|Pleasanton City Councilman Jerry Thorne has issued a special "Alert," predicting dire consequences for the city and taxpayers if a proposed initiative affecting development plans for Staples Ranch proceeds.
Thorne said that the so-called "Greenbelt Initiative," co-sponsored by Pleasanton residents Matt Morrison and Anne Fox, would cancel out a Memorandum of Understanding between the city and Alameda County over the eventual development of the 124-acre Staples Ranch.
The site, located in unincorporated Alameda County, could be annexed into Pleasanton according to the agreement with the development of an auto mall, a retail center, a 600-800-unit apartment and assisted living complex for seniors and an indoor ice rink proposed by a subsidiary of the San Jose Sharks.
Thorne's alert, sent by email to several thousand civic and business leaders, comes at the same time that City Attorney Michael Roush approved language in the co-sponsors' second initiative that contains the same open space restrictions for Staples Ranch, but would allow the use of 40 acres for an auto mall. Since the newest measure is an initiative by itself, the co-sponsors actually have two initiatives in play, with a requirement that they obtain signatures from at least 10 percent of registered voters who cast ballots in the November 2006 election--or about 3,500--to qualify either measure for a public vote.
"I met with our county supervisor, Scott Haggerty, today and I am saddened to report that he intends to move forward with the processes necessary (EIR, etc.) to develop the Staples Ranch property in the county (probably with a tax sharing agreement with Livermore or Dublin for services)," Thorne stated in his Alert.
"Other options available to him would include the development of the property within Livermore or Dublin," Thorne added. "He indicated to me that he is 'running out of time' and cannot continue to work with Pleasanton under the threat of the two initiatives recently filed."
Thorne added: "I did let him know about 'Pleasanton First' and that we are working hard to prevent the initiatives from getting the required signatures over the next 180 days and that we support completing the elements contained in the current MOU with Pleasanton."
He has agreed to meet with us on July 19 at the meeting we have already set up at the Hop Yard Ale House at 4 p.m."
"To be very blunt," Thorne stated, "the supervisor, the county, our neighbors and most of us are fed up with the handful of elitists that have been dominating the agenda on Stoneridge and the Staples Ranch property. It's time to put Pleasanton first."
Thorne said Haggerty has agreed to meet with backers of Pleasanton First, a citizens group opposed to the open space initiatives, to review their progress in defeating the signature-gathering efforts. The meeting will be held at 4 p.m. July 19 at The Hop Yard Alehouse & Grill, 3015-H Hopyard Rd.
Are you receiving Express, our free daily e-mail edition? See a sample and sign-up for Express.