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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Doubling Dublin

Uploaded: Oct 1, 2015
Thirty years ago when I was the managing editor the Tri-Valley Herald, we ran a headline about "Doubling Dublin" when the first plans for the city east of Tassajara Road were submitted.
Those plans and others for the land between the original Dublin have been executed over the past many years. The population has increased from about 25,000 to 51,780 today. With the exception of Schaefer Ranch in the western hills, the rest of the growth has occurred east of Dougherty Road.
The missing piece to connect East Dublin with the original core is the Army's Parks Reserve Forces Training Base, which covers about one-quarter of the city's total land mass. After years of work with the Army, the city, and potential developers, 189 acres along Dublin Boulevard will finally start construction.
The Army originally optioned the development rights to SunCal, an Irvine-based developer that sold the project to two national developers, Standard Pacific Corp. and Brookfield Residential Properties, Inc. They bought the property from the Army in 2011.
The approved plans include 1,995-unit master planned community on the 189 acres that will join the two halves of Dublin. The plan also includes a new school coupled with a park on 12 aces (very important in a community where student enrollment has been significantly higher than projections), as well as a 30-acre community park and up to 200,000 square feet of commercial and retail space.
The housing units will be ideally located for residents who commute elsewhere—near to Interstate 580 and the Dublin-Pleasanton BART station.
The project, which will take a number of years to build-out depending upon the business cycle, amounts to infill. In the agreement with the developers, the Army gained a number of needed improvements including the new main gate on Dougherty Road.
The current Dublin City Council has been restrained when considering additional residential projects on the eastside, particularly given the over-crowded schools. There is no single factor more critical than space in schools for parents looking to live in the Tri-Valley area.
The school district missed in East Dublin, just as the San Ramon Valley district missed in the Dougherty Valley. In San Ramon, the remaining homebuilder, Shapell Homes (which since has been purchased by Toll Bros.), stepped up quickly to provide land for another school.
And, in fairness, both districts used the best demographic information they had available at the time—neither saw the influx of Asian and Indian families drawn by new homes, excellent schools and many job opportunities in the technology sector.
Time will tell how well the city and the school district planned for the remaining large parcel within the Dublin city limits.
Incidentally, I believe the reason that eastern development stands out so much in Dublin is simple--there are no mature trees. When you compare the western hills of Dublin, which were as bare as the eastern ones are today you can see the difference mature trees make.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Dave, a resident of Danville,
on Oct 1, 2015 at 10:33 am

I always find it remarkable that the school districts (perhaps encouraged by the developers) have been so willing to accept woefully inadequate projections for school enrollment in planned developments.

You say that they relied on the best demographic information that they had available at the time. Well, whether the new residents were Asian or Indian or Caucasian seems irrelevant to me. Whom did they think were going to buy 4- and 5-bedroom homes other than growing families with children?????.......Did they really believe that seniors or older empty-nesters were going to buy large homes?

It makes me suspect that developers aim for the lowest student projections that they can get away with -- so that they can keep their school-building obligations to a minimum -- and the school boards are not up to the task of challenging them to provide realistic numbers, or negotiate strongly enough with them.

Posted by Bill, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows,
on Oct 1, 2015 at 2:25 pm

Wasn't it a rule of thumb that for every 20,000 residents a city should have one high school, fed by two middle schools, each fed by two elementary schools? Seems like a simple math problem to me. If you don't have the funds to build the correct amount of schools, why on god's green earth are you approving more housing projects?

Posted by DJohns, a resident of Downtown,
on Oct 7, 2015 at 2:47 pm

DJohns is a registered user.

I do not understand why you are concerned about school overcrowding in Dublin and San Ramon. You were a loud critic of citizen efforts to build schools in Pleasanton. You seemed to have an alliance with the Pleasanton School District in their efforts to prevent building schools, in order to redirect operating funds to salary. Does your wife still work for PUSD? Pleasanton schools are the most overcrowded schools in the TriValley and yet more land was just rezoned to build homes that will add to the problem. Interesting the demographer report says we don't need any schools. Are you concerned about the Pleasanton school overcrowding now?

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