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MORAGA: Small Town, Big Agenda

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Wednesday's Moraga Town Council agenda could be a barn burner.

Wednesday evening’s Moraga Town Council meeting could be one of those “perfect storm” meetings, with a litany of agenda items of importance to residents on the docket.

And, with Moraga being Moraga and all, some people may not be happy with what they hear.

On the agenda that evening is discussion of the closure of Rheem Blvd. – either a pitted, sloughing, crackled stretch of neglected asphalt or vital cross-town thoroughfare depending on who you talk with – in conjunction with the planned, 27-home Rancho Laguna II project. Project developers would like to close the “Boulevard of Broken Lines” for several months in order to make needed repairs and literally pave the way for the development.

The council is expected to discuss everything from signage to funding for the project, anticipated to take several months and with developers hoping to start during “grading season,” the dry months of early 2015.

Also slated is an appeal by Saint Mary’s College, which hopes it has answered neighbor’s concerns about lighting and noise pollution from a college intramural field, with the college hoping to extend hours students may use the field to 10 p.m. – which has apparently proven hard to take for neighbors living within earshot.

Neighbors contacting NEWS24-680 have expressed displeasure with the way the issue was heard and handled, both by the town and the college – which they maintain “investigated itself” and relied on its standing as the town’s landmark employer to ensure a decision favorable to the college. We’ll see.

There’s also an underground movement in town, apparently, as civic leaders hear details of a plan to underground utilities in a phased project for Moraga Road from Saint Mary’s Road to Ascot Drive. A favorite topic for those opposed to teetering, unsightly, and frequently rammed above-ground utility poles, an undergrounding effort would make it easier for the town to implement ADA-friendly pedestrian walkways and other easements the town hopes will expedite pedestrian traffic along one of its major corridors.

As if all the preceding were not enough, the council is also expected to take further input on the Hillsides and Ridgelines Project currently underway – with nothing less at stake than the future look and feel of the area’s treasured hills and ridgelines.

An interesting agenda, to say the least, with some critical issues before the council. We’ll be watching to see what comes of it. Meeting starts at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School Auditorium, 1010 Camino Pablo, Moraga.

17 COMMENTS

  1. You’d only think Moraga has a town council during elections. All other times, it looks rather uncontrolled. More houses to be built. St. Mary’s putting up stadium lights glaring into people’s yards without council opposition. Close down a major commute route for developer’s convenience. What about the stand of trees cut down for a few parking slots at the Commons. The list is endless.

  2. Closing Rheem is nuts. That’s a busy thruway and a great way to avoid Moraga Road into Lafayette to pick up the highway. At least now I know why the road has not been repaved in the 4 years I’ve lived in Moraga.

    I came East through the tunnel to avoid seeing rows of houses. I had no idea the amount of approved homes slated for this Rheem hill (assume the 123 Palos Colorados homes are set to start right behind the little church on Moraga Road http://www.lamorindaopenspace.org/latest_developments.html

    I don’t mind growth but growth needs to be done in the context of the town. I don’t view Moraga as a growth town. Seems most folks like the laid back nature of it.

    If things have been approved is the development a foregone conclusion (both Rheem and Palos)?

  3. I hope someone answers Tim’s question. As many years as I’ve been in Lamorinda, I still don’t have the answer. The communication between the council and the residents is near zero except during elections, in my opinion. When I have complained about all of the approved projects here, others point out that despite the approvals, no large projects have been done for a long time. Those stadium lights are not a good sign (pun intended) for government responsiveness.

  4. I thought the repaving – repairing was a developers giveback for being allowed to build. In exchange for the right to put houses up in the area the builder will carry the considerable? cost of repairing the road. And since it’s slliding the cost could really get up there. Easily one of the worst roads in the area.

  5. Bad government. If you take down all the power poles what will the drunks have to run into on Friday nights? These much valued drunk barriers should remain in place – otherwise you’re going to have all those DUI drivers ending up on front lawns and in living rooms all over town.

    And all kidding aside I’m for undergrounding!!!!!

  6. @Tim

    Good morning. We see what every citizen is able to see – communications to the council from residents and attached to agenda items for public view. But beyond that we have no access to private communications between council members… is that what you meant?

  7. We’re running out of room and making more and more people. It’s a simple fact. I wish we could preserve the old ranches and farms but you’ve got people willing to pay millions for places to build. Cash. Do the math and watch the result.

  8. I understand some of the neighbors have written the council expressing — concern — over the handling of the sports field lighting issue. I wondered if you had access to those communications.

    • @Tim

      We have been copied on some communications to the council but have not received formal permission to cite or otherwise re-use what was stated. Without that approval we consider the communications privileged. But, yes, we are aware there is a lot of community interest in the items slated for discussion Wednesday. Thanks for writing…

  9. Its buried deep, but I found some agenda material on the lights:
    http://www.moraga.ca.us/council/meetings/2015/031115/TC-031115_X-A_SMC-Appeal.pdf

    I did not see where it indicates who said what, but the St. Mary’s position seems to be they were there first, before the local housing, so they should be able to do what they want. Others say they were there, but the lights were not nor loud speakers. Its different than 1928.

    My response is rather different. Its a question of ethics. The agenda minutes and their actions indicate they fundamentally don’t care about the neighbors. But their website and administration stress they follow the Lasallian Catholic way of life and teaching. But one of the five standards for Lasallian stresses how important it is to help your neighbors and community. So their marketing material to attract new students seems to be at odds with their practices.

  10. Should be interesting… I think there is a perception among some civic leaders that they are acting with the support of their community when in fact that is not the case and the community is merely tired of being ignored by those leaders.

  11. We are not in the area affected but we have a school in our neighborhood and we have been alarmed by how loud they are getting and how long they are allowed to be loud. I can see why the neighbors would be upset.

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