A huge crowd of disgruntled Orinda residents of appeared at a town-hall meeting in Lafayette Wednesday night (March 13). The meeting came in response to a campaign to protest high-rise, high density housing planned for Orinda.
About 200 people, most of them Orindans, were in the audience. The meeting was held at the Veterans Memorial Building in Lafayette.
Speakers at the meeting protested plans that would, according to a flyer distributed to Orindans a few days before the gathering, “ruin our [Orinda's] small town character, negatively affect our schools, negatively affect our property values, [and] cause traffic and parking congestion.”
The event was sponsored by Orinda Watch, a group of Orinda volunteers displeased with plans to construct new housing in Orinda. Some of the new housing will be for low-income individuals.
Peter Singleton, a lawyer involved in stopping unwanted housing in California cities, said, that he is “fighting to protect and preserve our way of life.”
Singleton added that local communities in California are being subjected to “social engineering,” which, he said, calls for putting people into densely packed, multi-story apartments. He said that such housing is supposed to discourage people from driving cars.
Singleton said that unelected California bureaucracies like the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) want to determine the land-use patterns and transportation policies for local communities like Orinda.
He said that between now and 2035 almost 2000 new housing units are planned for Orinda and that 1344 of these units are slated to be put in downtown.
Also speaking at the meeting was Bob Silvestri, an architect and author of the book, “The Best Paid Plans: Our Planning and Affordable Housing Challenges in Marin.” Silvestri, a resident of Marin County, warned audience members that governmental bodies in California want to impose a tax on the number of miles that a vehicle is driven.
Bob Ravasio, a member of the city council of Corte Madera in Marin County, told the audience that cities themselves, not unelected bureaucracies, should determine how large cities themselves should be.