Planning for future development in East Pleasanton began as a way to solve regional housing mandates, but it is no longer needed. Pleasanton has zoned land for 1,245 more residential units than are required! We are set for at least the next seven years; maybe longer. This was a "game changer" for me, which is why I voted to discontinue the current planning process. Even with this new information, I was the only council member who voted to stop the planning process.
Before my election to the City Council, I was a part of the East Pleasanton task force. During that time, I did months of research and heard from many residents regarding their concerns for growth in this area. East Pleasanton is also known as the "Chain of Lakes," a portion of previously mined quarries located north of Stanley Boulevard, separating Pleasanton and Livermore. Here some facts I took into consideration, before making my decision:
* This area does NOT need to be developed to meet any current local or state mandates, or as part of any legal settlement requirement.
* The 3 nearby lakes (quarry pits) are not suitable for recreation. Two of the lakes are currently banned from human contact and the third is a combination of marsh lands and shallow mud ponds.
* Large-scale development in this area may require the continuation of El Charro Road, plus other roads and infrastructure, estimated to cost $90 million. In my opinion, it is highly unlikely any large-scale development can absorb this infrastructure cost, thereby placing the burden on current and future taxpayers.
* We were told by the Pleasanton Unified School District that this area may require a new elementary school, at a cost of approximately $25 million. Older students would have to attend existing already crowded middle and high schools.
* Development in this area will add cut-through traffic and congestion to surrounding neighborhoods.
* Most of East Pleasanton is outside of our city limits, and would require land to be annexed into the city. Some areas are even outside of our Urban Growth Boundary!
* Large sections of this land are of "geotechnical concern."
* Development ranging from 0 to 2,279 housing units and 1.6 million sq. ft. of industrial space are being studied for environmental impacts. The "Preferred Plan" is 1,759 housing units. Voters approved a 29,000-unit housing cap in 1996. Although it was struck down by the courts, the goal of a small town feel remains. With the Preferred Plan, our total will exceed 30,000 zoned units.
Development in East Pleasanton will be URBAN SPRAWL, not Smart Growth and not Planned Progress. The Preferred Plan, if approved, will increase the burden on our schools, use our limited drinking water, create more traffic and require more police and fire to serve this remote area. No important amenities will be gained, and the impacts will negatively affect current residents.
I think the Chain of Lakes should be evaluated for parks, trails or open space. What do you think?
Editor's note: Karla Brown was elected to the Pleasanton City Council for the term 2012-16, and is a local Realtor. On March 4, she was the only council member who voted to halt further planning of East Pleasanton. She can be reached at KBrown@CityofPleasantonCA.gov.