Making Democracy Work

Local Positions that Apply to Specific Communities

League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley Local Positions that Apply to Specific Communities

CONCORD (1974)

The Concord members of the LWVDV recommend a program which encourages the development of an attractive, viable, pedestrian-oriented core area. We support efforts to provide for a more attractive community by encouraging high standards in site planning, landscaping, and building design. We support:

1. Variety in housing for all income levels throughout residential areas, with emphasis on low-income housing that has been subsidized to below-market-value prices. As we increase density in development, planning for new construction should adequately provide for maintaining a good quality of life for new residents and the neighborhood as a whole.
2. More efficient and innovative land use to preserve open space and hillside contours.

Transportation (1989)

The Concord members of LWVDV support:

1. Expansion of shuttle bus services.

2. Satellite parking at depots/stations in outlying areas; transporting passengers via express bus routes and/or bus lanes to the nearest BART stations.

3. Implementation of city ordinances that encourage van pooling and ride sharing for businesses in Concord and enforcement of penalties against businesses for noncompliance.

4. Evaluation of proposed developments and redevelopment areas for compliance with existing traffic regulations and streets/road construction to minimize traffic congestion in abutting areas.

5. Development of new road construction to alleviate the impact of traffic flowing from adjacent areas and alternative systems, such as bike lanes and people movers.

6. Monitoring of new housing developments that will have an impact on current traffic conditions.

EAST COUNTY

East County operates under countywide positions.

LAFAYETTE

Natural Environment (1980)

The Lafayette members of the LWVDV support the maintenance and enhancement of the natural beauty and feeling of openness in Lafayette, including:

1. A coordinated program for preserving open space, especially prominent ridgelines, hillsides, and stream beds. The program should include environmental review, zoning regulations, planned unit development, public acquisition, and parkland dedication.

2. A comprehensive program for developing accessible and varied park and recreation areas, including coordinated trail systems.

Central Business District, Transportation (Adopted 1980; amended 1989)

We support an attractive and financially viable central business district, including:

1. Retail shops which are accessible, inviting, and complemented by adjacent zones designated for other commercial business. Retail use of ground floor in office buildings should be encouraged.

2. Designated crosswalks and improved signals to make it possible for pedestrians of all ages to cross Mt. Diablo Blvd., Moraga Road, and other four-lane arterials in the business district. Pedestrian circulation should be encouraged.

3. Parking lots with the pedestrian in mind which offer safe walkways and landscaping. Through traffic should be discouraged. Adequate parking, preferably hidden, should be developed. We recommend that the city work toward increasing parking spaces.

4. A unified plan of landscaping for the business district, as well as the requirement of extensive landscaping as a condition of approval for building in the business district.

5. Carpool lots near peripheral freeway interchanges and satellite parking for public transportation. Adequate public transportation should be provided to the BART station to eliminate some of the traffic congestion in the downtown area. Shuttle bus service from parking areas should be provided to shopping areas and to public transportation.

6. Parking limitation enforcement.

7. A circulation plan to relieve traffic congestion.

8. Parking and pedestrian amenities achieved through assessment districts or other mechanisms.

Housing (1981)

We support housing that meets varying socioeconomic needs, including:

1. Cluster housing, single-family homes, modular and prefabricated houses, townhouses, and other multi-family units.

2. A general plan that allows for greater densities by selective upzoning to increase the housing options for moderate-income families. Any such upzoning must take into consideration access to mass transit, suitable topography, service delivery by utilities, compatibility with existing development in adjacent neighborhoods, preservation of older single-family housing, the impact of parking and traffic, and the City of Lafayette (i.e., sewers, fire protection, etc.).

3. Preservation and rehabilitation of Lafayette's older housing stock insofar as these homes provide less-expensive units than new housing which might replace them.

4. Construction and remodeling to provide secondary dwelling units with appropriate definitions and regulations.

5. Creative methods of financing affordable housing through private sponsors and lending institutions, as well as through state and federal subsidies.

Planning Process (1980)

We support efficiency in the planning process which does not sacrifice careful review by commissions and the public, including:

1. A planning commission with members selected to represent the community at large. Openings should be advertised and duties listed. Applications should be in writing and available for public review.

2. A planning commission concerned mainly with long-range planning, development of general policies, zoning, and the approval of subdivisions; one that is alert to innovative solutions to planning problems; and one that delegates routine matters to the zoning administrator.

3. A design review committee to advise the planning commission on the esthetic impact of developments within the community.

4. Cooperation between the planning commission and other Lafayette commissions on matters of overlapping concern.

Recreation (1980)

We support adequately staffed and funded recreation programs and facilities to meet the needs of all of the citizens, especially those whose needs are not currently met through the volunteer programs.

MARTINEZ (1974)

The Martinez members of LWVDV support the concept of long-range planning for Martinez and the establishment of policies for implementing those plans. We support arrangement of land uses which will maintain or enhance the desirability of Martinez as a place to live for all its citizens. Consideration should be given to housing, traffic circulation, parks, recreation and open-space needs, commercial and industrial factors, etc. We support detailed planning to achieve specific goals, particularly:

1. Maintenance of those natural features of the Martinez area which are visual and environmental assets.

2. Preservation of the image of historic Martinez and rehabilitation of older structures where feasible.

3. Retention of the major portion of the waterfront lands for open space, park, recreational, and related purposes. We oppose all industrial expansion or use in the waterfront area.

4. Amelioration of the physical, financial, and social impact of the county complex on the Martinez area. We . encourage the city to pursue actively county cooperation in making this impact desirable rather than detrimental. Areas of concern include: traffic circulation patterns; increased daytime population; occupants, visitors, or outpatients of the jail and hospital; parking problems; visual impact of parking lots and county buildings; loss of tax base to the city.

5. Development of public facilities to serve the varying needs and requirements of neighborhoods in an adequate, balanced, and equitable manner, along with public transportation as a means of making community facilities accessible to all the dispersed areas.

6. Establishment of strong, cooperative relationships with all agencies affecting the development of Martinez or the quality of life of its citizens. We are concerned about the effects of pollution caused by peripheral industry. Further, we feel annexation of unincorporated islands and intruding peninsulas is desirable.

7. Continued governmental involvement in arousing public interest in planning.

MORAGA (1973)

The Moraga members of the LWVDV support limited and managed growth of the Moraga area to retain its primarily residential character. We support:

1. Innovative planning and a variety of housing to meet the needs of an increasing population.

2. Ordinances which are strongly protective of hillsides and ridgelines.

3. Limited expansion of service-connected businesses with a rigorous enforcement of esthetic standards.

4. Community parks which are easily accessible to all residents.

5. Orderly planning of circulation routes, mindful of the impact of roads and streets upon our environment.

6. Easily accessible public transportation to and from BART.

Moraga General Plan (1976)

The Moraga members of the LWVDV support the concept of the General Plan as a guide to land use in the Town. We support:
1. Review by the Town Council of the entire General Plan at least once every five years.

2. A careful study by the Planning Commission and the Town Council of requests for rezoning which may be contrary to the General Plan.

3. Involvement of the Planning Commission in long-range and detailed planning, while separate review boards are responsible for environmental and architectural considerations.

4. Coordination between the planning departments of the Town and County for unincorporated areas within Moraga's planning area.

5. Cluster development as one means of retaining open space, with review for density limits.

6. Planning now for alternative means of transportation to the automobile.

Moraga P1anning Commission (1976)

The Moraga members of the LWVDV support the following:

1. The Planning Commission should act as an advisory body concerned mainly with long-range planning and decisions affecting the physical growth of Moraga. It should be involved with developing general policies, zoning, approving subdivisions and other developments, as well as being alert to innovative solutions to planning problems.

2. A responsibility of the commission should be to inform the community of the objectives and nature of the planning process. Proper procedures should include adequate advance publicity of the agenda and opportunity for public input before decisions are made, availability to the public of the commission's working papers, and widespread publicity of the decisions.

3. The Town Council of Moraga should, as far as is practical, appoint members to the Planning Commission who represent all segments of the community. By segments we mean those defined by geography, socioeconomics, age, sex, race, and ethnic background. While a balance of laypersons is desirable, candidates with professional backgrounds in related fields should not be excluded. Every effort should be made to avoid potential conflict of interest.

4. New members of the commission should be required to undergo a period of orientation and to acquire a thorough knowledge of the area. Personal schedules of members should allow for ample time to do the job required. Service on the commission should not exceed two consecutive two-year terms.

5. Procedures for filling vacancies should include:

  a. A well-publicized call for applicants stating the necessary qualifications, including that of being a Moraga resident.

  b. Publication of a full list of applicants and their occupations.

  c. An interview by the Town Council of each applicant well in advance of the appointment.

6. The Environmental and Design Review Boards should advise the Planning Commission on the impact of development within the community, provide an architectural review of all projects, and work with applicants on matters such as grading, site plans, design, colors, landscaping, signs, etc.

  a. Qualifications and vacancy procedures should be the same as for the Planning Commission.

Moraga Transportation (1984)

The Moraga members of the LWVDV recognize the need for both long-term and immediate ongoing solutions to improve access to Moraga. We support:

1. Long-term solutions which include planning and feasibility studies for new arterials or improvement of existing arterials.

2. Ongoing solutions which include:

  a. Improved public transportation.

  b. Encouragement of alternative transportation modes.

  c. Addition of new and/or improvement of existing traffic devices.

  d. Parking management, including satellite parking, for a. and b.

  e. Use of flextime and implementation of traffic mitigations identified in new-development EIRs.

3. We support, through the following measures, cooperation with neighboring cities to solve transportation problems within those communities which are impacted by Moraga traffic:

  a. Long-range solutions and vigorous implementation of the General Plan Circulation Element.

  b. Reinstatement of the Tri-Community Traffic Committee as a standing committee to implement recommendations and to act as a public forum. It should have an expanded charge to consider new roads, improvements to existing roads, and sources of funding.

  c. Joint meetings of the city councils of Orinda, Moraga, and Lafayette, or their subcommittees, to discuss common transportation problems and possible mitigations.

  d. Identification and preservation of potentially necessary rights of way for possible future transportation corridors.

ORINDA (Adopted 1984; amended 1990)

The Orinda members of the LWVDV strongly support:

1. High esthetic standards for buildings in the business district.

2. Better planning for traffic circulation in and enhancement of the business district.

3. Rigorous standards for grading and hillside construction.

4. Construction of new roads to conform with topography.

5. Programs that strengthen community identity.

6. Senior citizen housing with federal funding.

7. Effective use of available funds.

8. Prioritize road maintenance and storm damage repairs; continue a computerized Pavement Management System.

9. Provide adequate police services, either by contracting with the county or establishing an independent police force.

Orinda Transportation (Adopted 1988; amended 1989, 1995)

We support solutions to the problems shared by Orinda's main arterials and the freeway: oversaturation, excessive noise, and poor air quality. Solutions need to be found to the use of freeway off/on ramps to bypass heavy traffic and the hazardous merging that results. Solutions also need to be found for a variety of intersection hazards on arterials involving automobiles, pedestrians, and bicyclists. We support:

1. A Transportation Systems Management (TSM) program, combined with a new road, that has wide citizen awareness and participation.

2. Construction of a parking structure for BART riders and shoppers at the Crossroads. This structure should be usable for daily parking, on a fee basis if necessary.

3. Additional solutions to intersection hazards on arterials which require the special expertise of traffic engineers to improve each specific intersection and capital improvement projects to put their solutions into effect. Examples are the elimination of visual obstructions, solving specific parking problems, and the installation of mirrors where appropriate.

We support the following solutions to pedestrian and bicycle hazards:

1. The separation of bicycle and pedestrian circulation from motor traffic.

2. Identification and correction of bicycle lane hazards. In some cases relabeling may be necessary where markings give a false sense of security.

3. Safety training for bicyclists which includes the proper use of bells or other warning devices. We consider cooperation among Lamorinda cities to be imperative. It is needed to achieve these solutions and solve maintenance problems. The cities need to accept the fiscal responsibility that makes these solutions possible.

Orinda Fire Safety (Adopted 2002)

The Lamorinda Unit of the Diablo Valley League of Women Voters supports increased fire safety in the Community of Orinda. We support:

1. Adequate fire flow for all of Orinda, with a minimum water flow of 1000 gallons per minute per hydrant.

2. Enforcement of existing vegetation management legislation with adequate financing.

3. Programs organized for facilitating the removal of flammable vegetation.

4. Public and private roads and driveways accessible to fire vehicles.

5. A general plan consistent with the fire code and fire safety in general.

All solutions to fire safety problems should be fair, effective, flexible, efficient, and provide accountability to the public. Fire safety problems need to be addressed in a timely manner. Financing methods used to solve fire safety need to be appropriate to the time frame of the project. The League believes that the Moraga Orinda Fire District and the City of Orinda have the primary responsibility for developing solutions to fire safety problems including education, financing mechanisms, appropriate regulations and their enforcement.

PLEASANT HILL

The Pleasant Hill members of the LWVDV support the following concepts:

1. General Plan elements and implementing ordinances should be continually updated and revised. Adequate staff should be provided for continued long-range planning.

2. The zoning ordinances should be reviewed for conformance to the elements of the General Plan.

3. There should be continued examination of a hillside ordinance and more planned unit developments to ensure adherence to the terms of the Open Space Element.

4. The Planning Commission, when considering proposals, should adhere strictly to the terms of the General Plan.

SAN RAMON VALLEY

San Ramon Valley Area Planning Commission

The San Ramon Valley (SRV) members of the LWVDV support a local planning commission directly responsible to the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, as opposed to a County Planning Commission. The purpose of the commission should be to provide the community with more local control over local decisions. Local commissioners are more aware of the needs of the community. The commission would recommend policies and special studies as the need arises.

The SRV members of the LWVDV recommend that:

1. The San Ramon Valley Area Planning Commission should meet the following criteria:

  a. It should be composed of seven people.

  b. Commissioners should reside in the San Ramon Valley and be involved in community affairs.

  c. The Board should be balanced geographically, in background, and in business interests and occupations. d. Commissioners should serve staggered two-year terms with no limit to the number of terms.

2. The San Ramon Valley Area Planning Commission should be chosen by a screening committee selected by the supervisors and composed of seven representatives from these groups:

  a. One member each representing the three general geographical areas of Alamo, Danville, and San Ramon.

  b. One representative each from the Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Realtors/Development, the R-7 Park District, and community organizations.

  c. The screening committee would then recommend to the Board of Supervisors one candidate for each position on the Planning Commission.

3. The agenda should be available upon request and given to newspapers prior to each Planning Commission hearing. Staff reports and information on applications should be available to the public upon request and to the commissioners at least 4+5 days before the hearing. Commission meetings should be taped and those tapes made available to the public upon request.

4. The San Ramon Valley Area Planning Commission should look at the trend of planning decisions annually to see whether the General Plan should be reviewed. Review of the trends should be done at an open meeting. The Planning Commission should be empowered to appoint a citizens' committee to study and recommend revisions to the General Plan.

5. There should be long-term as well as short-term land-use planning, particularly in the following areas:

  a. A balance in housing and employment in order to meet various socioeconomic needs.

  b. Transportation planning, including circulation patterns and public transportation.

  c. Community, neighborhood, and regional parks.

  d. Contiguous development to prevent urban sprawl.

  e. Adequate school facilities.

San Ramon Valley Incorporation (1981+1982; amended 1997)

Incorporation gives control of land use, planning and zoning, police protection, and parks, roads, and other needs. We support incorporation of separate communities within the San Ramon Valley.

Southern Pacific Right-of-Way (SP-ROW) (Amended 11/87)

The SRV members of the LWVDV support:

1. The encouragement and facilitation of nonmotorized transportation on the SRV portion of the SP-ROW through improvement and completion of a multiple-use trail. A multiple-use trail is defined as providing a paved surface for pedestrians and bicycles and an appropriate surface for joggers and equestrians.

2. Maintaining the present and future use of the ROW for an underground public utility corridor.

3. Preservation of the SP-ROW for use as a linear park. The proximity of the ROW to schools and business districts in Alamo, Danville, and San Ramon and to the business park development in San Ramon provides a unique opportunity for nonmotorized transportation as well as recreational use.

We support the use of the ROW for nonmotorized transportation, recreational, and underground utility corridor purposes only. We cannot justify the use of the ROW for motorized transpor-tation. We believe that feasible alternative routes exist for motorized mass transportation in the San Ramon Valley.

Alamo Incorporation (1985)

The SRV members of the LWVDV favor the incorporation of Alamo primarily because it would allow Alamo residents to control local planning. We find that incorporation is financially feasible, and we favor firm control over spending to stay within the budget developed for the new city. In addition, we favor:

1. The formation of special assessment districts when necessary.

2. Expansion of the business district for retail use only, not office use.

3. Expansion of the business district only in areas already designated on the County General Plan for commercial development.

4. A height limit in the business district to preserve the present nature of Alamo.

5. Reevaluation in three to five years if incorporation is not approved. Slope Density/Ridgeline Development (1986)

The SRV members of the LWVDV support the adoption of a slope density/ridgeline development ordinance for all unincorporated areas of the San Ramon Valley. The purpose of the ordinance is to preserve the scenic ridgelines of the valley, as well as to protect owners in the areas of landslides and seismic danger.

The SRV members of the LWVDV recommend that:

1. The County's existing slope density ordinance, developed for Orinda, should be strengthened in the following manner and adopted for all unincorporated areas of the Valley:

a. The local planning commission should review architectural and landscape design.

b. All utilities should be placed underground.

c. Building within 100 feet of the ridgeline should be prohibited.

2. The local planning commission should have a balance of members, including those with engineering, architectural, and/or design backgrounds.
3. Cities wishing to adopt a slope density ordinance should review existing ordinances. The public hearing process should then be followed.

4. The review process of the planning commission should strictly control variances. A variance to build on top of a ridgeline should only be approved if no other development site is available per parcel. Any ridgeline variance should include a height restriction.

5. The use of planned unit developments should be encouraged in order to dedicate the ridgelines as general open space by clustering developments in the low lands.

6. Development should be inspected to ensure that rules, ordinances, and/or professional guidelines have been strictly adhered to. Inspections should include technical and design reviews.

WALNUT CREEK

Land Use (1974; amended 1984)

The Walnut Creek members of the LWVDV support controlled growth of the city with concern for the physical character of the area. The General Plan should be followed closely and strong ordinances adopted to implement it. We support stringent standards and controls on all development. We also support the following:

1. Establishment of recreational areas throughout the city.

2. Measures and policies to provide for the creation, preservation, and full use of open space, park, and agricultural lands. Specifically, we support cluster development as a means of preserving open space in residential areas.

3. A stringent hillside ordinance to include controls on grading, tree and ground cover removal, sewage provisions, land use patterns, and flood and erosion control. We strongly support mandatory requirements of geological studies for hillside developments.

4. Public transportation for the central business district, the dispersed employment centers, and residential areas.

5. A housing supply to meet a wide range of housing needs.

6. Additional dwelling units in the rent-subsidy program dispersed throughout the city.

7. A design for the central business district as a multipurpose area for commercial, educational, cultural, recreational, governmental, and residential use.

8. Dispersed employment centers with landscaping, parking, and diversified transportation.

Housing (Amended 1984)

The Walnut Creek members of LWVDV support the use of the Housing Element of the General Plan as a planning tool to provide more low- and moderate-cost housing, both rental and owner-occupied. We support using a variety of techniques to accomplish this which include the following:
1. Maintaining a balance between available rental units and condominiums.

2. Providing housing opportunities for a broad spectrum of social groups as determined by factors such as income, age, marital status, and family size.

3. Increasing allowable densities in order to achieve more affordable housing. The following guidelines should be used:

  a. High density (30 to 50 units per acre) and high rise (over three stories) should be limited to the core area.

  b. Moderate density (13 to 29 units per acre) should be allowed on lands immediately adjacent to the core area.

  c. Low density (7 to 12 units per acre) and lower heights in keeping with the character of existing neighborhoods should be employed in underdeveloped areas of neighborhoods outside the core area.

4. Increasing the number of housing units in the core area to promote housing close to employment and transportation in order to ensure the vitality of the downtown area.

5. Requiring replacement housing where existing housing is displaced by nonresidential development, especially in the core area.

Planning Commission (Amended 1985)

The Walnut Creek members of the LWVDV support maintaining the present role of the Planning Commission as an advisory body to the City Council on matters of long-range planning and immediate decisions affecting the physical growth of Walnut Creek. We strongly support the implementation of one of the commission's duties as stated in the Municipal Code: "to provide a program of community education with regard to the objectives and nature of the planning process..." We specifically support adequate advance publication of the agenda, availability of the commission's "working papers" to the public, and widespread publication of all decisions.

We favor a commission that is representative of all segments of the community with a balance of qualified laypersons and members with professional backgrounds in related fields. We support the following procedures for filling vacancies on the Planning Commission:

1. Well-publicized call for applicants when there is an opening.

2. Publication of a full list of applicants which includes their occupations and backgrounds.

3. A timely personal interview of all applicants by the City Council.

4. Determination that the applicants have a thorough knowledge of the area and absence of conflict of interest.

City Budget (1981)

The Walnut Creek members of LWVDV support continued reliance on the sales tax as a major source of city revenue, as well as development of additional retail stores downtown. We do not favor a local sales tax over and above the state tax; however, if present tax sources become inadequate to fund local services, we would support a local vehicle tax, as well as a tax on office buildings and other commercial structures (excluding retail sales buildings), to offset demands on city services such as police, street maintenance, and parking. If present and possible additional revenues are inadequate to fund present services, then cuts should be made in all department budgets before any program is entirely eliminated.

The Walnut Creek members of the LWVDV support continuing the present conservative fiscal management of the city, maintaining operating programs at present levels, maintaining the Capital Improvement Program (C.I.P.) at a high level, and changing the positions of City Clerk and Treasurer to appointive rather than elective positions.

Child Care (1986)

The Walnut Creek members of the LWVDV support and encourage good quality, affordable child care facilities for Walnut Creek's citizens and employees. We urge that every possible way be explored to meet the need for quality care of infants, preschool, and school-age children.

Recognizing that there is at present a shortage of child care facilities in the Walnut Creek area and that the need for child care will continue and become more acute as our area population increases, we recommend and support:

1. The use of religious institutions and schools as child care facilities.

2. Incentives for businesses and developers to establish child care centers.

3. City-facilitated incentives to potential child care providers. (Example: low-interest loans, minimal city processing costs, etc.)

4. Close supervision of child care centers to maintain high-quality programs.