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Original post made
on Aug 26, 2009
Serves them right, with all the greed and bureaucracy it's no wonder that no one wants to continue through their appalling planning and building departments.
So if this is the case are we looking to furlough or reduce staff in the planning office? 12 people standing around in there waiting for someone to come in that they can abuse seems a bit excessive.
Something to ponder.... Has this ever happened before? Perhaps furlough days are not a bad idea. That way no jobs are lost
I do not know why Pleasanton cannot consider something such as this and maybe the money saved can be shifted to areas in which the money is more needed. Afterall, it makes no sense to me to have a department worth of people standing around with nothing to do at a time where we need resources in other areas.
I was driving down Valley Avenue the other night and was quite surprised at the very large building in the back yard of a home on the south side of Valley Avenue and couple of houses west of Harvest Park School. I cannot believe that it was sanctioned by the planning department and that it was signed of by them at the completion of construction. It is very large, not very well constructed(plastic windows)and shines very bright with colored lights around it. I really believe that they should take a look at it and figure out how it could possibly be in compliance with backyard construction codes.
Surprised, I've wondered the same thing myself and couldn't agree with you more regarding your comments.
Hey curious and surprised,
You know how they are able to do thisÂ….$$$. I couldn't agree with you more about the house you're talking about and another example of lack of following the rules would be Kimberly Commons. This project does not meet many of the requirements set out in the Municipal Code and Downtown Guidelines and through a little fact checking, this project "donated" a lot of money to the city through the parking fund. The worst part about all this is that the planner they worked with was a senior level person who was more than aware that the rules were being evaded.
Rule to remember: With enough money in Pleasanton, the rules do not apply.
"A government afraid of its citizens is a Democracy. Citizens afraid of government is tyranny!"
The lack of planning code enforcement in this town is legendary. Several years ago it was brought to the attention of the planning commission that a garage had been built illegally (no variance, no permits, no inspections, did not meet ANY building codes) and then the resident added a second floor apartment to that. Only after many attempts and more than a year went by did the fire dept finally inspect it and tag it as unsafe for habitation. The owners said they "had no idea they needed permits". The planning commission bought that lie and elected to allow it to remain anyway. Hosterman stated at a council meeting that even though it violated nearly every part of the code and the law it should be allowed to remain AS IS. It was pointed out to her, on the record, that she cannot arbitrarily waive the state building and fire codes. I also remember the Hostermans taking a Hawaiian vacation mere weeks after that meeting . . . . hmmmmm, wonder who paid for it.
In any real business, when there is no work, people are laid off. That should be happening at the city as well. We are the ones paying the salaries, we should demand it.
I've seen where the planners issue building and grading permits based on pencil drawings that look like they've been drawn by pre-schoolers.
And they don't enforce the so-called conditions of a conditional permit at all. If anyone is a public nuisance and exceeds them based on noise or hours of operation or starts doing something that the city prohibited them from doing originally or whatever, what do they do? They just issue a revised conditional permit grandfathering in whatever the business or whatever has morphed into.
Oh, and yes. They can't find any of their previous records of what has been approved anyway.
And don't you love their outreach to the community (e.g., the Delucci Park commercial skating rink that just got announced in the press) that they do
What a nightmare.
The information being given out above is incorrect. All dwellings must meet not only the city but also the county and state building codes. Failure to do so will result in huge fines against the city. The records of any building are available for review at the planning commission or building permits office right next to the library.
I agree with Phil. Also, I find all the teeth-gnashing about a bunch of people volunteering their time for this town awfully sad and mean-spirited. If you have something constructive to say or offer, go volunteer for a Commission. At the very least, go to a Commission or Council meeting and speak your mind. Don't air your grievances anonymously on an online forum.
It seems to me like some are equating the fact that the Planning Commission has nothing to do with the idea that this means people in the Planning Department have nothing to do and so they should be gotten rid of. Now this isn't to comment on the actual amount of work being done or not by the Planning Department employees, only that the Commission and the Department have separate functions in the planning process and just because the Commission has nothing to do doesn't mean there isn't other work going on. There's a lot that goes on in the Department before the Commission gets involved. Note that the article says: "a sign of the slow-down in city-wide projects that normally require the commission's review". Not everything the Department handles requires Commission review. If you need to get a permit to get your roof replaced, the Commission doesn't normally need to get involved.
What is not mentioned here but should be noted is that permit applications are off 80% since the beginning of the year, therefore less permits, means less reviews, less paperwork, less inspections, less fees, and therefore we have less work needing to be performed. Do a visual check yourself. Go down to the library and while there walk over to the building permits office and sit in there for a little bit and tell me what you observe?
Phil and Bob -- you are sooooooo wrong. The particular building was protested at planning commission meetings (after being built and not stopped) it was protested a 2 city council meetings and Hosterman presided over the second one stating -- on the record -- that the owners should not be required to bring the building up to code. They should have been required to tear it down! But she decided to let it remain in the unsafe condition. Ultimately the building dept convinced her that she could not overrule the state laws and the building was required to be brought up to code. I will not reveal the address as new people live there and have done everything that was required, they should not suffer. However, all of this was duly recorded in the minutes and was public information.
That building was on record at the city as being out of compliance, illegal and completely unsafe for over a year before anything was done. There were no fines to the city, ever. There were complete records of every letter of protest, every complaint and every violation. There were no fines to the city, ever.
In my previous home the builder constructed staircases with 6 inch gaps in the railings, code required 4 inch. When a child fell through one, the permits were researched and it was found that all permits for that model of home had "disappeared". The same builder put furnaces in attics near insulation, resulting in 3 attic fires. The VP of the building company offered the fire inspector (a member of my family) cash to come up with a different cause of the fire. Graft and payoffs are nothing new around here. Maybe we should call California "New Jersey West" and be done with it.
Get rid of planners,
not sure what you are talking about as i know nothing of the building you are talking about and did not mention it in my blog. i was talking about the level of building permits being issued, code requirements, and activity or workload in our office here.
I'm not the "get rid of the planners" person, but I think I know that building referred to. It was the house on first street, correct?
Considering city employees "in our office," meaning city office buildings, apparently have time to chat on forums and blogs, I guess that would mean the workload in the city planning department has decreased enough to warrant lay-offs.
To "Get rid of the planners" -
When did that happen? Never heard of it. I'd love to see the minutes on that one!
BTW, I'm not wrong in stating that bashing people who volunteer their time for all of us is bad form. Constructive criticism of policies is one thing - bashing people's character is another.
I once went down to the city to pull up some records on a house down the street as they had were not conforming to the 5ft variance from the edge of the property and I wanted to see how they were able to do it (because I wanted to do the same thing!). When I went down to the city to pull up the records on the computer in the main office, all the "scanned copies" were illegible to the point that the scans were useless.
When I asked the person behind the desk where the originals were as the computer scans were indecipherable and of no use she told me that "All originals are shipped out to a warehouse where they are scanned and then destroyed so the only copy is what is viewed on the computer."
"New Jersey West" it is.
Yeah baby you guys are getting it Chicago style!!!!
Bob, it's a bummer that they didn't have video back in 04 but you can read the minutes and see the one sided nature of the meeting.
Just in case the link doesn't work, here is the date of the minutes so you can get them yourself: September 7th, 2004
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