Sam Richards, a reporter at the East Bay Times, has written four articles recently about the golf course. After reading the most recent, “San Ramon: Golf course neighbors to fight plan to shutter course” published on 9/23/16, I realized that there is an emerging narrative about the changes in the San Ramon Golf Course. In the Times article, Ron Richards, one of the new owners who bought the property in hopes of developing it with high-density housing, is quoted:
“We are trying to work with the community to build homes on a small section of the course, leaving the rest as permanent open space with golf….It will be closed and fenced if we cannot work out a long-term solution with the community and the city.”
Richards and his group have not reached out to any of the residents in pursuit of his profits. According to members of the City Council, he has made no overtures or application to the City to change the zoning or amend the General Plan. His office has leaked a map showing many townhomes on a portion of the golf course, but the map–an architectural sketch with no identifying labels–was clearly designed to cause anxiety in the community.
It is also apparent that there are surrogates who have begun to appear in the comments to this blog and in other venues. These are people with changing identities (possibly one person) who post in support of negotiating with the developers. This individual has raised the specter of costly litigation. It is important to keep in mind that the San Ramon Golf Club property is zoned as “Golf Course/Agricultural.” In order to build so much as a doghouse, both the zoning and the General Plan would have to be changed. This can only be accomplished by a 4/5 vote of the City Council AND the Planning Commission or a referendum (proposition) that would come to a vote in a general election. In order for anyone to enter into litigation, one of the parties would to have done something actionable–and refusing to change the zoning to allow a developer to erect several hundred townhomes on what is now open space does not fall into that category.
The other stories that have appeared in East Bay Times so far are