East Ranch Project

East Ranch Project FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is the East Ranch Project?

East Ranch is a residential project by Trumark Homes. The City Council approved the project at its regular meeting on December 21, 2021.  

East Ranch includes 573 units (primarily single family), and these units were already identified in the City’s General Plan and Eastern Dublin Specific Plan. As part of the approval, the City Council took three actions to approve the project - a Stage 2 Development Plan, a Heritage Tree Permit, and a Vesting Tentative Subdivision Map. The tentative subdivision map would allow the property owner to proceed with subdividing the property into individual lots that can be developed and sold. As required by the City’s affordable housing ordinance, the project includes an affordable housing component, which consists of 50 affordable accessory dwelling units; 18 homes for moderate-income buyers; the developer’s transfer of two acres of land to Eden Housing and Sunflower Hill for the creation of a future 77 units of affordable housing for persons living with autism and other developmental disabilities; and a contribution of $5.4 million in today’s dollars for affordable housing.

What is a Stage 2 Development Plan?

A Stage 2 Development Plan is a City Council-approved ordinance that provides an additional level of detail about what can be developed on any given property in Eastern Dublin. The City’s Zoning Ordinance requires proposed development on properties in East Dublin to have both a Stage 1 and Stage 2 Development Plan. In the case of East Ranch, the City Council approved a Stage 1 Development Plan for the property in 2005. The Stage 1 Development Plan for East Ranch included details such as a major roadway alignments and community design features, and details such as development standards for residential uses, among other things. The Stage 2 Development Plan contains additional requirements, such as development regulations (i.e., height, setbacks, etc.) and architectural guidelines.

I heard that a referendum was filed against the project. What is a referendum and what does it do? 

A referendum was submitted to overturn the City Council's decision on the Stage 2 Development Plan.

A referendum is a process under State law that allows the City’s voters to reconsider a legislative decision of the City Council through a petition. Petitioners need to gather signatures from 10 percent of registered voters, which equates to 3,400 signatures in the City of Dublin, in a 30-day period. These petitions are then submitted to the Dublin City Clerk who conducts an initial count to determine whether there are enough signatures. If there are sufficient signatures, the petition is sent to the Registrar of Voters (ROV) who reviews the signatures and compares them to the signatures on the voter roll. The signatures were submitted to the City Clerk on January 27, where she determined there were enough signatures and submitted them to the ROV for signature verification. The ROV’s review determined that the petition was sufficient, and the petition’s sufficiency was submitted to the City Council on March 1, 2022.

 At its March 1, 2022 meeting, the City Council determined whether to repeal the ordinance for the Stage 2 Development Plan or call an election.  At the developer’s request, the City Council repealed the ordinance adopting the Stage 2 Development Plan.

What happens now that referendum resulted in the City Council repealing the Stage 2 Development Plan?

 As a result, the City Council may not reenact the ordinance for a period of one year. However, Trumark would have the option of pursuing the project using various other procedures available under State law or seeking the Stage 2 Development Plan's approval after the one year period expires. As was noted in the December 7, 2021, staff report on the project, various provisions of State law prevent the City from restricting development on the site. For example, the Housing Crisis Act of 2019 (Senate Bill 330) bans the City from changing the development allowed on the property to less intensive ones. Another state law, the Housing Accountability Act (HAA), forbids the City from disapproving housing projects that comply with the City’s existing, objective standards, except in very limited circumstances.  Projects under the HAA are also not subject to the referendum process. 

The City expects that Trumark will continue to pursue the project as allowed under state law. Indeed, Trumark’s letter requesting that Ordinance No. 11-21 be repealed stated that it would be pursuing an “alternative path for obtaining approval” of the project.  If it does so, Trumark's affordable housing proposal would likely be modified to make the proposal consistent with the City’s existing, objective standards.

What would be the difference between the approved East Ranch project and a Housing Accountability Act project?  

The key difference between the East Ranch project and a Housing Accountability Act (HAA) project is that the HAA project would have to comply with the standard affordable housing requirements under the City's zoning ordinance.  Those standard requirements would require the creation of 43 affordable, for sale units, and the payment of $6.3 million.

The Trumark proposal includes the creation of 95 units through the construction of 18 affordable, for sale units, and the donation of two acres to Eden/Sunflower for the creation of 77 units. In addition, Trumark proposed to contribute $5.4 million to the City’s affordable housing fund and create 50 deed-restricted accessory dwelling units. Because Trumark has not submitted an HAA project at this time, the City does not know whether there may be other aspects of the proposal that the community might perceive to be better or worse than the East Ranch project. In its report to the City Council on the East Ranch project, the City staff asserted that Trumark’s proposal would provide “superior affordable housing” when compared with the standard requirements.  

Did the City consider environmental impacts?

The City conducted a thorough environmental review of the project in multiple documents.  

In California, cities must follow the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). CEQA law sets out the way the environmental impacts of certain projects shall be evaluated. The City carefully studied the environmental impacts of development on the site, including the impacts on schools and traffic, when it approved development in Eastern Dublin certifying the Eastern Dublin Environmental Impact Report (EIR) approved in 1993.  The impacts of development on the site were again studied in the East Dublin Property Owners Supplement EIR approved in 2002 and in the Fallon Village Supplemental EIR in 2005 when the City Council approved the Stage 1 Development Plan. 

CEQA exempts a residential development that is consistent with a Specific Plan from further environmental review unless certain significant events occur that trigger the need for additional review.  The East Ranch project was potentially eligible for exemption because it is a residential project within the Eastern Dublin Specific Plan area.  When projects are potentially eligible for the exemption, the City prepares a thorough CEQA exemption analysis to determine whether any of the triggering events have occurred that would require further review.  The exemption analysis requires review and study of 20 areas of environmental concern to determine whether conditions have significantly changed in a manner that would require additional review.  In the case of the East Ranch project, the City Council considered a 61-page exemption analysis that was accompanied by seven technical appendices totaling 667 pages.  The appendices addressed topics such as biological and traffic impacts.  The exemption analysis prepared by the City's independent environmental consultant, Kimley Horn, concluded that the project qualified for the exemption because no part of the proposed project triggers the need to conduct further environmental review.

Did the City consider the impact of the East Ranch project on our schools?

Yes.  The City's exemption analysis considered whether there were any impacts to schools that went beyond the prior analysis, and it concluded that the project would result in the same number of school-aged children as has been studied in 1993, 2002, and 2005.  In addition, the traffic analysis considered how the project would impact existing and future access to schools, including bike and pedestrian connections to facilitate ease of movements for students and parents.

It is important to note that in 1998, the Legislature adopted the Leroy F. Green School Facilities Act of 1998.  It established a framework for funding the classroom space made necessary by new development and determined that the framework fully mitigates the impact of new development on schools.  It had the effect of preventing the City from considering the impact of new development on schools.