Pleasanton residents have repeatedly shown overwhelming support for slow, balanced growth.
As the City Council prepares to adopt an update to its Housing Element, the city is at a crossroad and it's not metaphoric. It is important that the community recognizes that the city is approaching or already surpassed the tipping point of sustainability in terms of water quality and supply, waste water treatment and export, and adequate school facilities.
The unavoidable reality is that we are currently severely impacted by enforced water conservation that may get much worse, uncertain climate change impacts, unfunded regional growth mandates, sewer system limitations and more.
Every Pleasanton school campus significantly exceeds the enrollment recommendations identified in the Pleasanton General Plan; all campuses are also seriously overcrowded by state standards. There is currently no means of accommodating new student growth, without passing new local taxes.
In the past decade, while focusing on regional housing and transportation dictates, have we reached the limits of the most important requirements for sustainable growth and maintaining the quality of our lives?
Potential amendments to Pleasanton's General Plan could allow for up to 20% residential growth in the next nine years. Why plan for growth when we are already required to cut back water use 25%? West Los Positas Boulevard will turn into a high-density housing corridor. Discussions have started again about injecting treated sewer water into the ground water basin. Are you ready to drink treated sewage water?
What is Pleasanton's limit on sustainable growth, based on water supply, treated sewage waste water disposal capability, and school facilities? How many more residential units and commercial uses can we add until we reach unsustainable levels that severely impact the limits of critical infrastructure and our quality of life? Don't forget we also face the future impacts of an uncertain East-Side Specific Plan.
These questions must be addressed before any new update to the Housing Element should be considered and there is time for the Council to reverse the current zoning for 1,292 high-density housing units that exceed regional housing requirements.
What's the hurry? Is Pleasanton still the City of Planned Progress, or not? Let your Council members hear from you, E-mail them at email@example.com/ Attend the Sept. 2 City Council meeting. Watch on CTV or online, and visit pleasantonvotersforsmartgrowth.org/ for more information.
Editor's note: Tom Pico was elected to the Pleasanton City Council in 1992 and served two four-year terms. In 2000, he won his first term as mayor, and was re-elected by a wide margin in 2002. Although he was eligible to seek re-election again, he chose to step down as mayor in 2004.
Matt Sullivan served eight years on the Pleasanton Planning Commission before being elected to the City Council in 2004, where he also served eight years.
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