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EDITORIAL: Run-down 1912 house stalls new home development

Original post made on Jul 22, 2013

What on earth were the members of the Pleasanton Planning Commission thinking when they voted 4-0 to reject a bid by longtime local builder Ponderosa Homes to tear down the remnants of a run-down trailer park on (Old) Stanley Boulevard and replace it with 12 moderately-sized new homes?

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, July 22, 2013, 7:47 AM

Comments (26)

Posted by Othello, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2013 at 8:20 am

This area is a major eyesore and is seriously in need of an update. It's time for the City Council to stop the seriously misguided effort to save this old dump of a house and approve the project. While they are at it, they need to get some action going on repaving Old Stanley Boulevard, which is currently in horrible shape.

Posted by StanleySteamer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2013 at 8:39 am

A few years back the city had a plan to renovate Old Stanley, put in proper sidewalks and lighting - but that seems to have vanished. That stretch of road between Stanley and Main/Santa Rita is fairly high traffic and unsafe to walk on.

Posted by Pleasanton Neighbor, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jul 22, 2013 at 8:59 am

If Ponderosa now owns the property they should tear the house down. But yes, let's put in something nice there.

Posted by Anxious, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2013 at 9:47 am

I knew the petty peps would block beauty, with their minutiae. Their pick, pick, pick, with their dead-end roads and oldies is getting tiresome. 'Planning' is about the future. I like new and improved.
I do appreciate our lovely Victorian and heritage homes. We already sort of have that 'area'...that is good ! But progress, a new street, and total improvement would be so nice in that neglected 'pocket'.
Where are all the smart people who would like to beautify that pocket? Abusing builders like Ponderosa for wanting to invest in Pleasanton is not a solution. We have a number of century homes. This would not be a large 'profitable' project. It is a tiny 'redevelopment' project that we should be thrilled to receive.

Posted by Anne, a resident of Downtown
on Jul 22, 2013 at 9:55 am

Is it possible to sell the house to someone that could move it and restore it? That would save the house and free up the property for development.

Posted by Victor, a resident of Deer Oaks/Twelve Oaks
on Jul 22, 2013 at 10:40 am

Tear down the eyesore, give Ponderosa approval to develop the area, provide nice housing, bring in property tax revenue, you know how it works.

Posted by Ann, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2013 at 10:42 am

I agreed with Anne, of Downtown. From the picture that was posted with the Editorial, it doesn't look that bad and people need to realize that just because something doesn't fit into their idea of what is new and improved doesn't make it wrong or bad for a community. For example look at the home that was restored and is now in use on Stanley (I think it is a psychic reader - not something I would choose to use but it is being used and is a beautiful building). Can anyone remember what it used to look like? It was horrible with a mess around it and a bare lot surrounding. Look what they did with the Century House...they use it for city classes. Old buildings should be saved and reused. This old house could be saved as a community center for the new 12 houses as a part of their green space. There are always other suggestions other than tearing it down or arson as one suggested above.

Posted by Anxious, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2013 at 10:42 am

The previous article, last week, said half the house is pretty much falling down, not worth it , and probably would not survive relocation. I guess Ponderosa could just 'wait 'em out' and wait and watch it just plain 'fall down'. That would a unique addition to the neighborhood.
Maybe the 'crusaders' who blocked improvements could BUY know, put their money where their mouths are!!!! Seems quite fair and just to me...and they could stick it wherever they want !

Posted by Jjhh, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 22, 2013 at 11:21 am

Uh... just a minute....

"the 1912-vintage house on a Lutheran Church-owned quarter-acre at the front of the property"
"Ponderosa might show the possible uses for the church-owned property"

Are we to understand that Ponderosa owns neither the property, nor the land it's built on, yet it is pushing for it to be demolished?

And the PW staff writer seriously thinks this is perfectly acceptable? Indeed, s/he goes further and seems to consider that the Planning Commission's (unusual) decision not to support the developers is completely unreasonable!

I trust the writer will be equally enthusiastic in handing over half his/her yard to make space for an access road, should some neighbors take the altruistic decision to demolish their dwelling and replace it with several attractive and much-needed little affordable homes.

Posted by Fred M., a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2013 at 12:13 pm

To me it boils down to responsible development:
Don't cut off hilltops,
don't block rivers,
don't damage your neighborhood,
don't build houses that are too big or too colorful,
don't destroy heritage trees (and this project is terrible on saving large old trees),
and DON"T tear down 100 year old homes!!
They are our heritage and a BIG part of what makes Pleasanton special. Want to live in ALL new? Go to San Ramon or Dublin!

Posted by Randy, a resident of Mission Park
on Jul 22, 2013 at 3:37 pm

So Ponderosa doesn't even own the house or the property but they want it torn down? What would give them that right, I mean if you don't like your neighbors house, garage or garden does that give you the right to ask to have it torn down. Pretty simple the house was there long before most of the current buildings in Pleasanton, if anything it is "grandfathered" into the city and should deserve to stay if its not a hazard. If its a hazard in its current condition and there is no remedy the city can work out with the church then have the city declare it as a hazard for blight and deal with it as the law allows.

Posted by Anxious, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2013 at 4:01 pm

I wanted the old trailers and bumpy street replaced FORTY years ago.
The city couldn't afford to replace the street then, and certainly cannot now. Only a developer could give us a new street. What a perfect chance to REPLACE the trailers AND GET A NEW STREET ! ! So we'll think of you blockers as we approach or AVOID the slummy area.
I hope Ponderosa walks and we can remind you often of the disgrace.
The days of groups of rich ladies who buy and 'assume responsibility' for such projects are no more. Fortunately we already have a nice selection, and more coming near fairgrounds.
The 'city' can not and should not spend a penny on this 'project'.
When others in the city want the pocket improved, maybe we'll be lucky enough to find one. Another missed opportunity.
Ideas are a dime a dozen, you know .....everybody has one... finding people to ante up when they speak up is the big trick!
I'll think back to this morning when I thought how great we would finally, after decades of waiting, have a nice new neighborhood and new street & neighborhood, without tax dollars. I hope we can find a sugar-daddy to provide the dream. Oooops, that's right, NOBODY give us that except a builder !!!
Reality sets in. We need some realists, not dreamers thinking outloud.

Posted by local, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2013 at 6:05 pm

I think the problem with the road was because a prior council did not make Stanley Junction pay for the necessary sidewalks needed to support their development.

I also do not think the article in the weekly is giving the whole story. It is my understanding that this development is on the church property also. I believe Wagner donated his property to his church (old house and trailer park). That being the case, it does make sense to treat this whole parcel as one project and not chop it up. Of course the developer is saying they do not want to deal with the old house but it is misleading to say the old house is owned by the church and let them decide what to do. The developer is trying to divide the property in order to make their life easier.

While I am not in favor of the RHNA numbers, this might be a good location to do some stacked high density housing as it is near downtown and the bus line goes pretty close by.

Posted by Anxious, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2013 at 6:27 pm

Local, you do make a 'close to transportation' point. Really stands out LARGE, since all the stacked housing being dumped on the 'East Side' is about the FARTHEST FROM transportation and freeways of any point in Pleasanton. None of the thousands of Stanley/Busch units come with BART or freeways..don't know how that counts for RHNA.???
All the other locations in town would meet transportation needs.
Also, forever blocking those few feet connection, north of Main bridge was also a mean, narrow-minded blockage that causes bottlenecks at other East side intersections. I'm really sick of all the block-it-off mentality decision that have forever created bottlenecks. I've lost all tolerance with..would be deleted.

Posted by local, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2013 at 9:16 pm

What do you mean there is no transportation in the east side? There is an airport there. I would assume that those living in the high-density housing will also have private airplanes so that they will not add to the freeway congestion :-) .

Posted by Shelia, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2013 at 9:36 am

If Ponderosa can't make the old house work, perhaps KB, Toll Bros., Greenbriar or other developer can do it.

The church owns the land and perhaps they should sell it to someone who gives a damn about our heritage houses and our town's history.

Posted by Downtowner, a resident of Downtown
on Jul 23, 2013 at 11:11 am

Downtowner is a registered user.

Not every old house is a "heritage" house or worth saving. We have many, many, lovely Victorians, Edwardians, and Arts & Crafts houses. This is not one of them.

Posted by John, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2013 at 11:40 am

this stretch of Stanley is one of the last neighborhoods in Pleasanton with any unique character. Everything else has been bulldozed or gentrified into Disneyland cleanliness... Sure, Stanley is bound to change with the times, but I for one will regret the homogenization of the landscape

Posted by Stay involved, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2013 at 12:07 pm

There are many good points that all sides are making depending on what one's perspective and priorities are. I understand that not one resident attended the Planning Commission hearing to voice either opposition or support for this project. I encourage those who care to make your voice heard by attending key meetings when topics that are important to you come up, or at least write to your Planning commission or Council members.

Otherwise, our leaders will assume no one has strong feelings about the topic one way or the other.

Posted by june, a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Jul 23, 2013 at 2:22 pm

I think the proposal by the developer and the property owners is to leave the old home in place and let the property owners ultimately decide what is best for them, either to bring it up to code, restore it, or perhaps propose to demolish it. In any event, isnt that the decision for a property owner to make and not government? Building new homes there will get rid of an eyesore and eventually the old house will even appear to look better when people drive past.

Posted by Shelia, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Separating out the house from the rest of the land is irresponsible on the part of Ponderosa. Take it all or leave the whole parcel for a developer that cares about our community of Character.

Posted by Anxious, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Ponderosa certainly cares about Pleasanton community, as they have repeatedly displayed. Can't sell top homes with a collapsing eyesore in sight. Only lousy and UNcaring builders would build around an eyesore without plan. Some of these noisy zealots should pool their money, make something of it, and create a beautiful NEIGHBORHOOD & street, OR go scream in a pillow. I want a new street without spending tax dollars!

Posted by Melinda, a resident of Birdland
on Jul 23, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Sheila, I for one would not want KB Homes or Toll to build in our downtown or near me for that matter based on what I see in Dublin. I dont even think Greenbriar is in business anymore. But, you lost creditability when you said its irresponsible to not include the existing house in the development. On the contrary, isn't the plan to actually PRESERVE the house instead of demolishing it? It is the property owner who you are telling what to do with his house, and that he has to spend a lot of money to make it look like a historic building. I say let the property owner decide if they want to do that work themselves, or sell it to someone who wants to do it. I cant imagine spending a lot of money there when its so close to auto repair shops, a car wash, and several old apartments and townhouses.

Posted by Jose, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Melinda, Obviously you work for Ponderosa and have a vested interest in this project. Admit it.

Only Ponderosa cares if they are the selected company or not. No one else gives a rat's ass who is the builder. I live on Old Stanley and I care about the old house, hopefully so will Jerry Thorne and the rest of them. Improve the old house cuz it is all a part of the same deal.

Posted by Melinda, a resident of Birdland
on Jul 29, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Nice language Jose. I admit that I work for a biotech here in town and have opinions about property rights having owned several houses. Good luck with your deal making.

Posted by Jorge P, a resident of California Reflections
on Aug 21, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Did anyone catch Ponderosa in a lie last night on the council -TV? They told the real estate guy Dale about a month ago that they were not going to buy the old house, so he sold it to someone else. Then last night they lied and said they still had the option to buy the old house and tear it down.

Unethical and untruthful. Not good representatives of their company for sure.

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