Correction: The Express incorrectly reported Town Manager Joe Calabrigo's statement about leaving the Association of Bay Area Governments. The town of Danville will remain an ABAG member but remove all language concerning the organization from the General Plan. June 30, 2013 refers to the date in which Corte Madera will remove itself from ABAG.
Every seat was occupied at Danville's Town Council meeting on March 5, as residents were eager to hear the Council's thoughts on the 2030 2030 General Plan update for the first time. However, the Council refrained from reaching a decision after listening to more than 70 residents voice their continued opposition and support.
The Council had three items to consider: the final environmental impact report (EIR), sustainability action plan (SAP) and new General Plan 2030. After several hours of testimony, the Council indicated their plan to edit the proposed update with changes and eliminations.
Town Manager Joe Calabrigo began the meeting by emphasizing the importance of reinforcing small town character, natural setting, town history, ridgelines and open space within the context of future planning.
Many residents, including former mayor Don Ritchey, used their speaking time to thank the Council and express appreciation for their continued efforts to do what is best for the community. Ritchey said he trusts the Council's judgment to balance the needs of the community and comply with state law.
Before ending the meeting the Council provided staff with direction on other changes to be made to the General Plan update prior to its March 19 meeting. These changes include:
- Remove language related to priority development areas (PDAs) from the draft General Plan
- Remove language related to the ABAG and the sustainable communities strategy from the draft Plan and draft SAP
- Retain the minimum 9.6 acres necessary to meet the Regional Housing Needs Allocation shortfall with the Borel Property (Site 24A&B) and Diablo Gateway Part 3 (Site 19).
- Retain the current 2010 General Plan definition of "agriculture" with language to describe how Measure S is implemented, delete a text box describing Measure S and incorporate the full language of Measure S as a part of the Draft 2030 Plan.
- Simplify the language in the draft SAP and emphasize the voluntary nature of the plan
Even with the above adjustments, some residents were still concerned about the direction of the plan including resident Terry Thompson, who related keeping the PDA, an area with concentrated development, to inviting bureaucrats to Danville.
"We will fight to keep local control or we will give it to outsiders…This is probably the most important decision you'll make as a town council member," Thompson said.
On the other hand, there was a change in the meeting's atmosphere with many speakers, including resident Bob Nealis, feeling encouraged by the response from the Council. He urged town officials to make the best decision for the community.
"Whether we're on the opponent or proponent side, we're trying to give you support. Show us you've been listening. Prove us wrong," Nealis said.
The Town Council will host another public hearing on the draft 2030 General Plan update at its March 19 meeting. That meeting will also be held at the Community Center (420 Front Street).