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Sara Barz

Legal review finds “New Farm” proposal illegal

A legal review (PDF) released July 1 shows that the proposed 185-unit “New Farm” project in the Tassajara Valley near San Ramon would, if approved, violate numerous local laws and policies. The legal review was conducted by Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP, one of the most respected land-use law firms in California, on behalf of Save Mount Diablo and Greenbelt Alliance.

The analysis (pdf) finds the project is “inconsistent with numerous provisions of the (Contra Costa County) General Plan, including provisions adopted by voter initiative. Therefore, it would be unlawful for the County to approve the Project as proposed.” It also concludes that approval of the “New Farm” project would violate Measure J of 2004, making the County ineligible to receive its return-to-source portion of the half-cent sales tax for transportation projects authorized by the measure.

Far from a credible development proposal, the project is being advanced by development consultant Tom Koch and his client, land speculator Samir Kawar, to break the open space policies that protect the Tassajara Valley.

On Monday, July 19, the San Ramon City Council will vote on whether to approve the urban growth boundary expansion in General Plan 2030. After the Council’s (expected) approval, the voters will have to approve the General Plan in the November 2010 election.

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