The Pleasanton City Council will hold a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. tonight to consider a master plan for a 17-acre community park on the Staples Ranch property that could include a multi-million-dollar ice and hockey rink.
Staples Ranch is a 124 acre site at the southwest corner of I-580 and El Charro Road that is unincorporated and owned by Alameda County.
The rink is being proposed by the San Jose Arena Management company, a subsidiary of the San Jose Sharks hockey team. The Sharks group has asked the city for approval of its plan to finance and operate a 116,000-square-foot facility on 7 acres of the 17-acre site. It would lease the land for $1 a year for 30 years and would build and operate the facility at no cost to the city.
The Parks and Recreation Commission earlier recommended that the council approve the park plan, including the ice rink. If the council agrees, tonight's action could move the project forward by making it part of an overall plan for developing Staples.
Other developments planned for Staples Ranch are:
• An auto mall at the northeast corner of the site at the I-580-El Charro Road interchange planned by Hendrick Automotive;
• A 600-unit independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing care facility for seniors, planned by CLC Continuum, a Southern California-based senior care organization;
• A retail store complex between the park and the auto mall, to be developed by Fremont Land developers.
• A 5-acre neighborhood park on the western side of Staples that would be built and maintained by the three developers.
A required Environmental Impact Report for the entire site has also been completed and accepted. The deadline for filing comments on the report was June 3, with only a few comments submitted.
Tonight's meeting follows a public hearing on Staples last fall that brought two citizens' advocacy groups together to endorse the overall development plan. A provision of their agreement, which the council accepted, was that the city embark on "an open and transparent community process" for defining various uses within the park, including the ice rink.
City Manager Nelson Fialho said he and his staff have spent the last four months conducting meetings to comply with the mandate, including pubic meetings on weekends and weeknights at Mohr Elementary School, which were promoted on the city's Web site and advertised in local media.
"The reason tonight's meeting is so important is that it ties in to what we have asked Fremont Land to do with its proposed commercial complex," Fialho said. "We've asked them to pause in their site planning efforts until we decide the community park issue, and they've been willing to do that."
He said discussions during last fall's hearing showed an interest by council members to have open access to the retail stores for the park instead of fencing off the two sites.
"What we decide to do with the park might provide an opportunity to re-orient the commercial center in a manner that allows everything to be complementary," he explained.
The council is also expected to ask the Sharks subsidiary to pay for all of the 17-acre park improvements, including parking lots, which could cost more than $5 million.
The ice arena, as proposed by San Jose Arena Management, would feature four ice rinks on the ground floor, skate rental services, 16 lockers rooms, a weight room, bleacher seating and a small area for parties. The second floor would house ticket offices, a gift and pro shop, food and refreshment concessions, a restaurant with a bar, another party area, a small game room and offices for management and operations personnel.
A paved parking area as proposed would accommodate 215 cars and some parking might be accessible from Stoneridge Drive, which currently ends at Staples Ranch.
Although the council could approve the overall community park design tonight, the proposed Sharks ice facility, as well as other planned developments on Staples, would still need to go through the Planning Commission and City Council for specific approvals before those developments can get under way.
Tonight's meeting will be held in the City Council chambers, 200 Old Bernal Ave.