Stiff opposition to East Bay cemetery

ALAMO, Calif.

It would be built in rural Tassajara Valley, just below the subdivisions of San Ramon.

The Alamo cemetery is 150-years-old and it's basically all booked up. That's why local developer Sid Corrie says he wants to build a new cemetery that will serve local residents for decades to come.

With existing cemeteries like the one in Alamo booking up quickly, Corrier says his plan to build a large new resting place in the Tassajara Valley is the perfect way to address demand, with supply.

"There aren't enough spaces, people are dying. You have a few thousand people a year dying in this area. Where you going to put them?" said Corrie

But Corrie's proposal to build a 150,000 plot cemetery on his 221 acres along Camino Tassajara east of Danville is facing some stiff opposition.

"I don't like it," said Rob Bonavito who owns Tassajara Kennels just down the road from Corrie's property. Bonavito says he doesn't much like the idea of living and working near a cemetery, but that's not his primary concern.

"There's not enough water. I mean, all of these properties around here are on well system," said Bonavito. "And every summer these wells get drained down. And if they were going to put something across the road that's going to require large amounts of water, which is being proposed, it could put us all out of business."

The new $35 million project called Creekside Memorial Park would include extensive landscaping, indoor and outdoor mausoleums and a chapel.

Besides water, opponents also worry about increased traffic on a two-lane road that's seen its share of problems.

"I've been out here 16 years and I believe there's been eleven fatalities on this road," Bonavito said

But Corrie argues that with surrounding cemeteries like Alamo and Lafayette already close to capacity, the time is right for his project.

"They don't want to be shipped to the moon and they don't want to go back to Indiana," Corrie said. "They'd like to be burried where their children are born and raised and are growing up. Nobody wants to be shipped somewhere else."

After eight years, things are finally coming to a head for Corrie and his cemetery project. The County planning department is finishing an environmental report and there will also be a public hearing process.

Meanwhile, opponents have collected more than 200 signatures on a petition they plan to present to County supervisors who will eventually make the final decision.

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