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Fact Check

MYTH: “A new public school facility at the sports field site would be illegal under state law because of pollution caused by Highway 24”

FACT: In 2003, the California State Legislature passed a bill (SB 352) that would prohibit the approval by the governing board of a school district of a school site that is within 500 feet from the edge of the closest traffic lane of a freeway or other busy traffic corridor, unless prescribed conditions are met. There are a number of exemptions and conditions outlined in the law.

The sports field is not a school site and is not governed by SB 352.  However, the proposed sports field is also not within 500 feet of Highway 24. The nearest edge of the field is 780’ (see Engineering memo at link below). For comparison, 780 feet is equivalent to more than 2.5 football fields.

The playground is 1,050 feet away from Highway 24.

Further, the independent Environmental Impact Report studied the potential impacts to air quality and determined there is no significant risk and required no mitigation.

Engineer Memo

California Senate Bill 352

Environmental Impact Report Chapter 4.2 Air Quality


MYTH: “The City will try to use fear of the 315 apartments to get your vote but the apartments can be rejected by the city, or by a vote just like this one”

FACT: Approval of the original, high-density affordable apartment project is not a legislative act and therefore, by law, cannot be put to a referendum.  The main community benefit of the original plan was to provide affordable housing. This compromise plan for the Deer Hill property is about local control. The City negotiated their needs and the new plan dedicated 11 acres to the community for open space, playground, sports field, public trail, bicycle and pedestrian improvements, and dog park.

At the March 26, 2018 meeting, the City Council requested an informational update regarding whether an approval of the apartment project could be subject to a referendum. On April 9, the City Attorney issued a staff report (item 7F) and provided information that it would not be subject to a public vote.

City of Lafayette Staff Report April 9, 2018


MYTH: “Development on an iconic ridgeline”

FACT: This site was the location of a former quarry operation. Homes are located BELOW Deer Hill Road on the south side of Deer Hill Road bordered by Highway 24.



MYTH: “Project will be visible from most of Lafayette”

FACT:  The project will not be visible from most of Lafayette.  The EIR determined that the visual impacts were less than significant.  Below is the link to the Aesthetics and Visual Resources Section of the EIR. Eight viewpoints were studied.  The before, after construction, and 5 years after construction photo simulations can be seen here in figures 4.1-11 through 4.1-26.


MYTH: “Our city is hiding facts”

FACT: There have been over 60 public meetings which have the minutes available on the city website.  The City of Lafayette has published an entire page dedicated to the Homes at Deer Hill Plan. All documents pertaining to the project have been posted. Similarly, all documents pertaining to the original Terraces project have been posted as well. 

City of Lafayette: Link to Terraces

City of Lafayette: Link to Homes at Deer Hill


MYTH: “The City Council approved zoning in 2010 of 4 units”

FACT: The City Council never reduced zoning on this property. The current zoning is Administrative/Professional Office which allows multi-family residential housing at 35 units/acre. 

City Zoning Map


MYTH: “There are multiple alternative Lafayette sports field locations that we have identified”

FACT: Both the Parks Commission and the City Council studied the issue thoroughly and found no viable alternatives. Further, Mayor Don Tatzin met recently with opponents about this issue. The only site they identified was the privately-owned DeSilva property. O’Brien Homes had approached the owner of the property in 2015 and again in 2017.  Both times they were told that the land owner wasn’t interested in selling. Mayor Tatzin reached out to the owners of the DeSilva property again at opponents’ request and the land owner told him the same.

March 2nd, 2018 Council Meeting minutes (see item 5A)

March 7th, 2018 Council Meeting minutes (Item 5A)


MYTH: "Six better Lafayette sites have been presented to Lafayette’s Mayor that meet his own criteria but a majority of the council has refused to even allow sufficient time to consider them.”

FACT: Read the Mayor's letter disputing this claim here


MYTH: “Site is designated for four units”

FACT: The current zoning on this property is Administrative/Professional Office which allows multi-family residential housing at 35 units/acre.

City APO Definition

City Zoning Map




Paid for by Yes on L, a coalition of Lafayette residents, business and community leaders for Deer Hill plan and park; Committee major funding from Dennis O'Brien, including O'Brien Land Company. FPPC#1404191
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