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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


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.”

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