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Steering Committee Meeting 2/23

STEERING COMMITTEE’S 2/23 MEETING RECAP

This recaps the 2/23 Committee meeting

  • How can we better move forward as a group
    • We agreed to keep the community better informed as decisions are being considered on critical issues instead of waiting until all details are completely finalized.
    • Since Committee meetings do not occur on a monthly basis, pertinent information would be broadcasted on a timely basis.

Confirmation of our objectives of the Ron Richards’ meeting

We discussed what we wanted to attain from the meeting.  Our objective is to gain information that will benefit us and the City Council as we move forward.  Currently neither we, nor City Council, know anything about the development plans.  We also want to know about previous tactics and possible impact on our situation.  I have had ongoing contact with our City Council about our actions to make sure we are in concert with them.

The meeting is NOT for negotiation, we do not have the authority nor do we seek it.  There is no non-disclosure agreement.  The meeting is not a sanction for development.  After the meeting, I will provide a detailed account via the blog.

Ron Richards’ meeting

We discussed areas on which we would like information or clarification:

  • Pool closure
  • Status of the golf course
  • New fencing purpose
  • Previous actions taken at other purchased golf courses.
  • Proposed development plan

If there are any the areas you would like us to probe, please reply on the blog.

Update on the LLC

Documents for the LLC request have been sent to the State.  There are several steps are involved going forward including Federal approval before gaining final approval.

Future Strategies

Of particular importance is getting the word out to all of San Ramon about how the elimination of a golf course/open space and development of the property with houses and whatever will negatively impact their daily lives, wherever they live.

Further tactics to be forthcoming.

It was brought up that some members of the community were concerned about a meeting with Ron Richards.  The Committee agreed that the issue of whether or not to meet with him had been thoroughly examined and discussed and the vote would stand.

John Adams
President

There have been requests as to who are the Committee members.  Attached is an updated list.

UPDATED STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBERS

PRESIDENT:  JOHN ADAMS
VICE PRESIDENT:  SCOTT HOLDER
TREASURER:  GENE BUCCIARELLI
SECRETARY:  PAUL WARREN

AT LARGE:
JIM HART
RINKU THAKUR
PAT TUOHY

MEMBERS
BECKY KOLBERG
DAVID ERNEST
DIANA BROWN
GEOFF HO
JEFF BOWLSBY
JOE PARSONS
JOE WEYANDT
LUCILLE EVANS
MICHELLE HEMENWAY

 

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Activity on the golf course?

I received this comment from Adam Holden this morning. I am posting it with his permission:

Name Adam Holden
E-mail
Phone Number
Make comment public? Yes
Questions or comments? Heads up, two trucks in the parking lot at the golf course this morning loaded with fencing. Largely it looks like gates for blocking cart paths. When asked the driver of one of the trucks where it was being installed he didn’t know yet was waiting to hear from the customer.

It’s important to keep in mind that the new owners of the San Ramon Golf Club have made no application to the City of San Ramon to change to zoning from its present Golf Course/Agricultural to a zoning that would allow building.

This may be part of the work on the riparian habitat that is part of the Faria development. We’ll post updates as we find out more.

EDIT: more information from Adam:

Name Adam Holden
E-mail
Phone Number
Make comment public? Yes
Questions or comments? Update to my last note…the fencing is to block ALL entrances to the back nine are being gated.
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New Article in The Californian

Journalist Sam Campopiano has just released a new article about the San Ramon Golf Club and the developers’ plan to build homes on the 125-acre site.

Mr. Campopiano’s story is accurate and well-written. A couple of excerpts:

If the city of San Ramon does not change the zoning of the San Ramon Golf Course to allow the new owners to build housing on part of the course by the end of the month, the new owners have pledged to close the golf course for good.

This is nothing new. Many are, frankly, surprised that the course is still open.

Richards and Schlesinger want the city to change the zoning from “agricultural” to “residential,” so they can build housing on the golf course. If the city council fails to meet their demands, Richards and Schlesinger pledge [to] chain off and close the course indefinitely.

Many residents are saying, “brown is my new favorite color.”

The article is a must-read for all San Ramon residents, not just those who live close to the golf course. To put this into perspective, there are 26,000 homes in San Ramon. Of these, 18,000 are homeowners. There are 325 homes that look out on the golf course, and twice as many in immediate proximity (across the street). If the site were to be developed, the homeowners whose backyards abut the course would lose value–I would estimate around $20,000 for each home because their neighborhood and views would change (I am speaking as a real estate broker and mortgage lender here). Of greater concern–and this affects everyone in San Ramon–is the effect on traffic and infrastructure. Regardless of any promises the developer might make about schools and parks, the effect on traffic would be significant, especially on Alcosta, San Ramon Valley Boulevard, Broadmoor, Pine Valle Thunderbird and Sedgefield. These are all residential streets that cannot be widened to handle the additional traffic. Ultimately, these effects would extend to ALL San Ramon residents.

The San Ramon Golf Club property is zoned Golf Course/Agricultural. That is written into the General Plan. The only way that could be changed to allow building would be with a 4/5 vote of the City Council AND of the Planning Commission. Failing that, a ballot measure, which would start with a petition. There are no other avenues for these developers to build so much as a doghouse on that land.

It is more important than ever that we all stay aware and involved. You can do your part by urging every other resident of our city to subscribe to this site.

Read Sam Campopiano’s excellent article HERE.

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Comment from a neighbor

We received this comment from Keith Parodi, a neighbor. We’re posting it with his permission. If you’d to appear in a post on the blog, just use the comment function and I’ll put it up for you!

I would like to thank all involved in all your hard work and dedication to preserving the golf course. I like the new look to the website and clarifying the supposed rumors and message from new owners to with Mr. Holder. It is important that we stick to the facts and react as one group. Keep up the great work in your spare time, as I know you all have day jobs and family’s to worry about as well. Happy Holidays and God Bless
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Report of Steering Committee Meeting

This provides a brief recap of the Steering Committee’s Meeting earlier this month.

  • I recapped a meeting I had with a couple of City Council members. The reason for the meeting was to let them know about the Steering Committee and to open a line of communication.  They have not received anything from the owner.
  • We will need funding support from outside resources to effectively run a campaign to protect our interests. Two local realtors have already pledged to support our efforts with donating a portion of the proceeds of every sale in the neighborhood.  Big thanks to Joe Norton of Alain Pinel and Cindi Hagley of J. Rockcliff!
  • Good ways to draw attention to our cause and show support are yard signs and banners.

yard-sign

They are available at Vista Print.  The above sign costs about $17 that includes a stand.  You can order it or other options on their site:  sanramon.biz.vistaprint.com.

  • We discussed a Mission Statement and discussed various recommendations. We will fine tune the recommendations for our next meeting.
  • We are moving forward with forming an LLC. This will provide a legal entity for collection and dispersal of funds as well as liability protection.
  • We will continue to seek environmental agency support.

News reported after the meeting is that completion of the Faria Reserve Project on the back nine may not be completed until February or later.  This is just an FYI as it is has nothing to do with the new golf course owner.

John Adams

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Stay the Course Steering Committee

Last week we had the first meeting of the “steering committee.”  The committee is a diverse group representing a variety of points of view.  The purpose of the committee is to represent the Stay The Course group regarding any issues with the golf course situation.  The first order of business was to select committee officers.  The following people were selected:

  • President: John Adams
  • Vice President : Frank Abajian
  • Treasurer: Gene Bucciarelli
  • Secretary: Paul Warren
  • At Large:
    • Jim Hart
    • Rinku Thakur
    • Jolee Gust
    • Michelle Hemenway
    • Scott Holder

It was also decided that they would be the officers of the LLC.

Sub committees were developed to provide input into plans to defend the community’s best interest.  The committee will meet on a regular basis to develop and evaluate short and long term tactics and strategies.  Our purpose is twofold:

  • Prepare ourselves with a successful responsive action against any action by the developer.
  • Proactively develop offensive plans of action to provide us leverage.

Currently, The biggest opportunity is to get the word out to all of San Ramon about this situation.  Encourage your friends and neighbors to support us and also subscribe to our blog at www.staythecoursesanramon.com.

John Adams

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A number of people have noted with alarm that a portion of the course has been fenced off and that there appears to be some sort of work going on. Is the new owner doing an end run around the city and is beginning to build?

No. Geoff Ho posted a comment about this last week:

The fencing on the back nine is for the construction work that will enhance part of the course as a riparian habitat. The riparian habitat is being made in a land trade with the Faria Preserve Project (the development behind Home Depot) to meet environmental requirements. Since Faria Preserve eliminated some riparian habitat the builder (Cal Atlantic) had to make up for it elsewhere. Cal Atlantic made an agreement with the prior SR Golf Club owner and got the various government agency approvals. The plan calls for planting 19 trees and 3,247 shrubs on the course and Cal Atlantic is paying for everything.

There is more information about this at http://www.sanramon.ca.gov/gprc/documents/04Land.pdf and http://www.danvillesanramon.com/news/2016/07/27/san-ramon-council-supports-faria-preserve-initiative-ordinance.

We published a blog post in August as well: http://staythecoursesanramon.com/index.php/2016/08/30/some-more-information-about-the-golf-course/

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Now It’s Camarillo Springs Golf Course

The Camarillo Springs Golf Course has been operating for nearly 50 years. Now, with the drought, the recession, El Nino and the current phase of the moon, the new owner of the course has decided that it is no longer “financially viable” as a golf course and may have to be converted to some other use.

Sound familiar? It should; the new owner, Cameleon Springs LLC, is headed by one Ronald Richards.

Owner says that between the drought, rising maintenance costs and fewer players, keeping the aging course open is no longer financially viable. Alternative uses are being sought.

It’s a familiar pattern. Read the article to see how similar this situation is to ours and other communities Mr. Richards has invaded.

It is very important that we keep organized and focused. Richards has not approached the city with any plans or proposals, but it is reasonable to assume that he will attempt to induce the city to rezone so he can build on the land he bought for twice the asking price.

Any development of the golf course–even a single house–will affect ALL of San Ramon, not just those 320  homes that are adjacent to the course. Spread the word among your neighbors and every other San Ramon resident you know. Get them to subscribe to the blog so they can stay informed and aware of any changes in the situation.

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A letter from the developer

Scott Holder received the following this week from the new owners of the golf course property.  There are some points that bear mentioning:

  1. No one–including Scott Holder–has proposed any form of negotiation with the developer
  2. This individual’s history with other golf course properties is available for review
  3. He is trying to frame his hoped-for development of a significant portion of the property in the most positive, appealing terms, as though he is trying to persuade the affected homeowners that his venture would be a good thing for the community
  4. As expected, he appears to be complaining that the course is not financially viable. He is evidently expecting us to forget that the overpaid by more than $4 million when he purchased the property

Edited on 10/30/16 at 6:18 PM to add content:

The letter to Scott Holder from the developer was unsolicited. He is evidently trying to lobby Scott, thinking he might get some sort of advantage when he (the developer) applies for a zoning change.

–Admin

Please remember that there is a process for developing any property. In order to erect so much as a birdhouse, there would have to be an Environmental Impact report and approval to amend the General Plan and zoning. Any changes would require a 4/5 vote of the City Council and a 4/5 vote of the Planning Commission. One of the City Council members must recuse himself (his home is on the course), so all four members of the Council would have to approve any change.

If the City Council and Planning Commission do not approve–and  there has been no application to date–there would have to be a referendum (proposition) where the community would vote whether to change the General Plan and zoning.

It is more important than ever for us to stay informed and aware. Any development of the property would affect far more than just the 325 homes that look directly on the course. PLEASE get every person you know in San Ramon to subscribe to the website and to the mailing list to keep informed on any new developments. You already know how quick and easy that is!

Comments are invited below.

{Beginning of letter from developer}

ISSUES

  • -Aging clubhouse and infrastructure
  • -Labor and water bills not sustainable
  • -Declining golf play
  • -Not economically feasible for the long term
  • -Closure is imminent

OPPORTUNITIES

  • -Preserve over 115 acres  (89%) as improved and permanent open space
  • -Limit development to less then 15 acres (11%)
  • -Keep in place 18 hole golf course, driving range, club house and pool
  • -Invest millions of dollars back into the infrastructure, irrigation, drainage, landscaping, the golf course, the pool, open space and the clubhouse
  • -Insure that the 115 acres stays green for generations to come
  • -Add additional amenities for the community to use
  • -Cap on unit count (no more then [sic] 180 units)
  • -Restrict development to 55+ (no impact on schools and very traffic impact)
  • -Development plan affects very few existing current views of homeowners
  • -Limit height to no more then two stories
  • -No apartment or condo buildings
  • -Prevent closure of the course and the issues that go along with closure such as fencing, brown grass, vagrancy and crime for years to come
  • -Preserve and increase existing home values
  • -Complete community input and involvement in the entire process

{end of letter from developer}

 

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Meeting Reminder

The next meeting of Stay the Course San Ramon will be this week:

Thursday, October 27, 2016
7:00 PM
Wedgewood Banquet Center
9430 Fircrest Lane, San Ramon

In particular, we will discuss the proposed “steering committee: and its function.

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