Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - May 7, 2010

Letters

Newspaper vs. Internet

Dear Editor,

I assume most of us own and operate a computer, though I have friends who do not. I subscribe to newspapers and magazines because I like to read newspapers and magazines. I do not like to read a partial article that ends by telling me if I would like to read more on the subject, I need to log onto "whatever."

A perfect example is the mother/daughter lookalike contest. I enjoy seeing the pictures in print. I do not particularly enjoy having to log on to the website to see the photos, or read whatever it is that is continued, whether it's from your paper, any other paper, a magazine or the TV news.

I hope for all of our sakes that newsprint does not disappear from our world.

Reasonable compromise

Dear Editor,

Be sensible about Oak Grove.

Oak Grove will add 51 home sites to approximately 200 homes in Kottinger Ranch. The city will receive school fees and property taxes as with all new development, and 496 acres of open space which is unique to Oak Grove. Anyone who builds a home in Pleasanton pays $8.63 per square foot to the Pleasanton Unified School District. Assuming an average 5,000-square-foot home in Oak Grove, that is over $2 million and likely much more. There is almost zero chance there will ever be a single 12,500-square-foot home, even if such an unprecedented monstrosity were proposed.

Kottinger Ranch homes average somewhere between 3,000 square foot and 4,000 square foot. Perhaps homes in Oak Grove may be larger on average: 4,000 square feet to 6,000 square feet? The land is both zoned residential and included in the General Plan for up to 98 homes. A compromise to allow 51 vs. 98 homes with nearly 500 acres of open space in return seems to me to be the sensible thing to do. I am voting Yes on D, not because I want 51 more large homes but because I believe it is a reasonable compromise for the greater community.

No on Measure D

Dear Editor,

I am voting No on Measure D. As Pleasanton residents we already voted to protect our ridgelines from development. Now, another developer push to mar the ridgelines is called Measure D. The promises in their fliers are very misleading. Our schools will not be saved. Fees paid by the proposed ridgeline homeowners cannot be used for classroom programs, reduction of class size, or salaries. What would Measure D provide? It will allow wealthy landowners to bulldoze the ridgelines and erect huge mansions that will blight our beautiful view! These big box houses will be visible from all parts of the city. Let's not make the same mistakes made in other cities. Protect Pleasanton's ridgeline by voting No on measure D.

Disagree about sewer and water rates

Dear Editor,

I strongly disagree with your opinion that raising sewer and water rates make sense (April 23 Editorial: "Proposed water/sewer rate increase makes sense.")

My hometown is Exeter, Calif. It is a small farming community in the Central Valley at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Let us compare the utility rates between Exeter and Pleasanton.

* Sewer: Exeter, $18 per month; Pleasanton, $60.61

* Water: Exeter, $20 per month; Pleasanton, $54.45

Pleasanton's rates are about three times higher than Exeter's and you propose a rate hike makes sense? What makes sense here? Exeter has to pump the water, pump the sewage, treat the sewage and maintain the system just as Pleasanton does.

With a large portion of the population out of work or working for less, the emphasis should be on how to provide more for less, not less for more.

You can confirm what I have stated by going to www.cityofexeter.com. Exeter's population has been growing over the years with people from Los Angeles and the Bay Area fed up with this type of abuse. Exeter is looking more and more attractive to me but with one exception. It still resides in California, a state more concerned about protecting the Delta smelt than providing its citizens with water, and a state not capable of providing a reasonable balanced budget.

Homes would be huge

Dear Editor,

To Pleasanton voters: Vote No on Measure D. Did you ever shop at the now-empty Domus store? The one which was Pleasanton's largest grocery store in the 1960s? It's about 8,400 square feet, which is the average size of the 51 homes authorized for the Oak Grove property. The largest homes could go to 12,500 square feet, so add another 50 percent to the Domus building. Of course, that does not count the multi-car garage, cabana house, or second unit.

A yard of dirt would be a good-sized load for a full-sized pickup truck. To build those 51 homes, it would take 620,000 such loads to move the dirt that the Oak Grove developers plan to cut off Pleasanton's southern ridges. To cut 43 feet off a hill top, a lot of dirt needs to be moved. Add a mile-long road on the just flattened ridge to service the 51 houses.

I have other concerns - the visibility of many homes from the valley floor, habitat destruction, fire danger to homes on hilltops surrounded by grasslands, significant distances and time delays for fire trucks, a truncated city hearing process before the approval, a developer lawsuit to invalidate this referendum, big money trying to buy this election.

Lastly, this project violates ridgeline protection (Measure PP) just passed by the voters in the last election. 

Vote to preserve our ridgeline. Vote to protect the environment. Vote No on Measure D.

Yes for future of Pleasanton

Dear Editor,

I would like to share my thoughts on Oak Grove and Measure D.

While I am happy that Pleasanton voters will have the opportunity to vote on the Oak Grove plan, I'm disappointed that it has taken this long to approve a plan that clearly brings great benefits to our community with very little impacts. What more can we possibly ask for than a plan that asks for nearly half of what the landowners are allowed to do on the property (only 51 home sites instead of 98) while also giving the city of Pleasanton 496 acres of open space to help protect against future growth to the southeast. With so much open space, Pleasanton residents will benefit with trails for hiking, biking and equestrian with a parking and staging area.

If you still need more reasons to vote Yes on Measure D, think about the property tax revenue that will be generated for the city as a result of 51 homes. It is estimated the city will receive approximately $200,000 annually to help pay for vital city services. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, our treasured schools will receive much needed revenue from property taxes estimated at $300,000 every year, as well as a one-time direct fee of $2 million.

For the future of Pleasanton, Vote Yes on D.

Sierra Club says No on D

Dear Editor,

The San Francisco Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club recommends No on the Oak Grove subdivision because of its unsound environmental impact. Oak Grove has been a troubled project from the beginning. Not even the Planning Commission would approve the Environmental Impact Report because it's that bad.

Ridgetops would be scraped off for a ridgeline road and building pads, with around 700 thousand cubic yards of excavated dirt being deposited in valleys. If you think "mountaintop removal," you'll understand why so many of us know this project is so very wrong.

Also, 950 blue oak trees could disappear, some a century old, because the project design has them within or adjacent to the area of grading.

The footprint of the proposed 8,000- to 12,500-square-foot residences is incredible. With a planet climate emergency right in our face, how does anyone in all conscience justify old discredited building practices with supersized use of materials and consumption of energy?

Insensitive housing developments disfigure scenic views, destroy centennial oaks, fill in creeks, and damage habitat. The current project design just makes no sense.

Visit //sanfranciscobay.sierraclub.org/. Send this flawed project back for rework by voting No on Measure D.

Voters OK'd Oak Grove as residential

Dear Editor,

Don't be misled by the reasoning used to support No on D arguments. The facts on the Oak Grove development and its potential impact are readily available and should ease any concerns of any Pleasanton resident. I have lived here almost 40 years and know firsthand that every project is fully vetted before it is approved.

Pleasanton voters approved the General Plan that designated the Oak Grove property as residential. The proposal that we'll uphold on June 8 comes as the result of two years' collaboration between Oak Grove and Pleasanton neighbors. They worked to create a plan Pleasanton would support, a plan that included a reduction of Oak Grove's housing development plans by half and multiplied the benefits Pleasanton will receive. School systems will receive millions, alongside significant sums for traffic improvements and city services.

The ridgelines won't be compromised. Ninety percent of the property will be donated, serving as open park space to protect the ridgelines and permanently prevent further development. Home designs for the mere 51 homes requested must following strict guidelines and receive approval from the city before they are built. The mega-mansions some fear will not be prolific, and our views will not be meaningfully impacted.

We need to remember that our Pleasanton neighborhoods have shared in this entire process. The plan we're voting on is a plan we helped create, and a plan that will benefit Pleasanton tremendously. Vote Yes on D on June 8.

No on D

Dear Editor,

The ads supporting the Oak Grove development are unequivocally deceptive; especially about the benefits to the schools.

Their ad states, "$300,000 more every year from property taxes that can be used for programs, teachers and books." That is complete fiction!

The only property tax money for the schools is for the school facility bond and those facilities have already been built. We are still paying off the debt, not producing new facilities. It is also not additional money for our schools. The school district receives exactly the same amount of money for the bonds no matter how many properties there are in Pleasanton.

The only funds that can be used for programs, teachers and books come from the state. The schools receive funds from the state for each student, which could amount to $300,000. However the School District has already said the money per student from the state is not enough to educate our students; that is why they are looking for additional income from us.

Each student added from this development will actually erode our schools more. If the district wanted more students, they would allow students from outside of Pleasanton to attend our schools but they already make you produce a lot of paperwork to prove you live in Pleasanton as the additional students hurt us.

If the proponents of this development feel so good about it, why do they have to resort to deceptive advertising to convince you?

Join me in voting No on Measure D!

Thinking long term

Dear Editor,

Oak Grove is a win-win for the city, residents, trail and open space advocates, schools and future generations. I have lived in Pleasanton for 42 years and have always felt that it is critical for us to think long term about what is best for Pleasanton now and for years ahead. Over the years we have worked hard to maintain our small-town character by planning for smart growth and new developments. With Oak Grove we have the chance to protect Pleasanton's ridgeline by approving a plan with only 51 home sites and 496 acres of permanently preserved open space. The property owner worked closely with environmental leaders plus trail and park advocates to assure the open space was available and accessible to the public. I strongly urge residents to vote for the future of Pleasanton by voting Yes on D.

Karen Toms

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