OPINION: Forum gives public a look at Johnson Drive rezoning

Proposed Costco, 2 hotels would bring annual tax revenue to city of $1.4-$1.7 million

A majority of Pleasanton City Council members wisely agreed Tuesday to pursue zoning changes that would allow a third Tri-Valley Costco membership store and two Marriott-flagged hotels to be built on a 22-acre site on Johnson Drive.

The site was purchased in 2011 by Nearon Enterprises when the Clorox Corporation placed its glass-walled research center up for sale to consolidate its new Pleasanton operations on a corporate campus nearby.

Although Nearon had several opportunities to redevelop the site, its president Tony Perino agreed to await the outcome of a city-led Johnson Drive Economic Development Zone task force that was seeking, in Perino's words, "to transform the significantly under-utilized site into a thriving, community-serving commercial development."

Tuesday night, city staff publicly reviewed plans to upgrade Nearon's and other properties totaling 40 acres on Johnson Drive as a major commercial and hotel center that will capitalize on the locations at the intersection of the I-580 and I-680 freeways.

In a packed Senior Center meeting room with more than 200 attending, Pleasanton's community development director Gerry Beaudin talked about zoning changes that will create opportunities for new land-uses and services on Johnson Drive that would also broaden the city's economic base and generate new tax revenue projected at $1.4 million to $1.7 million annually to support city services and programs for our community.

Perino said Tuesday that his firm has a signed agreement from Costco to buy a 15.6-acre site, and that he has a signed contract from a developer to build two Marriott-flagged hotels on adjacent sites.

Tax revenues from these three businesses would stay in Pleasanton. The 12,000 Costco members who live here would save an estimated 5 million miles per year by shopping locally instead of driving to Costco stores in Danville and Livermore.

Not everyone wants this kind of development. Bill Wheeler, owner of Black Tie Transportation that is located on Johnson Drive, says Costco would generate too much traffic for Johnson Drive and hurt his business, which relies on fast-response to the livery and shuttle transportation he provides.

He is seeking signatures from registered Pleasanton voters to place an initiative on the Nov. 8 ballot to restrict any retail use on the Johnson Drive site to no more than 50,000-square-foot buildings, about a third of what Costco plans to build. Others who spoke at Tuesday night's meeting cited traffic concerns over housing and business growth throughout the city as reasons against development.

City leaders acknowledged Tuesday that the proposed land-use changes for the Johnson Drive area has become a contentious issue. We also recognize that there are pros and cons to any land-use change. But working diligently with the public -- as the stakeholders, property owners, Planning Commissioners and the City Council did this week -- gives everyone a chance to explore options and solutions that respect existing uses and provide opportunities for new land-uses and revenue options.

Tuesday night's meeting was a start.

Pleasanton Weekly staff.


1 person likes this
Posted by Wondering
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 15, 2016 at 9:17 am

Exactly whose Opinion is this, since no one seemed to sign it? It is one of the city council members? Or a planning commission staff member?

6 people like this
Posted by Wondering
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 15, 2016 at 9:20 am

Oh, I see a little thing at the bottom that says "Pleasanton WEekly Staff." So a news outlet that fashions itself to be "journalism" takes an overt stand finally, unlike their biased articles that they like to pass off as "news." I long for the old days of things like objective journalism, airing all sides of an issue fairly, and digging for the truth no matter where it takes them. Sadly missing here.

9 people like this
Posted by Perplexed
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 15, 2016 at 9:58 am

Would you rather see more state-mandated affordable housing on that old Clorox R&D site next to the water treatment ponds?!? Maybe swing BART over bit for a 3rd station in town (at least this one won't share it's stop-name with Dublin)? There's clearly a small special interest group fighting this development. As a 26 year P'town resident, I fully support a Costco, hotel, or other commercial development at this site.

5 people like this
Posted by Gee that is not what I heard
a resident of Val Vista
on Apr 15, 2016 at 10:22 am

My neighbors came out in droves against a monstrosity called Costco in our area. The grouch of a Mayor would not let us clap to show support for our friends and neighbors who said just what we all thought - WE DON'T want a COSTCO. I was too nervous to speak- but I know how to vote!

Who the heck wrote this piece of garbage. None of it is true. The council did not support a Costco, they just said what ever IS decided should go to the ballot.

I think council woman Karla Brown said this is not the image we want for Pleasanton and I agree. Get your $1.50 hot dog and free treats in the next city to the east, Livermore. Let's put something nice there instead like an Olive Garden or a restaurant I can take my grandkids to.

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Posted by mooseturd
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 15, 2016 at 10:35 am

mooseturd is a registered user.

@Perplexed; I've lived here 53 years. Does that mean my vote counts twice as much as your measly 26 years?

4 people like this
Posted by Hoops
a resident of Mohr Park
on Apr 15, 2016 at 10:35 am

I cannot believe how many people live in some dreamworld.Pleasanton is not a quaint Midwestern town.It has a quaint downtown,a lot of parks and tree lined streets.This Costco does nothing to change that.
Now,I see for the first time the limo guy says his business will be hurt by more traffic at the site.Give me a break.So all of the people who would benefit from the Costco should step aside because his limo service may or may not be inconvenienced a bit?Let me see again important is a limo service to the average Pleasanton resident?Lets many people want a limo and how many want a Costco.
I am 100 pct certain his limo service will be just fine.We all have to make adjustments as business owners and his is very,very minor.

2 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 15, 2016 at 12:01 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

The limo service will probably benefit from the two hotels guests.

2 people like this
Posted by Citizen of Pawnee
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 15, 2016 at 12:13 pm

I say we recall Leslie Knope!

3 people like this
Posted by Matt Sullivan
a resident of Stoneridge
on Apr 15, 2016 at 12:39 pm

Matt Sullivan is a registered user.

The Pleasanton Weekly excels at writing PR puff pieces for developers and defending city actions in support of business and development interests. I was one of the over 250 people that attended the workshop, and the editorial significantly downplayed the overwhelming opposition of the project by those in attendance. They continue to try to portray this as limited to Bill Wheeler for selfish purposes as a strategy to delegitimize the broad opposition. This meeting was not a case of the city “diligently working with the stakeholders” but disregard of the public and the arrogant message that this project will be approved whether we like it or not. The city is hell-bent on approving this project no matter how many oppose it. I don’t think the outcome would have been different if 25,000 people had been there in opposition.

As good an article as this was, the city staff won the PR award hands down with the one-sided and distorted view of the project. They shamelessly tried to disguise the $5 million taxpayer subsidy (plus interest!) demanded by the developer to offset the infrastructure as a contribution of a “portion of new sales tax revenues generated by the project” and not really a subsidy. If we give them back sales tax revenue, it’s a public subsidy and the public is paying for the impacts of the project.

Also not mentioned was the discussion by the Council to place a competing initiative on the November ballot in hopes of defeating the citizens’ initiative spearheaded by Bill Wheeler. This is a cynical political strategy to cause confusion among the voters with a goal of both measures going down to defeat. Remember Measure PP and QQ a few years ago? Same strategy, Thorne was on the Council then, but it backfired as both the real (citizens Measure PP) and the fake (Council Measure QQ) won.

As I’ve said many times before, this Council does not represent the people, but the moneyed special interests. Thank goodness for Karla Brown. At least we have one voice in the wilderness who believes that in a democracy the people are supposed to be sovereign. Our only hope to stop this is to make sure the citizens initiative qualifies for the ballot.

4 people like this
Posted by Resident of Ventana Hills
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2016 at 5:02 pm

@ Matt Sullivan,

Give us a break--was wondering when you'd be jumping up on your misguided supposed altruistic soapbox again.

Re: "Thank goodness for Karla Brown. At least we have one voice in the wilderness who believes that in a democracy the people are supposed to be sovereign. Our only hope to stop this is to make sure the citizens initiative qualifies for the ballot."

Yeah, thank goodness for Karla Brown, who lives high above the fray atop a hillside (Benedict Court in Kottinger Ranch) in her $2 million+ home--yeah, some "wilderness"--oh wait, you must be referring to the 'residents-only' open hillsides/ravines where there aren't $2 million+ homes built upon in Kottinger Ranch, right?

Oh, and let's not forget Councilmember Brown's and your staunch support of a referendum that made the ballot using a paid signature gathering company, one whom none of you will even disclose who they are, by the way, whose employees flat out lied to Pleasanton voters to help get enough signatures on the petition so it would make the ballot.

But then, your and Karla Brown's ends hidden behind false altruism justify the means, right?

Yeah, another "citizens initiative" alright--what you really mean is another initiative that's intended to protect the special interests of you, who lives close to where the Johnson EDZ is located (ditto for Bill Wheeler, who's concerned about how it will affect his business); and the Measure K referendum, intended to protect the selfish interests of the privileged/monied few (see the real "monied special interests" there, including Karla Brown, Allen Roberts, Bill Lincoln, and their collective wealthy neighbors and buddies, the residents of Sycamore Heights and Bridle Creek).

Please spare us the false altruism and utter hypocrisy. Informed residents in this town see right through it.

Like this comment
Posted by Iwastheretoo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2016 at 5:05 pm

Funny, I only heard one person, councilman Olson, talk about putting a competing measure on the ballot. The others spoke of putting a measure on the ballot at some time but gave no indication of trying to compete with the one being circulated. Once again, Matt is twisting facts to fit his angry mentality.

27 people like this
Posted by Matt Sullivan
a resident of Stoneridge
on Apr 15, 2016 at 8:03 pm

Matt Sullivan is a registered user.

Ventana and Iwastheretoo: Angry? You bet I’m angry! The question is why aren’t you? It’s easy to sit at your keyboard and hurl anonymous insults. I rarely go on this forum, but when I do I try to relate issues, not personal attacks. It is a legitimate political discussion to question our elected representatives who don’t represent us. I’d be happy to debate you too if you would reveal who you are. Maybe you don’t because it would reveal your real motivations (developer lobbyist, anyone?). Better than the faux debate of electronic media, why don’t you come on down to the Framers Market tomorrow (where I will be collecting signatures for the initiative) and we can debate the issues in person. No, that would take some guts and would be too hard for you. I spent 8 years on the Council and six on the Planning Commission “going public” with my positions. Where were you? Just so you know, the only reason I responded to your rants was to let you know you as long as you hide behind your pseudonyms you are irrelevant.

14 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 15, 2016 at 8:11 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Ventana, come out of your hiding and debate Matt Sullivan, right here on this forum. if you do not, you are truly a coward.

2 people like this
Posted by rcshafer
a resident of Stoneridge Park
on May 10, 2016 at 11:33 pm

rcshafer is a registered user.

I refuse to support this project until I see a traffic plan for Johnson Drive. Regardless of the comments from Black tie, I use Johnson drive a couple times a day to access Clubsport, Starbucks, Home Depot, etc. Add two hotels and a Costco and traffic there will be at a standstill. And what about the dozens of businesses with hundreds of employees on Commerce Drive? New roads connecting into/out of Johnson Drive will need to be built and Johnson drive itself widened. And what about the much delayed yet proposed changes that will be made to the I680 interchange at Stoneridge Drive? And then there is the mention in this same newspaper a few months back that Fed Ex, AT&T and all the other businesses doen to the church (including Black Tie) would be relocating elsewhere and those buildings demolished for more development.

I have no issue making my weekly trip to Livermore Costco for gas and supplies. I doubt I will ever use the two Marriott hotels, but someone will. And yes, those may indeed benefit Black Tie's business. But not if traffic is so chocked up that getting in or out of Johnson Drive resembles the early morning I680 jam up we see every day at this freeway choke point. The land owner needs to address all of the concerns before getting the green light for anything. And the council needs to stop being so greedy and needs to back off until the citizens, for once, get what they want.

Pleasanton has not been kind to it's original big box store, Wal-Mart. Why the sudden change of heart? Dublin gets a;; the retail sales taxes in the area for a reason. They like retail. And face it, most Pleasanton residents shop in Dublin. Be honest. And since Dublin likes big box retail so much (they are getting IKEA in 2018) maybe Wal-Mart should consider relocating there.

Remember that former councils voted against Wal-Mart's expansion because they are a non-union shop. That meant that the council did not think it fair competition for Safeway since their corporate offices are in Pleasanton. So again, why the change of heart? Costco is a non-union shop too and they do a great job of competing against Safeway. Don't get me wrong. The issue of union or non-union does not belong in any city council meeting discussion as a means to pass or deny a motion. And I favor non-union shops anyway because the prices are always lower. The consumer always subsidizes union shops. Personally, I think Costco would be better off locating in Dublin.

By the way, has anyone noticed that some of the proposed development site has become inhabited by endangered bird species. Maybe we should turn it all into an estuary for wildlife. And if these birds are still around following approval of these developments. I will make sure every environmental group (even though I hate them) will get involved and delay this in the courts for years. Can you tell I am not excited about a lot of development on this land?

Oh, and while were are at it on the topic of measures before the voters, I will be voting NO on measure K as well. That thing is a crock in its own right and is being pushed as an open space initiative. 17 acres for 43 homes? Really? In Livermore, Taylor Morrison Homes is building 104 homes on just 6 acres. What the heck is the matter with Pleasanton. Guess what. Those acres in Lund are currently open space. Ok, there are no marked trails or neatly groomed parks with swing sets and teeter totters, but it is open space. No need to build homes with too much yard to declare the balance of the acreage as "open space". And where is the water going to come from to water all those half acre lots?? We can put all 43 homes on 3 acres of land. Just redesign the homes to 1700 SF, three story models and done. The issue of water is real. Just because those folks buying those homes will be able to afford to pay the fines for using more water than allocated does nothing to conserve what little water the state has or will have in the future. Droughts are guaranteed. Water is not.

2 people like this
Posted by patcher
a resident of Downtown
on May 12, 2016 at 11:31 am

patcher is a registered user.

THANK YOU @ Matt Sullivan!!

@ Hoops, Costco will be the LEAST of our worries by the time the City council gets done destroying Pleasanton as we know it. It may not be your "dream world", but it is (was) ours, and as a longtime resident, I'm disgusted that my tax dollars are going to a city council set on ruining Pleasanton by fast-tracking over-development.

We will become what USED to be known by USA Today and Forbes as one of "America's Best Places to Live" or one of "Americans' Top Hometown Spots" in the United States.

Your City Council is at work approving, has approved, or is considering approval of Costco
Township Square 62 three-story townhomes, 35 more traditional two-story homes and 210 apartment units in buildings that will back onto I-680.

Bernal Community high density, multi-story apartment complex along with 97 new homes on a 27-acre site along Valley Avenue just south of Bernal Avenue and the Pleasanton Gateway Center.

Vintage Village at Bernal Avenue and Stanley Boulevard 16-acre, high-density complex of multistory buildings with 345 apartments.

Lund Ranch 43-home development on 35 acres south of Sunol Boulevard.

Sunflower Hill 110 Single family homes and a 40 unit affordable residential community.

Kottinger Street demolition of 90 senior apartments, which will be replaced with 185 apartments.

Summerhill Project - 94 units consisting of condos and town homes.

Centerpointe Homes - Amend land use of 4.23 acre from Community Facilities to Medium Density Residential and construct 27 single family homes.

Construction of another apartment complex on West Las Positas Boulevard across from Hart Middle School with 177 units and buildings as high as four stories.

Rosewood Commons five residential buildings with the two-story buildings facing the streets and three- and four-story buildings in the back.

Essex Properties across from the East Dublin/Pleasanton BART station two sites with three- and four-story buildings, one consisting of eight apartment buildings with 250 units on Owens Drive across from the station, and the second at Gibraltar and Hacienda drives, also with eight buildings with 247 units.

Altieri Rose Avenue 19 single family two story units.

Spring Street Mixed Use Project - Office/apartment/multi-family residential units.

St. Mary Street Mixed Use Project.

Visit the City's website or GOOGLE it.

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