News


Planning Commission, Ponderosa tangle over 27-home rezoning bid

Chairwoman Allen calls builder's actions 'disappointing,' refuses to OK plan

Following an extraordinary public confrontation with executives of one of Pleasanton's largest homebuilders, the head of the city's Planning Commission Wednesday refused to vote to allow Ponderosa Homes to construct 27 homes on a Centerpointe Presbyterian Church site the church needs to sell quickly in its effort to relocate.

Commission chairwoman Nancy Allen said she was "disappointed" with Ponderosa's approach to gaining rezoning approvals, citing staff reports where the builder rejected "suggestions" by the city's staff planners to reduce the number of home sites,

She said the developer also did not provide a substantial amenity in return for its request to increase density above the standard, as required of all developers.

The Rev. Mike Barris, pastor of Centerpointe, said the church is in the process of acquiring another site and needs to sell part of the six acres it now occupies to Ponderosa by next month to finance the deal.

While acknowledging the urgency of the rezoning bid, Allen told Ponderosa's executives Jeff Schroeder and Pam Hardy that they should take their plan for the new homes back to staff for reconsideration. If Ponderosa had brought its proposal before the Planning omission earlier in an informal workshop discussion, her issues of concern might have been resolved in time to meet the church's financing deadline.

She was joined in abstaining from voting on a motion to approve the plan at the end of a 3-1/2-hour public hearing by fellow planning commissioner David Nagler, who said that allowing Ponderosa to proceed could compromise the integrity of the commission in future considerations of rezoning applications.

Even so, three other commissioners – Gina Piper, Herb Ritter and Greg O'Connor – voted to approve the Ponderosa plan, providing the 3-vote majority needed to send the petition to the City Council next month for a final decision.

Allen wasn't the only one disappointed. Hardy, a member of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce board of directors who appears frequently before both the Planning Commission and City Council on city building issues, said she was disappointed by the views voiced by Allen and Nagler.

Schroeder, who is senior vice president for Land Acquisition and Planning at Ponderosa, agreed.

"We have worked with city staff extensively for over a year on all aspects of this plan," he told Allen. "We're not making a huge profit on this. We're trying to help the church which is in a contract to purchase another piece of property."

Schroeder added that to meet Allen's and city staff's demand, Ponderosa would have to reduce its plan by so many homes that it would be unprofitable to proceed. Without the commission's approval of the current land use plan, he suggested the company's deal with Centerpointe could be scuttled.

But Allen held her ground.

"I still want to see the number of homes reduced and I'm still concerned about the sidewalk plans," she said."I want more trees, more parking."

Besides selling part of its site to Ponderosa, Centerpointe also plans to sell its former Sunday school and preschool building to Montessori West, which is a private school operator. Montessori already is using two of the church buildings with a license to enroll 120 children. Once it acquires the property, it plans to add a third building and expand the school operation to a total of 294 preschool and kindergarten-through-sixth grade students.

Earlier, the city approved construction of a three-story, 13,968 square foot building, which Montessori plans to complete for its new elementary school.

Ponderosa executives appeared stunned by the harsh comments of Allen and Nagler, much of them resulting from a report by City Staff planners Jenny Soo and Adam Weinstein. Schroeder, a longtime friend of the Presbyterian church since it first acquired the prestigious site at the corner of Valley Avenue and Busch Road from Ponderosa in 2006, agreed to buy back the portion of the property not committed to Montessori so that the church would have funds to move to a less expensive meeting place.

As part of the deal, the church's large dirigible-shaped sprung structure will be removed to make way for the new homes.

Schroeder pointed out that the portion now planned for 27 homes is located next to three-story apartment buildings in a separate Ponderosa-developed parcel called The Gardens. It also borders on the busy four-lane Valley Avenue thoroughfare, next to the Iron Horse Trail which Ponderosa helped finance and build, and is a site that is probably more suited for more apartments, except that market has dried up.

Because the full six-acre site was planned for Centerpointe at a time when its congregation was growing, its configuration today with the already-built school and parking lots made it a more difficult area to convert for residential use.

Even though Ponderosa and city staff conferred over the plans, Weinstein, Planning Department manager, said in the report he presented to Allen and other commissioners Wednesday that there wasn't much agreement on several issues.

Weinstein said one of the 27 homes is planned with only an eight-foot-deep rear yard, which he believes is too shallow. He believes Ponderosa's proposed streetscape would "benefit" from a 5-foot-wide landscape area between sidewalks and the backs of curbs. He said the entire proposed site layout "while functionally acceptable," is not optimal. He added that the proposed floor area ratios ranging from 33-69% should be lowered to a 56% maximum.

"But the applicant declined to incorporate this suggestion," Weinstein said.

Much of Wednesday night's discussion centered on the overall plan for the church site. Without tearing down the school buildings and digging up the several parking lots, commissioners agreed that there probably wasn't a way now to create a comprehensive and better plan.

The issue goes back to the city's 1996 General Plan for developing the old pumpkin patch that is now mostly occupied by the Ironwood community, a Ponderosa development. In 2002, the City Council approved the Ironwood plan that now includes 193 homes, 172 senior apartment units, another 110 homes for residents 55 and older in a gated community, a 2-1/2 acre public park and the 6-acre church site.

In 2006, the plan was approved for Centerpointe church, a new name the Presbyterian Church of Pleasanton adopted in moving from its former site at 4300 Mirador Drive, which is now the home of St. Mary & St. John Coptic Orthodox Church.

The Presbyterian church originally was the first church built in Pleasanton at 118 Neal St., a church building that is still standing and is now the Lighthouse Baptist Church.

When it moved from Mirador and became Centerpointe, the new Presbyterian complex at Valley and Busch was approved for constructing a 900-seat sanctuary at the corner, and three other buildings over a 20-year plan. The sprung structure was brought in at that time to accommodate the congregation until the buildings could be completed.

As pointed out at Wednesday night's Planning Commission meeting, Centerpointe and the Presbyterians will soon be moving to another site and a different congregational growth plan.

Comments

26 people like this
Posted by PtownLocal
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 14, 2015 at 8:42 am

Why is a real estate agent on this commission? Of course she is going to vote for the development since that will be potential revenue in her pocket. Does she really have the best interests of Pleasanton in mind?


21 people like this
Posted by Shelley
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 14, 2015 at 8:49 am

Gina Piper is a Realtor and a darn good one. She is born and raised in Pleasanton and has integrity. I have no worry that Gina can be fair. She will make an intelligent and proper decision for the community. Please don't cast judgement on someone based on their career choice.


18 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 14, 2015 at 9:02 am

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Ponderosa is not the only developer around, why not engage a developer that can work with the planning staff?


23 people like this
Posted by Patriot
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 14, 2015 at 9:07 am

27 homes! Too large and we don't have the water! Good job Allen! Let them tone it down!


44 people like this
Posted by Straight Shooter
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 14, 2015 at 9:13 am

Dear Shelley,

PtownLocal isn't "casting judgement on someone based on their career choice," rather, calling out the obvious conflict of interest in having a realtor serve on the planning commission.

Dubious to say the least, and quite alarming to say the worst.

No one who is involved in the buying and selling of real property should serve on the planning commission.

If Gina Piper has any integrity, she should resign. Then she can focus full-time on her for-profit profession of being a realtor w/o any concern about being questioned about conflicts of interest.

Furthermore, the Mayor and City Council should adopt an ordinance prohibiting any realtors, building contractors, or land developers from being able to serve on the Planning Commission.

It's a pretty obvious conflict of interest.

Very troublesome.


4 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Aug 14, 2015 at 10:13 am

Clearly guilty of all of these things until proven innocent. (I thought it was the other way round?)

But I guess it always boils down to a.) all about $, b.) lack of trust whether warranted or not, and c.) self-righteous indignation. If some of you are so upset, and clearly have such strong opinions, how about getting off your soapbox and commit some time to local government?


12 people like this
Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Aug 14, 2015 at 10:37 am

@Joe :"Clearly guilty of all of these things until proven innocent. (I thought it was the other way round?)"

I guess that the basic concept of "conflict of interest" is a bit above your comprehension level, then?


12 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 14, 2015 at 10:38 am

Good idea "joe" maybe if I didn't have a conscience I could get into local politics and join some committees. One thing for sure if I was a realtor and I had a chance to vote for more Houses that we don't need crammed onto a small lot with very little parking and very little water available, I would vote against this proposal even though it may cut into my pocketbook later! Check out how all that's working for those senior apartments over there that are only allowed 1 vehicle per unit and no guest parking!!! Who approved that one ???? When's that temporary tent coming down??


7 people like this
Posted by Mike Peel
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Aug 14, 2015 at 11:24 am

To:
Ptownlocal, Straight shooter, Map,:

As a Realtor for 40 years in Pleasanton, I have been for and against certain
Home Projects in town. Us Realtors do have brains, and we make good decisions. Gee.. about $ 11,000 (2000 Sq. Ft. home) goes to our schools,
should we not have teachers on the planning commission, or City workers.

You anti-growthers need to take a break. Pleasanton needs slow, planned
growth. Didn't we just settle a law suit with the State on GROWTH issues.

Gina is an excellent Real Estate Agent, devotes her time and energy to the
causes she believes in. Will she ever sell one of these homes maybe, maybe not. Who cares. There are over 600 Realtors just in Pleasanton, with about
1400 Transactions (700 sales, equal 2 sides) that's 2.3 sales per year per
Agent. Plus she works 60 hours per week, Saturdays and sundays, evenings,

Mike


7 people like this
Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Aug 14, 2015 at 11:36 am

@Mike Peel: "Us Realtors do have brains,..."

You win today's "Unintentionally Funny" Award, Mike!


6 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Aug 14, 2015 at 12:37 pm

Damon -your Mike comment perfectly what was being conveyed - cheap insults, criticism, personal attacks. Do you know Gina Piper personally? Do any of the other anonymous posters know her? So why does the thread immediately resort to criticism? What I find really interesting is that there hasn't been a response to my statement about people getting off their backsides and providing a POSITIVE contribution to the community. Much easier to sit at a computer and attack people instead...


4 people like this
Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Aug 14, 2015 at 1:08 pm

@Joe: "Damon -your Mike comment perfectly what was being conveyed - cheap insults, criticism, personal attacks. Do you know Gina Piper personally?"

Lighten up, Joe. So I made fun of the ungrammatical sentence "Us Realtors do have brains,...". Big deal.

Your question about Gina Piper is irrelevant. I've got a better question for you: Do you understand the concept of "conflict of interest"?


4 people like this
Posted by Longtimer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 14, 2015 at 3:40 pm

Compatibility among officials is no issue, compared to what precisely, is compatible and ultimately built on the site. As a longtime neighbor, any nitwit daring to suggest apartments, is obviously clueless to the history, discussions, approvals, and disapprovals for that site. Tread carefully before reopening that otherwise closed issue. Churches. schools, or single family, period. Think carefully what goes on that site, or nothing will be built there for a very, very, long time!! We can dig out decade old minutes, and review the traffic agreements. Churches were the ultimate winner because of Sunday traffic, NOT 8am Mon-Fri. Putting new and more apartments on Stanley is one battle, but NO Busch area apartments was and is a long settled issue. To reopen would be a very long, and very costly battle for all.


6 people like this
Posted by Longtimer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 14, 2015 at 3:56 pm

There are some church members who could easily do a swing-loan for the church to meet the deal in a timely manner. XXXXXX I'm getting angrier by the minute. It was 'agreed' and 'settled' that a church would be on that site, to keep any more insane M-F 8:00 traffic off Valley. Sunday church services was 'compatible' for all. We wanted to avoid further, bloody battles. Stick to the church agreement.
Pleasanton has plenty of citizens who have enough and are decent enough for stepping up short-term to make this long-settled agreement hang together. It would save so much heart-ache and blood-shed.


4 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 14, 2015 at 4:13 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

I am not an anonymous poster, I do not know Gina Piper, I have never met Gina Piper.

There are 1600 realtors in Pleasanton?
And, Gina is number one?
That is impressive!

Is Gina Republican or Democrat?
I am actively recruiting potential candidates for elective office.
I wander if she would be interested?


13 people like this
Posted by Julie
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 14, 2015 at 4:55 pm

I have no problem with Gina being on the Planning Commission.

However, Planning Commissioners must recuse themselves from hearing and voting on properties that come within 1000 feet of properties in which they have financial interests. It is the reason Jack Balch so frequently is recused.

Therefore, I believe Gina she should recuse herself whenever a property comes up within 1000 feet of a property where she is representing either the seller or the buyer.

That seems fair. Unfortunately that's a significant headache for Planning staff and the City Attorney's office to continually check where the properties in which Gina is involved are located, but seems like the right thing to do.


2 people like this
Posted by Abstain
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 14, 2015 at 5:57 pm

Why would 2 commissioners "abstain" from a vote. I thought that was their job to vote for or against a project and not whimp out. Need commissioners that will fight for what is best for the people of Pleasanton. We need leaders to lead. Sounds like those 2 are future politicians.


7 people like this
Posted by Lifetime resident
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Aug 14, 2015 at 8:59 pm

Conflict of interest? How about well informed decision maker. Land use and development are extremely complex issues that have more layers than most people realize. I do know Gina Piper - lifetime Pleasanton resident with deep knowledge of local real estate and land use issues. We should have more people with her history and knowledge on the Planning Commission in order to make well informed Planning and Business decisions.


5 people like this
Posted by Julie
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 14, 2015 at 10:23 pm

@lifetimer -

Pay attention please. Conflict of interest is a statewide Fair Political Practice Commission determination. Not some kind of attack on your friend. Geez.

Gina should recuse herself over financial conflicts. If you want your friend to be effective, you'd support that. Otherwise people will always question her objectivity.


5 people like this
Posted by Lifetime resident
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Aug 14, 2015 at 10:47 pm

Julie - you're assuming she has a "personal financial interest" in this property. I'll assume she doesn't or she would have been REQUIRED to recuse herself. She has no more financial interest than any other local business owner, employee or homeowner.


6 people like this
Posted by Ann
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Aug 15, 2015 at 7:59 am

Thanks to Adam Weinstien and City staff, Nancy Allen and David Nagler for their thoughtful review of the proposed development on the church site. We do want the remaining development in Pleasanton to have enough livable open space and enhancements for the community not just packed homes that make the developer more profits. Parking, amenities for the community and sustainability should be a priority.


2 people like this
Posted by Longtimer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 15, 2015 at 8:18 am

Allen is right and staying true to the original intent of the church approval years ago. Any greedy folks on either side will never be elected to any office in Pleasanton, if they do not respect the overall planning for any given area.
Eastside Valley Ave traffic seems to be disrespected, ignored, and neighborhood wishes trampled. Homes of ANY kind were fought DOWN, and the church approved. That decision has not changed. That decision was BECAUSE of weekday traffic, Only Church activities were approved. Why are we just now hearing about this even being considered.
Agreements are agreements. Anybody who would dare to change the intent of that decision for Sunday Church traffic only, after all the traffic
discussions should be tarred and feathered and run out of Pleasanton.


5 people like this
Posted by ???
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 15, 2015 at 8:47 am

So maybe I'm missing something but the article says the church is going to sell part of it to the Montessori school with already approved plans to build a 3 story building for a school totaling 294 students. Those students are going to go to school M-F 8 to 3 or so. They need to get to the school. How is that going to relieve traffic at the intersection? aren't there also plans for a large gym and other school related things for the sight if remains as a religious facility? My only point here is to be careful what you ask for--27 houses may be a good thing compared to a large religious facility with a school, etc.


4 people like this
Posted by Longtimer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 15, 2015 at 9:06 am

??? You may have a point, weekday traffic was always the basis for approving a church. Shame on the church. Doesn't anybody care about the overall best interest of 'Pleasanton'? Certainly, we cannot have idiots talking about apartments. If the school allowed 'late' pickups, it would be just as bad. It still should just be a church.
Ponderosa is pushing it at 27...back to compatibility.


5 people like this
Posted by wench
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Aug 15, 2015 at 9:53 am

Julie - If Gina Piper and Jack Balch must recuse themselves, then so should Councilwoman Karla Brown who is also a realtor. Obviously I disagree with you and others and think people having experience in the real estate and building field can make informed decisions in the best interest of the community. Im sure they would be happy to work on their listings instead of spending all the time they are volunteering for the community. We should be grateful to them for their willingness to dedicate public service.


4 people like this
Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Aug 15, 2015 at 10:16 am

@wench: "Im sure they would be happy to work on their listings instead of spending all the time they are volunteering for the community. We should be grateful to them for their willingness to dedicate public service."

Yes, and we should also be grateful for Mr. Fox for his willingness to dedicate public service to guarding the henhouse. Such a sacrifice for Mr. Fox. I'm sure that Mr. Fox would be happy to spend all his time scampering about on the lovely green fields rather than spending all that time volunteering for the community. And Mr. Fox is a perfect fit for the henhouse guard job! After all, who knows more about chickens than Mr. Fox?


6 people like this
Posted by wench
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Aug 15, 2015 at 6:12 pm

Dear Damon.- Relax, the sky is not falling and we live in a wonderful town. But I dont know what is worse. Your negativity, paranoia, or weird obsession with foxes and poultry.


3 people like this
Posted by Julie
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 15, 2015 at 7:17 pm

@wench- I was a planning commissioner for almost a decade. I understand the complexity and the sacrifice. Please don't lecture me about thanking people for their public service.

My point. That you seem to be missing. Is that the FPPC REQUIRES recusal when a planning commissioner or council member have a financial interest in a property 1000 feet from the subject property.

Therefore. Yes. Both Karla and Gina should recuse themselves when they are representing either a buyer or a seller of a property within the distance of a subject property.

Now do you understand?


1 person likes this
Posted by wench
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Aug 15, 2015 at 10:51 pm

Julie, sounds like I hit a nerve of yours. Sounds like we are in agreement then. Sorry but you seemed focussed on conflict of interest issues rules alone which appeared to cast doubt on these commissioners in particular. I fully understand conflict of issues and recusal rules because Iam an real estate attorney. No lecturing here, just tired of the nay-sayers and negativity in this town. I hope you now understand my position. .



1 person likes this
Posted by David
a resident of Ironwood
on Aug 16, 2015 at 10:35 am

To Longtimer:
Making threats of "a bloody battle" and "bloodshed" if this church does not build its complex on this property is totally unacceptable. With recent church and school shooting in the nation, what is wrong with you? Iam reporting your comments as being objectionable immediately. You should be ashamed of yourself for agitating violence.


1 person likes this
Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 16, 2015 at 10:57 am

Hasn't Ponderosa already built houses on a school site that was supposed to be a part of that project? Now they want to cover up the church too???


3 people like this
Posted by Lugnut
a resident of Amador Estates
on Aug 16, 2015 at 12:45 pm

Mayor and Counil Majority will do what the Chamber and the Developers tell them to do because they have been bankrolled/endorsed or both by these two groups. Narum is a business property owner in another state and probably here too. This will factor into her decision. Piper should not be picked on alone. Certain council members owe these two groups big time. This is one of those times for the "chit" to be called. Yes vote coming and houses which we do not need will be voted in and Chamber/Developers will smile on way to the bank.


3 people like this
Posted by Longtimer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 16, 2015 at 2:53 pm

I preach 'compatibility' and honoring the decisions of predecessors, such a longtime neighbors and councils. You could join in honoring long-standing decisions, and not engage in what has turned into a petty exchange. All this 'chatter' should never have started if the uninformed were not wandering off the subject. If the church that ending up 'winning' that location is now leaving the community in a mess, or causing conflict, shame on them. Maybe they better come up with a donor or a speedy plan for themselves. Nothing changes the long-battled, earlier, final city decisions. That site was approved for churches, so SUNdays would be traffic, not Mon thru Fridays. So everybody better get their heads together, and back on topic, or there won't be anything built there.


3 people like this
Posted by Amber
a resident of Avila
on Aug 16, 2015 at 2:59 pm

Perhaps building the homes would open up a few for low-income people of color and seniors.


3 people like this
Posted by Longtimer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 16, 2015 at 3:32 pm

Mike P, sorry you inserted the good of more growth and more money into the discussion, since that is not this topic. I fought FOR 'planned' growth, to create a nice community. Apparently, there are a range of people, starting with the church community, and commissions, and realtors, who wandered off blindly into a previously settled issue, which was and IS traffic. It is not by chance that the church is where it is...THAT is what was intended and planned for that site!!!...because of traffic. This is a TRAFFIC issue, which was the determining factor for use approval of that site!! Neither growth or money are part of this discussion. Only money the church needs to fix this mess they are creating. Shame of them for creating a situation and leaving the location they wanted. That does not change the use intended for that site, which was and is primarily weekend church activities. Isn't anyone working longer on thep good of Pleasanton's community??? Back to the stated above 'topic' of "Planning and Ponderosa tangle ". Where's PW with all this irrelevant chatter. It's OK and close to topic. The church community has created a problem for the church community, but commitments to neighbors have been made. There is no expiration date for honor. It was not a 'temporary' deal with the community and neighbors.


4 people like this
Posted by Longtimer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 16, 2015 at 3:47 pm

Amber, you've wandered off track. Monday - Friday traffic was always, and still is the 'qualifier' for intended 'use approval' at that site, The church 'won' that site, and now expect neighbors to be happy with them bailing out. hardly. Commissioners better get their heads together to honor community neighbors.


1 person likes this
Posted by ???
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 16, 2015 at 6:55 pm

Longtimer, see my earlier comment. Ask the question what all has been entitled to build on the land along with the church? For example a school with 294 students. Those kids are going to need to get there somehow around 8am not to mention be picked up after school which may include day care so they aren't picked up until 5pm How is the church off Stoneridge affecting traffic? They've added a major gym facility and I'm sure its not used just on Sundays. My point is be careful what you ask for. If your concern is really traffic 27 homes may be a whole lot better than a church (which can be a religious facility) and all that could come with it. BTW, what do the residents adjoining this property and nearby prefer to see on the site?


4 people like this
Posted by ??
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 16, 2015 at 6:56 pm

Lugnut, if you're going to pick on Gina Piper you need to pick on Karla Brown as well since she's a real estate agent as well.


1 person likes this
Posted by R.C.
a resident of Ironwood
on Aug 16, 2015 at 7:33 pm

I like the idea of more senior apartments there. We need more senior housing in the area. I thought that was what was going to be built plus regular houses and a daycare.


2 people like this
Posted by Longtimer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 16, 2015 at 11:30 pm

??? you cannot possible compare the church off Stoneridge Dr to the church off Valley. Experience both in 7-10:am tests. Valley has a continuous line from Stanley & Valley to Santa Rita. There is no comparison to easier and newerE. E. Stoneridge Drive. For some reason (ignorance apparently) drivers do not use open, new Eastern Stoneridge Dr to the same degree as Valley. Old habits. Most of Livermore, Ruby Hill, and Vintage Hills use Valley Ave. Outlets not homes are East of Stoneridge, so no backup, from those few homes.
The homes on Mohr isolated themselves with private roadblocks, to not be bothered with Valley backups. Sad we have to spell it out to commissioners, who just keep piling it on, causing backups. Time to evaluate all of Pleasanton, for the good of Pleasanton.


2 people like this
Posted by Danbury
a resident of Danbury Park
on Aug 17, 2015 at 8:33 am

Longtimer: the reason there is a long line on Valley to Santa Rita is because the Planning Commission and City Council decided to not do intersection changes to relieve this congestion in the morning. Much like Stoneridge Drive connection delay, we all have to suffer until the community catches on. To think that traffic from Livermore and Highway 84 womt come through here is absurd so residents have to request leadership or continue to sit in traffic


4 people like this
Posted by Did you know ?
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Aug 17, 2015 at 9:15 am

Only one person from the community (aside from developer) wrote in or spoke at the Planning Commission meeting regarding this project. The one person was from the Ironwood HOA and just wanted to discuss landscape cost sharing.

This blog provides a good discussion but is not a replacement for formal public input. Please write to or try to attend Planning Comm. meetings and Council meetings when you have serious concerns or no one will know. Otherwise our leaders may think a project is just fine.


1 person likes this
Posted by Lugnut
a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Aug 17, 2015 at 10:04 am

Hey ?? Maybe you should reread my first post. I did not pick on her. I said if she is to be picked on then she should not be picked on alone. Duh!
And someone asked why two Commissioners would abstained. They are "owned" too, if not by Developers and the Chamber, then by Council Members who appointed them to their lofty positions.


8 people like this
Posted by oldtimer
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Aug 17, 2015 at 11:28 am

This whole Ponderosa project was a bait and switch by the developer. It was the school site and church site that allowed the project to really go through. First the school site goes away and now the church is selling off land for more houses. That parcel was zoned for a church and I see no problem as keeping it zoned as a church. Let the church find another church as a buyer.

Are we now saying that a church can sell of any of its land and have it automatically be rezoned for residential? That seems to give preferential treatment to churches/religion.


3 people like this
Posted by Longtimer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2015 at 12:00 pm

Danbury, Masses of central and East Livermore, in fact all Livermore comes down Stanley to Valley & Santa Rita, as they always have, to their jobs at HACIENDA Business Park. They do not go to Liv airport, outlets , etc. Habits I suppose. Apparently, it's still a secret to Liv how to get to Hacienda. Ruby Hill O& Vintage Hill all use Valley to their Hacienda jobs. Watch Valley Ave traffic, all turn North on Santa Rita.
I do agree that 27 homes only would be better than any school with 8:00 in and outs...which would be the worst of all worlds.
I'm still not clear on WHY the church is reneging.. Can they legally? I still think it's up to the church to find a temp loan, from several of their wealthy members, or a bank.


4 people like this
Posted by Deceit, fraud and a slimy developer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2015 at 5:53 pm

I agree with oldtimer. This deceitful developer, Ponderosa, is the same one that the city contacted the District Attorney for them to conduct a criminal investigation due to the developer infringing on the civil rights of signature gatherers in the Ponderosa Busch property referendum. It is all described in staff report 98:26 on the city's web page:

Ponderosa hired a firm called Public Affairs Associates to shadow and intimidate signature gatherers. Ponderosa hit a Pleasanton resident with a metal cane, phoned residents claiming they were calling on behalf of the City Council and told people to not sign the referendum. They stole the city's copywritten logo and sent mailers unsinuating the city was asking citizens to not sign the petition, circulated a counter petition regarding consumption of dog meat that was really a petition to sign to remove signatures from the referendum. Oh yes, they then sued the city of Pleasanton and Carole Varela, leader of the referendum effort.

Ponderosa in this latest fiasco apparently believes we have some sort of memory loss and cannot remember their deceit and unlawful behavior. The city almost revoked the developer's business license to operate. I don't know why this isn't mentioned in the Pleasanton Weekly article.

The city council overturned the approval of the 300 unit project and now Ponderosa wants to build yet more housing units on this very same property? This is completely outrageous.


3 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 17, 2015 at 8:55 pm

@ mike peel. A little confused by your "new math"? Those of us who have lived in this town for more than 40 years, and have maybe bought and sold a few homes here know that the top 15-20 realtors in town sell a lot more than "2.3 homes a year"!!! As for having teachers or city employees on any type of planning commission it is not quite the same as a realtor, they are salaried workers, you could vote for 1 house or 100 houses it doesn't affect their pocket book in the long run. Looking for smart growth, not slow growth or no growth!!! What happened to that property being for the church?? Seems to me that property was more or less given to that church, now they are trying to sell it ????


1 person likes this
Posted by Shawn
a resident of Foothill High School
on Aug 18, 2015 at 11:56 am

Shawn is a registered user.

It's a shame that Jeb would rather vilify the planning commissioners than to explain the details surrounding the so called "approval" given by the 3 planning commissioners. I was present at the meeting and the the commissioners approved the project subject to conditions, which included having fewer units and more green areas in the project. The Ponderosa representative made it abundantly clear several times that these changes would be deal killers for them. They did not approve the project as proposed by the builder, they simply passed along their recommended conditions of approval to the city council, which will make the final decision on the project. Recommending changes that will likely kill the deal hardly sounds like any of the 3 commissioners are in the developer's pocket, as many have indicated above. As Joe from Ruby Hill mentioned above, it is easier for most of you to sit behind your computers and make unfounded attacks rather than getting off of your backsides and making a positive contribution.


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