Pleasanton Weekly

Column - September 3, 2010

Realtors concerned about housing, climate change laws

by Jeb Bing

Prospective home buyers and sellers are breathing sighs of relief after Pleasanton Housing Commissioner Dave Stark explained that a recent court order on low-income housing won't change the city's housing mix much. It certainly won't affect established neighborhoods where there's no land left for new construction. Stark spoke to Realtors and their associates at a meeting of the Valley Real Estate Network (VREN) where there's been concern that the court ruling could leave the city awash in low-to-moderate income, high-density housing, with block after block of high-rise apartment buildings much like those we see across I-580 in Dublin. Some Realtors said the ruling cooled the interest in moving to Pleasanton for some of their prospects who think the city caved in to special interest groups seeking more housing for low-income families here.

Stark says the agreement signed last month by the City Council with Urban Habitat and Public Advocates, two affordable housing coalitions, does commit the city to revise its housing element numbers to meet those required by the Association of Bay Area Governments and the state's housing authority. Those numbers needed to be updated since it's been since 2003 that Pleasanton has revised its plan while it researched, reviewed and finally approved a revised General Plan last fall. The coalitions' lawsuit, which was approved by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch, orders Pleasanton to submit its new housing element numbers to the state by next August. Pleasanton also was ordered to remove its housing cap ordinance that was approved by voters in 1996, setting 29,000 housing units as the absolute top number that could be built here. With more than 27,000 units already built, the housing coalitions convinced Roesch that Pleasanton could not comply with the 3,000 and more housing units it would need over the next few years to comply with state numbers.

Stark says that Roesch's ruling doesn't require the city to build anything, only to rezone sufficient acreage for more housing in the 30-units-to-the-acre amount range to serve builders who specialize in high density and lower-income housing. Lower income, he explains, doesn't mean subsidized rentals, although there are a number of those in Pleasanton. It means housing that should be more affordable to those in the Pleasanton workforce whose incomes, although livable, just aren't high enough to afford most of the city's current housing stock. Property that's likely to be rezoned for high density housing lies in Hacienda Business Park and the undeveloped land east of Valley Avenue near the quarries that are gradually shutting down.

Also, Stark points out that just because Pleasanton rezones some acreage for high density housing, don't expect builders in the current weak economy to start plowing the ground for new buildings. Whether units for low-to-moderate income tenants or upscale apartment complexes, Stark says the projects must "pencil out" to be profitable. He also notes that Pleasanton's tough standards are still in place. With Growth Management policies limiting permits to no more than 350 units a year and firm design review policies, whatever is built will look much like apartment buildings already here. In fact, Stark says, we can drive through Hacienda Business Park to the BART station now and pass scores of subsidized, affordable apartments and town homes that even next door neighbors don't know are being rented or were sold in that category.

Stark says a bigger concern for Realtors and their clients in the court settlement just approved lies with Attorney General Jerry Brown's office. Brown joined the affordable housing coalition suit and also filed one of his own against Pleasanton's revised General Plan, claiming that its housing cap restricted the construction of an adequate number of dwellings for the much larger workforce that commutes to Pleasanton. All this driving causes greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to global warming. Brown dropped the lawsuit once Pleasanton settled with Judge Roesch and the others, but he's moving forward on climate change regulations that could require extensive and expensive retrofitting of existing homes where they're sold. For Stark, that's a much greater worry for Realtors and their clients in today's already-struggling housing market.

Comments

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 3, 2010 at 9:12 am

Remember that Jerry Brown is running for governor. DO NOT vote for him! He will destroy California.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 3, 2010 at 9:18 am

"Brown joined the affordable housing coalition suit and also filed one of his own against Pleasanton's revised General Plan, claiming that its housing cap restricted the construction of an adequate number of dwellings for the much larger workforce that commutes to Pleasanton. All this driving causes greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to global warming. Brown dropped the lawsuit once Pleasanton settled with Judge Roesch and the others, but he's moving forward on climate change regulations that could require extensive and expensive retrofitting of existing homes where they're sold. For Stark, that's a much greater worry for Realtors and their clients in today's already-struggling housing market. "

Remember that Jerry Brown is running for governor. DO NOT vote for him! He will destroy California.

Jerry Brown does not make sense. If people work in Pleasanton and CANNOT afford to live here, why can't they live in Dublin? That is not a long commute at all, and there are plenty of apartments there.

Also, why target Pleasanton? What about communities like Saratoga? Palo Alto and Mountain View? I know someone who lives in Pleasanton and works in Mountain View, many people commute for work reasons and that is a personal choice. I like living in Pleasanton even though I work in the south bay.

Jerry Brown is wrong. I hope you do NOT vote for him this november.


Posted by welk, a resident of Birdland
on Sep 3, 2010 at 9:51 am

Resident,

Thanks for posting the same comments three times in a row. Nice to know you have an unhealthy obsession with Jerry Brown. Stay classy conservatives!!!!


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Sep 4, 2010 at 7:25 am

Home owners should be concered. While low income does not necessary mean poor performing students, there is definitely a higher probability that a low income student will be a poorer performer than one coming from a more affluent background. Not necessarily because they don't have the capacity to be as good of a student, but they may not have the family support, resources, etc. Introducing low income students into the schools will have a far greater impact on avg test scores and ranking than a parcel tax will ever have.


Posted by Tea Party Patriot, a resident of Castlewood
on Sep 4, 2010 at 7:43 am

Pleasanton Parent has a good point: we need to protect our test scores--and ultimately our housing values. To do this, it is imperative that students from blue collar families, those with learning disabilities, and those who come from other less-than-successful subgroups of the population be discouraged from joining our ideal community.


Posted by Ashamed, a resident of Castlewood
on Sep 4, 2010 at 8:26 am

You people live in a BUBBLE of conceit and lack normal human dignity.

Does anyone here know what is considered "low income" here?

This comment is over the top and absurd just as an exmaple...

"there is definitely a higher probability that a low income student will be a poorer performer than one coming from a more affluent background"

I come from Atherton CA and some may consider every single family in P-Town LOW INCOME compared to the Extreme Wealth and "affluence" in Atherton, however I have NEVER met an individual in Atherton display such childish snobbery that is so common in cozy little Pleasanton.


Posted by Ashamed, a resident of Castlewood
on Sep 4, 2010 at 8:32 am

Palo Alto has had parcel tax and LOW INCOME students bussed from East Palo Alto for decades. And these "low income students" are NOT the "low income" kids that would qualify for "low income" housing in quaint little P-Town either.

Let's take a look at test scored in Palo Alto compared to Pleasanton shall we?

"Not necessarily because they don't have the capacity to be as good of a student, but they may not have the family support, resources, etc. Introducing low income students into the schools will have a far greater impact on avg test scores"

Thank god for LIBERAL left wingers like Bill and Melinda Gates who I grew up with!


Posted by Tea Party Patriot, a resident of Castlewood
on Sep 4, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Oh, please. Someone from Atherton and Castlewood is going to teach us about what "low income" is? Would your Castlewood home be worth half as much if this town were overrun by low income housing? And what would we be exposing our children to in schools and around town if we didn't take steps now to preserve Pleasantons traditions and heritage from outsiders?

You should be thankful there are people out there who are willing to do whatever it takes to maintain the standard of living you now enjoy by standing up against environmental reform, taxes, and immigrants.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Tea Party Patriot,

The Tea Party platform would do much more harm to the community and schools than any low-income folks. Take a look at Valley View Elementary which has a larger percentage of economically disadvantaged students than other school in our district, yet they are still high performing.

Your anti-parcel tax agenda would do more to harm the housing value of your Castlewood home. Proportionally, Pleasanton spends as much as Hayward does on its schools at a local level. Places such as Atherton, Piedmont, Cupertino, Palo Alto spend much more proportionally, and yet despite the high cost of living in these cities, they are still desirable.

There is nothing that kills housing values as much as a bad school district.


Posted by Jacob Alma, a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Sep 4, 2010 at 6:31 pm

Like we should give a BYU'S a&* about the realtors. Those overrated non contributors are half the reason for the housing mess. Save your tomatoes, plastic flags and raider calenders and actually do some kind of work thast benefits the econmy, not constantly sucks off it.


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Sep 4, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Ashamed,
What was over the top about my comment? Statistical evidence supports my statement - lower income communities typically have lower performing schools - while this is an unfortunate reality, it is a reality. I'm sorry it doesn't fit in with your "rainbow, sunshine, and flowers" view of the world.

I'm sure you'd be one of the first to complain if a section 8 tenant moved in next to you as well.


Posted by Ashamed, a resident of Castlewood
on Sep 4, 2010 at 10:17 pm

I have plenty of good section 8 tenants. Some with more integrity than my neighbors.


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Sep 4, 2010 at 10:58 pm

As do I (to be honest I've only had one, but she has been good). I didn't ask whether or not you had section 8 tenants though. My comment was regarding your thoughts on one of them living next door to you.


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