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Update to news about Escondido

After posting the article this morning, I received a call from Ronald Richards. He informed me that the charges were dismissed on 7/31/18. I am glad he called me to set the record straight.

Here is a portion of his email to me (his contact info redacted). There is a link to the docket below.

Dear Joe,

Please find attached the docket showing the charges were dismissed against Mr. Schelsinger as well as the corporate entity.  I appreciate your immediate attention per our call to “set the record straight” and make it clear that the charges were dismissed.   I am sure you don’t want to cast either the entity or Mr. Schelsinger in a false light.  Neither he nor the entity were guilty of any wrong doing, both entered pleas of not guilty, and the City Attorney dismissed the case and neither he nor the entity are facing any charges of any kind.

Thank you again for correcting this and I am glad you are in front of your computer to handle this immediately.

Sincerely,

Ronald Richards, Esq.
Law Offices of Ronald Richards & Associates, A.P.C.

Dismissal of Charges

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This story is a few months old, for which I apologize. I just ran across it today as I was doing a search on another matter.

The headline in “Escondido Country Club owner hit with criminal charges.” Read the rest of the story on the San Diego Union-Tribune.

In another important matter: The Candidates’ Forum will happen on September 24, 6:00-9:00. This is a very important election. Be there to ask questions and let the candidates know your views.

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Annual Report 2017

March marks the one-year anniversary of the committee that volunteered to research and monitor activities at the golf course and to explore the strategies that might be needed to rebut what Tree City LLC (the group that now owns the golf course) might do.  We thought this would be an appropriate time to report back to interested neighbors and citizens on our progress and the state of the golf course as we see it.

We now have twelve committee members. We began last March with monthly meetings at the Senior Center, at which we made a good deal of progress.  We elected officers and worked out various action plans to counter possible actions by Tree City. Also, we formed a 501(c)(4) not-for-profit corporation just in case we later need to raise funds for defense measures.

Due to the cost of holding monthly meetings at the Senior Center, we began holding meetings in one of our homes.  This might make it a bit less convenient for meetings to be open to the public, but not impossible. All future meetings will be announced in advance on the web-site.

In light of the fact that there has been no suspicious activity on or about the golf course for several months, and that the bulk of our preparations are complete, we agreed to conduct quarterly meetings in future.  Again, the time and place of future meetings will be announced in advance in the web-site.

We continue to monitor the golf course and activities at the course on a regular basis, and we maintain close personal relationships with our friends at City Hall. We feel confident that our vigilance, and yours, will give ample time to react to any hostile action by the golf course owners.

We wish you all a happy new year.  As always, your suggestions are welcomed, and your support is counted on.  Stay the Course, San Ramon.

Pat Tuohy
Chairman

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The San Ramon Planning Commission will meet today (Tuesday, May 16) at 7:00 PM at the City Council chamber at 7000 Bollinger Canyon. This is a public meeting. The Commission is set to talk about an annual report that analyzes the city government’s efforts to implement San Ramon’s General Plan over the past year.

You can find more information–130 pages worth–and the full agenda on the City’s website.

You can find a summary of the meeting’s agenda on the DanvilleSanRamon website.

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Unsightly fencing on Back Nine

Local residents will no doubt be overjoyed to see that the screened chain link fencing surrounding the back 9 on the course is coming down.

This is not because the current owner of the course has suddenly developed civic responsibility; the fencing was placed initially when that section of the course was closed to complete some work in connection with the Faria project. The work was completed and the back 9 reopened quite some time ago, but the fencing has remained.

It is not only unsightly but it is a safety hazard. The plastic screening on the fence restricts visibility around the corners.

With this in mind, the City has begun removing the fencing. This will resolve both the safety and the cosmetic issues.

We have no idea what, if any, response the owner of the course will have to this action. What we do know is that the fence was no longer needed and that it was an unpleasant addition to the neighborhoods. It’s good to know that the City has taken the initiative to remedy this eyesore and public safety hazard.

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Planning Commission Meeting May 2

The San Ramon Planning Commission will meet on Tuesday, May 2 at 7:00 P.M. Among items on the agenda is the following:

At this meeting, the Planning Commission will receive a presentation on a proposed 200 unit apartment project at the Morgan’s Masonry Site. This discussion is conceptual only and will provide the applicant the opportunity to hear feedback from the Commission on their idea. In the event the applicant would like to move forward on their idea they will need to submit a formal application at a later date for consideration.

The full agenda, together with the minutes of the April 7 meeting, are on the City of San Ramon’s website

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Steering Committee member, Gene Bucciarelli, attended the recent City Council and Planning Commission meeting. This is his report.

Summary of the Tiered Density/Public Benefit Zoning
City Council Informational Session
4/18/17 at 7:00 PM

The meeting was held with the City Council, the Planning Commissioners, the Mayor, and the City Manager. The City Council Chamber was full of residents. About 15 to 20 residents made statements including yours truly.

Background

  1. The San Ramon General Plan allows for a density of housing at a range of 30 to 50 units per acre.
  2. CA allows for a bonus density at 130% above the maximum if the developer agrees to a public benefit. The public benefit is decided between the developer and the city.  This could be a park a library, a statute or any other agreed upon structure or art work.
  3. In the recent past, all developers in San Ramon have asked for the 50 per acre and most have applied for the bonus density. This, of course, increases density in our city beyond what was desired in the General Plan when it was last adapted.

Current status

About two to three years ago The Planning Department and the City Council being concerned that the current conditions allow for more density than desired started discussions of a Tiered Density approach. At this time the idea is to set the maximum at 30 units per acre and allow for increasing public benefits at different tiers above 30 up to the 50 per acre.  It appears that the public benefits would be more expensive for the developers as they reached the different tiers above 30 units per acre.  The general idea being that most developers would not want to incur the additional cost and as a result, the city would have less density than is now occurring. It is important to note that nothing is finalized and as the Tiered Density discussions evolve the City Council indicated that the residents will have input at each stage.

San Ramon Golf Course information

Council members Harry Sachs and Scott Perkins both pledged that they support the current General Plan as to parks and golf courses. This was noted as a result of a couple of residents mentioning the possible impact on the San Ramon Golf Course.

Bay Area Housing

The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), under CA law, is tasked with requiring Bay Area cities to build a certain number of affordable housing units. The number of housing units that must be built between 2014 and 2022 in the Bay Area is 189,990. San Ramon’s share of that is 1,417 affordable housing units. These units are built at a 7 to 1 ratio per CA requirements.  As a developer builds 7 units he must build one affordable housing unit. Of course, a development could be just affordable housing.  However, profit motives indicate that most developers will build the more expensive 7 and allow for the affordable unit.

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Update on Escondido

A reader of this site sent me a message asking about the current status of the Escondido Golf Club. Regular readers of this site may remember this as the infamous “chicken manure dump,” a tactic the developer used to intimidate and harass local homeowners. He had already shuttered the course. In response to the many complaints about the land having turned to blight, together with the health hazard presented by the stagnant water, he spread five tons of raw chicken manure on the site.

The owner of the site–who is also one of the owners of the corporation that purchased the San Ramon Golf Club in 2015–was fined $100,000 for this behavior.

There is an aptly-named blog dedicated to the Escondido matter: “War on Escondido.” It’s worth reading.

We’ll continue to post updates on all aspects of this and other golf courses purchased by the same developer as we receive them.

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City Council Meeting 4-25

Although the next City Council meeting doesn’t necessarily involve matters directly affecting Stay The Course, we’re going to begin posting the agenda as soon as we receive it. Community awareness and involvement are at the core of our system of government. Knowing what’s going on in City Hall ultimately affects all of us.

The meeting will begin at 8:00 PM on Tuesday, April 25.

The agenda for the meeting is a quick read, and worth taking a minute or two our of your busy day.

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Updated Report from Steering Committee

We jumped the gun a bit when we published the letter from the Steering Committee president on Monday. This is the correct version.

Open letter to StayTheCourseSanRamon subscribers.

It has been awhile since there has been an update on what your Steering Committee is doing. So – here is a status report of our activities since the beginning in November 2016.

Following the selection of all 19 people who showed an interest in being part of a Steering Committee, an organization meeting was held in November 2016. John Adams was selected President.

Mr. Ron Richards requested that the Steering Committee meet with him to discuss the status of his plans for the ongoing operation of the golf course.

The Steering Committee and the members of the community quickly became involved in a sometimes heated dialog about the merits of such a meeting. The prevailing commentary seemed to be that nothing good would come from such a meeting. The rhetoric got personal and was directed at Scott Holder and anyone who thought listening was a good way to learn what Mr. Richards would say about where he was headed.

John Adams and Scott, who by then had become Vice President, finally had enough and resigned leaving the Steering Committee without a leader. David Ernest scheduled an organizing meeting on February 2nd. At the same time, David canceled the scheduled meeting with Mr. Richards that had been set for the following week.

On March 2nd, the Steering Committee, now down to 14 members, nominated Paul Warren, who had been serving as Secretary, and David Ernest to be President. Paul declined because he was about to become a new father and felt the time needed to be President was better spent at home. Pat Tuohy became Vice President who, along with Gene Bucciarelli as Treasurer and Paul Warren as Secretary, make up the Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee meets, usually about 2 weeks before the scheduled meeting, to talk about which items will be on the agenda and any other administrative type of things that come up. We don’t keep minutes for this meeting so there is nothing to put on the website.

The results of a survey asking what the public’s opinion was concerning (1) whether the Steering Committee should meet with the developer in March and (2) only members of the SR City Council and Planning Commission should have any communication with the developer showed the following:

  1. There were 344 responses.
  2. 111 Agree with a meeting.
  3. 222 Disagree with a meeting.
  4. 8 Not sure.
  5. 3 Other.

As to question 2:

  1. There were 335 responses.
  2. 201 Agree.
  3. 120 Disagree.
  4. 14 No opinion.

In April, the Steering Committee listened to a presentation by folks who were speaking on behalf of residents concerned with the proposed expansion of the Church of the Valley located on San Ramon Blvd. The Steering Committee listened and the Executive Committee will discuss the merits of becoming involved in their cause and will report back to the Steering Committee in May about any action that should be taken.

A brief discussion was held about the proposed changes involving the Bridges Golf course. No formal action was taken since the subject was not an agenda item. It will be an agenda item for the May meeting.

An excellent flyer was presented to the Steering Committee that was created by one of the Steering Committee members. We are asking all Committee members to download the flyer, print as many copies as necessary, and start getting the word out to other parts of San Ramon about what is facing us here in South San Ramon.

Your Steering Committee is working on establishing a coherent mission statement now that our LLC application has finally been approved.

We have applied to the IRS for nonprofit status as a (501)(c)(4) corporation. Once that is approved, we will establish a banking relationship so that we will be able to accept donations to cover costs that will come up when events warrant a response.

Also in the works is a community survey asking for those who are willing to support us financially when the time comes to indicate their willingness to do so. We will discuss and review the survey at our May meeting.

This is about all there is to report at this time. An update will be posted on the website as events warrant an update but at least once a month.

Respectfully submitted,

David Ernest, President
StayTheCourseSanRamon

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