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Forest Green Project ~ FAQ   

Q. Where is the Forest Green Estates site in relation to the Clark Road Project?
A. The Forest Green site sits directly next to the lower half of the Clark Road Project on the western boundary (the beautiful forested area to the right of the Clark Road Trail as you walk up the hill). The top portion of La Colina is at the western perimeter of the property, though the property stretches further up the hill past the point at which La Colina ends where it is adjacent to east Bay Regional Park land. There is a plot of roughly equal size just above the Forest Green site (from the line of eucalyptus trees to the ridge top). This land sports a private residence and as far as we know, the owner has no intentions to subdivide and develop this plot. The original site plans called for access to Forest Green through the proposed Clark Road development. That plan is no longer possible since the Clark Road development plan was not approved by the city of Richmond.


Q.Who owns the property?
A. The property is owned by Don Hancock, owner of General Holdings in Sacramento. The owner is represented by two agents: Larry Kenning of LAK Associates, LLC in Sausalito, and James Santurro of Land Research and Management in Placerville. The consulting firm that is hired to generate the Environmental Impact Report is Public Affairs Management. General Holding's plan is to get their development plan approved and then sell the plan and the land to a developer. They will not build it themselves.


Q. How many homes are planned there?
A.The current plan calls for 120 homes on the 81 acre property. That number may increase if the Jung property is acquired and added to the development plan.

Q. What is the Jung property? Why might the developers acquire it?
A. The Jung property is located on the south side of San Pablo Dam Road, about 1500 feet after the Appian Way stoplight (there's a Security Pacific "For Sale" sign there). It is a narrow stretch of land comprised of about 7 acres that basically follows La Colina Creek up the hill to the top of Wesley Way. The developers may consider purchasing it if they determine that they can build a road alongside the creek for access to their property (access being a prospective major hurdle for approval of the development). It would be virtually impossible to build on this narrow plot without causing major damage to the creek and it's environment. There is an old house on the property (fronting San Pablo Road) which the developer's agents have mentioned might be donated to the community for use as a Community Center - however, who would maintain it, manage it, or find the substantial monies needed to restore it is unclear.

Q. Is the Forest Green property in unincorporated El Sobrante?
A. No, Forest Green, like the Clark Road property, has been annexed by Richmond.

Q. How much extra traffic would this project add to the area?
A. The standard figures for this type of development say that the additional traffic generated by Forest Green would be about 1200 more car trips a day. This traffic would be traveling primarily on Clark Road and turning above Jana Vista. There is also a planned access point at the end of Wesley Way. The development will not be gated.

Q. What is the Hillside Ordinance, and what effect might it have on this proposal?
A. The Hillside Ordinance, enacted in 1997, restricts grading on steep slopes, large-scale alteration of natural terrain, and massive destruction of mature trees. It is unclear to us at this time how much effect this might have on this project, as we do not yet have a clear picture of the slopes involved. When this Ordinance became a serious obstacle to the Clark Road Project, Richmond City Planning Department attempted to have the Ordinance rewritten in terms that would be more favorable to the developers, by claiming that the ordinance is "unclear". This was shown to be completely without foundation, and the Richmond Planning Commission voted unanimously to retain the Hillside Ordinance as it stands. In fact, several of the Commissioners called for it to be strengthened!

Q. What will determine if the Forest Green development can be built?
A. The developer must first generate an Environmental Impact Report, which is a document prepared by an Environmental planner hired by the developer containing studies on soil stability, drainage issues, wildlife habitat impact, traffic flow, etc., and information on how the proposed project would affect the environment and the community. The Draft EIR, along with all its reports, is released to the public for review. It is expected to be released during the summer months. The public has a period of a month or so to respond to the EIR, and may submit expert testimony which may differ from that contained in the EIR. As per state law, the developer must respond to these comments. Changes to the plan may take place during this period and another version of the EIR reflecting these changes may be released. If issues arise during the EIR review that cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of the city, or any of the public bodies involved (Army Corp of Engineers, EBMUD, EBRPD, Department of Fish and Game) the project proposal can be rejected. If the City considers these questions to have been answered satisfactorily, it will approve the project (making it difficult to stop the project at this point).

Q. How can I affect this process?
A. The EIR review process is largely a technical matter. However, there is no question that public sentiment does have a role to play and that it is very important to let the policy makers know how you feel about development in the El Sobrante Valley, even if you cannot comment directly on technical issues. You can:

  1. Write to County Supervisor John Gioia and the Richmond City Council expressing your opinions regarding this development. There are certain time frames that are particularly effective in which to voice an opinion, and if you are on our email list we will notify you of the most important times to write or when attendance at a meeting is most critical.
  2. Educate yourself and your neighbors. There are people who think "we stopped all that development stuff up there 15 years ago- they can't build there" and also people who feel that it's inevitable, and that you can't fight City Hall. The first group needs to be aware that, until the properties are purchased by a public agency such as the East Bay Regional Park District, there will always be development pressure and until the political/economic scene in Richmond changes, development forces will have allies in Richmond. The second group should be made aware that many considered the Clark Road Project to be "a sure thing" and a done deal, and we, the people of El Sobrante and the East Bay have successfully stopped every development that has been proposed for the site by proving their plans to be environmentally unsound and geologically unsafe.

Watch this web site! We will be more active in posting news and "action items".

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