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Around Pleasanton: Mayor Thorne on schools, traffic, housing

Original post made on Feb 16, 2017

It seems like schools, traffic and housing are always top issues for most of us in Pleasanton, and especially to Realtors and their associates whose livelihood depends on selling our community to those thinking of moving here.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, February 16, 2017, 10:54 AM

Comments (10)

30 people like this
Posted by Casual Viewer
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 16, 2017 at 11:12 am

Mayor Thorne I am so glad you addressed the traffic on 580 and 84, But what about your own city and the complete lack of planning when adding these large housing plans such as the apartments on Bernal near Stanley. Great you added one light. That is going to help so much...NOT! Now the City is going to add more housing on the Irby property which will add more traffic on the already over crowded Stanley, so the solution is to force the traffic elsewhere and increase the cut through traffic through residential streets. But everything is great because at least we now know how successful the 580 toll road is. Something we all should be very proud of.

20 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 16, 2017 at 6:57 pm

The developers are leading the city down that " yellow brick road" who cares what's behind that curtain, certainly not the city council and the planning commission, how could anything possibly go wrong? All that traffic will sort itself out, we could get a bond passed and have the citizens pay for new schools, and fix up the existing schools, not really fair to the developers if we have them build our schools or infrastructure they need to keep raking in the big bucks to buy up more property to get rezoned to residential, maybe we could narrow down some more streets for them, really helps when you put too many units on a piece of land.

32 people like this
Posted by Julie Testa
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Feb 17, 2017 at 11:31 am

Our Mayor and current council has taken a position that they have an obligation to approve housing, but No responsibility for planning and supporting building schools. Mayor Thorne is absolving himself and the council of any responsibility of school overcrowding responsibility. Yet schools are a major piece of infrastructure planning for a city and responsibility is supported by planning law. 

Mayor Thorne seems to feel the cities responsibility ends with crossing guards, most of the joint cooperation that he takes credit for, such as school gyms, happened long before his leadership and there have been no new schools during his leadership. The liaison and joint city/PUSD have accomplished little more that a bike rally in recent years, lots of houses, no schools.

In the past schools were able to get schools built because of the joint cooperation of city/PUSD. It is past time for that effort to begin again.

Julie Testa

State law requires coordination between cities and school districts related to planning for school siting, long range master planning for school sites. Government code 65302 and 65350.

Our Pleasanton General Plan is the City planning constitution. It is meant to be a “comprehensive, long-term” plan. It is important that the City coordinate with the School District. “The current target is 600 students per elementary school, 1,000 students at each middle school, and 2,000 students at each comprehensive high school, with a 10 percent contingency planned for each site...”
Web Link
65302.  The general plan shall consist of a statement of development policies and shall include a diagram or diagrams and text setting forth objectives, principles, standards, and plan proposals. The plan shall include the following elements:
   (a) A land use element that designates… education, public buildings, and grounds,…

Web Link
65352.2.  (a) It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this section to foster improved communication and coordination between cities, counties, and school districts related to planning for school siting.
   (b) …coordinating planning,design, and construction of new school facilities and schoolsites in coordination with the existing or planned infrastructure, general plan, and zoning designations …(1) Methods of coordinating planning, design, and construction of new school facilities and schoolsites in coordination with the existing or planned infrastructure, general plan, and zoning designations of the city and county.
   (2) Options for the siting of new schools and whether or not the local city or counties existing land use element appropriately reflects the demand for public school facilities, and ensures that new planned development reserves location for public schools in the most appropriate locations.…
   (5) Opportunities for financial assistance which the local government may make available to assist the school district with site acquisition, planning, or preparation costs.
   (6) Review all possible methods of coordinating planning, design, and construction of new school facilities and schoolsites or major additions to existing school facilities and recreation and park facilities and programs in the community.

21 people like this
Posted by concerned
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 17, 2017 at 12:40 pm

The school issues will never be resolved since the Chamber of Commerce, which supports unregulated development, also finances our council members. It is sad but easy to say the chamber has been attempting to destroy our city.

The city does not to support the major infrastructure of schools. That is why there should be a moratorium on rezoning public and institutional land uses. That is removing locations where a school can go. Not just by the zoning but the increase in cost of land when rezoned for residential makes it impossible for the school district to afford. Rezoning is essentially a gift to the property owner.

The school district is just as much of a fault to the overcrowding since they do not send official correspondence to the city indicating they need the city to not rezone the public use zoning and need help in getting the space and money to support the additional school resources needed. The general plan does state we are to have neighborhood schools and why it is important to our city but neither the city or school district is doing anything. With the city officials and school officials saying nothing, they are saying that neighborhood schools are not important to the school district and cramming more students into portables is not degrading our most important infrastructure in Pleasanton; our schools.

We have met all our RHNA requirements. There should be NO MORE REZONING or construction of residential until we have a plan for the schools. We have time to think about this and plan for this now.

23 people like this
Posted by Julie Testa
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Feb 17, 2017 at 1:41 pm

Agree with every point from Concerned.

The district holds the greatest responsibility for the enrollment crisis.
When the developer agreement was changed, the City agreed to step out of oversight of developer fees, and the contract was changed to allow the district to use the funds for non-capital uses. Since then the capital dollars have been not been used for growth mitigation. Without the commitment of joint oversight and cooperation, our kids lose and our community resources are lost.

"We have met all our RHNA requirements. There should be NO MORE REZONING or construction of residential until we have a plan for the schools. We have time to think about this and plan for this now."

14 people like this
Posted by Save Pleasanton
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 18, 2017 at 1:15 pm

Sadly, our City's government is in the pocket of ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments). Thorne and the City Council are just puppets to this heavily funded organization. The City of Pleasanton will just keep adding MORE High-density housing and NARROW MORE of our streets, Owens Drive is just the beginning! Although some will claim the ABAG organization and the Council of Goverments is all mumbo-jumbo, I think it's becoming quite evident just in our own City alone, that there is some sort of change going on, you can read about the organization here Web Link

We can't be naive and quiet and let this happen to our City.

10 people like this
Posted by cop-out
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2017 at 9:03 pm

"Thorne also explained that the current spate of high-density apartment and condo housing construction stems from the ill-advised 1996 voter-approved Measure GG housing cap ordinance, which imposed a permanent cap of 29,000 total housing units. A regional affordable housing coalition, joined by the state, successfully sued, arguing that the ordinance would keep the city from meeting its state-imposed housing requirements."

This is a cop-out explanation from our Mayor. The board want's more building in our city, and just using State mandate as something to hide behind. If he really wanted to limit new building, he would not of approved the recent 84 housing over on Stanley.....until 2013, since they were not required by the State at this time. Yes, we all want to support Sunflower, but this is not the time....we do not even know the full impact of satisfying the current state mandate (ie. all units have not yet been completed).

8 people like this
Posted by concerned
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 20, 2017 at 10:27 am

You are right. If that development was really about helping Sunflower Hill, the council would have told the developer to come back when there are definitive plans to build the Sunflower Hill part of the project. I am disappointed at the whole council and this type of action shows why the city needs direct democracy for approving residential housing projects. Either that or a housing cap that conforms to RHNA requirements. The council is taking advantage of the community by having the voter-approved housing cap removed as an excuse to build where ever you can, as fast as possible. If this council really respected how the community feels, they would put an initiative on the ballot that restores the housing cap with exceptions to meet state-mandated requirements. That could be done without signatures. However, I encourage those with the knowledge to put together a new housing cap initiative and I will gladly sign and believe it will win by a HUGE amount. And if any elected officials try to slow down the signature process or campaign against it, I will gladly support a recall of them. They should not be forcing us to do their job.

3 people like this
Posted by Tiny Tim
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 20, 2017 at 11:31 am

Concerned, Take a look at the Housing Element of the General Plan. We already have a housing cap based on RHNA. Our Growth Management Plan is based on the current RHNA allocations. It restricts growth to 235 units per year which when multiplied by the number of years in the RHNA cycles is the RHNA allocation for this period.
By the way, growth beyond what was required by the law suit is far below our Growth Management numbers.

8 people like this
Posted by concerned
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 20, 2017 at 12:32 pm

A housing Cap and Growth Management, although work together, are two different things. A Housing Cap is an absolute number of homes allowed in the city. Growth Management is the number of homes per year that can be built, and has exceptions to meet RHNA requirements. The issue is our infrastructure was designed upon our previous housing cap. As we add capacity beyond the voter-approved housing cap, we are exceeding the capability of our infrastructure. One just needs to look at traffic, water and school so see how us going over the housing cap is affecting our infrastructure.

We currently have no provision to "tie the hands of politicians" in approving new housing. You can look at the campaign finance disclosures and "follow the money" to see the developers and construction trade "invests" quite a bit of money in our politicians in order to get housing approved. A Housing Cap would "tie the hands" of the politicians with the side-affect of less construction trade "investments" in the politicians. This could put the power back into the hands of the residents of Pleasanton.

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

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