that area as soon as 2010.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Tassajara Valley Could Be Next For San Ramon

San Ramon, CA

Interesting story from the Danville Weekly News

San Ramon eyes Tassajara Valley
City wants 4,900 rural acres under its sphere of influence


The Danville Town Council expressed concern at its study session Tuesday morning that San Ramon wants to include the Tassajara Valley in its sphere of influence.

Read the entire story at www.DanvilleWeekly.com website.

Also, isn't it interesting how Tassajara Valley sphere of influence has been recently "quietly" talked about again? The Danville Weekly is the first to report about it. Here is another quite insightful article titled: San Ramon Makes Move For Future Growth

Below is the official notice from the City of San Ramon.

NOTICE OF INTENT AND PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE TO CONSIDER ADOPTION OF A NEGATIVE DECLARATION.

PROJECT: City of San Ramon Sphere of Influence Amendment- Tassajara Valley Planning Subarea

LOCATION: Approximately 4,900 acres East and Northeast of the City of San Ramon within the Tassajara Valley generally bisected by the Camino Tassajara Roadway to the Contra Costa /Alameda County Line.

APPLICANT: City of San Ramon

DESCRIPTION OF PROJECT: The purpose of this Initial Study/Negative Declaration (IS/ND) is to analyze the environmental impacts associated with amending the Sphere of Influence for the City of San Ramon to include the Eastside Specific Plan Area, also referred to as the Tassajara Valley Planning Subarea in the City's General Plan (the project). This IS/ND is intended to inform City of San Ramon decision-makers, other responsible agencies, and the general public of the proposed project and its environmental consequences. This IS/ND is also intended to provide the CEQA-required environmental documentation for all requisite City and Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) actions. No new development is contemplated by, nor would any such development be permitted as a result of, the Sphere of Influence Amendment. The Sphere of Influence Amendment would enable the City to cooperatively join the County and area landowners in initiating the Eastside Specific Plan planning process.

ENVIRONMENTAL SETTING: The Tassajara Valley Planning Subarea is the easternmost planning subarea of the City of San Ramon. This subarea is within the City's Planning Area but outside of its Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) and Sphere of Influence. Currently, much of the land in the planning subarea is dedicated to agricultural uses, such as spring pasture and livestock grazing, with a few orchards, small horse ranches, and rural residential uses such as five-acre ranchettes. The majority of existing land is in private ownership and development is clustered along Camino Tassajara and side roads.

DECLARATION

Based on the Initial Study dated February 4, 2008, the Planning Services staff has determined:

_X_ This project does not have the potential to degrade the quality of the environment, nor to substantially reduce, threaten or eliminate plant, fish or animal communities, or important examples of the major periods of California history or prehistory.
_X_ This project will not have a detrimental effect upon either short-term or long-term environmental goals.
_X_ This project will not have impacts which are individually limited, nor cumulatively considerable.
_X_ This project will not have environmental impacts which will cause substantial adverse effect upon human beings, either directly or indirectly.
_X_ This project will not adversely impact wildlife resources.

The aforementioned findings are not contingent upon any mitigation measures.

The Initial Study and Negative Declaration are available for public review on the City of San Ramon Website at www.ci.san-ramon.ca.us. Public copies are also available for review at the City of San Ramon Planning Division during regular businesses hours (Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.), at the address below. Additional public copies of the proposed negative declaration are also on file at the San Ramon Senior Center, San Ramon Community Center, Dougherty Station Community Center, San Ramon Library, Dougherty Station Library, and with the City Clerk.

The public is hereby invited to submit written comments regarding the environmental findings and Negative Declaration determination. Such comments may be submitted prior to the close of the posting period.

Posting Period: February 4, 2008 to February 25, 2008

A public hearing before the City Council to consider the Negative Declaration is scheduled for March 11, 2008, at 7:00 p.m., in the City Council Chamber, 2222 Camino Ramon, San Ramon, California, 94583.

Contact Person: Lauren Barr, Senior Planner (925) 973-2560
City of San Ramon, Planning Services Division
2226 Camino Ramon
San Ramon, CA 94583

Download PDF Version

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Register To Vote

Let Your Voice Count.
Register 2 Vote

With this being a presidential election year, with national, state, and local issues of importance coming before the voters, now is the time to register to vote.

The following is important information to make sure your voter registration is current:

Voter registration cards are available at the following locations:

* local Post Office
* Department of Motor Vehicles
* local Library
* local City Clerk Offices
* Contra Costa County Elections Office

Fill out Voter Registration Cards CLEARLY in dark ink and always make sure you SIGN your name in order for your registration to be valid.

If you live in an apartment, always make sure you fill in the apartment number of your residence address.

Once your affidavit of registration is submitted to the Contra Costa County Election Department for processing, you should receive WRITTEN NOTIFICATION within 3-4 weeks. If you do not receive notification, please contact Contra Costa County Elections at 925-646-4166.

REMEMBER, ALWAYS RE-REGISTER IF YOU HAVE CHANGED YOUR NAME, RESIDENCE ADDRESS OR MAILING ADDRESS!

See: Contra Costa Voter Registration Information

Register to Vote Online

California On-line Voter Registration

Complete this on-line form and the Secretary of State of California will mail a typed registration form to you. After you receive the pre-typed form, just sign it and mail it to your county election official. They recommend you use this service at least one month prior to election day to avoid missing your opportunity to vote due to postal delays.

Once you receive your form in the mail, which takes approximately 7 to 14 days, you must sign, date, and return it by mail to the county elections official on the return address side of the voter registration card. Please make sure all of the information is correct and drop it back in the mail. State of California will pay for the postage!

For security purposes, full on-line voter registration is not yet available and current law requires the voter's original signature be affixed to the VRC, by completing the information requested in the on-line form of the state website, a registration card with your information will be printed and mailed to you.

You can also download the voter registration form, print it out, fill it out completely, sign it, and mail it back directly to:

Contra Costa

Stephen L. Weir, County Clerk
555 Escobar Street
P O Box 271
Martinez, CA 94553

(925) 335-7800
(925) 335-7842 Fax
Toll Free (Domestic) 1-877-335-7802

Hours 8:00am - 5:00pm

Website: www.cocovote.us

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