DANVILLE -- Opponents of a proposed housing development on Diablo Road are hoping to take their fight to the ballot box.

Members of Save Our Creek, an organization of about 700 neighbors, announced Thursday night before a crowd of about 100 that they will circulate a petition seeking a vote on a measure to provide more protections for agricultural, general open space, and park and recreation land in Danville.

The group is attempting to block a project proposed by Summerhill Homes to build about 70 homes on land currently zoned as agricultural. The group also is aiming to prevent the town from allowing more development without a vote of residents as specified by Measure S, the Danville Open Space Preservation Initiative that was passed in 2000.

Measure S requires voter approval for amendments to the town's general plan that change land use designations for agricultural, open space and parks and recreation land.

The town's position is that the Summerhill project does not trigger Measure S because it requires a zoning change and not an amendment to the general plan.

Attorney Stuart Flashman, who represents Save Our Creek, call the town's position a "ploy to circumvent" the intent of the general plan, Measure S and the voters.

The Summerhill project is turning out to be the main issue in the race for three open town council seats. Mayor Newell Arnerich and Councilman Mike Doyle are up for reelection and have stated that the Summerhill project should not come before the voters under Measure S. Candidate Renee Morgan, who is on the planning commission, agrees with Arnerich and Doyle.


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During Thursday's meeting, council candidates Bob Nealis and Jim Jelincic spoke before the crowd and contrasted themselves against Arnerich, Doyle and Morgan, both stating strongly that the Summerhill project should be brought before voters. They urged the crowd to overturn the current council in November by voting for themselves and for candidate Deanna Sullivan, who agrees with them on the issue.

Save Our Creek member Maryann Cella said the group plans to file its initiative with the Danville city clerk next week. Once the city attorney assigns a title and creates a summary of the petition, the group will begin gathering signatures to place the measure on the ballot.

Check back later for more details.

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