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Mayor Simmons Meets with Rossmoor Activists

Save Our Stanley Club is seeking to derail plans for a new event center at the retirement community.

Mayor Bob Simmons visited Rossmoor Friday to meet with the Save Our Stanley Club, which is organizing efforts to oppose Rossmoor's plans to build a new event center.

The event center and a new parking lot will impinge on the historic Stanley Dollar Clubhouse and nearby oaks, cause traffic and safety issues, the SOS activists say.

SOS activists want the city to reopen the permit process. They believe event center plans submitted by Rossmoor this year do not match those submitted when the event center was approved by city commissions in 2009.

"Under our system of government, the mayor can (and should, in my view), listen to all views," Simmons wrote in an email to Patch after the meeting. "The mayor does not have the power to take away rights that have previously been granted. Rights have been granted here, and taking away rights is just not how we, as a country or as a people, do things."

Rossmoor resident Jack Archer wrote in an email that he wasn't impressed with Simmons' arguments: "It seems perfectly clear to me that any politician worth her or his salt might easily say to an attorney giving advice one has reason to be a bit skeptical about -- go back and think again, and by the way, here are a few facts I don't think you've adequately considered."

Archer said, "I fear, however, that a legal challenge is just over the horizon. SOS will need funds for it, so I encourage all who are in a position to give to do so."

SOS activists are also pursuing a process to attain a listing on the national historic register for the Stanley Dollar Clubhouse and its grounds — a designation that might curtail plans for the adjacent event center.

Simmons credited the SOS Club for "the professional and civil manner in which Friday's meeting was conducted." He expressed his appreciation to those who spoke at the meeting. "Almost to a person, the speeches were done with dignity and respect, yet they fully communicated the passion of those who oppose the Event Center."

In March, the Golden Rain Foundation Board of Directors, the governing body for Rossmoor, voted 7-2 to go forward with 10+ million dollar plans for an event center.

Triple Canopy August 19, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Where were these people when the project was going through the review process with the City? The Mayor/city cannot reopen the project unless there is new and substantial evidence that would result in irreversible damage to the environment or unforeseen circumstances like human remains, archaeological artifacts, or discovery of an endangered/threatened species. It would set a DANGEROUS PRECEDENT and result in no certainty to any developer (commercial, residential, or any owner of single-family home) that their project can be recalled anytime - including during construction. That's bad for everyone. SOS should consult an environmental law attorney.... and fast.
Philip Wesler August 20, 2012 at 03:12 AM
This event center has been a fiasco since day one, when notices were sent about a hearing regarding the wrong property, at the wrong address, and wrong APN. A parking study was submitted, with information contrary to the City Code, stating that parking was adequate. A "historical" report was submitted, saying that the Dollar House was not historical, when there was ample information to the contrary. No one even knew that the event center had been approved until 2 ½ years later, when the Golden Rain Board voted to select an architect. Was this a series of errors or a deliberate scheme to deny Rossmoor homeowners fair notice of the Event Center proposal? Was the city negligent or was it a party to the scheme? Is it likely that the GRF told the city that the event center was replacing an existing building in an effort to avoid an environmental impact report and to keep the project from reaching the City Council level? At the meeting with the Mayor, a report by an engineering firm employed by SOS stated that the parking was inadequate, not only for the proposed event center, but for the Dollar House and the new Creekside buildings on the north side of Stanley Dollar Drive as well, and was completely contrary to Code. All of this information was presented to the Mayor of Walnut Creek by SOS. Judging from his comments in your recent article, the fact that the event center project violates the municipal code is not a matter of concern to him. (I am secretary of SOS)

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