City Of Martinez Being Sued By Concord-Based Housing Developer

January 22, 2021 8:00 am · 28 comments

A Concord-based developer is suing the City of Martinez over what the developer sees as unwarranted barriers to building a housing tract on a former golf course.

It’s the latest development in what has been more than seven years of legal and political back-and-forth centered on the future of the former Pine Meadow Golf Course land in south central Martinez.

The suit by DeNova Homes Inc. and affiliated entities Civic Martinez LLC and Meadow Creek Group LLC, filed in Contra Costa County Superior Court in November, contends the city has been denying issuance of a grading permit on part of the 26.9-acre property over concerns about proper drainage on the property, and that without the proper work, flooding would occur there in heavy storms.

DeNova said those concerns arose only after a July 2019 settlement agreement by DeNova, the city and Friends of Pine Meadow, a local citizens group, for DeNova to build 65 houses on that property. The settlement was to have allowed the permit approval process to proceed.

The lawsuit claims an Aug. 27, 2020 letter from the Contra Costa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District to a contract engineer working for the city refutes the city’s claim that the housing development, without further measures taken, would create flooding problems in that area.

“The letter provides clear and demonstrable proof that there are no drainage issues, which city staff has falsely claimed was the source of delaying the development,” according to a statement issued Thursday by Sam Singer, a spokesman for DeNova.

Singer also said the existence of that letter wasn’t discovered by DeNova officials until late December, and that the Martinez City Council also had not been made aware of the letter until that point.

Michael Colantuono, an attorney representing the City of Martinez, said that while the Aug. 27 letter from the flood control district suggests the housing project would have less damaging flooding impacts than previously believed, “It confirms that streets will flood after major storms and that the project will make that flooding last longer.”

Colantuono acknowledges, and regrets, the delay in making DeNova and elected city officials aware of the letter and its information sooner.

The drainage disagreement surfaced after the July 2019 settlement agreement was reached. DeNova officials went public the following January when two top company officials — CEO Dave Sanson and Dana Tsubota, DeNova’s executive vice president and general counsel — took the unusual step of speaking to the Martinez City Council during the open public comment period at the start of a regular council meeting.

Sanson told the council at that time, “This is the only way we can communicate with the council at this juncture. You can’t resolve things if you don’t talk about it.”

In a statement Thursday, Tsubota said, “The city’s violation of the settlement agreement has forced DeNova into the position filing a lawsuit to pursue its rights.”

Colantuono said on Thursday that the latest issues, including the disagreement over grading and drainage, can be resolved “when the developer is willing to sit down and talk with us as he claims to want to do.”

The DeNova lawsuit seeks $35 million in damages. Singer said in an email Thursday that the figure represents the cost of the land and for development, financing and other costs associated with the proposed development.

WC January 22, 2021 at 8:21 AM

Good. Sue the wannabe dictators.

RANDOM TASK January 22, 2021 at 9:13 AM

well the media and judges are supposed to be impartial

but the sad devotion and outcry and back slapping for a democrat prez

is quite stifling of our freedoms and transparency and non bias and right to due process when the communist approach of the democrats is pushed into daily life

the slope is not only slippery it is against everything america is about

so if your a democrat your obviously against america

or is there any other reason the media and judges should be biased in their daily operations in a free and constitutional america

any dem can obviously voice their reasons for criminalizing non dems

The Fearless Spectator January 22, 2021 at 9:50 AM

No excuses here, but as I talk to liberal friends post election, it’s becoming clear they really didn’t know what they were voting for.

Utter shock that the borders are opening during the pandemic. Utter shock that he is repealing the tax cuts and now taxes go up for all Americans. Utter shock about the Iran Nuclear deal. Utter shock that all the military flags in the Oval Office have been replaced by a bust of famous Socialist Chavez.

These voters simply didn’t do their research.

Puffandstuff January 22, 2021 at 10:35 AM

I am finding the same thing regarding the uninformed voters … let’s pray it opens their eyes to educate themselves more before the next election.

Anon January 22, 2021 at 10:40 AM

Yes, and they all “so proud” still have their Biden signs in their yards. Idiots.

To Do List January 22, 2021 at 11:09 AM

Yeah, and on that Cesar Chavez thing, I will point out yet again as many have elsewhere, that Cesar Chavez was strongly opposed to illegal immigration and likely would be walking with anti-Biden signs if he were around today. Facts don’t mean much to Democrats when they got good propaganda to control the narrative.

stoptheinsanity January 22, 2021 at 11:27 AM

@The Fearless Spectator…it was all about getting rid of Trump at any cost. Very sad indeed. Our country will pay a big price for this.

ZZ January 22, 2021 at 12:34 PM

Hours after Biden was sworn in WHO changed the testing criteria which would lower the count, CNN no longer has the daily death count running everyday. In a matter of weeks Covid will be swept away by our caring, grandpa hugging (pervert) communist leader just like he said he would do. Unity, unity, unity.

Joatmeal January 22, 2021 at 7:17 PM

What does any of this have to do with the golf course?

Strad January 22, 2021 at 9:51 AM

It takes forever to get anything built in central county. Maybe in another 10 to 15 years. Not even worried about the Concord Naval Station being developed in my lifetime.

Pulse January 22, 2021 at 10:02 AM

Sue, for more 35 is way too low.

American Citizen January 22, 2021 at 10:26 AM

Hopefully the greedy developer loses and has to pay the attorney fees for the city. They will not rest until every square inch of land is developed. Forget about the impact of traffic and other infrastructure that the community will suffer.

Most importantly, destruction of land that supports indigenous animal life. Natures silent creatures have no say if their homes are destroyed. Nature always bats last.

Ricardoh January 22, 2021 at 10:47 AM

Not familiar with that golf course but I agree we need more open space. I also agree that unless the county and state come up with a way to improve traffic the county should not approve anymore apartment buildings.

idiots everywhere January 22, 2021 at 11:30 AM

The City could have purchased the land if they want it to be open space. Seems this type of infill development is a lot better than paving over farm, ranch or other open space that backs up to more contiguous parcels.

WC January 22, 2021 at 11:55 AM

Agree, cause we already have a house that was built on land that supported indigenous animal life. Get off your high horse.

CJRN January 22, 2021 at 12:03 PM

The current streets around this area will be inundated with traffic. Bad area for so many houses. And,yes, there are drainage problems which the construction of these homes will make worse.

tashaj January 22, 2021 at 12:24 PM

If this was meant as sarcasm, you should’ve put the /s warning, because you’ve failed miserably. See the responses as proof.

However, it sounds like you’re serious. In which case I have to ask: how many sq ft per person do you have? Let me guess – more than 300? Then you need to put up a few homeless people in your place. Permanently.
And by homeless I don’t mean the druggies under the highway overpass – there are plenty of working people who sleep in their cars and couch-surf after they were priced out of the Bay Area housing market. After that we can discuss nature’s silent creatures and the rest of your codswallop.

Pulse January 22, 2021 at 11:44 AM

Development of the county is wonderful. More homes and businesses.
American Citizen, its ok for you because you have a home.

Chris January 22, 2021 at 11:59 AM

65 houses will not create traffic jams in the city or on highway 4. Its sad that many construction projects take an eternity to build. Various studies need to be conducted so the projects protect the buyers, the city, and builders but bureaucracy stifles progress and increases prices for all services rendered. Inefficiency comes to mind.

RANDOM TASK January 22, 2021 at 12:54 PM

oh tashsaj

they are not priced out they were put out

any low income housing goes to illegals

american citizens have to pay for the higher units or they get nothing

also the dem push for harrasing the owners of these properties is to have them sell and let newscum buy all those properties and flood them with bums and illegals

watch its happening right now

unless your a collaborator and wish this on america then well i guess you win

until your neighbor informs on you and your taken away

oh sad days ahead

query why do all dems think that we need more low income housing

when they also say this state is the biggest economy and a tech mehca

hypocrisy and lies pushed ahead of fact and common sense

and no the people who vote dem are not ill-informed they are just sheep in human clothing

pushing for our children to live under a communistic regime under the guise of college propaganda socialism that gives everyone everything for free

that the big companies pay for since they are evil and just want money and security and a better life for their families

….oh like america is supoosed to be…..ooops the truth hurts or should

but these people voting dem and actually fraudulently pushing fake ballots are just like the people in germany in 1933

we all know how that went …..or should but alas the dems have killed off history to make their own reich history through a communistic china that has allready started to take way your freedoms and security

i wonder when they invade if they will even recognize you as collaborators
or just put you in traincars …….we will wait and see

tashaj January 22, 2021 at 3:12 PM

Normally I wouldn’t respond to your posts.
However, here it is:
yes, illegal immigrants do contribute to housing shortage in CA. There are an estimated 400K illegal immigrants in Bay Area alone putting additional pressure on housing already stretched thinly.

So the people who scream “no human is illegal”, while wringing their hands about rising homelessness, are in serious need of having their heads checked. Ditto for the people who cry about COVID-19 related hardship and unemployment, while voting for the Pres who promises to open the borders and invite millions to compete for meager job offerings. And all because they don’t like Trump or his tweets.

No, it’s not true that illegal immigrants are the only (or even the major) cause of CA housing crisis. So I stand by “priced out”, not “put out”.
What we have is the utter failure of CA development policy. When the cities are tripping over each other to invite commercial and business development (TAXES!), but are allowed to completely disregard the housing needs of employees of said commercial and business developments. Because housing is nothing but trouble – just think of all the traffic, schools, and other infrastructure needs! Who wants that?

As for the rest of your drivel – it’s not worth reading or responding to.

The Fearless Spectator January 22, 2021 at 4:30 PM

So what your really saying is California is poorly governed.
If you haven’t already, please sign the recall.

Gititogether January 22, 2021 at 1:14 PM

Twas a cool little course in a nice area. It’s a shame to see it paved over…but, given the dismal political reality in Martinez, where racist street graffiti is encouraged, this outcome is anything but surprising.

anon January 22, 2021 at 3:02 PM

Unity..remember they tried to impeach him 17 minutes after he was sworn in…also they loved the National Guard when it protected them ..but the Dems refused to call them out when the cities burned & they did not care about small businesses or citizens.

Anonymous January 22, 2021 at 3:05 PM

My friends who used to golf there in the ’80s called it “Pine Ghetto.” Probably because it was small and kind of limiting.

remember January 22, 2021 at 7:59 PM

i guess i am confused, must be trying to think rather than just blindly accept things like lefties, but martinez has established a committee to fight things like this. so is the contractor a white person?


Bean Burner January 23, 2021 at 8:37 AM

I grew up next to Pine Ghetto golf course. Blew out my knee grass skiing in the middle of the night on the 9th hole.

The fight is long because the neighbors created a Save the Green type group to resist when the owner of the course wanted to sell the property and retire out of CA. Of course its her property to sell as she saw fit and the developer bought the property fair n square. And golf wasnt peaking like it is now. It was just a water and money pit.

The development will be similar to what replaced Pleasant Hill Golf Course over off Grayson and Reliz Valley and they included a large easement between the new houses and the existing homes.

MtzRes January 25, 2021 at 8:05 PM

I have worked with Denova on many housing projects. They are an upstanding local builder. I currently reside in martinez and am looking forward to this project. Denova keep up the fight, local people in the building trades support you!

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