Most readers of this blog have attended one or more of the several meetings we have had in connection with the matter of the San Ramon Golf Club and how to handle the developer from Beverly Hills who has aspirations of building several hundred townhomes on the site.
At one of our early meetings, organized by Scott Holder, there was some discussion about his going to Beverly Hills to meet with the new owner of the property to see what his intentions were for the property. This meeting generated a certain amount of controversy later. There was concern among many that this meeting might be an indication of weakness on our part, a willingness to negotiate somehow with the developer. This individual has a well-documented history of buying distressed golf courses, allowing them to go to blight, then attempting to use that as a sort of lever to induce the communities to change their zoning to allow him to build high-density housing on these sites.
We have had several community meetings over the past few months. One of the decisions coming from those meetings was to create a smaller committee, initially referred to as a “board of directors.” Sixteen people asked to be considered for that group.
As it has become more apparent that the prevailing sentiment is to stand firm and to oppose any attempts to rezone the property, a reasonable question was raised: “What do we need a ‘board of directors’ for? We’re not going to be negotiating anything.” For what it’s worth, here’s my (Joe Parsons, your humble blog admin) two cents: In a very real sense, we as a community are under attack from someone whose only motivation and interest is his own profit. That this hoped-for profit would come at the expense of harming our community and the value of our homes concerns him not in the slightest.
His only leverage at this time is the threat to close the golf course and allow it to go brown. That leverage becomes worthless when we as a community say, “We like the brown just fine; it’s better than looking at a bunch of condos where open space used to be.” It is important for us to stay aware of any new developments and to stay in touch and organized. That is the purpose of having a “board” or, perhaps more accurately, a “steering committee.” There is no discussion whatsoever of entering into any sort of negotiations with the developer. And there is no interest among the City Council or Planning Commission to agree to rezone the property. The two challengers for the Council seats have publicly expressed their resolve NOT to support any change in the General Plan.
Holding meetings with 300 people or more is not only unwieldy and loud; it is also expensive to secure the space and organize. It seems to be more sensible and efficient to have a smaller number of people to serve as a steering committee to keep our community organized and aware and, if necessary, to call everyone to action if an occasion demanded it.
With that said, Scott Holder has set up a community meeting:
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Wedgewood Banquet Center
9430 Fircrest Lane, San Ramon
We’ll use this time to be sure everyone is fully informed about any new developments. In the meantime, PLEASE raise your neighbors’ awareness of this important issue. There are 325 homes that look out on the golf course, and at least twice that many more who would be directly (and negatively) affected by any development of the property. Today, we have 198 people subscribed to the mailing list, 340 people subscribed to this blog, and 334 people who have “liked” the Facebook page. That’s less than half of the people who should be deeply concerned and involved.
Spread the word, folks. It’s important.