New faces join campaign to safeguard Tassajara Valley

The Tassajara Valley, just east of the cities of Danville and San Ramon, is one of Contra Costa County’s natural gems. Yet for all its rural charm, it’s the site of a storied, 30-year battle. Now a new group is organizing to beat back attempts by sprawl developers to cover the agricultural area in suburban development.

Introducing People for a Better San Ramon. One of the latest to join the campaign for the permanent protection of the Tassajara Valley, this grassroots group formed after last year’s stunning defeat of Measure W — a ballot measure that would have expanded the city of San Ramon’s Urban Growth Boundary to bring massive development to the Valley.

“We’re speaking on behalf of the three-quarters of San Ramon residents who said they don’t want development out there,” explains Phil O’Loane, one of People for a Better San Ramon’s leaders. “We’re looking for leadership on this.”

Last month, Phil joined a chorus of organizations and individuals who submitted comments on the scope of the yet-to-be-written Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the “Koch-Kawar New Farm Project,” a 187-unit suburban development in the Tassajara Valley pushed by developer consultant Tom Koch and landowner Samir Kawar.

Many commenters focused on how the project would violate numerous local and state policies, including the existing voter-approved County Urban Limit Line. Others called on County officials to carefully study a litany of negative impacts from the project, from traffic and air pollution to loss of drinking water supplies and fertile agricultural land.

The County has not provided an estimated date for the release of the draft EIR. Until then, Phil and the other members of People for a Better San Ramon say they’ll continue building momentum. “Our quality of life is at stake. We’re not going away.”

Read the Scoping Comments that Greenbelt Alliance (PDF) submitted about the Environmental Impact Report for the proposed New Farm development.


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