Despite plans by the Pleasanton Masons to sell their lodge on Hopyard Road to the Chabad of the Tri-Valley, an orthodox Jewish organization, the City Council will proceed tonight to debate an appeal of a Planning Commission order that the Masons quiet down.
A voluminous 100+ page document containing complaints by neighbors and city documents dating back to the 1990s is required reading for council members who must decide the appeal by the Masons, even though they are moving elsewhere. The document also contains pages of background information that city staff had to prepare for the council, again knowing that the building has been sold.
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 at 3370 Hopyard Road will offer the additional space it needs for its main activities.
If the Planning Commission's dictate is approved by the council, its rules could apply to the building whether owned by the Masons of Rabbi Raleigh's Chabad. That would mean holding religious activities, including classes and meetings, only between the hours of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. everyday all year long. Use of the building's outdoor patio also would be restricted, and live music would only be allowed inside the building with all the doors closed.
There is no mention of the Masonic Lodge's sale in the proposals to be considered by the council tomorrow. Instead, it's expected that the discussion will continue with representatives of the Valley Trails Homeowners Association and, particularly, with Michael and Darlene Miller and other Bryce Canyon Court homeowners who been the principle complainers of large and noisy parties held over recent years by the Masons.
At issue is a conditional use permit issued to the Masons in 1977 prior to the completion of the Masonic Center building in 1980. The permit did not specify or elaborate upon the intended uses of the site other than the operation of a Masonic center.
In recent years, however, the building has been used for parties and assemblies by the Masons and other groups that have rented the space.
An event was hosted by Allstars Entertainment May 31, 2008, with Pleasanton police responding to reports of gunshots and encountering 100 people gathered in the Mason's parking lot.
On Dec. 19, 2008, Club Metro leaded the building for a "Naughty or Nice" teen event. Approximately 500 teenagers attended the event, with police again called to curb the noise.
On Jan. 18, 2009, a "White Party" was held at the lodge. More than 600 attended and, after again being called, police found several juveniles sitting inside vehicles consuming alcoholic beverages and smoking marijuana.
The list goes on and the Millers and others asked the Planning Commission to rewrite the terms of the 1977 conditional use permit to end the partying.
The commission's action would do that, although a number of its ruling also could affect the use of the building for Jewish religious and social purposes, which is the reason Rabbi Resnick is buying the property for his expanding Tri-Valley Chabad.
The City Council meeting will start at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Pleasanton Civic Center, 200 Old Bernal Ave.