The Dublin City Council rejected a proposal to have city staff explore a General Plan Amendment (GPA) that, if adopted, would have allowed the conversion of 12 acres of a 22-acre site of agriculturally zoned land into 57 one-story single-family homes for buyers over 55 years of age.
The remaining 10 acres on a ridge near Fallon Road would have served as a passive park.
Dublin’s policy on applications for development allows City Manager Chris Foss to ask the council whether staff should discuss with a developer such things as traffic impacts, environmental mitigations, and community impact payments for a proposed development. If at the outset, the council is not interested, the idea is dropped, which saves staff time and money.
The council made it clear at its Feb. 19 meeting that developer William Lyon’s request should not be the subject for GPA talks. The council voted unanimously not to proceed.
For various reasons, Mayor David Haubert and the four councilmembers agreed that it was the wrong place for such a development.
Tri-Valley Sierra Club representative Marlene Massetti stated during audience comments that the site provides habitat for several threatened species, including the burrowing owl, tri-colored blackbird, and tiger salamander. In addition, golden eagles, an endangered species, forage throughout the 22 acres.
Councilmembers Arun Goel and Jean Josey referred specifically to the species protection. Josey noted that the East Dublin Plan talks about maintaining areas that provide adequate foraging for eagles and for open space around them, making sure they are not harassed. “It talks about natural corridors. To me, this is not the right place for this.”
Goel said he was glad to hear people talk about the threatened and endangered species. “There is always a way to find mitigation for a situation, but we are talking about the realignment of agricultural land, which has the potential of one house (under current zoning, instead of 57 homes) going to something different.”
According to Goel, Dublin has 5300 units remaining to be built in its General Plan. There is a need for senior developments, but the city should talk to various developers about it, perhaps in the downtown, near other senior housing and the senior center.
Councilmember Shawn Kumagai stated that in general, he does not want to add more units to the existing General Plan, unless “it moves us toward smarter growth, notably to the transit center and transit lines, with adequate services.”
Vice-mayor Melissa Hernandez said that she likes the effort to bring in senior housing to Dublin, but felt the development should have more senior amenities on-site or nearby, such as senior developments behind and across the street from the Senior Center.
“There will always be growth in Dublin, and eventually in downtown Dublin. We should preserve some unique areas in Dublin, and realize we have some beautiful regions out there,” commented Hernandez.
Haubert agreed with the councilmembers. He noted that their comments were consistent with his call a few months ago for a pause in growth, to look at how many units remain in the General Plan, and what services will be needed to accommodate them.
KUMAGAI CALLS FOR GAY PRIDE MONTH IN DUBLIN
On another item, Kumagai asked that the council, at its May 21meeting, pass a resolution declaring June to be Gay Pride Month.
The May 21 meeting is the day before the birthday of the late San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, a pioneer of gay rights.
Kumagai suggested that the Rainbow flag, also known as the Gay Pride flag, be flown daily during June at the Civic Center.
“The purpose is to recognize the importance of LGBTQ individuals here locally and historically, nationally and internationally,” said Kumagai,
“Dublin embraces diversity in all forms, and we also recognize that while we have come a long way, certain inequities exist in housing, employment, and increased rates of bullying and violent hate crimes,” Kumagai explained.
Haubert said, “I have no idea where we have a (Gay Pride) flag, but I have no aversion to that.” Kumagai said that acquiring a Gay Pride flag should not be difficult. Foss said that he will meet with Kumagai to learn what the councilmember would like specifically. Kumagai, a former resident of Contra Costa County, said that he found that five cities there have issued Gay Pride declarations.
Kumagai himself is a pioneer of gay rights. He became the first openly gay person to hold a public office in the Valley when he was sworn into office last December.