Pleasanton Weekly

News - February 4, 2011

Planners weigh in on Hacienda plans

Commissioners want to change requirements for retail, live-work units

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

After reviewing the proposals of the Hacienda Task Force for development, the Pleasanton Planning Commission is recommending to the City Council that it remove the requirement for retail and live-work units on Gibraltar Drive at Hacienda.

The task force recommended retail and live-work unit requirements at two parcels near that intersection and one parcel on Owens Drive across the street from the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station. The Planning Commissioners agreed that the Owens Drive requirement made sense, at their meeting Jan. 26, but didn't want to limit development at the other parcels.

"At Gibraltar and Hacienda it was recommended to have at least 5,000 square feet of retail and then live-work units along the streets," Planning Commission Chairman Kathy Narum said after the meeting. "We recommended removing the retail and the live-work. That doesn't mean a developer couldn't do it but we recommended not requiring it."

The commissioners recognize that the Hacienda plan is meant to advance transit-oriented development so people living there would not be dependent on cars, Narum noted, but said there is a lot of retail space just across the freeway in Dublin that is not doing well.

"I think we had a good discussion. We had a lot of comments from people in the audience," Narum said.

Becky Dennis, founder of Citizens for a Caring Community, a local fair housing group, and task force member Valerie Arkin both spoke against the commission's recommendation.

The 21-member Hacienda Task Force worked for almost one year to draft guidelines for lively, pedestrian-oriented, mixed use development on sites near the BART station. The development plan goes to the City Council at a workshop on Feb. 8, then before the council at its Feb. 15 meeting.

The guidelines for Hacienda must be adopted by March 1 to meet the state's affordable housing requirements, per an order by Alameda County Superior Court that ruled Pleasanton's 29,000-unit housing cap, approved by voters in 1996, was illegal.

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