Tomorrow night the Fremont City Council will be considering an appeal to deny the conditional use permit that the Planning Commission granted to Dr. Goney Sandhu to build a 16,000 square foot home on East King Avenue above Niles.
This huge hillside home would be visible from Niles and would require a massive road and retaining walls that would cut into the hillside at grade of about 35%. This road and grading is in violation of both Measure A (the original hillside ordinance) and Measure T (the hillside ordinance the Fremont voters passed in 2002). And the size of the home is in violation of Measure T, which allows a maximum of 10,000 square feet and a location that "minimizes visual impacts from public places to the extent practicable."
Dr. Sandhu is trying to use a provision of Measure T that allows for hillside development where there is an existing road, but in this case the existing road is a fire road, not a city-approved public access road as specified in Measure T. The city staff recommendation is for the council to grant the appeal and deny Dr Sandhu the right to build the home as currently planned. Dr. Sandhu is marshalling a lot of people to come to the meeting and speak in his favor. They may be attempting to sideline the real issue by speaking about how Dr. Sandhu is a successful physician and upstanding member of the community, and should be allowed to use his money to build the home he wants.
If the appeal is denied and Dr. Sandhu is allowed to build this home as
planned, it will have a visual impact on Niles. And it could set a
precedent that building where there are existing fire roads, old ranch
roads, cattle tracks, or whatever, is not a violation of Measure T, even
if it essentially involves the building of new road with extensive
grading, retaining walls, etc. If the appeal is granted, Dr. Sandhu will
be required to seek approval of a new design that would not violate
Measure T and would not be visible from Niles.
If you care about saving Niles' hills from development, please attend
this City Council meeting if you can. If you want to speak to the
council, please do, and talk about the visual impact of a massive
hillside home and road on Niles. If you can't make it to the meeting,
please email the City Council members at ccouncil@... with
your feelings about this issue. Refer to item 5.2 on the agenda. We need
to stop the building of Dr. Sandhu's home, and make sure that no
precedent of development on Niles' hills is set.