The housing issues have always been here but the struggle is with the loss of our hard housing cap. After years of litigation, the court determined the cap was in direct conflict with state law, but opened a door that allowed us to negotiate a settlement agreement. It allowed more local control than a court decision would have and it gave us an opportunity to obtain community input and create design guidelines.
I have had the pleasure of being co-chair of the Hacienda Transit Oriented Development Task Force and of the Housing Element Task Force. These two task forces were constructed in a very similar manner, including council members, commissioners and the community at large. Staff reports were generated and there was an opportunity at each meeting to receive input from the public. Many advocacy groups submitted written reports. Sometimes extra meetings were held to accommodate additional input. This information then went through the Housing Commission, the Planning Commission and then the City Council as additional information was received from staff and community members.
We are now at the end of this court-mandated timeline. The City Council approved the Hacienda TOD Task Force recommendations last year and we are poised to make a final decision on housing rezoning and the Housing Element this month. Staff, commissioners, the City Council and scores of other members of our community have spent hours working on the final result.
Many are afraid of what affordable housing looks like. The state-mandated inclusion of a stock of low and very low affordable housing units is causing consternation. Who will live in this new housing? They are new working families, our children home from college and working their first real job, beginning teachers, firefighters, nurses. They are your retail and food service workers. They are working people. They are your neighbors.
What is good government? It is what we do in Pleasanton. Your neighbors, maybe you, spent time and energy giving input. You educated yourselves; you offered help and suggestions. Sometimes we came to consensus and sometimes we compromised. Occasionally we disagreed. It was and is transparent government. None of it was easy. These are difficult decisions. It is good government. Remember that your community is only as good as those who are willing to participate. Based on that benchmark, this is a great community. Look around you. Who is responsible for this wonderful community? It is you. It is our neighbors.