News

City Council opts not to prioritize east side planning

Owens Drive added to council’s work plan, which has nearly 100 other initiatives

Planning for how to develop mostly vacant land on Pleasanton’s east side remains off the city’s priority list in the short-term as the City Council voted against adding the East Pleasanton Specific Plan to its new two-year work plan Tuesday.

Nearly two years after halting east side planning amid the drought, council members were considering whether to make the effort a city goal again in the wake of a new residential development concept being promoted by East Pleasanton landowner Steve Dunn.

But after hearing from Dunn and residents on both sides of the argument during their work plan workshop Tuesday night, the council majority agreed the city shouldn’t prioritize east side planning during 2017 and 2018.

“I want to take a breather awhile, see what the actual impact versus what the projected impacts were for all the high-density housing. So at this point for this two-year plan, I’m not going to be able to vote to put the east side back on the plan,” Mayor Jerry Thorne said.

Three of Thorne’s colleagues on the dais soon concurred, and the East Pleasanton Specific Plan was off the table for the council’s 2017-2018 work plan. Councilman Arne Olson recused himself from the deliberations because he lives too close to the east side area.

The council came into the public workshop with a list of 105 potential projects and initiatives to consider for the new work plan, but a majority of the nearly three-dozen citizen speakers focused on whether to bring back east side planning.

The issue was up for work plan consideration because of public input; it wasn’t included on the draft project list generated by city staff.

An East Pleasanton Specific Plan had been a council priority in the past, and the city formed a task force to lead the planning effort.

But the council stopped the planning process and dissolved the task force during mid-2015 near the height of the drought and after complaints from residents opposed to further development.

In recent months, landowner Dunn has publicly promoted a new development concept to bring more than 800 single-family homes — along with parks, trails, transportation infrastructure, open space, proposed lake access and other amenities — to land off Busch Road northeast of the Valley Avenue and Stanley Boulevard intersection.

He urged the council to restart the east side planning effort.

“It’s purely a concept; that’s why we need the plan. We’re not asking to build; we’re asking to plan,” Dunn, who owns 320 acres in East Pleasanton, said Tuesday night.

Dunn contended the current concept for the site could solve issues around traffic, schools, public safety and new water use related to east side development.

Council members heard from residents in favor of and against adding east side planning to the priority list, with a slight majority of speakers in opposition.

“It’s a waste of taxpayers’ money. It’s just too soon. Let our city and the developers take a rest. The drought is not over,” resident Sandy Yamaoda said. “This project is not mandated … it is optional.”

In the end, council members opted against prioritizing east side planning for the next two years, but they didn’t shut the door on consideration for future work plans.

More than 80 residents, plus another dozen or so city staff members, attended the workshop Tuesday evening, filling seats and lining the walls of the Remillard Conference Room at the city's Operations Services Department.

Another popular talking point during public comment was the recent reduction of eastbound Owens Drive from three lanes to one in front of a new four-story apartment building with ground-floor retail soon to be opened at Owens and Willow Road, across from the BART station.

After hearing complaints from residents and commuters about traffic delays in the area because of the one-lane configuration, the council majority voted to add Owens Drive to the priority list Tuesday.

City staff was directed to start collecting new Owens Drive traffic data and looking at preliminary design options for restoring an eastbound lane, and then return to the council with a report in three to six months.

In all, the council finished the workshop Tuesday with nearly 100 projects and initiatives in its two-year work plan.

The items fell into top priority categories of the Bernal property, General Plan, fiscal sustainability, affordable housing, traffic circulation, economic development, youth programs, public safety, quality of life, environmental awareness, city services and organizational success.

The work plan will return to the council next week for final adoption.

City staff will then take the work plan and develop draft operating and capital improvement program budgets for prioritized projects and initiatives, set to be presented to the council in the spring, City Manager Nelson Fialho said.

Editor’s note: In-depth coverage of the council’s full work plan is being planned for the days ahead.

Comments

38 people like this
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 15, 2017 at 7:13 am

Thank you City Council for listening and giving our wonderful, established neighborhoods a breather in the midst of current development that surrounds us!


46 people like this
Posted by RU Kiddingmii
a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 15, 2017 at 8:05 am

RU Kiddingmii is a registered user.

The Council absolutely made the right decision.

The article left out the part where the developer and his cronies were mocking, whispering and rolling their eyes in the back of the room anytime a speaker spoke in opposition of their plan.

Sorry, Mr Developer, you slick marketing campaign and half truths were offensive and misleading and everyone but you saw through it. Also your half-heated attempts to act sincere about only wanting what was best for the East side and the town as a whole didn't work either.

Kudos to the Mayor and Council!!


40 people like this
Posted by Slow Growth
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 15, 2017 at 8:45 am

Thank you Mayor Thorne and the City Council for stepping-back and taking a breather from all the pro-growth explosion that's happening in our City! We definitely need this break to be able to have a chance to adjust to all the massive housing projects in our City that have yet to be finished or about to start construction!

Another proposed project that needs to be reconsidered, is the current plans for the new Civic Center project. Along with the enormous cost of this project that our City can't afford (upwards of $200 Million), we also don't want the possibility of developers adding more housing on the existing Civic Center, and potentially, the School District properties if they move over to Bernal Park. This sort of development in our Downtown Gateway would be far more damaging to our City than the East Pleasanton Project. Please consider the negative impact that this potential development could have on our Community.

Thank you again, City Council, for listening to the Community!


17 people like this
Posted by Study - Another word for delay
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2017 at 9:38 am

Sorry to see they are just delaying fixing the Owens Drive Street giveaway.
Maybe they think the public will forget?
Even if they do take back our street, the developer wins, because he counted parking not on his land, but on what is a public street, allowing him (or her) to build more


5 people like this
Posted by Bella
a resident of Ironwood
on Mar 15, 2017 at 10:04 am

We live in a 55+ senior neighborhood riight next door. We prefer the area be planned now with more senior housing, a street connection to El Charro and parks instead of waiting for the State legislature requiring high density with a lot of units in one place being designated for low income households.


13 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 15, 2017 at 10:22 am

Excellent, now someone go drop off a bunch of endangered frogs or rabbits so the area an be declared a preserved habitat.....or donate the land for habitat restoration - boy scout, girl scout, 4H projects....something to make it useful to the community, but at minimal cost.


19 people like this
Posted by Flightops
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 16, 2017 at 6:34 pm

Flightops is a registered user.

That property owner/developer and his slippery money people aren't going away they will simply up the ante or come up with a frivolous lawsuit and the dominoes will fall once again. Pleasanton parent has the right idea, in fact I think I saw a "whipsnake" out there hiding under some type of rare endangered "weed". As for Owens drive there is no win on that one, the city gave away our streets to the developer and there are only 3 options- #1 is to stall and hope everybody forgets. #2 would be to narrow the westbound lanes and give us a lane back going eastbound #3 is to wait till Bart rips out that parking lot and builds more housing then who cares how many lanes are there, the city could just make it a deadend street thereby covering up their screwup.


9 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2017 at 7:25 pm

BobB is a registered user.

Enjoying the humor here, as usual. Always the same group of posters in their little bubble decrying how Pleasanton has changed. Yes "Flightops" developers will be developing Pleasanton's east side, and Pleasanton will continue to change for the better.


9 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 16, 2017 at 7:54 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

BobB,
Change is constant and csn be good or bad.
Im all for change, but it doesnt mean we need to pave every green space. Leave the hillsides and some grassy fields, leave existing residential areas to developers to improve or old commercial


24 people like this
Posted by Flightops
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 17, 2017 at 1:54 pm

Flightops is a registered user.

@BobB. As a lifelong pleasanton resident I know this town hasn't changed for the better, open your eyes and you will see that we are being overrun by cut thru commuters who have turned our streets into parking lots, our schools are overcrowded, we have met our requirements for housing yet the city council continues to hand out permits to every developer with a good line of baloney and a checkbook! No joke here, the small town I used to know is gone and sold to the highest bidders, the big city town that you seem to want is rapidly approaching, enjoy it along with our planning dept and city council


5 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2017 at 7:01 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@Pleasanton Parent,

I agree with you that we need to leave the hillsides above Foothill essentially as they are and I do appreciate the parks and open space we already enjoy. I think the new sports park across from the Fairgrounds was another nice addition. What I'm talking about is the people want to oppose anything being built at all. I've been hearing that for more than 15 years.

@Flightops,

Be careful what you wish for. I have relatives still living in rural West Virginia where their small town has become more like a ghost town. A place can't stay frozen in time.


18 people like this
Posted by Jake Waters
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 18, 2017 at 11:12 am

Jake Waters is a registered user.

@BobB

You said: "Be careful what you wish for. I have relatives still living in rural West Virginia where their small town has become more like a ghost town. A place can't stay frozen in time.@BobB."

That is a stretch BobB, we are a far cry from West Virginia. I seriously doubt we have any chance of becoming a ghost town. Freezing the development at this time isn't going to put us in the Stone Age.


13 people like this
Posted by Flightops
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 19, 2017 at 7:25 pm

Flightops is a registered user.

@ jake waters - AMEN !! Pretty big stretch comparing California to West Virginia. Pleasanton never has been or will ever be a ghost town no matter how hard our city council and planning commission try to destroy it. All the newbies in town better wake up and try to save whatever quality of life is left before "THEY" sell off everything to the highest bidder!!


6 people like this
Posted by Karen
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 20, 2017 at 8:48 am

Karen is a registered user.

This area is not a pretty field or hillside! It is industrial, with the dump or transfer station, a lot of broken glass, gravel trucks, concrete and barbed wire. Plus, since we live next door, we see homeless camping out there and returning their bottles for money to the recycling center. It is obvious to me people dont really know the property. The new development will allow recreation at the quarry lakes with trails and parks.


16 people like this
Posted by Flightops
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 20, 2017 at 9:58 am

Flightops is a registered user.

That's right, it's not a " pretty field or hillside" but it also isn't 800+ homes that we really don't need right now!!! How many people drive thru this industrial area unless they are going to the transfer station?? Once again people are being sidetracked by the promises of blue skie and butterflies, can't wait till the cities newest blunder becomes fully occupied and those apartments at Stanley and Bernal start dumping cars on the cities streets.


4 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2017 at 10:34 am

BobB is a registered user.

But you people have been calling for "freezing development" for 20+ years.

I, and many others wouldn't be here if Pleasanton had frozen development 25 years ago. Again, who are you to say what is needed and what isn't. My house was needed for me to live in.


14 people like this
Posted by Flightops
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 20, 2017 at 2:26 pm

Flightops is a registered user.

So BobB's plan is to keep building until we reach total buildout to satisfy everybody that wants to live here, who cares if our infrastructure and school system can't support a population explosion as long as everybody gets their new house or stack and pack condo, then maybe once we reach total buildout start bulldozing existing properties and build high-rise condos and apartments , when is it going to be enough?


6 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2017 at 7:17 pm

BobB is a registered user.

So Flightop's plan is to move Pleasanton back in time 40 years and freeze growth. What if "enough" was right before your house was built?


12 people like this
Posted by Flightops
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 21, 2017 at 7:45 pm

Flightops is a registered user.

Sorry BobB, born and raised here, did my military duty then came back and bought my 1st house here when it was still a nice quiet town with no cut thru traffic, no crime, and a whole lot of really nice friendly people. Only people liking this cluster are the real estate agents, investors, and developers along with the city council and planning commission.


1 person likes this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 21, 2017 at 7:57 pm

BobB is a registered user.

Not born here. Not raised here. Not any of the things on your list, and I like it here now - not how it was 40 years ago. No BART, no Stoneridge Mall, no 99 Ranch, etc.

I have just got to chuckle when people talk about no crime in the old days when the crime rate in Pleasanton has been going down for decades. And what is this business about "friendly people?" I find people in Pleasanton plenty friendly.


Like this comment
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 21, 2017 at 7:59 pm

BobB is a registered user.

And unless you built the very first house in Pleasanton, someone before you may very well have said "enough"


10 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 21, 2017 at 8:01 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Flightops:

The headline:
"City council opts not to prioritize east side planning".

Why are you conjecturing what is not on the table?

Looking forward to the new Costco coming to Pleasanton.
Wish they could somehow rush it in here!


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