Task force plan can make sure Pleasanton meets state housing numbers | July 5, 2013 | Pleasanton Weekly | PleasantonWeekly.com |


Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - July 5, 2013

Task force plan can make sure Pleasanton meets state housing numbers

Plans for developing a 400-acre site on Pleasanton's east side along Stanley Boulevard with high density housing and more commercial and office buildings are making progress. The East Pleasanton Specific Plan task force, which has been meeting since last August, is about halfway through its assignment to determine the best uses for a 1,000-acre site that includes 600 acres of lakes controlled by Zone 7. Until recently, the rest of the property was largely beat up over the years by former owner Hansen Aggregate and its quarry mining operations. Hansen has sold its Pleasanton holdings to Legacy Partners, which wants to develop the site. While mining operations will continue for another 20 years east of the lakes in Livermore, land on the Pleasanton side gives Legacy and the task force an opportunity to accommodate new housing requirements issued every seven years by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the state's Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA).

We call it an "opportunity" because the 1,000-2,200 housing units being considered for the east side site, many of them in the state-required mid- to lower-income category, could fill the state's demand to 2030 and beyond. That means that, with Hacienda Business Park filling up fast to meet RHNA's and the already court-ordered requirements, those units would not have to be built in existing Pleasanton neighborhoods.

Granted, few want to see our established neighborhoods "disturbed" by high-rise, high density apartment houses in the various empty lots around town where these "in-fill" projects could be built. But Pleasanton, facing demands also being made of other California cities, has no choice. The city argued unsuccessfully in court against RHNA and Urban Habitat, an Oakland-based affordable housing coalition, that its 1996 housing cap of 29,000 units blocked any more housing here. After spending $3.5 million defending the cap, Pleasanton lost and the court gave Urban Habitat and the state the authority to impose housing numbers determined by ABAG. In response, 75 acres of vacant land, mostly in Hacienda, have been rezoned and four major developments are under way or nearly approved for more than 2,000 units in high density projects.

The East Side task force was formed to consider the best uses of the property Legacy wants to develop. In its "check-in" last month with the City Council, the task force suggested six land use options. The two-hour-long public meeting with many making comments showed this is fast becoming a controversial process. Few want to see 2,200 housing units built on the east side, but many agreed that might be a proposal to carry forward for a costly, probably year-long environmental review. Planners can always downsize from an approved EIR but to add housing numbers to one requires another review.

There was also concern over the Pleasanton school district's bid that the task force include a school site. Some suggested that a new school, if the district can ever afford to build one, would best be located in Hacienda Business Park where more housing will soon be built. Objections also were made that the task force plans include developments outside of the voter-approved urban growth boundary. That's true but it was pointed out that the 100 acres outside that boundary would consist mostly of the Zone 7 lakes with some commercial development also possible, including the relocation of Pleasanton Garbage Service's recycling center on Busch Road. That could be allowed under the General Plan with City Council approval.

With the long list of suggestions and objections, the task force will now resume its planning efforts with a target date of completing its plan in 2014. That'll be none too soon for Pleasanton, which will face a whole new set of RHNA housing numbers in December next year. Those will be state required new housing orders that the city can ill afford to ignore again.


Posted by Fred M, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2013 at 7:15 am

Please help me block this great area that was supposed to be Pleasanton's chain of lakes, from turning into a high density multistory dumping ground. I don't want to see this east Pleasanton region look even worst than east Dublin. Thier homes are mostly condos and town houses that are bought and sold by owners, which would be better than what this group is suggesting.

This proposed east Pleasanton discussion is about 50% high rise apartments! Even worst yet.

Posted by john, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2013 at 1:05 pm

What's wrong with East Dublin? It looks pretty nice to me. Pleasanton is looking kind of drab these days. I don't have any problem with encouraging new development like this in Pleasanton.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jul 7, 2013 at 2:03 pm

(Post removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff as irrelevant to this thread.)

Posted by Don't Look Now..., a resident of Downtown
on Jul 8, 2013 at 9:19 am

Agenda 21 anyone???

Posted by chemist, a resident of Downtown
on Jul 8, 2013 at 10:58 am

Nobody cares what the people of Pleasanton think. If we stay in ABAG, we will get One Bay Area, the bureaucrats' solution to imaginary problems. It is just absolutely critical that all of us peasants live in high rise condos next to Bart or global warming will decimate the planet. Then, when Bart goes on strike, and we can't get to the grocery store, we will be more amenable to pay higher rates to use the train, and higher taxes so the bureaucrats can afford homes in the hills. Have you noticed where Al Gore lives?

Posted by WhatAbout US, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 9, 2013 at 8:39 am

Not sure I understand this comment:

"those units would not have to be built in existing Pleasanton

There are existing Pleasanton neighborhoods next to these 400 acres. Why do people mention there will be no impact to existing neighborhoods in East Pleasanton?

Another question Eastern Pleasanton residents need to ask the City is why are the not going through a housing element 2 phase before allocating units to this area? During Housing Element phase 1, one of top items discussed was balance of RHNA numbers across Pleasanton, now we hearing this is an "opportunity" in this area to put a majority of the high density units (which includes Section 8) in Eastern Pleasanton. It's interesting that a majority of the people pushing their agenda and making decisions for this area do not live in 'possibly-impacted' area of East Pleasanton.

Finally, regarding schools, all that is being discussed is Elementary, our Middle and High Schools are already over-packed, how
are we going to accommodate for all these new students?

There is a big difference between allocating a fair share and unfairly putting a majority of new housing in east Pleasanton. For starters traffic will be a nightmare.

Posted by local, a resident of Birdland
on Jul 9, 2013 at 9:01 am

Since there will not be enough money coming from the development to pay for the necessary infrastructure (especially schools) we should put that east side planning area in an assessment district. We need to figure out the real cost of that housing on our infrastructure and ensure that area pays its fair share; like existing housing had to with high school fees. It would be best if the city collected the assessment fees and then distributed to the school district for new schools once the school district is serious about adding the school. If the money went directly to the school district, they would squander it like they have been doing.

A good thing about an assessment district is if it turns out the impacts are not as great as expected, the assessment can go down. Right now the developer community says "trust me" there will be no impacts. I would rather have a funding mechanism that can be controlled.

Posted by Pox on Moonbeam, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 9, 2013 at 9:15 am

Screw the loons in the state government and screw Moonbeam Brown. What a clown convention. They are destroying California and Pleasanton.

Posted by schools, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 10, 2013 at 8:23 am

Unfortunately one of the 'rules' from ABAG and meeting the RHNA numbers, is that impact on schools 'cannot' be a consideration. In other words the city must satisfy the RHNA numbers regardless of impact on schools. The local city council and school district can attempt to plan for all this housing, but if they came back and said we cannot accommodate all the new students, ABAG will say that's too bad, but you still need to meet our RHNA numbers (and if not, look for another lawsuit)

Does anyone know which apartment complexes in Pleasanton currently accept Section-8? Moving forward in Pleasanton, the current theme (for our City) is all new developments must accept Section-8. I'm not sure if following is valid, but here is a chart of Dublin:

Web Link

How do we compare, and how will we compare after all the RHNA developments are complete?
Dublin is a nice place to live, and Pleasanton is dangerously close to losing any ability to claim a 'premium' over it's surrounding cities.

Posted by local, a resident of Birdland
on Jul 10, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Making an assessment district should not violate ABAG. If you cannot do a school assessment district, you can do a park assessment district (and that park happens to have educational buildings in it).

However, the goal from the governor is that no city in California can be any better than the worst so until Pleasanton looks like Oakland or Richmond, the governor will not be satisfied.

Maybe having Stoneridge extensions and Boulder extensions are not a good idea. Might be better to have an island of ABAG housing where the people there need to get on the freeway or through Dublin to get into Pleasanton.

Posted by Janet, a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jul 11, 2013 at 11:03 pm

I wonder if traffic issue has been addressed by committee member, please note we only have one lane after turning from Sunol to Bernal, right now the traffic is really bad during commute hour, Please let me know how to solve this issue if a lot more units will be built on Eastern side?

Building Code Consultant

Posted by Vote NO to East side, a resident of Ironwood
on Nov 10, 2013 at 7:10 pm

I am very frustrated by our elected officials that keep supporting large numbers of houses charted for the East Side. Where is their spunk? Why are they fighting for us? They just roll over and accept a "preferred plan" of 1759 houses. Why not 200 houses, why not 400 houses (although that is crazy too. No one in Pleasanton voted for door mats. Call up ABAG and the others and say NO!

I want our Mayor to be leader in the fight, not a door mat. What are you going to fight or just wave in parades Mayor Thorne?

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Nov 11, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Don't count on Cholo helping you Fred M. If the land is developed, what better way to spend money than to build affordable housing for fellow Americans in need of adequate housing for their families?

What is it with so many Americans? Do you believe that the world is not growing and that there is no need for others to live in a safe and comfy abode?

the more the merrier...

Posted by Fred M, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Cholo - take you "the more the merrier" back to Livermore. Take your Livermore gangs, sprawl, lower school scores and lower priced housing with it.

In Pleasanton we march to a different drummer.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Nov 12, 2013 at 4:18 pm

The world is rapidly changing. Presently, the face of Plutonia is changing. It may bear no resemblance to what you refer to as the Plutonia that marches to a "different drummer"...whatever that means?

Sprawl is not going away. Gangs will remain in Plutonia and in the schools.
More residents and their children of various racial/ethnic backgrounds will inter-marry. I'm not too aware of what lower scores you're referring to?

Fred M., are you of the belief that fellow American citizens, especially those who have fought to protect American values/way of life in wars, are not a welcome addition to the city that you know and love?

How exactly do you march to a different drummer? hmmmmmmmmmm...?