Local control over planning and land use is of paramount importance to Danville residents, and was a major driver behind the effort to incorporate in 1982. The draft Danville 2030 General Plan (“2030 Plan”), currently under review, will be the third General Plan prepared by the Town.
Since the incorporation of Danville, the Town has worked diligently and proactively to uphold the vision of:
- Preserving and reinforcing our unique small town character
- Preserving Danville’s history and scenic beauty
- Protecting the quality of life for our residents.
The draft 2030 General Plan continues its focus on these principles, and at the same time will reflect new considerations such as the census, changing state and regional priorities and dynamics and new state laws and mandates.
Since incorporation, the Town of Danville has advocated managed growth in keeping with the character and history of the Town, and consistent with the adopted General Plan. Recognizing that growth outside of Danville impacts the Town’s residents, the Town has taken an active role in efforts to limit such growth through regional advocacy, and when necessary, through litigation. The Town has experienced negligible growth over the past decade. Danville population was 41,715 in 2000, 42,039 in 2010 (per U.S. Census figures); and 42,215 in January 2012 (per State Department of Finance).
Housing Opportunity Sites
At the March 19, 2013 public hearing, the Danville Town Council adopted the 2030 General Plan with two Housing Opportunity Sites (Borel Property and Diablo Gateway – Part 3) to meet its 2007-2014 RHNA shortfall.
The State of California requires all cities and counties to designate land for housing to accommodate all segments of the community. The State assigns the responsibility for determining each community’s “fair share” of housing to the regional Councils of Government (COG) in California.
The COG for the San Francisco Bay Area is the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), with 100 cities and 9 counties in its region. ABAG has undertaken the housing assignment process, called the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA), for the past 20 years. Through membership in ABAG, the Town has a voice and a right to object to appeal its assignment. Cities that are not ABAG members cannot opt out of their housing allocation, but instead, receive their assignment directly from the State.
Through the General Plan, the Town is responsible for designating sites that may be used for future housing construction. The Town is not responsible for building houses. That process is market driven and initiated by property owners. Property owners retain all of their rights and are not required to change the current use of their property. All proposed development is subject to the Town’s high planning standards, including a thorough design review process.
Currently, the Town is required to designate at least 9.6 acres (7.6 acres as Multifamily residential at a density of 25-35 units per acre and 2 acres at 20-25 units per acre) to meet its fair share housing allocation. A total of 14 different sites are included for potential consideration in achieving this aggregate acreage. Not all sites that have been reviewed are expected be designated for housing. Danville is home to several examples of housing that has been built to these densities while adhering to the desired community character and scale.
The table illustrates estimated population growth through 2030, under two scenarios: the current 2010 General Plan (defined as “Year 2030 without GP Update”) and the draft 2030 General Plan (defined as “Year 2030 with GP Update”). Under these scenarios, which assume full build out of all residentially designated lands within the Town, the actual population growth is expected to be less than the estimates shown. For comparison purposes, the table illustrates the Town’s actual population growth between 2000 and 2012.
At the March 19, 2013 public hearing, the Danville Town Council adopted the 2030 General Plan that did not include language or policies pertaining to PDA.
The Plan proposes to designate Downtown Danville as a “Priority Development Area” (PDA). The net acreage of the PDA represents less than 3 percent of Danville’s land area. The purpose of designating a PDA is to focus new development closer to downtown, existing services and transportation corridors - rather than locating it in single family neighborhoods or on the edges of town.
In and of itself, the PDA designation does not increase the amount or intensity of development that could occur in the future. Rather, the PDA designation would allow the Town to be more competitive in receiving federal, state and local funds for road maintenance and improvements. Funding for transportation is extremely competitive, and Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is consciously directing its funds to those communities with designated PDAs. Without a PDA designation, Danville will likely be unable to compete for a significant portion of these funds.
Open Space Preservation
At the March 19, 2013 public hearing, the Danville Town Council adopted the 2030 General Plan that retained the 2010 General Plan definition of "agriculture", with language to describe how Measure S is implemented. The Town Council also included the full text of Measure S in the Draft 2030 Plan.
Preservation of the Town’s unique natural setting including open space, major ridgelines, scenic hillsides and other significant features is a major focus of the Town’s General Plan. In 2000, the Town sponsored and the voters approved Measure S, which mandates that changes to Danville General Plan Land Use Map for all properties designated as “Parks and Recreation,” “General Open Space,” and “Agricultural” require approval by Danville voters. The draft Danville 2030 General Plan does not propose any change to Measure S, which is incorporated into the Plan by reference.
Lands designated as “Parks and Recreation” and “General Open Space” have no residential development potential. Therefore, of the three categories of lands subject to Measure S, the only remaining category with limited development potential are privately held properties currently designated as “Agricultural.” The maximum development potential of the two remaining Agricultural parcels town-wide is 60 units (as illustrated by the graphic).
Development on privately owned land has adhered to stringent standards, clustering of home sites and preservation of extensive areas of open space.