What's Been Happening as of December 8, 2013
December 5 and 6, 2013 Articles about the proposed Creekside Memorial Park Cemetery by Joyce Tsai of the Bay Area News Group appear in Inside Bay Area and the Contra Costa Times.
December 5, 2013 Additional information for the Final Environmental Report (errata) has been published and is available on the County website. The County Planner advises that the public hearing before the Contra Costa Planning Commission will likely be held in January 2014; no date set yet.
November 27, 2013 The Contra Costa County Zoning Administrator closed hearing at which the adequacy of the Final EIR will be discussed has been postponed. Instead of December 2, it will be held on December 16. The agenda and staff report will be posted when they become available.
November 25, 2013 The Agenda for the December 2, 2013 Contra Costa County Zoning Administrator meeting was emailed out today. Although Item number 7 on the agenda (3:30 p.m.) is “a closed hearing to consider the adequacy of the Final Environmental Impact Report (Final EIR) for a Land Use Permit prepared for the proposed Creekside Memorial Park Cemetery” (Staff Report), this item was postponed to the December 16th meeting. Note - this hearing is about the adequacy of the Final EIR only, not about whether the Land Use Permit should be approved or denied. Also, it is a closed hearing, so no public comment will be taken (although the public can attend).
November 21, 2013 According to Telma Moreira, the County Planner, no date has been set for the County Planning Commission public hearing on the proposed cemetery. She thinks that the hearing very likely won’t happen until mid-January at the earliest. She will provide the date and a copy of the staff report (which will also be available online) as soon as they are available.
November 18, 2013 The Final Environmental Impact Report is now available on the Contra Costa County website (it is a big file--35 MB--so it may take a while to download). We are currently reviewing it and will update the website with our own, and any other, reviews we receive. It is likely that we will send out more emails about cemetery status until the project is decided. If you are not on the email list, now is a good time to sign up. In the near future we will support more interactive idea sharing by maintaining a blog on this site or by stepping up the facebook activity.
October 31 - November 14, 2013 The County Planner, Telma Moreira, advises that she will let us know when the Final EIR is available.
October 24, 2013 The County Planner, Telma Moreira, advises that there is no new information about when the Final EIR will be available, so it appears that early November is still the anticipated publication date.
October 11, 2013 The County Planner, Telma Moreira, advises that the Final EIR will likely be available in two weeks, with meetings before the Zoning Administrator and the Planning Commission to follow. She advised in an email on October 11, 2013 that "We have provided our comments to the Final EIR and our consultant will be working in the next two weeks to produce copies of the document. This will include response to all the comments. Once the final document is available I will definitely provide you a copy of it. Before we go to the Planning Commission, we anticipate taking the Final EIR before the Zoning Administrator for recommendation of the document. This ZA meeting will be open to the public, even though it is a closed hearing (no testimony will be taken). I do have a letter from you stating that you like to know of "any" meeting, so I will let you know when it is scheduled before the Zoning Administrator as well. No dates yet; however, I anticipate it for early November."
September 30, 2013 The County Planner for the project is now Telma Moreira, replacing Demian Hardman. Her contact information is: Telma B. Moreira, Principal Planner, phone (925) 674-7783, fax (925) 674-7258, Department of Conservation and Development, Community Development Division, 30 Muir Road, Martinez, CA 94553, email email@example.com.
May 13 - September 27, 2013 The County Planner, Demian Hardman, advises that the Final Environmental Impact Report is still being reviewed internally, with no date set yet for its publication.
July 29. 2013 Here is an mail exchange between the County Planner, Demain Hardman, and the project applicant regarding "Lawn vs. Lawn Entombment area for Traditional Lawn in the Lower Garden Area": July 29, 2013
May 3, 2013 The County Planner, Demian Hardman, is still working on the Final Environmental Impact Report, advising in an email on May 3, 2013 that "The document is still going through its final internal review/edits, and will be available soon."
May 3, 2013 Here are Contra Costa County Supervisor Candace Andersen’s views about the proposed cemetery as she answers questions posed by a local San Ramon resident and Diablo Valley College student in an exchange of emails on April 12, 2013.
April 25, 2013 The County Planner, Demian Hardman, is still working on the Final Environmental Impact Report, advising in an email on April 25 that “It’s taking a little longer than expected. However, we are wrapping things up. I’m not sure when it will be completed, but hopefully sometime next week.”
April 19, 2013 The County Planner, Demian Hardman, advised that the final EIR will be completed soon, but he does not have a firm date.
April 18, 2013 Here's how San Ramon's Old Ranch neighborhood stopped a proposed cemetery back in 1999: In September 1999, the City of San Ramon Planning Commission considered a proposal to include "cemetery" as an approved use for agricultural land in San Ramon, subject to a special use permit. This request was made at the request of Davidon Homes, who had built the Old Ranch development. At the Planning Commission meeting of September 7, 1999, many people spoke up against the proposal. At the Planning Commission meeting of October 5, 1999, the Planning Commission postponed discussion to the next meeting, since so many people had come and the hour was so late. At the meeting of October 19, 1999, about 250 people came; at this meeting, Davidon Homes withdrew their proposal due to the negative comments that had been received. At the October 19, 1999 meeting, the Planning Commission was also provided with additional 'Late Communications'
March 20, 2013 The County Planner, Demian Hardman, advised that the final EIR will be completed by mid-April, and that it will likely appear before the County Plannng Commission in June (no date set yet).
March 20, 2013 Here are links to documents about the Tri-Valley Cemetery Committee which were obtained through Public Records requests to Pleasanton and San Ramon:
- May 2003: San Ramon City Council meetings of May 13, 2003 and May 27, 2003 discussed the appointment of Dave Hudson as San Ramon's representative on the Tri-Valley Cemetery Committee
- Oct 2003: Tri-Valley Cemetery Task Force Meeting Minutes October 17, 2003 and roster of October 21, 2003
- Nov 2003: Emails of November 19, 2003; handwritten notes of November 20; Tri-Valley Cemetery Task Force Meeting Minutes November 21, 2003
- Jan 5, 2004: Letter and attachments from Alyssa Sandoval, Assistant Planner, City of Pleasanton to Peter Klein, Chief Financial Officer, Corrie Development Corporation. The attachments nclude "Questions for Corrie Development" and "List of Attendees for the Jan 16, 2004 meeting".
- Jan 16, 2004: Tri-Valley Cemetery Task Force Draft Meeting Minutes January 16, 2004
- Jan 21, 2004: Letter and attachments from Alyssa Sandoval, Assistant Planner, City of Pleasanton to Peter Klein, Chief Financial Officer, Corrie Development Corporation with “Roster: Tri-Valley Cemetery Committee: Revised 1/20/04” and “Questions for Corrie Development” (included with letter).
- Feb 4, 2004: Letter and attachment from Peter Klein, Chief Financial Officer, Corrie Development Corporation to Ms. Alyssa Sandoval, Assistant Planner, City of Pleasanton, with “Information Packet" and “Answers to Questions for Corrie Development raised by the Tri-Valley Cemetery Committee” (included with letter).
- Feb 6-9, 2004: Series of emails between Jennifer Hosterman and Alyssia Sandoval regarding the Tri-Valley Cemetery Committee, and email from Mike Shimansky to Alyssa Sandoval noting that he is unable to attend the Feb 20 meeting.
- Feb 10, 2004: San Ramon City Council meeting of Feb 10, 2004 issues Report on the Tri-Valley Cemetery Task Force and also chooses Curt Kinney as San Ramon's representative on the Tri-Valley Cemetery Committee
- Feb 20, 2004 Tri-Valley Cemetery Task Force Draft Meeting Minutes February 20, 2004
- Mar 9, 2004: Letter from Jennifer Hosterman, Chair of Tri-Valley Cemetery Committee and City Councilmember City of Pleasanton, to Peter Klein, Chief Financial Officer, Corrie Development Corporation
- Mar 23, 2004: Letter from Peter Klein, Chief Financial Officer, Corrie Development Corporation, to Ms. Jennifer Hosterman, City of Pleasanton
March 19, 2013 Here are two interesting articles about cemeteries: one from ABC 7 20-20 on March 8, 2003 about living next to a cemetery in Brooklyn (and the cemetery's impact on property values), and one from the Washington Post on December 4, 2012 about the problems caused by funeral processions.
March 18, 2013 Bill and Holly Newman sent a letter to Demian Hardman, the County Planner, summarizing the lack of need for the proposed cemetery. The letter included the following attachments: maps showing available sizable cemeteries within 10-15 miles of Danville, San Ramon, Dublin, and Pleasanton; letters from two cemetery experts (Mr. Tom Gratny and Mr. Ray Young); the Newman's memo dated April 30, 2010 analyzing need; and two memos from P/A Design Resources discussing need (one dated September 30, 2009 and one dated February 5, 2010)
March 10, 2013 An online petition against the proposed cemetery was set up, and a sign against the proposed cemetery was put up on Camino Tassajara:
March 7, 2013 The County Planner, Demian Hardman, advised that the final EIR will be completed by the end of March, and that it will likely appear before the County Plannng Commission in May (no date set yet).
March 4, 2013 Jessica Lipsky of the San Ramon Express wrote an article about the proposed cemetery titled "County focuses on water mitigation measures for Tassajara Valley cemetery"
February 28, 2013 Tom Barnidge's column in the Contra Costa Times on February 28 referred to former San Ramon mayor Abram Wilson's support of the proposed cemetery
February 21, 2013 The County Planner, Demian Hardman, advised that the final EIR will likely be completed in mid March. About 3-4 weeks after that, it would appear before the County Planning Commission.
February 20 and 22, 2013 Articles about the proposed cemetery appeared in the San Jose Mercury News and Contra Costa Times, as well as spots on TV: KGO channel 7 and KPIX channel 5.
February 18, 2013 Bill and Holly Newman sent a letter to Demian Hardman, the County Planner, summarizing the proposed cemetery's projected water demand. Although the DEIR states that the proposed cemetery would use 43 acre-feet per year (equal to 38,000 gallons per day), the usage s would actually be between 78 and 92 acre-feet per year (equal to 70,000 to 82,000 gallons per day) when all landscape consumption is included.
January 11, 2013 Bill and Holly Newman sent a letter to Demian Hardman, the County Planner, addressing issues outside the scope of the DEIR for the proposed Creekside Memorial Park Cemetery, in particular its violation of Contra Costa County Ordinances and State of California Health and Safety Codes. The letter included three earlier letters sent by the Newmans to Mr. Hardman with additional concerns about this topic: one dated March 2, 2010, one dated June 14, 2010, and one dated June 17, 2010.
January 10, 2013 The date when the project goes before the County Planning Commission may be delayed beyond late February 2013. When the County Planner was asked on January 10th if a date had been set, he advised "I do not have an expected Planning Commission date at this time. Check back with me the first week in February."
November 15, 2012 The County Planner received a package of five documents dated October 15, 2012 which addressed the biological resource concerns raised in the Draft EIR. These documents were prepared by the consultant Ms. Angie Harbin-Ireland of AMEC Environment and Infrastructure Inc., and consisted of a cover email (which included the County's emailed requests), a History of Regulatory Agency Consultation, a Biological Resource Update, Clarifications Regarding Special-Status Aquatic Invertebrates, and a Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle Survey.
November 5, 2012 The County Planner, in an email to the applicant, noted that the County expects the project to go before the County Planning Commission in February 2013.
November 5, 2012 The County Planner sent an email to the applicant suggesting that he prepare legal findings in areas where the County was having difficulty; these areas include the "significant and unavoidable" impacts that were identified in the Draft EIR, and the variance findings required for the proposed lot line adjustment. The County also attached a template format for the applicant's use.
October 24, 2012 Mr. Tim Clancy, of 7090 Camino Tassajara, sent an email to Ms. Catherine Kutsuris, the Director of the Department of Conservation and Development, stating his concerns with the requested variance and lot lot line adjustment.
August 28, 2012 The Contra Costa County planner and the applicant exchanged several memos regarding the variance for the substandard parcel of 9.2 acres in an A-80 Zoning District. The applicant sent a letter to the County on August 10. The County's response, and the applicant's response to it, were dated August 21 and August 28 respectively.
August 15, 2012 The Contra Costa Times published an article titled "Neighbors fight columbarium," about efforts to stop a proposed columbarium from being built at Peace Lutheran Church, 3201 Camino Tassajara, Danville.
August 14, 2012 The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors approved a contract amendment with Sponamore Associates to extend the term of their contract from August 14, 2012 to August 14, 2013, and increase the payment limit by $136,322 to a new total payment not to exceed $400,422. This contract is to complete the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Creekside Memorial Park Cemetery.
August 2, 2012 The Contra Costa County planner notified the applicant in a letter dated August 2, 2012 that the additional information requested had been received (ref letters dated April 19, 2012 , May 23, 2012, June 6, 2012, and July 16, 2012). Based on this information, Mr. Corrie is a qualified applicant. However, before Mr. Corrie can exercise his right to obtain the portion of Mr. Clancy's property through the approval of a lot line adjustment, approval of a variance to allow for a substandard parcel of 9.2 acres in an A-80 Zoning District (Exclusive Agricultural District, minimum 80 acres per parcel allowed) is required.
July 24, 2012 The San Ramon Express published an article titled "Residents protest potential columbarium at local church," about efforts to stop a proposed columbarium (a 6-foot high wall with niches to hold up to 264 cremated remains and memorial plaque) at Peace Lutheran Church, 3201 Camino Tassajara, Danville.
June 29, 2012 The Independent published an article titled "Group Wants to Build North Livermore Cemetery," about a group of investors who want to build a 104-acre cemetery just north of Interstate 580 near the Las Colinas Road overpass. The proposed Monte Vista Memoial Gardens is now used as pasture land.
May 3, 2012 The Independent published an article titled “Wilson Wants Cities to Back Tassajara Cemetery Plan,” written by Ron McNicoll. We have scanned the article and it can be found here. There were two mistakes in the article: the correct address of the proposed cemetery is 7000 Camino Tassajara (not 7200), and although the article states that one of the buildings would be 30 feet tall, actually one of the buildings would be 32 feet tall, with a 42 foot tower, and another would be 36 feet tall. Yes, these buildings would be massive.
May 1, 2012 The San Ramon Express published an article titled “District 2 candidates talk politics, personal beliefs at supervisor debate,” written by Amelia Arvesen. This debate was hosted by the Danville Express and held on April 26. The third question asked by the audience was: “The new supervisor will undoubtedly have to address the proposed Creekside Cemetery and the New Farm project that has 187 houses planned. Both of these will be in the Tassajara Valley. Even though they are in District 3 now, where do you stand on this?” Danville mayor Candace Anderson answered: "A cemetery in open space can work if it's done appropriately. It's certainly worth looking at." Tomi Van de Brooke, president of the Contra Costa Community College Governing Board, said she is not inclined to take the open space east of San Ramon and turn it into a cemetery. "As it's proposed today, it appears to be an urban development beyond the urban limit line," she said. The third candidate, Sean White, was not able to attend. A link to the article can be found here.
May 1, 2012 Holly Newman, representing Friends of Tassajara Valley, spoke at the Pleasanton City Council meeting during the public comment period, explaining why the city should not financially support the proposed Creekside Memorial Park cemetery. A copy of her comments can be found here. The video link can be found here. Ms. Newman's comments start at time-stamp 27:21.
April 24, 2012 Holly Newman, representing Friends of Tassajara Valley, spoke at the San Ramon City Council meeting during the public comment period, explaining why the city should not financially support the proposed Creekside Memorial Park cemetery. A copy of her comments can be found here. The video link can be found here. Ms. Newman's comments start at time-stamp 35:50.
April 18, 2012 Roz Rogoff, in a San Ramon Observer blogcast, interviewed the former mayor of San Ramon, Abram Wilson, about the Tassajara Valley, including the proposed Creekiside Memorial Park cemetery and the New Farm project. Our transcription of the interview can be found here. A link to the blogcast interview can be found here. The comments on San Ramon Express about the interview can be found here.
April 17, 2012 Holly Newman, representing Friends of Tassajara Valley, spoke at the Danville Town Council meeting during the public comment period, explaining why the town should not financially support the proposed Creekside Memorial Park cemetery. A copy of her comments can be found here.
April 17, 2011 Former San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson spoke at the Pleasanton City Council meeting during the public comment period, requesting that the city consider a request for Pleasanton, along with the other Tri-Valley cities, to financially support the proposed cemetery. Our transcription of his comments can be found here. The video of the Pleasanton City Council meeting can be found here; Mr. Wilson's comments start at time-stamp 36:12.
April 12, 2012 The Contra Costa County planner notified the applicant that the County is unable to move forward with the Creekside Memorial Park Cemetery Project unless one of three things occurs: Mr. Clancy submits a letter advising that he (Mr. Clancy) allows the project to occur on his property, or Mr. Corrie provides evidence that he is the legal owner of Mr. Clancy's property, or the project is modified to only include the subject properties that is (are) owned by Mr. Corrie. In addition, all outstanding fees must be paid for work completed to date. The document can be found here, and the attachments to the document can be found here.
April 12, 2012 The candidates for Contra Costa County supervisor for District 2 (which now includes San Ramon) participated in a forum on environmental issues on April 12. The forum was sponsored by environmental organizations including the Sierra Club, Greenbelt Alliance, Save Mount Diablo and the League of Conservation Voters of the East Bay. The forum was moderated by Bay Area News Group political reporter Lisa Vorderbrueggen.
Here is our summary of the candidates' responses when asked to state their opinion of the proposed Creekside Memorial Park cemetery:
Here is our summary of the candidates' responses when asked to state their opinion of the proposed Creekside Memorial Park cemetery:
- Tomi Van de Brooke (Contra Costa Community College Trustee, of Orinda) said that she had recently walked the "Tassajara Ridge", and that she didn't think that a cemetery would be a good use of that open space. She noted that we do have a shortage of cemetery spaces so would need to look at it.
- Candace Anderson (current Danville Mayor) said that if done correctly a cemetery would be a good way to avoid development, but we need to aware of its water impact: She also stated that she is against huge mausoleums, but that a cemetery can be in the spirit of open space.
- Sean White (solar expert, of Lafayette) said that he would need to talk to the neighbors; he supports "green burials" since they're put "nice and deep," and he doesn't want to fill the Tassajara Valley up with embalming fluid. He thinks that it is worth looking into.
April 10, 2012 Former San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson spoke at the San Ramon City Council meeting during the public comment period, requesting that the city consider a request by the developer for San Ramon to buy the cemetery property. He said that he planned to go to all the Tri-Valley cities and make the same request. Our transcription of his comments can be found (note -revised on 4/25/12 to correct a typo, we changed the word "coma" to "Colma") here. Here is a link to the "video on demand" site for the San Ramon City Council meeting: link. Scroll the time bar to about 16 minutes into the meeting. Note also that the audio is intermittent for about the first 30 seconds of Mr. Wilson's comments.
February 16, 2012 The Contra Costa County planner notified the applicant that development on 33 acres of the 221 acre site had been suspended, but that the applicant may continue to move forward with a modified project on the remaining 188 acres. The document can be found here.