Pleasanton Weekly

News - June 18, 2010

Staples delayed despite pleas from seniors

Late notice forces council to move hearing to Aug. 24

by Jeb Bing

Plans to develop Staples Ranch stalled Tuesday when a scheduled public hearing on the development had to be postponed by the Pleasanton City Council because notification of the meeting had not been handled on time to meet legal requirements.

The postponement — now to a special council meeting Aug. 24 — angered Mayor Jennifer Hosterman who called the delay "absurd."

"I've had it," a red-faced Hosterman shouted into the microphone. "These (delays) have got to stop!"

It was hoped that Tuesday's meeting would lead to a council vote on a supplemental Environmental Impact Report needed to start the specific approvals of planned developments on the 124-acre Staples Ranch site. These include:

* Hendrick Automotive Group, which wants to build a new auto mall on its 37-acre portion of Staples, next to the junction of I-580 and El Charro Road, directly across El Charro from a 160-plus store outlet mall that Livermore has approved.

* Stoneridge Creek Pleasanton, a 45-acre senior continuing care community to be developed by Continuing Life Communities (CLC), with up to 800 units for assisted living, skilled nursing and independent living residents.

* An 11-acre retail center.

* Sharks Ice Center, a two-story, four rink facility to be built by San Jose Arena Management, a subsidiary of the San Jose Sharks, with the facility to occupy about 10 acres of a 17-acre public park that the Sharks would also develop for the city.

Although the Planning Commission approved the SEIR last month, the council took the latest postponement in stride. Tempers flared at the start of the meeting, but it was largely an acrimonious, disjointed discussion late in the evening after the council chamber had emptied that left the Staples Ranch issue in flux.

Councilwoman Cindy McGovern said that the retail center no longer had a developer, that it could be several years before Hendrick would build the auto mall and that there has been no regional agreement on street improvements to warrant extending Stoneridge Drive.

But Troy Bourne of CLC said his firm is ready to build the independent living and assisted care facility as soon as the plan is approved. Some have already placed deposits for housing units at Stoneridge Creek and are ready to move in.

One of those, Sarah Albert, said she is 81 years old and accepted the CLC offer five years ago "so that my kids don't have to be my caregiver."

"I am a true believer that responsibility and doing the right thing were and still are of critical importance," Albert said. "That's why I signed up when I received a notice five years ago that this would be built in Pleasanton."

"I urge you to begin building this now because the clock is ticking for many of us—for me and (looking at the council) for you." she said."

Her husband Ysan Albert said he is worried that he now may be rejected for a housing unit at Stoneridge Creek since he recently learned he is suffering from Parkinson's disease. The facility requires that those moving in be in good health, although once in they can stay for a lifetime.

Troy Bourne, a representative of CLC, said the Pleasanton project has taken so long that his wife gave birth to their three children during the processing period. He said the council needs to move forward on CLC's long-standing application.

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