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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Citizens Outraged by Proposed High-Densities for San Ramon City Center

The following topics were raised at the Planning Commission Public Hearing last night:

Requested all financials on this project including Development Plans, Land Transfers; Tax Revenue sharing agreements with Alex Mehran of Sunset Development Co. and the City of San Ramon. Any, and all documents that effect this plan for the people to review ASAP.

Asked for a 30 - day Extension (to the 45 day review and comment period) to review the Mega-Size 700 Page Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and, to make comments.

The proposed project has a 1.27 FAR when aggregated over the entire approximately 44 acres (note: this is quite extreme). However, it really is a 2.0 FAR (Building ratio density) in the office area with the three seven story office buildings. This is extremely extreme! DSEIR report claims they can go all the way up to a FAR of 1.35 over the entire Downtown City Center area [DSEIR Section 4]. This 1.35 FAR is more than 3 times the allowed FAR for any other area of San Ramon. The 1.27 FAR and certainly the 2.0 FAR (with the 100 foot tall seven story office buildings) must be changed and, reduced with a reasonable density for condos etc...

Proposed 100 Feet Tall San Ramon Office BuildingsBuilding height in this plan is open-ended with no current limits at all! They are grouping all the 44 acres into one section so Alex Mehran of Sunset Development can build what ever heights he wants. We need to establish limits to building heights in this plan. According to the Environmental Impact Report: "The City of San Ramon General Plan explicitly exempts the City Center project from any building height limits." [DSEIR Section 3-46] Certainly the people never intended for buildings 7 stories and 100 feet tall or greater in height in San Ramon to be built, when they voted for the General Plan. They reasonably thought that a City Council would not pack it in and give a developer carte blanche design with the kind of high-densities and tall building structures being forced down the people's throat.

Out of a total of 44 acres for this plan, the City is given only 3.5 acres - less than 10%!!! This is outrageous, and not a plan created by the people, for the people. This is a plan created by big money, for big money!

The plan entitles the developer to gain profits from one-million three hundred sixty five thousand (1,365,000) square feet in comparison to the total allowed of one-hundred ten thousand (110,000) square feet of the City Offices/Civic Center. Our 18 acres of owned City prime property next to Central Park will go to the Developer! Not Civic Uses.

Bollinger Canyon Road bike lanes have recently been removed and, now Bollinger Canyon is being expanded to alleviate traffic jams and gridlock that we currently have. This proposed City Center plan will add 30,000 new car trips per day and magnify our traffic problems.

The sign on the corner of Bollinger Canyon (next to Central Park) says future site of our "Civic Center Project" is misleading and untrue. Not a single civic purpose is planned for that site. It is all private retail, condos, hotel, department store etc.. We want this sign changed and corrected so that it is not misleading to the public. In addition, another sign placed where the proposed "Civic Center" is planned on the 3.5 acres for the public to see. Note: The original concept for a City Center, as outlined by the 2020 General Plan was primarily as a "Civic Center" for public use, not a major retail shopping center, high-density business offices, high-density housing, or a private hotel.

The bottom line, as this plan currently unfolds, it really is not good for the people of San Ramon. This plan allows a developer to get rich at the expense of the San Ramon citizens.

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Anonymous said...

This is just awful. Traffic is a nightmare on Bollinger Canyon Road as it is. I can't begin to imagine what it would be like after this monstrosity is built out.

The migratory Canadian geese also winter in the open spaces there. Soon they will have no where to go.

Anonymous said...

It is obvious to anyone with half an awareness that this project was served up fully cooked and ready to be spoon fed to the residents for immediate consumption.

Could the Mayor and Council have thought that a city staff marketing brochure delivered to resident's mailboxes featuring artist's renditions of sleek upscale urbanites, promenating between 100 foot tall buildings sipping their favorite cinnamon cappuccino, have easily won them over?

It's unfortunate, but this script has been written far too many times in the political arena. The elected officals (and in this case you can throw in a developer) feel they know what's best for the public, and it becomes a "damn the torpedos (those pesky vocal residents) full speed ahead."

The residents get angry because they have been shut out of the process and organize to be heard. They are still ignored - the project gets approved. The angry residents gather signatures and referendize the whole damn thing. The residents vote to overturn the council action and hundreds of thousands of dollars of city revenue is wasted.

Here we go again - it's a shame.

Anonymous said...

"Citizens" = +/- 5 people.
"The People" You Represent = +/- 5 people??

Anonymous said...

A note on traffic: widen bollinger canyon to eleven lane, that's right eleven lanes across to meet the EIR numbers. And no bridge for iron horse trail.Check transportation meeting minutes. Also the city ordinance allows three story buildings but sunset was granted five story by the city. And with this city council seven stories buildings are on the way.

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.

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