Home Biz 24-680 Real Estate Threats Of Lawsuits Fly In Lafayette’s Homes Of Deer Hill Project

Threats Of Lawsuits Fly In Lafayette’s Homes Of Deer Hill Project

Rendering: O'Brien Homes

Lawsuits, or the threat of lawsuits, have been flying like confetti in Lafayette of late as the bitter war of words over the Homes at Deer Hill project escalated to DefCon 3 and locals squared off against their city and developers; developers squared off with the city and a housing rights group squared off against the city and NIMBYism in general.

Already the most contentious project in Lafayette city history, The Homes – the latest iteration of a project once billed as The Terraces – has shown no sign of easing.

Residents suing the city to block the project said they will be on hand at this weekend’s Art and Wine Festival to staff an informational table and muster support.

The group, Save Lafayette, announced plans to gather signatures from 10 percent of registered voters over the next 30 days. If they get the required signatures and the referendum passes the project will be halted while its scope and approaches are scrutinized.

O’Brien Homes, the project developers, have already threatened lawsuits of their own as the project – described by a planning commissioner in its early incarnation as “train wreck architecture” – has been drastically scaled back to include single-family homes and concessions (a dog park and sports field is promised) included.

Opponents have argued the 44 new homes built on the site of a former quarry across from Acalanes High School and bounded by Deer Hill and Pleasant Hill roads and Highway 24 brings more people and more traffic to an area unable to support it.

The issue has been further complicated by recent threats by The San Francisco Bay Area Renters’ Federation which has expressed its desire to see the initial Terraces project restored in order to satisfy Lafayette’s housing obligations.


  1. Yep, My fellow Lafayette residents would rather have me pay more taxes in the long run to support city services and the desired semi rural myth instead of building homes on one of the last reasonable tracts/or places left to do it in Lafayette. Getting 44 single homes and added public space instead of the 315 apartment on private land that is abutted by a 10 lane freeway and 4 lane residential road within easy walking distance of an elementary and high school as well as an easy bid ride to BART is a good deal. I would have some sympathy for Save Lafayette argument if it was located on Moraga and St. Mary’s road. Instead, access to Freeway/Downtown/Bart is a left turn out of the development without ever having to go onto Pleasant Hill. As noted, any Elementary age kid or high school kid who lives in this development should be able to walk to school. But Californians love their cars (I’m one of them), nimbyism (trying not to be) and high prices for some one else to pay.

    I will also correct myself on a previous post, believe the average family household has 2.1 kids in the US. So two adults and 2.1 kids on average means 160 t0 170 people at most and that will probably be the high side for this development. Sorry, but the 44 house development will not overwhelm Lafayette!!! Its a community of plus 24,000 residents

  2. I don’t live in Lafayette and bow to the majority opinion there but I will just say that as an occasional visitor I can’t imagine anyone living in that spot. I think the noise and traffic would drive me crazy. JMO

  3. Kids would definitely be within walking distance of the school – if they make it across Pleasant Hill road safely. And is there ROOM at local schools for more children? I hear it’s tight now.

  4. Wish I had a dollar for each time I’ve heard the argument that just one more development won’t hurt. But one plus one plus ….. adds up to overcrowded everything. My kid doesn’t go to that school, but at our open house one teacher said her class was 9 students over the state guidelines and had to turn away lots more, and another room was just a sea of desks with almost zero open floor space. The time to fight through traffic for drop off is ridiculous. At the festival, I’ll stop by the anti-development booth and thank them for their effort. Do they take donations? And thanks to News24-680 for telling us about it.

  5. We don’t live in Lafayette, but I grew up in Moraga, and we live in Orinda. So I’m concerned for Lamorinda (as well as the residents) in general. If we run into Save Lafayette at the Art & Wine Festival, I will listen to them. I don’t like NIMBYism in general, but some NIMBYism makes sense. Overdevelopment is out of control.

  6. 1. Negotiate best deal to buy land back from developers
    2. Let taxpayers vote on special assessment to fund the purchase
    3. Depending on outcome, put land in environmental/greenbelt trust or allow the project to proceed.

    Vote with wallet, or shut up.

  7. Chris, agree with the approach. If we want private land to remain open space then the community as a whole should not expect one tax payer who already owns a house or say owns a gas station that is very convenient to the area benefit from another property owner who can’t build or develop but still has to pay taxes. Napolean and I will have a running battle and things will be decided, But I still believe the principle that allows me to have my own house, my own kingdom you can say still depends on others having the right to make their own private property productive or develop within context or what would be considered zoning laws. 44 single residential is not out of context for area of two schools that are surrounded by single residential neighborhoods.
    I will not support Save Lafayette because in the end we now got multiple groups taking the city to litigation. Taxpayers are not winning. At this point the LAWYERS will be the winners.

  8. Danielle, Agree in general some NIMBYism or another way to put it, robust neighborhood input, helped because it took a proposed development from 315 multi unit apartments down to a 44 single residential development in my opinion fits the context of some of the other neighborhoods in the immediate area. I think that was good thing.
    But now we got NIMBYism to the point of lawyers, litigation, and so on. Worse yet, we now got lawsuit happy people everywhere and anywhere.

  9. I guess we’re not going to see either of you driving around with Bernie Sanders bumper stickers anytime soon.

  10. Nope, but not going to put a Trump bumper sticker on any time soon either. But I will give Bernie credit for someone who is consistent with what he stands for. Whether he can take down Hillary in the primaries or not will be interesting. Both parties need challenges.

  11. No more Clintons please. No more Bushs. Had enough of both. That leaves only…… Trump! I’m kidding I’m kidding. The Clown Car that is American politics rolls merrily on.

  12. One thing Trump should do is rearrange and use Clemence’s words above as his campaign theme song to the tune of Pink Floyd’s Brick in the Wall:

    We don’t need no Hillary Clinton
    We don’t need no Florida Bush
    No dark decisions in the White House
    Voters Leave those two alone

  13. “If politics must truly be at the service of the human person, it follows that it cannot be a slave to the economy and finance. Politics is, instead, an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life. I do not underestimate the difficulty that this involves, but I encourage you in this effort.”
    Food for thought from Pope Francis addressing Congress. Politely received. Photo opps taken.

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