Consider our Kids – Ask the Planning Commission to Demand Spieker Development Meet with Our School Community in Good Faith

Contra Costa County Planning Commission

Dear Seven Hills families,

It is time to make your voice heard.

As many of you know, Spieker Development has submitted an application to Contra Costa County for a massive, imposing multi-story residential and health care compound that, in its current design, would tower over our school. The project, as it is currently proposed, would have significant, long-term impacts on our school and our children. They could easily modify the project’s design to consider the interests of our kids, but only if we speak up.

Please join us on Wednesday, October 26 to urge the Contra Costa County Planning Commission to consider our children by demanding that the developers compromise with us in good faith before advancing the project.

While we would welcome appropriate development of this site—it could be a really great project that seeks a win-win—Spieker has not taken our concerns seriously or offered compromises that would address our extremely reasonable concerns. In the current design, several of the villas would tower over our classrooms and block sunlight, significantly disrupt classes during the four-year construction period, and create safety hazards caused by poorly planned traffic flow—and several other environmental issues that have not been adequately assessed as required by law.

We would like to get to a place where we can support this project, and we feel strongly that there are viable solutions to our concerns, which is why we are asking that the Contra Costa County Planning Commission demand Spieker Development meet with us for a mediation to discuss how we could all win. We are not trying to kill their project; we are simply asking for them to sit down and compromise. We’re just asking them to be good neighbors.

But we need our school community to mobilize. Here’s how you can make a difference:

1. Sign our petition. There is tremendous strength in numbers. Show your opposition to the development as it currently stands by signing our petition and sharing it with your family and friends.

2. Attend the Zoom hearing on Wednesday, October 26 at 5:00 p.m. and speak during Public Comment on our item. Ask that the commissioners continue the item to a future date and demand that Spieker Development engages in good faith compromise in the interim. Your voice will go a long way. Here is the call-in information:


Meeting ID: 841 0419 4359

ACCESS THE MEETING BY TELEPHONE: (214) 765-0478 (US Toll) (888) 278-0254 (US Toll Free) Followed by Access Code: 198675

3. Send a letter or email to the commissioners. We have prepared a draft letter, which you’ll find below. Of course, please feel free to make it your own before sending it in. Address your emails to,,, and

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to Joel Grossman at

Thank you for your continued involvement in our school community. We are grateful to you.

Together in service,

Kathleen McNamara

Petition by
Anne Flanigan
San Francisco, California

To: Contra Costa County Planning Commission
From: [Your Name]

Dear Commissioners,

As a resident of Contra Costa County and the parent of a Seven Hills School student, I am deeply concerned about the proposed Spieker Development project immediately adjacent to my child’s school. While I do not oppose a development on the site, the current design completely ignores the concerns that we have shared with the developer. We have asked for reasonable compromises to the design that would provide an appropriate buffer from classrooms, for example, without sacrificing density. We believe it would actually be very easy for them to modify the design to create a win-win—they just have to consider our kids.

Rather than rushing the approval on October 26 of this project’s completely inadequate environmental documents, I am asking that you delay approval—and instead, ask Spieker Development to sit down and compromise in good faith with the Seven Hills School community. Please help us bring them to the table.

While they have met with us, they have refused to provide any meaningful compromises in writing to demonstrate that they take our concerns seriously. They’ve laughed in our faces and suggested to us that “they have the votes.” This makes us feel like our kids don’t matter to them. But as keepers of the public interest, I trust that our kids do matter to you. As such, we believe that you, as the Planning Commission, must ask them to engage in mediation with those impacted by the development. After all, this is very standard in real estate development—cities and counties frequently ask developers to make good faith efforts to find common ground with their neighbors.

Our school community believes that continuing the matter for 60 days—along with a strong suggestion by the Commission that they sit down with us and attempt to find compromise—would be adequate, and we believe it would be reasonable.

In its current design, much of the project would tower over our classrooms—blocking sunlight. To date, there has been no consideration of how badly a four-year construction period would disrupt classes and the outdoor activities of our kids—both from the standpoint of incredible noise and unmitigated dust, particulate matter, and other issues. And the developer’s transportation impacts have not been adequately studied or mitigated. We are not against development here, but there are real-world concerns that we have as parents—and these issues deserve the time and attention and discussion necessary to resolve them.

I am not asking that you delay this project for the sake of delaying it; I am asking you to demand that Spieker have mediation meetings with Seven Hills leadership to ensure the health and safety of my child. As commissioners, I understand it is your responsibility to ensure the projects you approve will better the county and are in line with what the county needs. Please do not advance this project before fully considering the impact it will have on nearly 500 children.

The Seven Hills School leadership and parent community is ready and eager to provide Spieker with ideas on how to slightly modify the project to ensure we balance the importance of building the project with the needs and interests of the public. These adjustments would alleviate the concerns we have for our children. On October 26, I ask you to please continue this project until Spieker agrees to a mediation meeting so that we can find this win-win.

Best regards,