The debate over extending Stoneridge has simmered for years with a majority of the City Council still vehemently opposed to building the road as planned to El Charro Road until traffic congestion on I-580 is eased so that Stoneridge--which would link the El Charro interchange at 580 to I-680 and Foothill Road at its western terminus--doesn't become a favored cut-through alternate by commuters. About all the current council has agreed to is a memorandum of understanding with Supervisor Scott Haggerty and the county Board of Supervisors to keep the right-of-way for a Stoneridge extension open in the event the 580 traffic problem is solved or a future council approves the extension. Two councilmembers, Cindy McGovern and Matt Sullivan, campaigned four years ago on the promise that they would not allow Stoneridge to be extended. Both are candidates now for reelection and they have not changed their minds. Mayor Jennifer Hosterman also has resisted pressure from Haggerty and mayors Janet Lockhart of Dublin and Marshall Kamena of Livermore to include the Stoneridge extension as a part of the Staples Ranch development project.
But now the rubber is meeting the road which could bring Pleasanton's hopes of annexing Staples screeching to a halt. Not discussed publicly during last week's preliminary decision to allow the Sharks subsidiary to lease 7 acres of a proposed public park for its four-rink ice skating complex is a letter sent to Robin Giffin, the city's associate planner, by Mona Palacios, LAFCo's executive officer and dated July 18. LAFCo, she wrote, identifies Stoneridge Drive as a "Route of Regional Significance" that would provide a vital link to other cities in the Tri-Valley as well as a major parallel facility to the I-580 freeway and could potentially provide congestion relief for the 580 corridor. Because the extension is not part of the proposed project, LAFCo cannot certify the Environmental Impact Report that Pleasanton is offering as part of its annexation petition.
LAFCo's approval is needed before Staples can be annexed into Pleasanton because this is the agency established by the state to have the final say in all annexation agreements. Without Stoneridge, LAFCo Chairwoman Jocelyn Combs said, the majority if the LAFCo board, which includes Haggerty, Lockhart and Kamena, will probably turn down Pleasanton's annexation request. That could change, of course. Two councilmembers--Jerry Thorne and Cheryl Cook-Kallio--could be persuaded to approve extending Stoneridge, which Haggerty has already said the county would finance. Since the petition to LAFCo is not likely to proceed until after the mayoral election on Nov. 4, it could be up to the next mayor of Pleasanton--incumbent Mayor Jennifer Hosterman, who is seeking reelection, or her challenger Steve Brozosky--to cast the swing vote calling for Stoneridge to be built. We support building Stoneridge and making Staples part of Pleasanton. We hope voters will make that choice, too.