DANVILLE -- The opposition to changes proposed for the town's general plan shows no sign of letting up.
A fourth Planning Commission meeting on the subject, held Tuesday, again drew more than 200 people. They spoke late into the night and often passionately against the plan and its provisions to increase low-income, high-density housing and allow for clustered housing developments on agricultural land.
Due to the public response, a fifth meeting on 2030 General Plan Update has been scheduled for Feb. 12. If that isn't enough, a sixth meeting could take place on Feb. 26.
The commission is trying to put together its recommendations for the plan to be considered by the Town Council, which will vote to approve a final version that will guide town policies and development for the next two decades.
On Tuesday, resident Jenny Lyons told the commission that Danville reminded her of the fictional Bedford Falls in the Christmas movie "It's a Wonderful Life," and that it was a place where she felt her children could wander the streets safely after a football game.
"Oakland used to be a really nice town," she said. "They brought in a lot of low-income housing and lots of high-density housing, and it really changed the character of the town. ... I'm just speaking from the heart as a mom who feels like I'm really scared that our town is going to change. And if we lose Danville, where do we go from here?"
"Texas!" called out one
Several residents at the meeting spoke out against the Association of Bay Area Governments' regional housing needs allocation, which requires the town to zone at least 9.6 acres for high-density, affordable housing.
Others spoke in opposition to clustering housing on agricultural land and in favor of Measure S, a growth-control measure Danville voters passed in 2000.
Some voiced opposition to designating an area around the downtown as a priority development area, which focuses new development closer to transportation corridors and enables the town to compete for federal, state and local funds for road maintenance and improvements.
The town's sustainability action plan, a companion document to the general plan, also came under fire. It outlines policies related to environmental preservation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Resident Terry Thompson said that plan is "full of eco-babble."
"We don't need this in Danville," he said. "Even if you believe the greenhouse gas story, we're not going to solve it in Danville."
Of 20 speakers who spoke Tuesday, only Bob Nisbet, assistant general manager for the East Bay Regional Park District, spoke well of the plan, because it keeps development off hillsides.
Before taking public comment, the commission deliberated for several hours and asked the town staff to make some changes to the draft plan before the next meeting. Commissioners asked for more clarity on zoning that allows clustering of development within a larger property and also for more clarity on some agricultural zoning designations and how they relate to the Williamson Act, which provides property tax relief to owners who do not develop their land.
The commission also recommended the Danville Bowl be taken from a list of sites to be rezoned to allow high-density housing uses.
It recommended a separate section in the plan that defines Measure S and how it applies to a public vote on land use changes.
Acknowledging residents' concerns, Chairwoman Lynn Overcashier said: "People are passionate. Obviously, I wouldn't have volunteered for 22 years on the Planning Commission if I didn't care passionately about our community. I live here, too."
Contact Jason Sweeney at 925-847-2123. Follow him at Twitter.com/Jason_Sweeney.