News


Developer wins praise for 'under-developing' downtown Pleasanton lot

Todd Deutscher cuts number of allowable homes to 10, spares116-year-old house on the site

At a time when developers are eying every available site in Pleasanton to build larger and taller residences, Todd Deutscher of Catalyst Development Partners deserves credit for taking a different approach.

Last Tuesday, he won the City Council's approval -- and praise -- for helping the city provide more housing downtown while also preserving a bit of its history. Instead of seizing the opportunity to build 21 new homes on lots that he owns on St. John Street just a block from downtown stores and restaurants, he'll build only 10 and keep the 116-year-old house on the site.

At first, Deutscher wanted to buy and demolish a home on Pleasanton Avenue and move the vacant but still heritage St. John Street house there. When that deal failed, he redesigned his property development plan to accommodate the old but stylish house, moving it to a prominent position in his new development, upgrading and refurbishing it for buyers who like that century old lifestyle and wrapping his 10 new homes around it.

The move preserves the character and development traditions of the downtown while also improving its residential diversity and viability. It also meets the guidelines of the city's downtown specific plan by retaining the small-town scale and physical character of the downtown through the implementation of appropriate land use and development standards.

The home, still at 536 St. John St., is in one of five "heritage neighborhoods" that are identified in the specific plan that lists architecturally preserved homes built before 1942. Constructed in 1900, the single-story house features a front porch common to homes in that era and was renovated in 1930, still meeting the requirements for the California Register of Historic Homes. An auxiliary building that was not part of the original home will be torn down.

Two of the 10 new townhomes will be next to the 1900 house, facing onto a driveway off St. John Street. The others will face the drive, three across from the old home and the others at the end of the private driveway.

Deutscher agreed to design them with architectural features found in other exiting buildings along St. John Street. They will feature brown and light gray earth-tone colors that will complement the historic home and other residences in the neighborhood.

Deutscher's development plan to build 11 fewer townhomes than his property's zoning allows and to move, refurbish and upgrade the historic home at considerable expense to his firm brought praise from the council. "Good job," said Councilman Arne Olson. "We're happy that you are saving an historic home."

Councilwoman Kathy Narum agreed. "The current zoning would have allowed him to build 21 homes on the site with parking for 43 cars. This makes for a great improvement to this historic neighborhood."

Comments

10 people like this
Posted by Christine Smith
a resident of Ironwood
on Sep 25, 2016 at 10:29 pm

With the multitude of building going on I was just curious how they are able to get water? We have been on water shortage protocol for three years or more and yet it seems to be ok to build new? Thank you for your answer.... Christine


6 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Fact Check
a resident of Mission Park
on Sep 26, 2016 at 11:07 am

Pleasanton Fact Check is a registered user.

@ Christine

Happy to answer your question. The city of Pleasanton is not on water restriction-just voluntary 10% cutback. The city is also hooking up recycled water as fast as possible in the business park. When completed, that will reduce potable water usage by 10%. The developer must go to Zone 7 Water Board and get a statement that they can provide water to this project before he can get a building permit. The only way the city can deny based on water is when the city has declared a Stage 4 cutback, which means water can only be used for health and safety--no outside use.

We found some more information for you here: Web Link

Hope this helps!


12 people like this
Posted by Ptowner
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Sep 26, 2016 at 12:17 pm

Finally a ray of hope and sanity with fewer homes and a lower profile in a development just when it seemed that three and four story high density Dublin type architecture was the only thing that would be approved in the city.

Thanks to you Todd Deutscher and Catalyst Development Partners for not overbuilding this location.

It gives one hope that Pleasanton is not headed for further development of the Dublin penitentiary-style, highest density possible, uninspiring architecture which is the only thing they seem to approve and build.

The newer high density developments under construction in Pleasanton appear to have been headed in that direction.


5 people like this
Posted by Patriot
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 26, 2016 at 2:27 pm

There is still a drought! It didn't just go away when the politicians end resrictions and appeal to voters when restrictions are eased...and we should see thru through the " let's ask for 21 units when the council will be happy permitting 10". Build build, water water everywhere! Don't be fooled again in November!


7 people like this
Posted by Scarlet Fire 73
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 26, 2016 at 10:57 pm

Scarlet Fire 73 is a registered user.

How about no more homes or more people in Pleasanton ??
Does this greedy developer want a pat on the back ?
What has happened to our once great little town of Pleasanton ??
I definitely feel like a minority in a town I was born and raised in -
We need to start electing officials that don't want anymore growth !!
Downtown Pleasanton used to be quaint ! Some of the buildings ( i.e. The Starbucks where Pastime Pool used to be ) is so out of place !!
Do we really need another Starbucks ?? How about some mom and pop type businesses we can support ? Very sad


6 people like this
Posted by Born & Raised Here
a resident of Ironwood
on Sep 27, 2016 at 9:42 am

whats wrong with in-fill housing surrounded by other houses if the developer pays for new streets, park funding and other community improvements we desperately need that the city government wont do because they have big pension debt. I love the new Starbucks in downtown and like upgrades along with preservation. Past Time Pool was a dive bar and despite memories, lets be real. It needed to be demolished. So does all those ugly buildings along Stanley Blvd where we could have nice shops, some apartments for our kids, special needs residents housing and maybe a new restaurant.


2 people like this
Posted by res1
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 27, 2016 at 10:02 am

res1 is a registered user.

First, permits will never be held up by lack of water. The developers have a large lobby in Sacramento and the wording of the law to halt building was written by them to make it sound good to the public but will never interrupt their business. California has to get to a point of extreme, extreme drought before we stop building. The water agencies will always say that they will have enough water for new growth, even if there are sever water rationing going on.

As for the comment that we will have reduced water needs due to recycled water going into the business park, the amount of savings is projected. We should first let that project complete and see the real savings before we do more housing. How many times have we been told something and then once the project is completed, the outcome does not match the projections. Just look at Ruby Hill. The City calculated that they would be using less water than the Foothill area but mostly due to CC&Rs requiring lawns and greenscape, the water usage there is much larger than projected.


3 people like this
Posted by Ice Cube
a resident of Old Towne
on Sep 27, 2016 at 10:53 am

Pleasanton is becoming the new Beverly Hills and NorCal is now the new LA. Welcome to the traffic!


3 people like this
Posted by Mike
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Sep 27, 2016 at 11:44 am

The City council is happy the developer is saving an historic home? Shouldn't that be a requirement? Also how does the city council feel about the historic farmhouse and barn on Stanley that looks as if its been vandalized and destroyed? Or was that their expectation? I believe it was recently announced as part of a development plan that would have retained the historic buildings. Sure doesn't look possible now. Disheartening.


5 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2016 at 5:18 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@"Scarlet Fire 73",

What on earth do you mean by

"I definitely feel like a minority in a town I was born and raised in"?

What kind of minority do you feel like?

What meaning of the work minority are you using?

Please help me understand.


Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Sep 27, 2016 at 5:43 pm

I think it is really cool that he's keeping the old house there. I think this city has done a very good job with its growth. Some people just don't like growth. I lived in Pleasanton when it was small. I actually like it better now. Much better food.


Like this comment
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2016 at 7:42 pm

BobB is a registered user.

I meant to type "word" not "work".


Like this comment
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 28, 2016 at 8:50 am

BobB is a registered user.

Does Scarlet Fire 73 mean racial minority?

Can anyone help out here?


5 people like this
Posted by Born & Raised Here
a resident of Ironwood
on Sep 28, 2016 at 9:01 am

While I cherish history, and I am a fourth generation native Californian, I do not understand preserving the house along Stanley Blvd. just because it is old does not mean its historic. Seems like a lot of money and effort to completely re-build an uninteresting falling down building just so people driving by can glance at it. My farming family will get a chuckle when I tell them at the holidays. I would think the same amount of money could be used to restore other houses that are more worthy of respect or provide low interest loans for owners to repair real historic buildings.

I agree with Bob. Pleasanton is better today. Thirty years ago, Pleasanton downdown was terrible and run down. No one likes traffic, but that is the Tri-Valley, Bay Area, and California.


1 person likes this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Oct 10, 2016 at 8:36 pm

So the developer tries to demolish a historic home and build 21 new homes, that deal falls through, he has to keep the historic home and reduce the buildable lots to 10 new homes and now the city is praising him and treating him like the town "hero" ! Guess I'll cut back on my water use another 25% to help out, tell me again where is all this water coming from to provide hook-ups for all this new construction ??? Is the drought over?? Are we being played for suckers???


2 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 11, 2016 at 8:31 am

BobB is a registered user.

@Map,

Water is not an issue. Residential water use is trivial. This will have no effect on water use.


1 person likes this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Oct 11, 2016 at 5:54 pm

@BobB--- So if "residential water use is trivial" why did we all have to cut back 25% last year and then this year we are still at a 10% reduction?? Maybe only my neighborhood got the "save the water" notices ?? Just wait till those apartments are done at Stanley and bernal and all those other units the city keeps approving are built out


Like this comment
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 11, 2016 at 10:47 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@Map,

It's just for "awareness". Like telling restaurants not to serve water when it isn't requested.


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

Battle over downtown Livermore plan heats up
By Tim Hunt | 4 comments | 1,216 views

Couples: Sex and Connection (Chicken or Egg?)
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 685 views