The commission already had recommended approval for six lots on the same 29.8-acre site in August 2008 pending the installation of a 6-foot bicycle lane along the entire frontage of the lot along Foothill Road, which is 1,200 feet.
The applicants, William and Lydia Yee, and their consultants found that for 200 of these feet along Foothill Road, installing the bike lane would necessitate filling a drainage channel. Because the waterway is open, it comes under the jurisdictions of the Army Corps of Engineers, the state Department of Fish and Game, and the Regional Water Quality Control Board.
"The commission said they wanted to see a bike lane and the preservation of trees but we found they couldn't have both," Associate Planner Marion Pavan told the commissioners. "We chose to exclude the bike lane from this proposal."
"That's the most critical 200 feet," commented Commissioner Jerry Pentin.
"There are other stretches of Foothill Road that do not have a bike lane," answered Brian Dolan, director of Community Development. "We looked at every feasible option except the moving of the ditch. There were compromises - they ended up losing two lots."
The reduction in the number of home lots from six to four reduced the number of trees impacted, from 168 to 67. Dolan also noted that a silt fence would be installed around construction sites when the homes are built to protect the Alameda whipsnake, which could exist farther up on the Pleasanton Ridge.
Planning Commissioner Phil Blank said he was surprised that the disclosures did not include the proximity of Foothill High School or the railroad tracks.
"When we were standing on the site the train went by and it didn't seem worth disclosing," said Pavan. "We can add it."
He also remarked that the high school is right across the street and that people are aware of the noise and traffic that would come with it. The railroad, he added, leaves Foothill Road several miles south to go under the freeway and toward downtown.
Commissioner Kathy Narum said she wanted to make sure that construction was mandated to work around the morning traffic on Foothill Road and was assured this was included in the development plans.
The site is accessed from Foothill Road via a private road, which already exists. Plans call for a gate at the road to be moved farther onto the property about 75-80 feet. Residents want the safety and privacy the gate affords, according to the staff report, and have had problems with trespassing on their property and a number of burglaries.
The city of Pleasanton discourages more gated communities, said planners, since they inhibit a sense of community and make services more difficult to provide. But planning staff agreed it was justified to maintain the gate.
The Foothill Road development is tentatively scheduled to go before the City Council for approval June 1.