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Oak Grove wins council approval in 4-1 vote

Original post made on Nov 7, 2007

The City Council voted 4-1 to give final approval to the Oak Grove project Tuesday, which will allow the landowners to build 51 estate homes in the hills atop Kottinger Ranch as part of an agreement for them to give nearly 500 adjacent acres to the city of Pleasanton for trails and other public amenities.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, November 7, 2007, 1:46 PM

Comments (21)

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Posted by Shelley
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 7, 2007 at 4:41 pm

Why do the people who can afford to buy an 8-12k square foot megamansion get to have a cool park in their backyard? Pleasanton should reconsider its plans for affordable housing and community parks.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 7, 2007 at 4:54 pm

It will be a public park. We'll legally be able to walk around those nice mansions and look in on them! Ever notice the big "Private Property" sign for the Kottinger Ranch park and surrounding open space visible from Bernal?


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Posted by long time resident
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 7, 2007 at 6:10 pm

This can hardly be called a community park. If the city really thought this would be a public park, why are they only providing 11 parking places? The owner of this land was glad to give the remainder of the undeveloped land to the city. The owner of this land does not even live in the United States and did not want the liability of this piece of land. Once the homes (current Kottinger Hills and new Oak Grove parcels) are constructed, this land owner made the money they wanted. By the way, this is the same owner who wanted to develop land in North Livermore and called it "Livermore Trails". This development was overwhelmingly voted down by 72% of the residents of Livermore on an initiative. If you want to see other work by this developer, this is the same developer who is proposing a 21 story office building in Dublin.


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Posted by Grace
a resident of Birdland
on Nov 9, 2007 at 7:08 am

I'm embarassed by the tone and substance of the last comment. It reminds me of the person who feared that "unattractive, non-native" people wil get to the new park at Oak Grove. Pleasanton is bigger than this. The park at Oak Grove is a public park that opens 500 acres to all Pleasanton residents, not just the fortunate, affluent folks who live on former ridgelines in Kottinger Ranch next to PRIVATE open space. (P.S. there are about the same number of spaces at staging areas at some of our other nature parks like the Reserve and Augustin Bernal. Hopefully, some day people will ride their bikes or walk to the new park along a new regional trail linking Callippe to Shadow Cliffs and we won't need cars!)


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Posted by Becky Dennis
a resident of Foxborough Estates
on Nov 9, 2007 at 8:13 am

Thanks, Grace, for your comments. It may interest people to know that the number of parking spaces was arrived at through discussion with Kottinger Ranch residents who were concerned about traffic and park use impacts. Eleven spaces was the happy medium and, you are correct, the appropriate size to handle the parking needs experienced at Pleasanton's other natural parks.

This is such a wonderful public open space acquisition for Pleasanton. I truly believe that residents will reject any attempt, such as the recently filed referendum, to return these 498 acres to private ownership.


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Posted by Shelley
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 9, 2007 at 10:48 am

I love the park plan. However, I don't agree with the plans for 51 estates that hold 8-12k sq. ft. megamansions. Doesn't Pleasanton have a problem with keeping to its goal of offering affordable housing? I realize the city council is drooling over the property tax dollars it will get from the homes that will be built, but Pleasanton needs to address its affordable housing goals and reevaluate how the Oak Grove plan fits in with those goals. If my memory serves me correct, I believe it was Cheryl Cook-Kallio who had written in her statement for election to be a city council member, that she would address the issue of making it possible for the children who grew up in Pleasanton to be able to buy a home here. I am one of those children and I'm waiting for this issue to be addressed. The current affordable housing policies do not make it possible for people with a middle class income (100k 2 person household) to afford anything in Pleasanton. We just don't fit in the low end or the high end. Yet Pleasanton needs 3 story megamansions? I didn't vote for city council members to greedily fill the municipal coffers!


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 9, 2007 at 12:23 pm

Shelley,

I understand the concern regarding lack of affordable housing in Pleasanton, but I don't see how restricting development of 51 mansions on the hills over there is going to solve that problem. Those hills are not a prime location to build affordable housing on because the value of that property is too high. Look at the economics of the situation. To make housing affordable in a place like Pleasanton, it either needs to be high-density on lower value land, or subsidized units in mid-density developments, or even rent-controlled apartments.


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Posted by 20 years in PTown
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Nov 9, 2007 at 2:53 pm

My wife and I got "lucky" enough to find and be able to afford a home in Pleasanton to raise our family back in 1988. We were taken with the friendliness of everyone already living here as well as those moving into our new neighboorhood. Main Street restaurants then consisted of Gay 90's Pizza, Bolina's Italian, Dean's and Hacienda Del Sol. Main Street rolled up the welcome mat around 7:00PM on weekends (except for the bars), and wasn't much to look at frankly.

Some "visionaries" led by our mayor at the time Ken Mercer saw fit to widen main street and put in modern electicity and plumbing and while certainly not perfect stands today as a unique (read 110 year old Main Street in the middle of a modern mecca bay area) and is the envy of every city wishing it could have a similar jewel. Those same visionaries saw the Pleasanton Sports park (smack dab in the middle of the city), become the envy and model for other burgeoning cities. Hacienda Business Park was a model for the Live/Work business enviornment helping to cut commute time and the polution of driving to work.

It seems to me shortly after the departure of Ken as our Mayor that the attitude of the subsequent mayors, city council memebers and citizens who were "discovering" this jewel of a city, the attitude began to migrate toward "now that we've found this great place, lets find ways to keep everyone else out", and lets "save" Pleasanton from everything, including itself.

I am as proud today to live in this city as I was close to 20 years ago when I first moved here, but I don't understand the attitude of people moving to a place and _never_ wanting to see it change. The ONLY thing guaranteed in life _is_ change and I wish people could see the diffence between overdevelopment (see Dublin) and quality development that not only enhances a community, but contributes something so significant as 500 acres of open space for free for all citizens of Pleasanton and the surrounding area to enjoy. I would love to see the general attitude change from "I'm here, now lets try to keep everyone else out". There is such a thing as good development!


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 9, 2007 at 4:03 pm

PTown,

I agree with you. There is a term for what you describe. It is called "drawbridge mentality". I'd rather be part of a "City of Planned Progress" than some fuzzy, feelgood and quasi-hypocritical "Community of Character"


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Posted by Karla
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Nov 11, 2007 at 8:28 am

First, I love hiking. Second, planned growth is a good thing, if it does not negatively affect others. 600 car trips PER DAY in front of anyone's house is not a good thing. Cutting 42 feet of ridgetops for megamansions is not a good thing, cutting 1000 native trees is not good, and I could go on and on.

Yes, there are "private property signs in Kottinger Ranch." The Home owners association (HOA) owns that land, maintain it, pays taxes on it and KR Residents pay for it every month in their HOA dues. You are right, it is not a park. Just like a pool at a condo is not a park.

THe Augustine Bernal park is a park, the sports park is a park, the new soccer park off 680 is a park, Tawney Park is a Park, Kottinger Creek is a park, the new large gift of land off Foothill will be a park, etc. We have a LOT of parks! Which is great.

Could anyone tell me why the "save the park" folks don't show the hill tops WITH houses on it, with 1000 trees cut, with a 1 mile long road, with 12,500 ft. sq. homes PLUS 800 square foot garages?


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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 11, 2007 at 8:52 am

I am a long time resident of this city. I love our small town.

Why do we keep electing slow growth candidates like Mayor Hosterman and Matt Sullivan, then watch them trade away their values to get a trail to go around the back side of the city? I may be wrong, but I just don't understand why these trails are worth trading away our ridge lines.


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Posted by Confused
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Nov 11, 2007 at 6:23 pm

I also find it interesting that several people listed in support of Kay Ayala's referendum for stopping this "ridgeline development" actually live on ridgelines currently? By the way several prominate pleasanton neighborhoods including Pleasanton Hills, Vintage Hills, Vintage Hills 2, Kottinger Ranch, Ruby Hill any others all exist on what at one time would have been called Ridgelands. Maybe we need to have a referendum to tear down all houses on any ridgeland anywhere in town and only allow people to build on completely flat lots? If those who care soo much are "protecting our ridgelands" why do they live on ridgelands themselves? Perfect example of the drawbridge mentality!


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Posted by Becky Dennis
a resident of Foxborough Estates
on Nov 11, 2007 at 10:46 pm

As a 20 year resident of Pleasanton, I can appreciate where "Confused is coming from. I am confused too, especially by the group of Kottinger Ranch neighbors who have decided to support the referendum and initiative. Long time Pleasanton residents who have lived with the impacts of Kottinger Ranch since the bulldozers carved the first pads up the twin ridge spines are not only confused, but annoyed.

Karla – Kottinger Ranch is one of the most visible neighborhoods in Pleasanton. The entire community suffered visual trauma during construction. Whatever the visual impacts of Oak Grove, they will always be insignificant compared to Kottinger Ranch.

To make matters worse, Pleasanton approved your neighborhood with the promise of public access to Kottinger Ranch open space. This promise was immediately broken and replaced with the current "NO TRESPASSING" signs. The HOA said there was nothing they could do, and that they couldn't afford the insurance that would allow the neighborhood to keep the developer's promise. The community understood, and the Council has been more careful ever since.

When the Kottinger Hills golf course/89 home proposal came forward in 1992, Pleasanton residents rallied around your neighborhood and worked on the referendum. Without help from other neighborhoods, Hearst Drive today would carry at least 1200 car trips a day, not the 600 you feel are so unfair. Many residential streets in Pleasanton carry that much traffic and more.

When PG&E planned to route new power lines under Hearst Drive, Pleasanton supported your neighborhood, and even advanced millions of dollars for building the new Vineyard Avenue to provide another location for the power upgrade lines to go.

I can't think of another neighborhood that has received more help from community, environmental activists, and the City than Kottinger Ranch. Residents supported your neighborhood even though it's as visually big as Mount Rushmore, and the Kottinger Ranch HOA won't allow us to walk on the property.

That's why so many people can't understand why any resident in Kottinger Ranch would try to kill a plan by referendum that reduced your traffic impacts by more than 50%, the housing count from 89 to 51, and brings a wonderful 500 acre natural park to the entire community – a community that has always been there for you.

So please Kottinger Ranch petitioners, give the rest of your Pleasanton family a break. We deserve the park, and we'll always have an eyeful of your houses before we ever see the new ones at Oak Grove.


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Posted by Confused
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Nov 12, 2007 at 11:33 am

Making the Kottinger Ranch oppostion even more difficult to understand is that a group was put together by the HOA, led by a Kottinger resident who IMHO is far and away the most "green thinking" resident of Pleasanton. After months of negotiation with the goal of an agreeable plan the Kottinger Ranch HOA voted in unanimous support for the project in its currently approved configuration.

Unfortunately the referendum process as it exists allows a vocal few to disregard the majority and spread misinformation in order to try to reverse the majorities decision to support the project.

I can't imagine a more slow growth, impact oriented city government than the one that we have currently elected, yet the same citizens who elected this council now don't seem to think they are capable of doing the job they were elected to do?

When did Pleasanton become a city that one citizen (or several) complaints if made consistent enough could be given enough consideration to override what the majority wants?


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Posted by happy citizen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2007 at 12:23 pm

Thank you to Jennifer Hosterman, Matt Sullivan, Jerry Thorne and Cheryl cook-Kallio for working together as a team, putting their personal opinions aside and listening to each other and their constituents. This process allows them to find solutions to issues that are in the best interest of the entire community.

KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.


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Posted by John
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Nov 12, 2007 at 1:58 pm

Yes, thank you Matt who publicly stated several times during his campaign "I will not vote for any measure that puts home in those hills"...at the time, he was pointing to the exact location of Oak Grove. Apparently, even Matt can be bought. Jennifer sold her soul to the developers long ago.


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Posted by Veronica
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2007 at 5:13 pm

I am astounded at the name calling. Does this mean anytime one disagrees with elected officials they have been "bought" or they have "sold out". Politics is the art of compromise and is usually more complex than what is presented in any newspaper. Where were these opponents the last four years when Oak Grove was discussed and compromises were made. A few of them participated in the process and ended up disagreeing with the outcome. Many more participated in an imperfect plan that defines a southern boundary for the city. Look closely, the plan does not mandate megamnsions but puts a ceiling on how large each home can be; all of the homes will go through the planning process. Why do we have elected officials? Finally, signer beware. Get all the facts. Ask questions, particularly, why now? Why wait until the last hour to come in with concerns? What could possibly be the agenda here? Campaign season has already started. Don't succumb
to sound bites.


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Posted by just wondering
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 16, 2007 at 7:20 am

How can our City Council be called pro-growth when they approved only 51 homes where 98 were allowed and got an amenity for the City of nearly 500 acres of permanent open space complete with trails and a staging area? Seems more like smart growth. . .

And why does the website for the referendum say 400 hundred acres of open space when its much closer to 500 acres? This seems misleading. . .


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Posted by Bill
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Nov 16, 2007 at 10:20 am

Would it be possible for the "Save our Park" contingent to comment on how many outside of Kottinger Ranch are against this project? Do the good people of Kottinger Ranch realize that in 1985 when Kottinger Ranch began, your homes were referred to as "mega-mansions"? YOUR three car garages were as big as the home I raised four children in? Oak Grove is a well thought out project and makes sense for ALL of Pleasanton. I know many good families that live in Kottinger Ranch, however, you're beginning to really look like NIMBY's.


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Posted by Chuck
a resident of Valley Trails
on Nov 16, 2007 at 1:24 pm

Thank You, Becky Dennis, for your response to the woman who lives in Kottinger Ranch, and is now a driving force behind this initiative drive to overturn the Oak Grove development -- Your points were all "right on"! Some people have SUCH short memories!
This initiative attempt is just another example of how divided this City has become in recent years. There is SO much NIMBY-ism going on that was not here formerly. True, not EVERYBODY supported Hacienda Business Park, for instance, but when it went to a vote, an overwhelming majority DID, and it got built. And Pleasanton is better for it today. And I do not mean just financial benefits, although they have been substantial, but social and cultural, too.
I won't be living in Oak Grove, but I probably will be hiking the open space, and it will be open for future generations of hikers. Compromise is hard for some people to understand, but it is time they start trying! In the meantime, if someone asks you to sign this petition, I urge you to politely decline -- Oak Grove will be a fine addition to our lovely hometown. My family and I have been here for 35 years, and if we had the current attitude about growth, Karla, for instance, wouldn't have a home in Kottinger Ranch!


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Posted by Concerned about Growth
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 16, 2007 at 2:13 pm

It's hard to believe that Jennifer Hosterman, elected as part of the "Dream Team" with Mayor Pico and Steve Brozosky is the champion of Oak Hills and Home Depot. This is absolutely a pro-growth city council. Spare me the comments about name-calling. Their actions speak for themselves.


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