Around Dublin: Dublin City Council to Developers: Leave Doolan Canyon Alone

This article was originally published on June 9, 2014 by Around Dublin.

By Around Dublin Team

At last Tuesday night’s meeting, Dublin City Council unanimously adopted the Dublin Open Space Initiative and created an urban limit line along the eastern side of the city. This urban limit would preserve the voter-approved Alameda County Measure D and maintain Doolan Canyon as open space zoned for agriculture. “We took a strong stand against unchecked urban sprawl last Tuesday night,” said Dublin Councilmember Abe Gupta. “I believe in smart and responsible growth, but growth always and in all ways is neither smart nor responsible.”

Doolan Canyon is a gorgeous piece of currently protected land sandwiched between Dublin and Livermore, CA. Pacific Union Homes and an investment group led by Charter Properties and the Lin Family are hoping to develop the area as part of what is currently proposed to be an active lifestyle senior community with 1,990 homes.

Of course, most people in the Tri-Valley do not believe Pacific Union Homes will stop at just 1,990 homes for seniors. Citing “market conditions” as Charter Properties has done at the Promenade, Pacific Union Homes will likely toss out the plans for senior housing in favor of a massive development with homes in the thousands once the area falls under Dublin’s sphere of influence and is zoned for residential use.

For over two years, residents in and around Dublin, CA have been quietly sharing their concerns about the city’s eastward expansion towards Livermore through the Save Doolan Canyon online petition hosted on the Around Dublin Blog. In addition to Dublin City Hall, the signed petitions from concerned Tri-Valley residents have been going to Save Mount Diablo, Sierra Club, Tri-Valley Conservancy, Friends of the Vineyards, Friends of Livermore, and the highly regarded Greenbelt Alliance. The grassroots movement eventually found its leaders in the Friends of Dublin Open Space.

The Friends of Dublin Open Space submitted the Dublin Open Space Initiative of 2014 in mid-April with 3,670 signatures. The State of California allows 26 weeks for signature collection, but the Friends of Dublin Open Space and their passionate volunteers were able to meet this requirement in just eight weeks.

Just as Dublin Open Space Initiative wrapped up its signature collection drive, the developers found their champion in former Dublin mayor Janet Lockhart and began its campaign of confusion with a competing initiative ironically named Let Dublin Decide against Dublin’s electorate. The Let Dublin Developer Decideinitiative would allow Pacific Union Homes to bypass voter approval and cram thousands of homes in Doolan Canyon.

Roughly 25 residents and community leaders spoke in favor of the Dublin Open Space Initiative, while barely a handful stood up for the developer’s initiative. Supporters of the Open Space Initiative expressed grave concerns over the negative impact more residential development would have on Dublin. In its deliberation, Dublin City Council agreed with the residents and pointed out that the Dublin Open Space Initiative would essentially preserves the status quo, which is an endorsement of Dublin’s general plan and its Eastern Dublin Specific Plan.

As it sided with the residents, Dublin City Council voted 5-0 to adopt the Dublin Open Space Initiative immediately and put the Let Dublin Developer Decide initiative on the November 4th ballot. In addition to approving an urban growth boundary along Dublin’s eastern borders, Mayor Tim Sbranti and Councilmember Gupta will draft the ballot argument against the Let Dublin Developer Decide initiative. “This battle is far from over,” warned Councilmember Gupta. “The developers have crafted an ingenious ballot initiative aimed to confuse Dublin’s voters. We need to make sure our residents see the Let Dublin Decide initiative for what it really is, so we can protect Dublin’s urban growth boundary.”

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