The latter is not an unusual cloud formation.
Complaints have been flying about a Danville family who built a private sports field, complete with lights, artificial turf and a 14-foot fence, next to their estate in the hills that overlook northwestern Danville -- all without the town's knowledge or approval.
Neighbors on El Alamo and Alamo Springs Place say the project is a real foul ball.
"What we see from our home is unsightly, noisy and I hope not endorsed or approved or permitted by the town of Danville," Timo Wadhawan, a resident of Alamo Springs Place, wrote in a letter -- one of at least a dozen complaints Danville officials have received from angry neighbors.
The town staff is recommending that planning commissioners vote Tuesday to make David and Connie Lowe tear down their park, which is situated on a vacant parcel the Lowes purchased next to their existing home. Danville officials say the project violates the town's Scenic Ridgeline Ordinance, barring property owners from building anything conspicuous on major hillsides.
The Lowes never applied for a building permit, according to the town staff. They point out several other ordinance violations, including one limiting the height of fences on residential property to 6 feet.
The Lowes did not return a call seeking comment Friday afternoon, but in an Aug. 23 letter to the Alamo Springs Homeowners Association, they requested that they be allowed to keep their park. "We are not making this Application for profit or personal gain -- our sole intent is to provide a safe playing area for our children, our friends, and our neighbors," they wrote.
In a separate letter to the town, signed by both the couple and their attorney, the Lowes say they built the ballpark to address Danville's shortage of available practice fields for children.
The town staff is recommending that the planning commission deny their request to retain the park.
One neighbor said David Lowe told him he wanted to remain involved in his children's sports programs, but his busy schedule didn't permit him to make all the games. He built the $300,000 park, the neighbor said, as a way of bringing the games closer to home.
The Lowes are proposing landscaping and other mitigations to help obscure their park from view.
But, say members of the Alamo Springs Homeowners Association, "It is too late for such measures."
The town staff first learned about the park in March, when neighbors called to complain about construction on the property. Danville's building inspector posted a stop-work order on the site and sent a follow-up letter to the Lowes.
But neighbors say the Lowes did not halt construction and have continued to use the park. In June, the Lowes' attorney sent a letter to the town, asking for a development-plan request that would allow them to keep the sports field. The letter argues that because the vacant parcel is zoned for single-family housing, the Lowes could have developed a house on the land that would have been equally visible from the street as the ballpark.
Reach Jeanine Benca at 925-847-2125.