News


Masons told to stop the partying, but they're moving anyhow

Orthodox Jewish Chabad of the Tri-Valley bidding to buy Hopyard Road building

Pleasanton Masons have been ordered by the city's Planning Commission to curb outside activities at their lodge on Hopyard Road after a group of neighboring Valley Trails home owners complained about excessive noise and parties.

Starting this month, the Masons will have to replace French doors leading to a backyard patio where the parties have been taking place with a solid door that can only be used to exit the lodge, but not to re-enter.

The commission also imposed new restrictions on the Mason's unconditional use permit issued in 1977 that will limit outdoor activities to four times a year, stop late night activities and even require the lodge to remove all but three outdoor sheds and require city permits if they every buy new ones.

The move seemed to satisfy those complaining, including 19 speakers who at times angrily criticized the commission and staff planners as if they had been the cause of their neighborhood's disruptions all along.

"It's obvious that the staff did not keep its promise to do something about this problem, said Darlene Miller, whose home is near the Masonic Lodge.

"Although you may like going to parties, you probably never expected your neighbor on the other side of your backyard fence to morph into a commercial party business and financially profit by renting their backyard for large public parities of up to 600 people, including serving alcohol," Miller wrote in a letter to the Pleasanton Weekly.

Despite the Planning Commission's action to rein in the partying, it will have little effect on the Masons. They're selling the building to the Chabad of the Tri-Valley, an orthodox Jewish organization that apparently has been one of the groups renting the building from the Masons and holding a few of the parties.

The Chabad, a fast-growing organization considered a dynamic force in Jewish life, is headed by Rabbi Raleigh Resnick of Pleasanton, which has expanded since Resnick and his wife Fruma started the Tri-Valley branch.

After nine years of using rooms in various facilities around the area, the Chabad center last year moved into a 4,000- square-foot building on Quarry Lane. The Masonic Lodge will offer the additional space it needs for its main activities.

In a 3-1/2-hour meeting, the Planning Commission seemed intent on resolving years of complaints.

Neighborhood relations with the Masons deteriorated in 2008-2009 when the Masons began renting out their building to non-Masonic groups for large gatherings and parties.

Why city staff and the commission failed to address those complaints is unclear. No one on the commission today or even employed at the city Planning Department was around in those years.

The Valley Trail community concerns are not over.

The Chabad's request for a new conditional use permit to use the Masonic Lodge building is expected to seek relief from the restrictions just imposed, especially over using the building's backyard for festive and religious outdoor activities.

"The Planning Commission really ratcheted back the uses that are now allowed in that building," said Adam Weinstein, city planning manager. "I'm sure the commission will be much more careful in structuring a new use permit because of so many complaints."

When that happens, it's likely the commission will hear from the Valley Trails neighbors again.

Comments

4 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jun 30, 2016 at 2:45 pm

Given Chabad messianism, wouldn't it make more sense to lease than buy?


4 people like this
Posted by Masonic spouse
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 30, 2016 at 4:57 pm

Surprised by this article, [Portion removed because it was false .]


11 people like this
Posted by sanity
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jul 1, 2016 at 9:30 am

sanity is a registered user.

So, give the Masons an unconditional permit, then years later place conditions on it.
*Shakes head*


17 people like this
Posted by sanity
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jul 1, 2016 at 9:33 am

sanity is a registered user.

That's a little like moving in next to an airport and then complaining about the noise....


Like this comment
Posted by mooseturd
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jul 1, 2016 at 10:37 am

mooseturd is a registered user.

I wonder what the meaning is of "unconditional".


6 people like this
Posted by sanity
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jul 1, 2016 at 11:50 am

sanity is a registered user.

un·con·di·tion·al
ˌənkənˈdiSH(ə)n(ə)l/
adjective
"not subject to any conditions"


3 people like this
Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 1, 2016 at 1:24 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

No, it's a little like moving next to a small airport, then seven to eight years ago they start allowing jumbo jets to land for hours on end on Friday and Saturday nights. Sounds like the people who bought more than a decade ago have a point, and it's not like moving next to an airport.


8 people like this
Posted by sanity
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jul 1, 2016 at 1:57 pm

sanity is a registered user.

@ Get the Facts:

Ah, but it is.
If it is an airport, and the law says "Unconditional use" and it grows and you don't like it, that's your own fault for having poor foresight, and then blaming the airport for doing what it does. I understand that people don't like it, and I'm not suggesting that they should. I'm just saying that it is what it is and you can't just change the rules as you go along. There's really no other way to view this logically....


3 people like this
Posted by Jtjh
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 2, 2016 at 6:46 am

Jtjh is a registered user.

I find it interesting that the planners apparently paid little heed to the neighbors' many complaints about the noise of the increasing number of jumbo jet landings for eight or so years and

It seems quite a coincidence that the repeated complaints on the part of those suffering from the noise of the ever-increasing number of jumbo jet landings seem to have gone largely unheard - until the very moment that Masonic Airways sold the airport to a different airline. I can't help wondering whether the change in the permit was made before or after the sale. And, if it was afterwards, whether the new airline perhaps offer a rather less attractive frequent flyer program.....


Like this comment
Posted by Jtjh
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 2, 2016 at 6:49 am

Jtjh is a registered user.

Oh for an "Edit" option!


1 person likes this
Posted by Flightops
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 2, 2016 at 3:07 pm

Flightops is a registered user.

Didn't I read about a month ago that this building was being foreclosed on and going to auction??? Hmmmm!


1 person likes this
Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2016 at 8:15 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

@ sanity,

"you can't just change the rules as you go along"

Rules are changed all the time, as we go along. Baseball added instant replay a few years ago, to overturn umpires' mistakes. Same sex marriage is now allowed in the U.S, for over a year now. Even the U.S. constitution allows changes, they are called amendments.

You absolutely can change the rules as you go along.


7 people like this
Posted by sanity
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jul 5, 2016 at 9:21 am

sanity is a registered user.

@Get the Facts
I disagree. An agreement is a contract, and if you can just change an agreement willy nilly what is the purpose of having an agreement or contract?
By your logic, the bank can just take your mortgage and triple it without your consent because it feels that the property is worth more than you paid for it 10 years ago...do you understand? An agreement is an agreement, a contract is a contract. A licence is a licence. an unconditional permit is unconditional.
This is not baseball, which is just a game. Same sex marriage is not an agreed contract between 2 parties. Amendments to the constitution are not done unilaterally.....get it?


4 people like this
Posted by mooseturd
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jul 5, 2016 at 9:42 am

mooseturd is a registered user.

@get the facts: You don't quite understand the difference between a rule change and the violation of a contract.


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

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