DANVILLE -- The town of Danville last month approved a subdivision of 20 single-family homes on a swath of land known as the "Podva property" in the southwest part of the city.

Ponderosa Homes will develop the homes on 10 acres of a 109-acre plot at the western end of Midland Way, near Ocho Rios Drive. The other 99 acres are dedicated to East Bay Regional Park District for open space and trails, said David Crompton, Danville's principal planner. The 10 acres with homes will be located on the lower portion of a prominent hill on the property.

"It's one of the last bigger properties left to be developed in the city," he said.

Most of the homes will be one of three floor plans, two of them single-story and the third a two-story plan, with a master bedroom downstairs, said Jeff Schroeder, senior vice president of Pleasanton-based Ponderosa Homes. The homes will likely fall somewhere in the $1.3 million to $1.4 million price range.

The project is "pretty straightforward and pretty minimal impact," he added, so Ponderosa hopes the first homes will be under construction by June 2015. But first, regulatory approvals must be granted by the Regional Water Quality Control Board, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state's Fish and Wildlife Department.

"That would be our goal," he said. From there, "it would probably be a two-year project to complete all the houses."


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The project also is designed to meet the town's affordable housing requirements, which mandate that 10 percent of new homes -- two houses, in this development's case -- include separate dwelling units that can be leased out as potential rental units, Crompton explained. The 400-square-foot rental units in these two houses, with separate entrances to the outside, don't necessarily have to be rented out.

The development faced relatively little opposition from neighbors, Crompton said.

A handful of surrounding property owners came to public hearings on the issue and mostly made comments that focused on stormwater runoff and flooding issues. They were worried that because a lot of water rushes down the hill during heavy rains, that it might contribute to flooding or mudslides in the area.

But to address those concerns the developers are creating a detention basin, that will look essentially like a pond, that will capture the water as it rushes down, allowing it flow out more slowly and evenly down the hill, Crompton said.

"And I think everyone felt like in the end, it would be better after the project than before," he said.

Also the project will preserve close to 100 acres of open space on the hill, only developing its lower portions for housing -- and the new homes will have the same lot sizes as the surrounding property, making it fairly noncontroversial as a project, he said.

Even so, a few residents say they fear the homes might displace some peacocks that nest nearby. The town and the developer say the birds shouldn't significantly impacted, thanks to the preservation of open space and because the peacocks have found many other places in the neighborhood to take refuge.

Pam Stogner, who lives nearby, said the peacocks have been living in the area for the past 15 years or so, and that a number of them nest in a couple of oak trees in the area to be developed.

"You'll seem everywhere. You'll see them on the front yards. You'll see them on the fences, up to close to the yards and on the eaves of the fence," she said.

"They're cute and they are fun to watch," she said. "They have personalities and they'll chase each other around for circles, or they'll run around the trees. They are very playful with one another."

But even still, she said she hoped the peacocks would continue thrive, despite the development, since "it is definitely going to happen."

Yet, Stephanie Brown-Myers, who also lives nearby, worries that the development might drive the peacocks toward busier streets. They've already wander frequently onto nearby streets such as Ocho Rios Place, Rio Del Court and Midland Way -- and at times, will even stop traffic as they cross the street.

"Each year they make a new flock and find another place to hang out," she said.

Contact Joyce Tsai at 925-847-2123. Follow her at Twitter.com/joycetsainews.

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