Commission delays decision on Valley Trails home's 2nd-floor addition

Homeowners want new bedrooms upstairs; neighbors object to proposal

The Pleasanton Planning Commission discussed a dispute between Valley Trails neighbors over one family's proposal to redesign the second story of their house last week before ultimately sending the proposal back to city staff for further modifications.

There is no timetable for when the commissioners will again debate the proposal from Yellowstone Court homeowners David and Sue Robles to convert their unconditioned loft space into new second-floor bedrooms and other amenities, according to community development director Gerry Beaudin.

"All five commissioners concurred with the motion to direct staff to work with the applicant on a design that removes the proposed window from the north elevation, improves the proposed front elevation and reduces the massing of the proposed second-story addition," Beaudin said after last Wednesday's meeting. "We'll bring the item back when we've worked through the Planning Commission's direction."

"In the meantime, staff will work with the applicant and neighbors to improve the design of the proposed addition," he added.

The Robleses' initial proposal called for redesigning their loft space into an approximately 740-square-foot addition, including creating four new bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs and extending the roof height from 20 feet to 25 feet at their house at 3552 Yellowstone Court, off South Valley Trails Drive.

They received approval from the city's zoning administrator in May, but they appealed a condition put on their project to remove a proposed north-facing window -- a requirement added by the zoning administrator after hearing from the Robleses' next-door neighbors, who raised privacy concerns about new windows with views into their backyard pool area.

In their appeal, the Robleses said removing the window as required would force them to remove a bedroom from their design and negatively impact their property value, while also pointing out their next-door neighbors have a second-floor window that offers a view into their backyard.

More neighbors also contended there's a history of poor maintenance at the Robles property and security concerns related to people who stayed at the house -- including police activity, code enforcement calls and neighborhood vandalism -- and they argued allowing the new addition could exacerbate those problems.

The couple acknowledged that their adult children and associates of their adult children had stayed at the home for extended periods in the recent past, and that the police activity and calls for service were related to one of their children and because of neighbors reporting code violations or perceived violations, according to city staff.

They said they now need the additional bedrooms to accommodate growing grandchildren who are living with them, according to city staff.

Some neighbors argued, however, that allowing four new bedrooms for people to stay in would lead to more security problems, plus create a house out of scale with the Yellowstone Court neighborhood.

The commissioners did discuss the number of bedrooms during their meeting last week, but their focus was on the overall design proposal, Beaudin said.

"(The) commission's purview with respect to this project is design review and aesthetics, so the number of bedrooms was not the focus of the commission's direction. That being said, if the size of the addition is reduced, fewer bedrooms could be an outcome," he added.

City planning staff had recommended denying the Robleses' appeal and upholding the zoning administrator's original approval, but the commission instead sent it back to the drawing board for further modifications.

It's currently unclear when the project will be back before the commission for a final decision. Beaudin said city staff would notify the neighborhood once the new hearing is scheduled.


39 people like this
Posted by David D
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 17, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Expanding a 4 bedroom to an 8 bedroom house? Poorly maintained house, criminal activity, adult children with problems? Bad news all over. Feel sorry for the other residents of Yellowstone Court.

24 people like this
Posted by Walkerguy
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jul 17, 2017 at 1:33 pm

I didn't attend the meeting, but from what I understand, the Planning Commission stated that their role was more focused on the "outside appearance" instead of what may occur inside and not to focus on the number of bedrooms. Have you ever heard of anything so absurd? Where is the outrage and lack of protection for the community? Why cant city officials step in and protect the rest of the neighborhood? Why do they have to manage to the bottom and only protect the rights of criminals. Read the report and you will see exactly how many police calls and arrests have taken place.

Contrary to this report, the criminal activity and police calls are not related to one person in the house and the calls are not because of code violations called in by the neighbors. This is a dangerous precedent if allowed to go through. The city is seemingly turning a blind eye and deaf ear. They can spend time to enforce moving a taco truck (in Ruby Hills), but when it comes to real danger they don't have the time or resources to devote to less affluent neighborhoods.


25 people like this
Posted by no name chosen
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 17, 2017 at 4:39 pm

no name chosen is a registered user.

By all means yes, drive out a taco truck that has operated with permits for nearly 20 years because Casa Real and Ruby Hill Winery think the clientele don't come up to their standards. Waste City time and wage dollars on that but make no effort to enforce gross violations of city code downtown. And watch the planning commission approve a boarding house with a long history of police activity (92 times on the record so far!) where their only concern is how it will look from the outside. Makes me so proud to say that I live in Pleasanton. Insert several sarcasm emoticons here.

23 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Jul 17, 2017 at 6:02 pm

Does anybody have access to a "taco truck" that can be parked in front of that house, maybe that will get the cities attention! Really sounds like a boarding (flop) house to me, feel sorry for the neighbors and especially for the people who just bought the house for sale across the street and over a couple houses.

13 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 17, 2017 at 7:00 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

Was the flop house disclosed as part of the sale? Likely not, yet pretty well known and documented.

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

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