The Pleasanton Planning Commission has given final approval for the construction of a new two-story restaurant and commercial building downtown at 725 Main St., at the site where the Union Jack Pub was torn down in 2007.
Robert Dondero, who lives in Pleasanton, won the commission's unanimous approval after a lengthy public hearing where planners showed concern over a second-floor outdoor dining area that will project out over a ground-floor patio and sidewalk.
Dondero said the ground-floor space will have two businesses facing onto Main Street, including a restaurant. The second floor will include the open air deck for dining and dancing, and also will have an adjacent apartment. Both will be served by an elevator.
Planning Commissioner Jack Balch said he was concerned that at an event, such as a high school prom party, the crowd might become rowdy or that someone could fall off the deck onto Main Street below.
Longtime downtown property owner Robert Byrd criticized the Planning Commission for allowing Dondero and his co-developer and brother, Larry, to rebuild on the Union Jack site without providing required off-street parking.
But city staff planner Adam Weinstein said Union Jack had been given a waiver for the 12 parking spaces it needed and that the waiver carries through with the property. Dondero will need 15 parking spaces in accordance with parking regulations, but will contribute $57,353 to the city's parking fund in lieu of providing those three extra spaces.
Byrd said the city continues to collect payments into the parking fund but has yet to build any downtown parking. Planning Commissioner Greg O'Connor agreed.
"I think it's time for the city to grapple with its downtown parking issues," he said.
Even so, commissioners and city staff praised the architecture of the proposed building, saying it will be a major improvement for downtown Pleasanton where the fenced-off structural hole left when Union Jack was torn down has been an eyesore for years.
The new building will be between the J'aime Bridal and Rick's Picks businesses, measuring 32 feet in height with a brick facade. The roof will be composed of Mission-style tile. A bronze-colored metal trellis will cover most of the second floor.
Since Dondero's building will replace one that already had zoning approval, the Planning Commission's action is final and he can proceed with obtaining a construction permit. He said he hopes to have the building started later this year.