DANVILLE — A controversial plan to put new homes on the foot of Mt. Diablo in the exclusive Blackhawk community may be resurrected just months after it failed to get approval from residents.
Opponents say the Blackhawk Country Club's plan to rezone land from parks and recreation use to residential use is a slippery slope, one that could lead to more open space being developed in the gated community.
"It's the most prominent, undeveloped hill in Blackhawk. If this can be rezoned, what else?" asked opponent Luther Johnson, who moved to Blackhawk a year ago. He said part of the area's attraction was the open areas and that the master-planned community was considered "built out," or completed.
He said just three months after the proposal failed to get approval in a vote among residents, club officials are talking about trying the vote again. "The voters have already spoken. When does it end?"
Opponents have also started a Web site, www.saveblackhawk.com, to express their views.
Seth Adams, director of land programs for Save Mount Diablo, which was involved in the debates when Blackhawk was first developed, said his group has no position but is watching the proposal closely.
"The big concern is the precedent-setting nature" of it, Adams said.
Club officials did not return calls for comment.
Mark Goldberg, community manager for the Blackhawk Homeowners Association,
Neither Johnson or Goldberg had estimates on how much the sale could bring.
Goldberg said ballots were sent to residents earlier this year. A second mailing went out after not enough ballots came in. The process was completed in May. To be approved, the rezoning proposal needed 50 percent plus one vote of all eligible members, not a majority of votes turned in.
He said of about 2,000 possible voters, 911 were in favor and 475 against, so the result was about 80 yes votes short of passing.
Johnson said he has had informal talks with club officials about their for plan another vote. Goldberg said the association and country club have not yet discussed that, but that he would not be surprised if it comes up. He said the latest he heard was that the club would try to work with opponents to identify and resolve the issues.
Goldberg said the club could call for a second vote if it gets 5 percent of eligible association members to sign a petition asking for the vote. Because it would only take about 100 signatures on petitions, Goldberg said that could easily be achieved and it would force the association, which would have 35 days to respond to such a petition, to hold an election.
Johnson also criticized the association, saying it was trying to push the plan on residents who were "blind sided" when ballots arrived in the mail for the first election. He said the packet only had information supporting the proposal and seemed as if the association was endorsing it.
"It really looked like the homeowners association endorsed this proposal," Johnson said.
Goldberg said the association did not take a position. He said the association, which knew the proposal would be controversial, included in the mailing an association cover letter and some information from the club. But the club did not put its letterhead on its information, which may have made some think it was all coming from the association, he said.
"It didn't come out as clearly as we thought," Goldberg said. He said if another vote comes the association will have each side responsible for its own mailings. "Clearly we know this is controversial."
Reach Eric Louie at 925-847-2123.