Ordinances 11-21: An Overview


Residential developments span the entirety of East Dublin (Photo credit: Harshini Ramesh).

The city council’s recent unanimous approval of Ordinance No. 11- 21 has left the Dublin community to diverge into two warring bodies. Among the controversy, one organization, committed to amplifying its position in this critically pertinent ordeal, has emerged. Dubliners Against Overdevelopment, a coalition founded and facilitated by Dublin residents, has demonstrated a vehement effort to spread awareness for their referendum against the polarizing housing project.

The ordinance, passed on December 21st, approved “The East Ranch Project,” or the development of 573 new homes with a 157.5 acreage, spanning across Croak Road in East Dublin. The referendum, if successful, will allow the ordinance to appear on the ballot for residents to vote on- introducing the possibility of annulment. Many Dublin residents recognize that this project will have potentially detrimental ramifications on not only the general populace, but also the natural amenities and environment upon which Dublin’s community has been built. 

Dubliners Against Overdevelopment has cited various environmental concerns in a statement issued on January 18th, specifically criticizing the use of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) from 1993 to justify the project:

“If these dated EIRS are the basis of good growth plans, why is it that residents have and continue to face issues with lack of infrastructure upgrades, crowded schools, traffic congestion, loss of open space and destruction of biodiversity and never-ending increases in residents’ property taxes?”

The organization has successfully collected and delivered 5,243 signatures in opposition to the ordinance from Dublin residents to Alameda County, which will have 30 days to respond. 

The rationale behind the usage of this EIR lies in a deep-rooted history concerning the East Dublin Plan, an ordinance voted on by Dublin residents in 1992. The plan observed the future zoning, or development, of the  majority of East Dublin. The East Ranch Project was always envisioned as a part of this plan, and hence an environmental analysis was conducted in 1993, with updates in 2002 and 2003. These studies comprehensively covered possible environmental repercussions that the plan may ensue, along with mitigation opportunities for these repercussions.

“Those mitigations included dedication of new school sites and the payment of impact fees. School sites were subsequently dedicated to accommodate the growth studied under the  previous EIRs,” says City Council member Michael McCorriston.

The ordinance additionally includes inclusionary zoning regulations, which were heavily negotiated by the council and the property developer. The negotiations mandate the developer to provide 18 housing units to residents who earn 120% of the area median income (AMI). Additionally, two acres of land (77 units worth of housing) will be designated to build affordable housing units for intellectually and developmentally disabled adults. 

Utility lines will be contributed to the potential acreage by the developer, adding to the overall value of the negotiated regulations. For 55 of the units built within the original property, ADUs, or accessory dwelling units, will also be deed-restricted by the developer, in that the ADUs may only be rented to those who meet AMI restrictions and are low income.

“We felt that this affordable housing package was more robust, and will ultimately provide homes for more people than would be produced had the developer strictly complied with the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance. I’m particularly excited about the Eden/Sunflower Hill project for adults with Intellectual Disabilities, which we wouldn’t be getting if the developers had brought us a strictly compliant project,” Vice Mayor Jean Josey commented. 

As the referendum effort progresses, however, the meek potentiality that these projects will be delayed. The collection and submission of the signatures, having been certified as a raw count of 5,202 by the city, may result in either of two possible outcomes: the city may cancel the ordinance altogether, or it will be put on a ballot for Dublin residents to vote upon. An overturn would prove adverse as  the developer may sue the city on the account that the annulment has invalidly rescinded their ownership rights to the property, prospectively inducing an extortionate amount of financial loss. 

The implications of this ordinance, incriminatingly unforeseeable amid these progressions, are inevitable, and only the drought of predestined ambiguity remains. As events begin to unravel in the immediate future, residents may only be permitted to await in anticipation. This privilege of uncertainty has granted Dublin only an awry situation in which frustration is fervid.

“Hundreds of times residents have appealed at Planning Commission and City Council meetings for the city to slow down on approving housing development projects to allow for our infrastructure and schools to catch up,” claims Dubliners Against Overdevelopment, “They have to listen but really do not hear us.”