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Original post made
on Feb 17, 2012
OMG, this is one of the exceedingly few times that The Three Stooges (Hosterman, Thorne and Cook-Callio)have not voted in a block. That is a news flash.
You got it all wrong. More like the carpetbaggers from Ruby Hills trying to impose their will on neighbors who have lived there for over 30 years. The sense of "entitlement" from the Cunningham's for this house was stunning! More accurately, this is an example of the Downtown good 'ole boys network vs. the residents. This time, the right people won!
God forbid that the someone alter their property as they see fit.
And what about "imposing their will" on their neighbors. What imposition are we talking about here? That they wanted a bigger home? How exactly is that "imposing their will"?
What does Ruby Hills have anything to do with this article? Me thinks envy plays a large part in this?
I don't know the Cunninghams but I'd like to know how they feel about our city government telling them what they can do with their property?
This is just the beginning of your loss of property rights. Look at Agenda 21 and what plans bay area ciities have to take your property away.
On a side note, Just because the Bourg's want to live in the 1970s Hippie era..(yes I've seen the inside of their house)doesn't mean the rest of the neighborhood has to do what they say.
Matt Sullivan needs to 'move on'…..as well as others on this council.
One of his concerns which he called "disturbing": That the existing structure is not considered Historic by the experts. How can that be? He said there is 'history' in the house?
Well, duh there is history in every house on the planet…but that doesn't make them HISTORICAL in that they must remain as is with no changes.
Sorry Matt…and Sorry Cindy…and Sorry Cheryl you are all so wrong. It makes me sad for the city I love.
And, no, I do not have personal ties to either side of the issue. I just get fed up with a few politicians overturning 3 years of hard work by a citizen that has been approved and approved and approved all the way along in a very exhausting and expensive process only to be stopped cold in their tracks by the personal agenda of 3.
Sad day in Pleasanton….sad day
Kim said: "On a side note, Just because the Bourg's want to live in the 1970s Hippie era doesn't mean the rest of the neighborhood has to do what they say."
Sorry, Kim, but if you read the story more carefully you would have noted that on this issue the "rest of the neighborhood" is on the Bourg's side, not the Cunningham's. As for complaints by some of you others about the city telling the Cunninghams what they can and cannot do with their property, wake up. You know very well about zoning and permits.
You can look on Google maps to see what the neighborhood in question looks like. There's no doubt that trying to fit a 2-story, 1800 sq ft house in place of the existing house is going to be a tight fit. From Google maps there also appears to have been a large tree in the front yard at the time the Google maps picture was taken (in 2011) which no longer appears to exist in the picture accompanying this story.
Too many developers and architects (e.g. Huff) and planners want to turn downtown into the generic Taupe proverbial Blurb: an indistinguishable suburban neighborhood in the Moditerranean, vanilla, cookie-cutter subdivision style.
In the land of Planner-ese, consultants (experts?) never consider a house of historic value (Mount Vernon would not be considered architecturally significant probably) and all large trees, especially oak trees, no matter how green and thriving they are, are near death or hazardous and must be cut down.
For downtown, please put a permanent hold on the California Non-descript Ranchburgers and Moditerranean McMansions please.
And by the way, the 1970s were great and groovy. Stop taking cheap shots at someone's personal interior decorating style. Who cares.
"In the land of Planner-ese, consultants (experts?) never consider a house of historic value (Mount Vernon would not be considered architecturally significant..."
Yes George, historically speaking, Mt. Vernon is so-like the house in question, right?
So Sam, what's next to regulate? What about the type of car you drive and how far you can drive it? Or the color? That ok with you? I mean its your personal property, you bought it, right?
Dan said: "So Sam, what's next to regulate? What about the type of car you drive and how far you can drive it? Or the color? That ok with you? I mean its your personal property, you bought it, right?"
Dan, you sound like you just fell off of a turnip truck. Just because something is your property doesn't mean you have complete freedom to do anything you want with it if it has an impact on the rest of the public. You want to turn your house into a combined residency plus Quik-E Lube? I think you'll find that your neighbors, the city, and the zoning commission will want to talk to you about that. Want the freedom to be as strict or as lax as you want to be in regards to the health and safety standards in the kitchen of a restaurant that you own because the restaurant is your "personal property"? I think that the city and health inspector will want to talk to you about that, too. But you already know all this, right?
That's exactly the problem with too much collectivist statism. No quik-ELube? Kitchens having to conform to health and safety standards? Next you're going to tell us that we can't throw the old used tires we purchased into the creek behind the house. Give 'im heck, Danny.
I grew up in town - just about every single home on Second, Neal and Angela Streets has been remodeled, added on to etc, including the Bourg's home. A fear of "....similar homes being built on small sites next to our historic homes." says it all. A typical case of NIMBYism!
Sorry Jeb...205 Neal St. is about as historic as a converted garage. It is not 100 years old. It was remodeled to be a studio unit around the 1950's. Although, yes it does indeed sit between two old homes. I was going to speak in opposition to this project (I thought the story poles showed it to be too big for the lot) until the neighborhood bullies went too far for my stomach. I was embarrassed for the good citizens of Pleasanton to have a negative contingency of small-minded relatives and friends tirade to stop this project. The emails they sent to our neighborhood watch group were full of the most outrageous comments; so many of us are embarrassed to be grouped with these folks simply because we are neighbors. I'm sorry I did not speak up in favor...the bullies won. Pleasanton has a black eye.
So you immediately go to the insults eh smart guy?
Ok, I'll use the same logic on you as I did on George. With regards to regulations, for you to take the leap from a simple home redesign for larger living space to redesigning for a combo quik-Elube is as I like to say...dumb.
Here's an idea, why not try discussing this from the middle, instead of making the extreme case?
Save the turnip truck quips for someone else, dude.
BTW, how does this redesign harm the neighbors and/or the community? Details please.
Dan said: "Ok, I'll use the same logic on you as I did on George. With regards to regulations, for you to take the leap from a simple home redesign for larger living space to redesigning for a combo quik-Elube is as I like to say...dumb. Here's an idea, why not try discussing this from the middle, instead of making the extreme case?"
Excuse me for taking an "extreme" case. My mistake. I thought you were the same Dan who said "So Sam, what's next to regulate? What about the type of car you drive and how far you can drive it? Or the color?"
Dan said:"BTW, how does this redesign harm the neighbors and/or the community? Details please."
Ask them. If you read my posts carefully you'll note that I haven't taken a position on this matter for the simple reason that I'm not familiar with the neighborhood or with what is being proposed. I just enjoy dive-bombing on silly comments made by people such as Dan - not you, of course, but the other "Dan".
Dan, for details, instead of asking people to get you informed on the issue via this message forum, people who want those details can: a)read the minutes of the people who spoke at all the city meetings or b)watch the videos on the city website or c) knock on the doors and actually talk to the people who opposed the project or supported it. Enjoy.
Gasp! They wanted a larger house on an existing parcel and the neighbors thought it didn't look right. That about sums it up there my man. I read the article. Depress home values? For making a bigger home out of a non- historical building? Maybe I'm wrong but wouldn't building a larger home increase the value of that parcel, thus increasing property taxes?
Heh, Sam you're right, you haven't taken a position and you never attempted to answer my question on what you should regulate. Just ad hominem clap about permitting fictional Elube businesses or whatever. Doh!
If you don't want to honestly debate the issue and take a stand then stay on the sideline and hurl your petty insults at "Genius".
Dan, unlike your Bridle Creek mansions where you say you live (you do really live there Dan, don't you?) where there are very large houses on very large lots, in downtown, most of the lots are small.
There is this thing called Zoning and there are zoning standards regarding how much space a house should take up on a particular sized lots. The zoning laws says the proportion of the house on a lot can be no more than 40% in that area of downtown. The Cunninghams were asking for many waivers to exceed those standards. They wanted the construction to have multiple variances that went against those zoning standards and wanted the house to be 54% of the lot. That is 14% over what is allowed.
Maybe next door to your house in Bridle Creek, why don't you have your next door neighbor put on an additional story to their existing 2 story house, then expand all three stories until it almost touches the sidewalk. I'm sure you'd be thrilled, wouldn't you? Yep, I betchya.'
I' walk my dog in this area and am amazed that the home on the corner of 3rd and Neal was approved and this project was not. That home does not fit with the character of the area. Does anyone know how that home was approved or was it exempt from this process since its not a tear down. In any neighborhood that home is an eyesore.
Yes George, I really do live in Bridle Creek but I'm failing to understand why that matters...but I digress. But you raise a very good question even if it is a little extreme ala' Sam. I wouldn't have an issue with a neighbor building a house close to the sidewalk. I 'MAY' have an issue with design but on the whole I'd like to think that most people are sensible in their tastes.
And actually, the 54% is ~35% over the limit not 14% as you suggest, but let's not split hairs. :-)
So, we're back to square one then...why then do you think 40% of the existing lot is ok for regulation and not anything more? And please, no more comparisons to Mt Vernon and Elube, I might spit coffee out my nose.
This is a historic home in my books because my mother lived in this house when she first moved to Pleasanton in the early 20's. She moved here with a family from St. Helena to babysit their children while they worked. As the family grew older she found another little house on Neal Street to rent and lived their until she married my father and moved to Ray Street. It has been remodeled yes but not to make it twice as big. The Borg's has remodled too but has kept it mainly looking like it was. I hate what the people did with the little house on Division Street that looks so bad in that location. If they want bigger there are houses further out than downtown area.
Beautiful old cities and towns throughout Europe have strict regulations governing structures that are X years old, mainly regarding facades, with interiors being left up to the owner. Very nice touch, actually.
Preserving the physical record of a town's development is nice, and it is certainly preferable that such preservation be driven by private rather than public ownership.
As long as it isn't being used by Chicago-based union ratfinks to hole up in while they plot to besmirch Mr. Walmart, I'm okay with it. Its like one grocery store replacing another. Like 54% compared to 40% isn't much different than Walmart being compared to Henry's.
The city council is not consistent in their actions. They have shot down this project, one that included permits and variances in the plans, yet they upheld a recent case over a house on first street.
The first street house has an added garage that is too close to the lot line, more than 20 feet too tall and had no permits or variances as the structure was built illegally. The current owners brought the structure up to code but the council should have required it to be torn down as it met none of the requirements when it was built. The home owners also added a kitchen/bath/bedroom to the basement and now have the home listed for sale with that as an in-law unit. The fire department and the building inspector have said the basement unit cannot be used that way as the egress does not meet state fire codes. Hasn't stopped the owners from selling it like that.
If this city council cared at all about building codes and laws they would enforce them all the time, not just when it was expedient for them.
The trouble today with the world, as well as Pleasanton, is the "extremism" that we have to put up with...the comments and behavior of many of the people involved in this debate and running commentary (though I admit I am too impatient to read ALL the comments) would be laughable were it not for the reality. It always seems that the tail ends up wagging the dog!
Folks love the old neighborhoods in Pleasanton. The five major historic neighborhoods have been surveyed and identified. Guidelines were developed to protect what we love about these neighborhoods. If they stay strong and identifiable as historic residential areas, values stay high, people want to live in them and that is what supports the vitality of our commercial downtown. If you doubt that, visit Hayward and see what the failure to preserve historic neighborhoods did to all but fatally weaken the downtown businesses. The city of Pleasanton needs to enforce their historic guidelines and municipal codes. That's what the council did for 205 Neal as that lovely neighborhood is beginning to be overridden by developers and speculators who will most likely not live there, but will invest to maximize their take by overbuilding and throwing history to the wind. It would set a precedent here that we see in other cities as developers take over, the city leaders cave in and the very neighborhoods we love are over-modified, or demolished, and replaced with overbuilt reproductions leading to the loss of our identity and Pleasanton's history. We all have to respect and protect our history because many do not! Living in the downtown brings with it a responsibility. Property values are high because many of the historic neighborhoods have been protected from overbuilding, infill and careless planning. If you live in the downtown, you love it, you want to protect it and you want to keep it healthy and thriving.
Margaret said: "The city of Pleasanton needs to enforce their historic guidelines and municipal codes. That's what the council did for 205 Neal as that lovely neighborhood is beginning to be overridden by developers and speculators who will most likely not live there, but will invest to maximize their take by overbuilding and throwing history to the wind."
Very well put, Margaret. The problem with many of these developers is that their focus is on their own short-term gains with little thought given to how their actions affect the neighborhood as a whole. Will plopping down an oversized house on a too-small lot increase the property value of that individual lot? Probably so, which is why they want to do it. Will such an action also decrease the attractiveness of the neighborhood as a whole and tend to decrease the values of all of the surrounding houses? Yup. Does the developer care about what happens to the values of all of the surrounding houses as long as his or her house goes up in value? Nope.
This is a ridiculous situation. How many houses have already been expanded in the downtown area.....MANY. What about the house 2 doors up from this little house? That structure is huge and doesn't fit in with the downtown architecture at all. What about all the houses that were expanded upon on Second Street? What about the gigantic white house that is located on Pleasanton Ave/St John St that is an historic house remodel. Why are some allowed and some not. Is this a case of "who you know" or "who you like" in town. I don't think this decision is fair to this homeowner given the precedents in this same area.
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