Council meets again tonight to consider controversial East Side land use plans

Planning process could be stopped until California's drought is over

The Pleasanton City Council will meet at 7 p.m. tonight to take action on pending plans for developing 1,100 acres of the city's mostly vacant East Side.

The meeting follows a decision June 2 to scuttle a proposed special advisory ballot measure about land uses on the East Side after learning it would cost about $500,000 in county election costs.

Opponents to the November ballot plan spoke at that meeting, with most of those who spoke also stating their opposition to continuing any planning effort for the East Side at this time.

That's the issue the council will address tonight as it weighs various options.

"I applaud you for your decision," said George Bowen, a leader of the opposition to East Side development and an unsuccessful candidate for the council in last November's election.

He urged the council to cancel any plans to develop the 1,100- acre largely undeveloped land east of Valley Avenue that extends to the Livermore city boundary, plan that have been largely criticized because of the current drought.

"My sense is that a vast majority of voters don't want any more major development in our city even if it rains," Bowen said. "We still have traffic and school problems. I'm asking that you make it clear in your actions that you are bringing this development planning process to a halt."

Scott Raty, president of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce, agreed.

"Right now, water availability is our concern and there are steps we can take to ensure that," Raty said. "We need to focus on recycling projects and new water agreements with Zone 7 and other providers to add certainty to our supplies. We need to put the brakes on (the East Side planning) at least for the next 12 months."

He said the council was once set to move forward with planning for a new civic center and public library when the recession hit. It backed off on those plans, only resuming them again earlier this year now that the economy has improved. He urged the council to impose the same type of delay in planning development of the East Side until the drought is over.

Councilman Arne Olson, whose home in the Ironwood community is next to East Side properties, recused himself from voting on the issue.

Even so, wearing his "citizen's hat", he was the first speaker at Tuesday night's meeting.

"I said earlier that I thought the planning process should continue as did three of us (on the council) while campaigning in the last election, which we won," Olson said. "But I think this has become a divisive issue because of the drought and should be stopped."

"I don't think the work of the (East Pleasanton) task force and the EIR (Environmental Impact Report) are a waste," he added. "They can be reviewed and updated whenever planning resumes for the east side."

Objectors cited other concerns in building 1,300 housing units on the East Side as the task force has considered, including overcrowded public schools, traffic, a surging population, even the lack of adequate hospitals to serve the region's growing housing numbers.

Suggestions mentioned at Tuesday's public hearing for land uses on the east side ranged from having the city buy the property from its current owners for use as a park or for building senior housing.

"So we stop now and when we take this up again, we will talk about those other issues," Thorne said. "I would also suggest that if we do decide (June 16) to pause this process, that would-be developers there look outside the box for a plan that wouldn't have quite as much of an impact on the public."

"We might want to consider age-restricted development because people 55 and older don't have an impact on schools and more of them spend their money here in Pleasanton," Thorne added. "That would make sense to me."

Although a final decision on dealing with the current East Side planning process will be made tonight, Thorne gave an indication of how he will vote earlier.

"I hope others on the council will join me in signing a letter thanking the members of the East Pleasanton Specific Plan task force for their many hours of work they did on this project," he said at the close of the June 2 meeting.

Tonight's meeting will be held in the Council's chamber in the Pleasanton Civic Center, 200 Old Bernal Ave.

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4 people like this
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 10, 2015 at 11:16 am

LOL Old people don't use as much water either!!

5 people like this
Posted by pleasanton was nice forty years ago
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 10, 2015 at 1:19 pm

How about a pot farm. I hear that stuff sells for big bucks. We can hire illegals to come work it for close to nothing. ( and tell everyone how wonderful we are by providing jobs for them). They can get here easy, Its not like we have a boarder or anything. Then we can sell it to the Mexican gangs or maybe to cholo. Pleasanton could make bank.... and isn't that whats its all about here. The restaurants would do well. 7-11 would have to expand their parking lot and speeding would probably not be a problem anymore. Ya thats it, Right.

Like this comment
Posted by Get Real
a resident of Danbury Park
on Jun 12, 2015 at 9:03 am

My doesnt our cat have a bushy tail, Del Prado. Sure, you never speed, eat at restaurants, have a good job or have ever inhaled. Its always everyone else who annoys you and you dont belomg with us other plebians. You deserve better than everyone else. And I bet you have kids but that doesnt add to the population. Pleasantonians are a bunch of whiners who are really very unhappy deep down when they have everything to be happy about.

9 people like this
Posted by Angry driver
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Jun 12, 2015 at 2:06 pm

I don't want anything even discussed until the shops and overhead residences across from McDonalds are visibly piled up at the Stanley/Valley Ave intersection, which is already full of Ruby Hill and Vintage Hills cars...all waiting to get in the Valley Ave que. All discussions are unrealistic without that impact being 'felt' by all. Then plans for 'additional circulation' streets and roads being added might allow for realistic discussion. Cut-throughs to 'existing' streets cannot be considered 'planning' for 'additional' cars. It's way beyond unrealistic...more like insane, unless and until new streets are created to provide routes to our Hacienda 'job center'. Insane to not present a viable plan to cope with those 'commute hour additions'. Will there be a helicopter pad in Ruby Hill to get to jobs? our world-class Hacienda "job center"?? Sort of getting the cart before the horse. Even discussing additional residents, without any guarantee they can leave their driveways is way premature without including additional streets to accommodate the additional numbers of cars from intersection to intersection...all the curly-ques in the middle do not solve the numbers piled up at intersections. The 'funnel' can't take in that heavy flow. We need adequate intersection planning after McDonald's are visible 'sitting' at the Stanley/Valley intersection.
Back off for now. This rush is inadequate and unfair to all East side residents. We also should delay the topic until we better understand well & water meter hookups. We could halt any discussion until after new plans for additional streets and, more meter hookups. Resume discussion 15 months.

9 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 14, 2015 at 6:40 am

Anybody notice That while everybody is bickering back and forth about a whole lot of nothing the Pleasanton city council members keep delaying and stalling on making a final decision and sticking with it!!! I'm still betting those big developers are parked out there somewhere waiting for that green light from downtown, that's a sneaky bunch of snakes that you guys voted into office!!

9 people like this
Posted by Jtjh
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 14, 2015 at 2:06 pm

Jtjh is a registered user.

I disagree. In my opinion the delays are not an indication of indecisiveness. They're strategic.

It is obvious that there is a lot of local opposition to the development plans. Many people protested at the May meeting, and a delay was achieved by a 'decision' to put the issue to ballot. The next meeting, again attended by many opposed to the development, was used to abort the ballot plan and thus another delay was achieved.

The next meeting is this week. Many people with children to out of town the first week that school is out and families tend to have less everyday contact with one another during school vacations. This means that those who oppose the plan will find it more difficult to mobilize their supporters.

Thus the Council meeting will probably be less well attended. This "delay and reduce" strategy has been used many times by Pleasanton Council in connection with development - and undoubtedly by many administrative bodies elsewhere. It can be very successful.

If action is taken at Tuesday's meeting and that action is the opposite of what the majority of those at the earlier meetings wanted, I will be not in the least surprised.

6 people like this
Posted by mooseturd
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 16, 2015 at 12:55 pm

mooseturd is a registered user.

For heavens sake folks, go to the council meeting tonight. We've got to hold this council's feet to the fire or they will build housing and more strip malls until the land is all gone.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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