Low-income housing is a hot Danville topic

By Jason Sweeney


DANVILLE -- Opponents to proposed changes to the town's general plan are planning to protest Tuesday night, then to pack a planning commission meeting.

The meeting is at 7:30 p.m. at the Danville Community Center, 420 Front St.

The opponents are concerned about general plan changes that re-designate land for low-income, high density housing and allow developers to cluster new homes on agricultural land.

"This is about transforming the Bay Area into some kind of high density settlement, but it's not right for Danville," said resident Heather Gass, a member of the East Bay Tea Party and Citizens Town Hall.

At the meeting Tuesday, town staff members will take public comments after a presentation on updates to the Danville 2030 General Plan and on the town's new Sustainability Action Plan.

The Danville 2030 General Plan Update is the newest version of the town's 2010 General Plan. Tuesday's meeting is part of a series of public meetings to be held before the Town Council votes on the updated plan, possibly in March.

At a Nov. 27 meeting, town staff gave a presentation on a draft environmental impact report on the proposed 2030 plan. More than 200 people showed up and overwhelmingly spoke out against the new plan.

Many speakers expressed concern that changes would put Danville's small-town character at risk. Also, speakers objected to a change that they said would pave the way for more development on agricultural land.

A major source of discontent at that meeting was state mandated changes to the town's housing density requirements. Changes in the 2030 plan are meant to enable Danville to meet regional housing requirements that are determined by the state. The Association of Bay Area Governments allocates the requirements down to the local level.

To meet its required goals, Danville's 2030 plan sets aside at least 9.6 acres for high-density, low-income housing.

Gass harshly criticized ABAG at the Nov. 27 meeting and said the town government is caving in to its demands.

Members of Save Open Space Danville have opposed rezoning that allows the clustering of new homes on farm and ranchland without a public vote under Measure S, Danville's Open Space Preservation Initiative.

Save Open Space Danville member Maryann Cella said there is widespread opposition to the new general plan for a variety of reasons.

"The common thread is that the Danville government is unresponsive to what the people want," Cella said. "People want local control. It's about who controls growth in the town -- Sacramento or Danville."

Contact Jason Sweeney at 925-847-2123. Follow him at Twitter.com/Jason_Sweeney.