Cemetery Sparks Development Fight Near Danville

A long-awaited development project in the rural Tassajara Valley would build a large cemetery

A Danville developer is hoping to complete a project over San Ramon Valley residents' dead bodies.

As in literally.

Sid Corrie wants up to 150,000 people to live -- permanently -- in a $35 million cemetery he wants to build in the Tassajara Valley, first reported in the Contra Costa Times. He told NBC Bay Area on Wednesday evening that he was approached by mayors of three nearby cities seven years ago about their need to bury the dead.

Creekside Memorial Park would be built on 221 acres along 7000 Camino Tassajara and would provide badly-needed cemetery space. All other cemeteries in the area are at or near capacity. Corrie said building a cemetery also has another benefit: It creates open space and will ward off other building developments.

At issue is how much water the burial plots would need in order to remain a lush green -- and how much water would be left over for the cemetery's neighbors, who ranch cattle.

The ranchers are worrid about the environmental impacts as well as the possible decrease in land value accompanying living next door to a cemetery, and have started a Web site,  to campaign against it.

Michelle Ulrich is in the anti-cemetery camp. She runs a 90-acre horse ranch on Camino Tassajara Road, which she fears she will lose if there is a cemetery built across the road.

The Contra Costa County Planning Commission could vote on the plan in March, and it could be approved as soon as June.

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