DANVILLE -- Disapproving residents heckled the Planning Commission when it voted Tuesday night to approve the town's controversial Danville 2030 General Plan.
Upset audience members protested, some citing undue United Nations influence on Danville, and jeered high school club members who urged approval of the plan.
After five public hearings, with unhappy residents loudly protesting changes that could locate future sites for high-density affordable housing, the commission recommended a few changes and handed the plan off to the Town Council.
The council could vote to approve it at its next meeting in March.
Like previous meetings, about 200 people came out to the Danville Community Center to voice their views Tuesday on the updated general plan and the associated Sustainability Action Plan -- documents to guide town policies and development for the next two decades.
The overwhelming majority spoke against the plans, especially zoning more land for affordable housing, as required by the Association of Bay Area Governments.
"I don't want to be negatively impacted by low-income, high-density or affordable housing," said Danville business owner Carol Franco. "When government starts telling us we have to put in affordable or low-income housing, it takes away our freedoms."
Residents spoke out against ABAG's regional housing needs allocation, which requires the town to zone at least 9.6 acres for high-density, affordable housing.
Throughout the night, audience members held up signs that read: "Danville out of ABAG."
"I love America, and I came here for the American Dream," Danville resident Andrew Lowe, who came here from Northern Ireland, told commissioners. "This is a plan to control everything under the guise of it being sustainable. ... It's clear that this initiative comes from the U.N. (United Nations), and allowing this to happen, you're giving power to an unelected body, ABAG, that's following a U.N. agenda for America. And Danville doesn't want this."
Several speakers said they worked hard to live in Danville and moved here because of its small town charm, safe streets and good schools, and don't want the town to resemble nearby cities, such as San Ramon, Dublin, Antioch or Hayward, where there is more high-density, low-income housing.
Some speakers voiced opposition to designating land near downtown as a priority development area, which focuses new development closer to transportation corridors and lets the town compete for federal, state and local funds for road maintenance and improvements.
A handful of speakers, some representing environmental groups, spoke in favor of the general plan and the Sustainability Action Plan and were jeered by the crowd.
San Ramon Valley High School senior Dennis Riley, the president of a school environmental club called E2, came to the meeting with about 20 club members. He was heckled as he spoke in favor of more affordable housing and sustainable development.
"I feel like many people believe that the people coming into this affordable housing are going to be hoodlums or gangsters," he said. "These are going to be people just like me, and I am not a criminal."
Throughout the night, speakers turned and addressed club members and told them they should work hard if they want to live in a nice place like Danville when they are older.
Toward the end of the meeting, Town Manager Joe Calabrigo told the crowd that the town has been a member of ABAG since 1982. "ABAG is an organization that is a membership organization that represents nine counties and 101 cities in the Bay Area," he said. "And among other things, they deal with the regional housing needs allocation process. They do not dictate the planning and development standards for the town of Danville. And neither does the United Nations or Agenda 21 or the European Union."
A few moments later former state assemblyman and former U.S. Congressman Bill Baker approached the podium and spoke over commissioners and town staff, stating that the numbers ABAG was using to determine the amount of high density, affordable housing in Danville were incorrect. Commission Chairwoman Lynn Overcashier cut him off and told him the public hearing was closed.
For more information, visit www.danvillegeneralplan.com.
Contact Jason Sweeney at 925-847-2123. Follow him at Twitter.com/Jason_Sweeney.
The plan now goes to the Town Council, which is tentatively scheduled to vote on March 5. For more information, visit www.danvillegeneralplan.com.