July 24, 1997
WEST COUNTY TIMES
140-ACRE PROPERTY SPLIT OK'D
Thursday, July 24,
RICHMOND The City Council on Tuesday affirmed an El Sobrante landowner's wish to split his property into two parcels despite complaints by neighbors that the division would pave the way for development.
The 140-acre lot surrounded by Clark Road, La Crescenta Road and Wesley Way will be split into 58-acre and 81-acre parcels.
The plan had already received unanimous Planning Commission approval June 5. But the El Sobrante Legal Defense Fund, a group that opposes development in the El Sobrante Valley, appealed the decision, saying planners did not properly study the impact on neighbors.
Ralph Johnson wants to split his property so he can sell the smaller portion to a doctor who plans to live in the house there, said Malcolm Carpenter, Johnson's planning consultant. Carpenter said there are no immediate plans to develop the other piece of property.
"We don't have a buyer for the lower part. There is no development plan," he said. "It's that simple."
Council members wondered why there was such a dispute when the property owner could sell the property to a developer in one piece if he wanted.
"Why does the lot split in and of itself make any difference?" asked Councilman Tom Butt.
But neighbors were unswayed. Kevin McCloskey, who lives on Clark Road, worried that the split would lead to a development proposal and wanted to head off that possibility as soon as possible.
"If a train's coming down the track and the light goes on, you don't wait to get off the track," he said. "Well, (Johnson) turned the light on."