SAN RAMON -- More than a hundred opponents of a proposed cemetery in the Tassajara Valley turned out in full force to register hostility toward a large graveyard being built in Contra Costa County, not far from their homes.
San Ramon Mayor Bill Clarkson and Vice Mayor Phil O'Loane hosted the meeting Tuesday night to provide project updates and obtain public feedback on the proposal by Danville developer Sid Corrie to build Creekside Memorial Park, a 100,000- to 150,000-plot cemetery to be built on 221 acres at 7000 Camino Tassajara.
Aversion to the project was expressed by more than 30 people, many of whom feared that the cemetery would exhaust already dwindling available water reserves in the face of the ongoing drought, as well as lead to increased traffic and declining property values.
Ken Feinstein, a Windemere development resident, said such a massive cemetery nearby could "turn beautiful farmland into the Tassajara Valley of the Dead."
"We've come from all over the world to build a community in Windemere," he said referring to the area's residents' strong commitment to family and education in the area. "And it'll turn our streets into an extended funeral parlor."
Residents also asked for the city to help them in their fight to oppose the project, over which San Ramon has no jurisdiction. A decision on whether to approve the project is expected to come before the Contra Costa County planning commission this summer, perhaps in July.
The meeting at City Hall, which had audience members spilling out of the council chambers and listening to the meeting outside, also drew not only many San Ramon residents but also those from the Tassajara Valley, East Dublin and the Alamo Creek neighborhood of East Danville who also feared living nearby the project.
Nick Uychaco, a 20-year Camino Tassajara resident, said that he was upset to have not heard about the project until just recently.
"Having a cemetery there is going to change the whole feel to the Tassajara Valley," he said, demanding to know why he hadn't received prior notification of the project. "Why wasn't I sent a letter?"
If this project is approved, "I would have to say that greed has won over the rights of the living," he added. And that no environmental impact report would be complete without a section that specifically talks about its impact on those living nearby the proposed site.
Resident after-resident got up to speak against the cemetery project, saying that not only would it regularly expose their children to the concept of death, earlier than desired, but living so close to such a place is also considered bad luck by many of the Asian families living nearby.
Located near the Tassajara Creek Regional Trail, the cemetery would be located about 2,300 feet away from existing homes on Windemere Parkway, next to the Hidden Valley open space area. No one spoke in favor of the project at the meeting.
The $35 million cemetery, with a 50-year capacity, would house a chapel, indoor and outdoor mausoleums and feature extensive landscaping. Proponents say it would be a place that families in San Ramon, Danville, Alamo, Blackhawk and Diablo could bury their loved ones nearby, since the number of plots in the area are dwindling. And it would preserve the area's pastoral, peaceful atmosphere more than if housing were built there.
O'Loane, however, said housing could not be built in the area, since the city's urban limit line, which was passed several years ago, would restrict such residential development.
Contact Joyce Tsai at 925-847-2123. Follow her at Twitter.com/joycetsainews.