Court strikes down Pleasanton housing cap Comments on Stories, posted by Editor, Pleasanton Weekly Online, on Mar 15, 2010 at 7:03 pm
In a ruling that could halt all commercial and residential building in Pleasanton for months to come, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch has ruled the city's 1996 housing cap limiting residential units to 29,000 violates state law and is invalid.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, March 15, 2010, 6:02 PM
Posted by Anonymous, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 15, 2010 at 7:05 pm
"However, it not only invalidates the city's housing cap ordinance, it also orders that provisions in the recent voter-approved Measures PP and Measure QQ hillside development bans related to housing limits also be removed."
Steve B. must be happy now. How about putting all those low income families right in his back yard?
Posted by Anonymous, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 15, 2010 at 8:02 pm
This judge is the same judge that sided with the Oak Grove developers and that decision was turned over by an unanimous vote by the appeals court. On this issue, since we have a council majority that does not want the housing cap, so they can built till we look like Dublin, I am sure they directed our city attorney to not defend the housing cap. The mayor and two members of council that are up for election in November should be thrown out.
The judge here does not say who should be paying for the subsidized housing. As we know in Pleasanton, and much of California, "affordable housing" is a euphemism for "subsidized housing". They want people to be able to buy housing in Pleasanton with an income of $40,000. Who is going to pay for the 2,524 subsidized homes? If the state is going to require it, they should pay. I say we only approve subsidized housing right now. That will be the unintended consequence of requiring that much subsidized housing. The developers have to subsidize all the homes they sell or ask the state to.
With all the school finance issues we have now. What is going to happen without the housing cap (which Casey said that all bets were off if the housing cap was overturned). How many students will be from 3,277 new housing units? Also the 2,524 subsidized housing units would be exempt from paying the higher school impact fees. So we will have more students and less money.
We should hold our mayor fully accountable for this. She has been stating that she has been on this important agency which determines the number of houses to build (ABAG). She has certainly not stood up for the Pleasanton voters who voted for the housing cap.
Posted by chico, a resident of the Laguna Oaks neighborhood, on Mar 15, 2010 at 8:03 pm
i agree that a huge welfare state is a bad thing, but i don't follow your logic... a judge ruled on a lawsuit brought forward by a teacher who couldn't afford to buy a home in pleasanton that pleasanton's housing cap is unconstitutional, and somehow illegal aliens are the root cause?
your side note is pretty small minded. there are plenty of people of mexican descent living here in pleasanton that have jobs, speak english, own homes, vote, pay their taxes, park their cars in their garage and don't commit crimes. i'm one of them.
Posted by Matt, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Mar 15, 2010 at 8:17 pm
If a Pleasanton teacher doesn't know how to make her generous salary stretch far enough in Pleasanton, then she shouldn't live here. Working in a city doesn't mean that person has the right to own property in it. Can everybody who works in San Francisco afford to live there? Are they going to try and squeeze in more low-income housing there in hopes of building up the community.
There is also a difference of being of Mexican descent and not speaking English. I have no problems with people who have assimilated into American culture like many generations past. They put in their time and they reap the rewards. And if the so people that you speak of are doing so well there, why is it that there is a need for low income housing?
I'm sure if you are over in Laguna Oaks you have no opposition to low-income housing being built in the open land south of you. With the same children attending the schools that your children attend, lowering test standards and as a result funding for the school district. It's time the country becomes less concerned with being politically correct and starts being responsible and letting people take care of themselves.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 15, 2010 at 8:20 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Whoa slow down Anonymous! If you want school impact fees that are proportionately high relative to the actual impact, let's get Oak Grove built! And yes, the judge doesn't say who is going to subsidize the housing because the issue is about planning, not actual building.
About the LAFCO agency, you know that Hosterman only got a full time seat on that after Janet Lockhart exited the Dublin mayorship, right?
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 15, 2010 at 8:25 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
"and reduce greenhouse gas emissions"
That argument always makes me laugh. Do these people who say these things really believe that BS? Since when has a dense urban center ever reduced greenhouse gas emissions?
"However, it not only invalidates the city's housing cap ordinance, it also orders that provisions specifying housing limits in recent voter-approved Measures PP and Measure QQ that affect housing development on hillsides also be removed."
This part is interesting. One would probably have to read the actual decision to understand this, but it probably refers to the 10 house exemption in PP since that is a hard limit.
Posted by Pleasanton resident, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 15, 2010 at 8:35 pm
The reduced greenhouse emissions come from people living here and working here, get it? They don't drive as far.
How much of your time have you volunteering making more low income housing available in Pleasanton?
"The city is in clear violation" of the state housing law, the judge said.
That says it all. And it was a long time coming.
$500,000 for a house makes no sense and finally we are going to get some downward pressure on prices.
"At least three-quarters of them must be affordable for low-to-moderate-income residents."
It is the right thing to do to enforce this. Homeownership is important and we need to do everything we can to encourage it. People are still having trouble meeting downpayment requirements and it is time to do something to help out with this too.
Posted by iwastheretoo, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 15, 2010 at 8:43 pm
what is the basis for your comment "we have a council majority who don't support a housing cap"? Everything I've heard at council meetings says that's the one item the 5 of them do agree on, which is the housing cap.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 15, 2010 at 9:04 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Where has there ever been a large concentration of humans living in one area that have reduced greenhouse gas emissions? Does San Francisco put out more or less greenhouse gas emissions than Pleasanton?
"How much of your time have you volunteering making more low income housing available in Pleasanton? "
Look, I think you don't know what you're arguing about. I've written many times in the past about how the housing cap will be ruled illegal. I didn't see how it would not be. But I also find the argument about greenhouse gas emissions totally wrong and just something thrown in. That's why you won't find anything about greenhouse gas emissions in the briefings on this case! You only find this mentioned in press releases.
Posted by chico, a resident of the Laguna Oaks neighborhood, on Mar 15, 2010 at 9:10 pm
i never said the people of vineyard are doing well or not doing well. i never said they need or don't need low income housing. i am saying don't go blaming this ruling on poor people, and more specifically don't blame it on poor mexican people. they didn't file the lawsuit.
you want to be upset? be upset with de gregorio, urban habitat, jerry brown, and judge roesch. direct your anger at the source. that source is not on vineyard avenue. aim then fire, not the other way around.
i agree with you on one thing, people need to take care of themselves, live within their means and stop seeing the government as a santa claus.
and just so you know, some of the most affordable housing in pleasanton is already just south of laguna oaks. a condo sold there recently for under $200k.
Posted by Pro-Law, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 12:07 am
I highly doubt the people who would be in affordable housing would be working in a Pleasanton business park (Oracle, Safeway, etc.). Affordable housing is for low income people, which often (not all) bring in criminals who have low income because they don't work in the first place. I know several instances in Union City where criminals move in from Richmond and Vallejo and use their newly found base to commit crimes (burglaries, robberies, etc). I have rarely heard good come from affordable housing.
I don't understand how the state can tell a city what to do in this sense. I say the law the illegal and should be overturned on appeal. I can see why the judge ruled this way, but hopefully the appeals court will take action.
This quote makes no sense by the way:
"Pleasanton has the opportunity to allow hundreds of affordable homes within walking distance of a major transit hub," said Ellis. "We call on the city to show leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions while promoting social equity."
I thought the goal was to have people living in Pleasanton and working in Pleasanton? I see this more as an opportunity for the new homes to become victims of criminals coming off BART (exactly what will what will happen once the new BART station opens up).
Posted by Pro-Law, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 12:23 am
Also, isn't home ownership supposed to be an investment? My take on home ownership is you buy a home and reap the benefits of having a tax-free capital gain up to a certain limit. To meet that goal you take care of your house among other things.
Affordable housing puts a cap on what the "owner" can sell it for. It defeats one of the main reasons to own a home in the first place. This is the definition of socialism - which never works in practice. Home values here are going to go down if these houses get built. Some people think that is good because, "$500,000 for a house makes no sense", but that is a real person's investment going down. It is called supply / demand (i.e. economics 101).
This is socialism at its best: "We call on the city to show leadership ... while promoting social equity."
Posted by Mary, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 5:38 am
So let’s complete the circle.
Go to school. Work hard. Get good grades. Go to college. Take out massive student loans. Work hard. Graduate. Get a job. Work hard. Eventually buy a home in a nice, crime free neighborhood.
Have it all struck down by a politically appointed judge. Have a crack dealer from Richmond move in down the street. Lose twenty-five percent of the value of your real estate investment over night. Live in terror as the violence and burglary rate rises until you sell at a loss and start the cycle again elsewhere.
Remind me again why it is important to throw more money at the education system?
Posted by Rat Turd, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 6:37 am
Attached is the link about urban habitat. It seems that the ruling against us is the first so that other communities will have to follow suit. So based on that other cities such as San Ramon, Alamo etc may be in the same boat.
Posted by Please, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 7:51 am
"Go to school. Work hard. Get good grades. Go to college. Take out massive student loans. Work hard. Graduate. Get a job. Work hard. Eventually buy a home in a nice, crime free neighborhood.
Have it all struck down by a politically appointed judge. Have a crack dealer from Richmond move in down the street. Lose twenty-five percent of the value of your real estate investment over night. Live in terror as the violence and burglary rate rises until you sell at a loss and start the cycle again elsewhere."
If you think crack dealers are moving into your town through low income housing you are another snobby Pleasanton resident who has little if any sense of reality. And I hate to brek it to you, but not everyone who works hard gets everything they want, let alone a home in a nice neighborhood.
They way that low-income = crime on these forums is iggnorant and has an implicit racial tone. Pleasanton is under fire for raising its city walls to keep those that serve our community from becoming a part of it. Everything that you fear is already in your community. We have issues with drugs, with youth, and crime already, and you dont need to live in a community to commit abuses upon it. Do you really think preventing someone from living in Pleasanton prevents them from interacting with the community? Chances are anyone trying to get into Pleasanton wants a community closer to work, where they can spend more time with their kids and possibly get into a great school district.
The lack of demographic diversity in Pleasanton is gross.
Posted by Agree with Withheld, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 7:57 am
As Withheld said, many people commute from Pleasanton to other areas like Mountain View and we are not demanding that those communities provide affordable housing.
So Los Altos Hills, Los Altos, Saratoga, Alamo and others are next?
If they are targeting Pleasanton thanks to the resident Sandra DeGregorio, Habitat for Humanity and Brown, then they should target other areas as well. That way, if other communities feel attacked too, maybe Brown and the courts will back off.
Brown: I will do what I can to make sure you do not get elected. Sadly, you are the only democrat running and the GOP has not provided good candidates. Anyone but you - imagine what you can do to California: we are already a welfare state, I am frightened of what you can do to an already broken state.
Posted by Rat Turd, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 8:26 am
"In a ruling that could halt all commercial and residential building in Pleasanton for months to come, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch has ruled the city's 1996 housing cap limiting residential units to 29,000 violates state law and is invalid."
This is the stick. By halting all issuance of permits the judge and the state can apply financial pressure to the cities.
"The case was being closely watched by cities throughout California that have policies similar to Pleasanton's, aimed at curbing rampant growth although not housing cap mandates."
So this ruling will apply to all cities in the state and Pleasanton appears to be the trial case by these environmental groups.
I am going to do some more research into this group and check on prior issues they have been involved in. Does anyone know how far our council will go in contesting this decision?
Posted by Alex, a resident of another community, on Mar 16, 2010 at 8:30 am
Pleasanton has been creating and exacerbating problems for the SJValley for years. We haven't the funds to build the roads for which Pleasanton and the Tri-Valley have increased demand. We haven't the funds to build the much-needed rail.
Pleasanton's love of the wealthy and hatred for even the middle class--who are paying your freight--have got Pleasanton to this juncture. I hope defending this indefensible action has cost Pleasanton gobs of general fund money.
Posted by Concerned, a resident of the Rosewood neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 8:33 am
My concern is housing value. Our housing has dropped dramtically in the past few years. If "affordable" housing is built then it will drop again. That means it will drop below existing mortgages and force short sales. Why do anything that drops value. Also schools. If "affordable" housing is approved them where does the money to ramp up schools come from? They either will not be ra,ped up or current residents will pay more. The people in "affordable" housing will not be able to afford more taxes. Basically it will lower values of existing house. fact, and continue to ruin our schools, once the best around. It has nothing to do with ethnics or criminals moving in.
Posted by Alex, a resident of another community, on Mar 16, 2010 at 8:35 am
To What?: "But they're doing it, too" isn't a defense, bubba.
A suit is brought to court when it is RIPE. And attorneys weigh one potential case against another to determine which gives them the greatest likelihood of success. Hello, Pleasanton.
Honey, yours isn't the only city that will be compelled to comply with state law. Other cities have been watching this suit to foretell their own futures. In this ruling is the implicit statement, "Pleasanton lost. If you don't comply, we'll sue you and you'll lose. Is taking a stand worth the certain loss of millions of dollars of your budget?"
Posted by Alex, a resident of another community, on Mar 16, 2010 at 8:49 am
Over and over again, I have seen bigoted, fear-mongering comments such as those posted on this board.
Aside from the anti-American, stomach turning quality of such remarks, they display gross ignorance about affordable housing, "low income," and what all this means to you. Of course, since your city council has straight-armed the law for such a long time, it's unreasonable to expect any understanding from the public, since you have had the luxury of ignorance.
1. "affordability" is based on average county income.
2. The various levels of affordability are "above moderate" (hint: that's all of you), "moderate," "low," "very low," and "extremely low." Everyone, even you, Binky, live in "affordable" housing, as far as the state is concerned.
3. What the city is required to ACCOMMODATE--not build, but ACCOMMODATE--depends upon what the city has made available in the past.
4. Curiously enough, cities like San Francisco have much higher property values than burgs like Pleasantville, excuse me, Pleasanton, because they are infinitely desirable. This despite their provision of housing affordable to even the very poor. San Francisco and New York beat Los Angeles and South Orange for property values because they are highly desirable cities.
You love your city and you should. But believe me, there are plenty of people, myself included, whom you couldn't pay to live there. I live in the Valley now, but will soon move to the East Bay, an infinitely more interesting and vital place to live. If I HAD to live in the Tri-Valley, I'd choose downtown Livermore.
Posted by Michele, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 8:51 am
I have to say that I'm very disappointed with this ruling because my husband and I moved here for a better quality of life and we wanted our kids in the best schools we could get them into (outside of private). I'm sure the same reason many people moved to this city. I'm also VERY disappointed in the ignorance being spewed by some (I.E. Matt) to blame Mexicans, of which I am one. My family and I work hard, live happily in Pleasanton, our kids go to school here (and are A students). So thank you for the reminder of how shallow, small-minded and ingorant SOME fellow Pleasantonians are. YOU are the reason these blogs turn really ugly. YOU are the person my children need to stay away from.
Posted by Alex, a resident of another community, on Mar 16, 2010 at 8:52 am
"Concerned": EVERYONE's housing prices have dropped in the last two years, and it has nothing to do with affordability, but with oversupply and bad loans made by your wealthy neighbors to people who couldn't pay.
Cool your jets. Your property will soon rise in value again, just like everyone else's. It should have stabilized by now.
Posted by Luke, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 8:58 am
I think that Pleasanton residents would be surprised to find out that many people that are qualifiying for affordable housing programs really aren't "poor people" They have good jobs, work hard, but housing in the City they work in is still out of there means.
The whole state has mandated housing requirements (RHNA) Most communities won't meet their requirments, but the Housing Cap is illegal because it makes it impossible to even get near our allocation.
The state on the other hand needs to understand that it isn't possible in every community, and to look at the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) as truly "Regional" and if they tri-valley could work togeather to meet a larger allocation, all the while do it in a smart planning way, everyone would win.
by submitting the case number RG06293831 and clicking the link for "Rulings & CMC Orders".
This ruling pertains to Measures PP and QQ reaffirming the 29,000 housing cap, reaffirming that the City Council had no discretion to allow any waiver to the housing cap, and excluding in-law units and extended-stay motel rooms from the housing cap.
Posted by New to town, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 9:06 am
I bought my first house in Pleasanton after living my entire live in the South Bay. I did not buy there because it is like living in another country. I do not want Pleasanton to turn into the next San Jose! People move to places for a reason. We need to fight to save our town from signs in other languages and growing so large it will be like living in LA!
Posted by SteveP, a resident of the Parkside neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 9:38 am SteveP is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Alex, no one wants you in Pleasanton, so congratulations on your brilliant decision to move to an ethnic utopia of your choosing.
Try the Tenderloin in SF or the area near 98th avenue in Oakland if you want an 'interesting' area to exist in. I'm sure you can find something affordable in either of these desirable areas, which used to be nice before they were 'affordable'.
Take your condencending, elistist attitude to some liberal bastion that supports your socialist notions.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 11:11 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
One of the issues with the RHNA numbers is how they are created. If Pleasanton didn't have so many business properties we wouldn't have such high RHNA numbers, the so-called job-housing imbalance. I'm sure there are a ton of current Pleasanton residents who would love to work in Pleasanton and they don't, not because they couldn't afford to live here, but because there was no job here for them. I wonder, if all current Pleasanton residents were employed in Pleasanton, how many jobs would still be available for non-residents?
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 11:24 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
The State needs to widen 84, fix our roads, improve 580, pay for the Stoneridge extension, fund a Tri-Valley light rail system to connect all high density hubs, fund BART out to Tracy, increase funding for Wheels, fund our schools, fund our water system, fund our sewer system, protect agricultural spaces, and provide incentives for business to hire local residents.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 11:36 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
And actually the other fundamental that gets missed out on...
Do the RHNA allocations encourage or discourage developers? One issue in planning is whether or not zoning laws have a negative effect on the construction market. Would a developer prefer the economics of building "above moderate" homes or "very poor" homes?
So the question is, would Pleasanton's compliance encourage developers to build? What if Pleasanton didn't have a housing cap? Would the outcome have really been any different? Would Dublin and Livermore have built less homes?
"Inclusionary zoning ordinances encourage or require real estate developers to set aside a percentage of the units included in market-rate residential development projects for low- and moderate-income households."
"Municipalities with cumbersome zoning ordinances have the ability to increase their stock of affordable housing by relaxing the regulations governing residential development. Some have done this by expanding the amount of land zoned for multi-family housing and by authorizing higher-density development.5 These approaches do not guarantee the development of housing accessible to low and moderate-income families, but can relieve upward pressure on prices by removing supply constraints."
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 11:50 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
"Lewis identifies three basic problems with
California’s housing element law.
- First, it often goes against the grain of local politics by asking cities to plan for the needs of the wider region, not just the needs of current city residents.
- Second, it may represent a mismatch of goals and policy tools. Specifically, it attempts to tackle the problems of overall housing underproduction with a process-oriented approach developed to prod cities and counties into planning for their share of affordable units.
- Third, the statute itself is unwieldy, embraces multiple objectives, and is difficult for nonexperts to comprehend."
In other words, the State expects local cities to plan for issues which are beyond their jurisdiction. That's my point about the State not providing infrastructure funding. The State offloads regional planning onto municipal governments. Somehow Pleasanton is expected to plan for growth in Tracy. Even if Pleasanton was in compliance and built all those units, it would still not be enough to offset growth in Tracy or Dublin or Livermore.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 11:52 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
My posts aren't to suggest that I think Pleasanton should not be in compliance, they're only to show posters like Alex of another community who thinks Pleasanton is full of bigots that being in compliance isn't going to solve all the problems of providing affordable housing.
Posted by J Flack, a resident of the Stoneridge neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 12:05 pm
- Where in the Constitution does it say a city of Pleasanton's size and wealth can vote to keep lower income people out of its domain? Pleasanton is dependent on the Bay area, we're not an island. If you think so, try to imagine building a city 100 miles east of Reno in the Nevada desert, call it Pleasanton East. Who would come to its Stoneridge East Mall? Where would the workers come from for the Hacienda East Business Park? And who would ride an eBART into Reno if its urban transit was extended? We are part of the Bay area community, we need to do our share. Its a shame that a judge has to force us to do it.
- Pleasanton politicians have had ten plus years to work on the housing cap and the regional directions. Another poster (above) says we have put up only 40 units! Reflects poorly on the planning of our current and previous 21st century city administrations.
- Ready for some magic? I believe there are 800+ units of senior citizen housing on the Staples Ranch Property being developed. The 'wise' city planners didn't want them to be counted against the housing cap, and ignoring commonly used state definitions of housing units, the senior housing was not counted against the housing cap, i.e. by limiting the kitchen equipment and expecting the seniors to eat communally it meant the apartments and condos weren't apartments and condos. Here's the magic: get the builder to install 800+ ovens and presto change-o, you have your first step in low income housing units - double points because they don't impact the school, and along the way the housing cap limit is gutted by a judge so that some wealthy landowners can blast past the city's wishes to limit expansion. If I believed in conspiracy theories, I would say they planned it that way from the beginning!!
By the way, have I angered both sides here? Hope so.
Posted by Mary, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 12:36 pm
And I would ask where in the constitution does it say a community cannot determine the value of its property through the open, NON-SUBSIDISED market? There is no law controlling ethnic immigration here (assuming citizen ship – And yes, before it is pointed out, I will acknowledge that this is a substantially optimistic assumption). There is, however, a financial barrier generated by the open market. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.
Posted by Alex, a resident of another community, on Mar 16, 2010 at 1:59 pm
Steve P: I'm a planner who does well enough to CHOOSE where I live. That I wouldn't CHOOSE your city isn't a slam--though you apparently think it is--it's a choice based upon my personal preferences, which are different from yours.
I like a walkable city near good cycling, a city that doesn't impose automobile use on me (I own a car). I like a city where I know my neighbors and where I can get a beer after work without having to drive after. I like a city that has entertainment options, such as movie theaters (including an art house theater), and venues where I can see live music.
That's not Pleasanton. But hey, that's why there are different cities. My point is that even someone like me who can make a choice doesn't choose your city. Drawing a line between the two points for you: Pleasanton isn't going to be flooded with people you hate because Pleasanton isn't everyone's idea of nirvana (gasp!).
If you think my informed comments (I am very familiar with Housing Element law) make me an "elitist," then I guess being uninformed is a good thing in your book.
I disagree. I find the world much less scary when I know more about it. And the more I know the more I understand how little I know.
You, who are a bigot by race and income, have a lot of nerve calling ME an elitist. You are the very definition.
Posted by Alex, a resident of another community, on Mar 16, 2010 at 2:04 pm
YES. Demonstrably, San Francisco, Chicago, and New York emit less greenhouse gases PER CAPITA than does Pleasanton. A source for you: Growing Cooler: the evidence on urban development and climate change, published by The Urban Land Institute in 2008.
"Per capita" is the key. The state's thresholds are being developed on a per capita basis.
Posted by Alex, a resident of another community, on Mar 16, 2010 at 2:11 pm
Stacey, I well know that accommodating affordable housing doesn't solve all problems.
Unfortunately, decisions like this one bring the bigots out of the woodwork. Happily for them, they can post their remarks openly, yet anonymously. (Happily for me, too, though I'm not ashamed of my thoughts.)
We live in an exceedingly complex world, as living with 6.5B other people will do. It takes a great deal of cooperation between us all to ensure our mutual ability to survive and thrive. People like to imagine themselves as "rugged individualists" but this simply isn't so for anyone other than the lone rancher in Montana who raises his own produce, pumps his own water, creates his own electricity--and never sets foot off the ranch. Everyone else relies on the cooperation of others.
Posted by tim, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 2:44 pm
I'm a pretty liberal guy and agree with a lot of what you have said, but your tone does come off as a little "elitist". I agree that Pleasanton needs more mixed-use housing near BART, but it’s funny that Pleasanton was picked for this lawsuit. I guess if you are a cool/hipster/super liberal town in Marin or the Peninsula it’s ok to limit housing growth. If you’re Pleasanton, and don’t meet the urban coolness standards of Alex, a lawauit like this is great. Sorry, sometimes I forget towns like Mill Valley and Menlo Park are beyond reproach and don’t need to build any houses when you can put it all on the backs of towns like Pleasanton. God forbid Alex have anything good to say about Pleasanton (even though it has great schools, a thriving downtown, low crime, etc.), Alex might look bad in front of his hipster buddies at the Berkeley coffee house.
Posted by Rat Turd, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 2:58 pm
Even if this thing actually stands up to the appeal and setting aside everyones social viewpoints, does anyone have an idea who will pay for the housing?, who will pay for the subsidies?, who will front the bill the educate the kids which come with this? how about infrastructure costs? for a city with no money and a state which is bankrupct it seems to me that these are things which need to have solutions for.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 3:23 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
You're not going to get a great deal of cooperation when you start out a conversation with words like "bigoted, fear-mongering, stomach turning, and anti-American". It makes the work of Pleasanton locals who are trying to address the issue THAT much harder.
As for the greenhouse gas emissions thing... It looks like only emissions by transportation are taken into account.
"The answer to this NIMBYism – “not in my backyard” thinking – does not receive much ink in this Urban Land Institute book. There is only one paragraph on Page 153 that addresses this problem:
“Successful planning requires the meaningful engagement of people who live and work in the affected community. Meaningful public engagement requires that planners and decision makers actively seek out public input early in the planning process, well before threshold questions are framed or alternatives crafted. When residents are engaged in the planning process from the beginning and know that their concerns and ideas are being considered, they are more likely to support new development. Visioning processes and design charrettes are two popular techniques that localities have used in recent years to engage citizens.”
Nice words but, even when developers and architects go the extra mile, as shown by the recent controversy over a mixed-used development in the Kensington neighborhood of San Diego, opponents fling angry words in public meetings and threaten lawsuits and political retribution.
Perhaps ULI should follow up the “Growing Cooler” volume with “Cooler Heads,” a study of recently successful developer-neighborhood workouts and lessons learned from confrontations that killed good ideas. "
Posted by Alex, a resident of another community, on Mar 16, 2010 at 3:47 pm
Stacey, I've read the book in its entirety and many of its sources, as well. It's research on the effect of the built environment on GHG.
NIMBYism is a political tangent. Is it important in making decisions? Yes. Does NIMBYism change the effects of built-environment variables on GHG? No. NIMBYism is a subject for a separate study (and there are many).
Your assumption about sources accounted for in the book is incorrect.
Posted by Alex, a resident of another community, on Mar 16, 2010 at 3:52 pm
If "elitist" and "ticked off" are the same, Tim, you're right. Because I'm ticked off that all the housing types--and people--the Bay Area doesn't want has been forced into the SJValley, where I live and work. Along with all the impacts.
I'm also angry at elitists who think that renters are unwashed. I rented for many years and was an excellent tenant and neighbor. I am today a model homeowner, well on my way to establishing my renovated bungalow into a historic landmark.
But those are reflections of my values, which are different from others posting here. I don't think everyone should think like me, the world would be boring and sad.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 4:07 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I wouldn't expect NIMBYism to change the variables. The point about NIMBYism is related to implementation. In China, they're busy bulldozing entire neighborhoods without care for those who live there to implement changes to the built-environment, as you put it. This is America still. All stakeholders have to work together and starting out by pointing out character flaws of other stakeholders doesn't make for a good lubricant. Your earlier post tries to attribute opinions you read here to the majority of Pleasanton residents. You're going to offend more often than not.
My assumption is based upon reading summaries and reviews about the subject that seem to focus only on transportation as the pollution source. If that's incorrect, great.
Posted by Mary, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 4:10 pm
I am sure you are a model person, citizen, neighbor because you have told us all so but I wondered if you could discussion solutions to this problem in terms of cost etc. other than you humanistic beliefs because that is not the subject of this posting about a town you do not even live in. It is quite boring to hear your hissy fits.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 4:15 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Aw Alex, now you're just revealing your biases!
How about this... I have a 30 year time frame in Pleasanton from which to gain a long-range perspective on this issue. All those impacts you see in SJValley, I saw happen here first. I probably would not be here today if it weren't for the Peninsula cities and their job-housing imbalance. It looks like California's Housing Element law for the past 30 years DOESN'T SOLVE these issues. So why does Pleasanton today, created by the VERY SAME pressures occurring in SJValley, get shat on?
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 4:21 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
That isn't to say that Pleasanton is right in having a housing cap, to behave the same way as those cities closer to the Bay. You need to understand that the housing cap in Pleasanton came about because the same things you see happening in SJValley are/were happening here. People wanted to protect the environment by limiting the amount of housing units that could be built!
Posted by Alex, a resident of another community, on Mar 16, 2010 at 4:31 pm
Mary, it's not a humanistic belief, it's a state requirement.
My city complies with state law. Not happily, because we get a LOT of the spillover from the Bay Area and it costs us an enormous amount of money. Not to mention that long distance commuters aren't available to parent or to be neighbors or to participate in their communities, which are personal concerns of mine.
Stacey, I appreciate Pleasanton's problem, but perhaps you're not understanding (or maybe you do) that every city with a cap or that otherwise has refused to comply with the Housing Element law will have to comply. The suit against Pleasanton is leverage against everyone else.
For example, San Bernardino County was sued three years ago over failure to comply with AB 32. No other agency has been sued, but many have been threatened with suit and have settled instead. Suits aren't necessary because case law has been established.
My personal opinion about HE law is that is was enacted to prevent the very problem posed by Pleasanton, Petaluma, Atherton, and others that have refused to accommodate housing. We get dragged along and are forced to prepare a costly and time consuming document when we have never denied a housing development. But, the state regulations are applied equally (and unjustly, IMO) to one and all.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 4:49 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Alex wrote: "My personal opinion about HE law is that is was enacted to prevent the very problem posed by Pleasanton, Petaluma, Atherton, and others that have refused to accommodate housing."
I think you're correct on the reasons for the law. I think the law fails at it though. Even if a city is in compliance, there's still an underproduction. See, for example, the link I shared earlier: Web Link
Posted by Alex, a resident of another community, on Mar 16, 2010 at 5:39 pm
Stacey, thank you for your thoughtful remarks.
I've had a lot of time to consider whether one or another of the state's demands is reasonable and, while I think the goal is laudable, I am on the record saying that state needs to have a general plan of sorts by which all of its departments shall abide.
The ARB and governor's office are flogging AB 32, while Caltrans is building new roads and new capacity, HCD doesn't care where in a city housing is accommodated, and DoC wants everyone to stop building on farmland. Those things don't coexist.
Roadbuilding alone spurs new development and is one of the best predictors for where new development will happen next. People are willing to drive up to THREE hours to and from work, so when roads are widened, sprawl happens. Local examples of this include U.S. 101 in Sonoma and Santa Clara Counties, SR 120 in San Joaquin County, and I-80 in Sacramento and Placer Counties.
I also reject entirely HCD's notion that everyone over the age of 18 should have his own dwelling unit. HCD's projections are developed from population trend lines and there's an implicit assumption that people of a certain age should move out. Why?
Why doesn't HCD care where housing for poor people is located? The average cost of auto ownership in California is almost $8,000/yr. If you're poor, that money could be better spent on food and college.
Why doesn't the state bother to protect farmland? Agriculture is the basis of the local, state, national, and world economies. It vies with clean water as most important to sustaining human life. Yet it disappears year after year and can't be replaced.
There are lots of potential solutions, but only a small number will help solve our problems. And of course there are many problems that none of this will solve.
Posted by Anonymous, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 8:08 pm
When 70% of the residents of Pleasanton commute outside of Pleasanton (from Pleasanton General Plan), how is adding more housing in our city helping the problem. If we build 1000 homes, that puts 700 people on to the roads commuting outside of Pleasanton.
Stacey, Oak Grove would not actually pay it fair share for school impact fees. They get to build homes up to 12,500 square feet but their impact fees are capped at 6,000 square feet. Perhaps the school district should remove that cap now since they will be having to deal with a lot of subsidized homes that will not be paying any of the gift fee school impact fee.
Where are we going to put these additional students? If they build all these additional homes in the Hacienda Business Park, there is no land for a school there. So all those students would go to Lydikson and Mohr which are already at capacity. What will happen is those kids will have to go to schools all over the city by driving all over the place, making traffic worse.
Also, Hosterman said she was on ABAG during here 2006 mayoral campaign. Was she lying then?
Posted by anonymous, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 11:27 pm
The cap for impact fees is 7000 sq ft.
If you take 5000 sg ft homes and multiply it by the gift tax, which is what will be paid, it comes to over 3 million dollars. Check the number of students that development will produce, (between 40 and 50) and you could see that the impact fees would be more than enough. This does not even take into account the yearly amount from property taxes that go to the schools and the tax that goes to the city.
And the jobs that will be generated!
Most schools in the area are slated to loose students in the coming years.
Posted by Confused, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 11:40 pm
The "gift fee" is voluntary, not mandated and comes from the individual homeowners in custom home developments as well as commercial development. Also, the courts have invalidated the cooperative fee agreement with some residential developers.
Also, the fees finance building school district facilities, not operating expenses or programs.
Oak Grove is not paying its fair share of fees because all the square footage of the monster homes are not counted. Only the first 7,000 sq feet of those 12,500 sq feet monstrosities are counted. Every developer or homeowner who builds structures in Pleasanton pays fees to the school district. Web Link has the rates.
Posted by jeff, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Mar 16, 2010 at 11:44 pm
Why do people try to diss the Mayor and the Council? I live down the street from the Mayor and I watch what she does. Hosterman was on ABAG IN 2006. Recently, she had another Councilmember take her place - I think the Vice Mayor.
Posted by lnmarat, a resident of the Val Vista neighborhood, on Mar 17, 2010 at 8:47 am
I'm concerned by some posters reference to low-income housing as the equivalent of "subsidized housing",it is not. The low income housing mandates that developers make available to low income residents a certain percentage of homes in a new development. These homes are not subsidized. The concern that low-income equates criminals is also fallacious. #1. it does not mean that residents from outside of the city can come in and buy the reduced price homes because preference is given to City employees and City residents. #2. Low Income buyers must show a stable income and be able to qualify for a home loan. I have attended the "lotteries" held for the low income housing with my daughter who is a resident of Pleasanton, single mother, and has a stable and decent paying job. Other attendees included firemen, police officers, and school teachers. This is not a hand-out, but an opportunity for the hard working people of our community to have an opportunity to purchase a home in their community.
Whether the housing cap remains in effect or not, the low-income housing issue should not be demeaned in this manner.
Regarding the poster who suggested that we move all the low-income residents to Steve B's backyard; you can move them to my backyard, I'd love to have people like my own daughter living near me.
Posted by Wow, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Mar 17, 2010 at 8:50 am
Let's see where Jerry "nutjob" Brown lives. It is not with the common folks. He lives in a gated community to let everyone know. Let's make sure the schools have enough money to teach/reach all children in the state. Education is how you improve a society. Improve education, you improve uqlity of life. Improve quality of life and you improve personal wealth. Then housing becomes "affordable".
Posted by anonymous, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 17, 2010 at 9:32 am
Fair share tries to mitigate the impact the number of students those homes would generate and the amount far outweighs the impact as does the amount of money collected each year through property taxes that would go towards programs and staff. This is in addition to the taxes the City would receive.
Posted by Dancing in the Streets!, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 17, 2010 at 2:00 pm
Dave - full disclosure, please! From your LinkedIn bio:
"David Stark is the Public Affairs Director for the Bay East Association of REALTORS®. He manages the Association’s media relations, political activities and works with elected leaders and government staff in the development of housing policies"
To top that off, Dave is a member of the Pleasanton Housing Commission and the Kottinger Place Redevelopment Task Force. Convenient ways to influence housing policies that benefit your clients. I bet Dave and Chamber of Commerce Director Scott Raty are dancing in the streets over this ruling!
Posted by Dancing in the Streets!, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 17, 2010 at 2:06 pm
And Stacy, since you obviously know everything there is to know about city politics, why don't get off your behind and this blog and run for City Council! Maybe take out that pesky McGovern or Sullivan who keep insisting on actually representing the citizens and throwing up barriers to even more development!
Posted by Huh?, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 17, 2010 at 2:16 pm
"2. Jerry Brown lives in Oakland, not a gated community (this one made me laugh)"
Have you BEEN to Oakland? There are some really exclusive communities there that are well-insulated from the low income areas. I'm guessing Brown's living in the hills, well away from the low income parts of the city. Who cares if there's a physical gate?
Posted by jimf01, a resident of another community, on Mar 17, 2010 at 3:38 pm
Jerry Brown not only lives in the Oakland Hills, he was the mayor so he gets looked after quite nicely. When he got the wheels stolen off his car it was headline news and the police investigated it. I doubt the average resident of the flat lands gets such treatment.
Check out what happened to taxes and fees in Oakland under Jerry Brown's watch, and what happened at the same time to city services and what happened to the schools. A microcosm of what will happen if we send the Atty General of CA back to the Governors desk.
And taxes? Jerry Brown will only say that "there will be no new taxes unless you the people vote for them".
Posted by June, a member of the Alisal Elementary School community, on Mar 17, 2010 at 3:44 pm
It should come as no surprise that this ruling occurred. For the past 20 years, Pleasanton policy-makers have approved housing densities at either the mid-point or less than that which is designated in the General Plan. And along the way, a housing cap number is established based on some abstract number. All in response to NIMBY-ism. Then the City takes 7 years to update the latest General Plan and continues to argue with its neighboring cities and Alameda County over building its fair-share of arterial roadway networks, not to mention argueing with HCD about the RNHA allocation. Then Jerry Brown decides he wants to run for Governor and wants more visibility. I mean, can Pleasanton wave a bigger red wave that it has already been waving for yeeeeeeears.
Posted by lnmart, a resident of the Val Vista neighborhood, on Mar 17, 2010 at 4:43 pm
Dancing, Why so hostile to Dave? It appears to me that he's doing a good job of networking and being involved in commissions that affect hischosen profession; that's certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Also, I hope he's a member of the Chamber of Commerce, an organization that supports the local economy and businesses in our community. I know I'm proud to be a member.
Posted by June, a member of the Alisal Elementary School community, on Mar 17, 2010 at 5:50 pm
Inmart: I agree with you. As Dancing points out, Mr. Stark is active and volunteers alot of time to be on commissions regarding housing (market rate and affordable housing for senior citizens) which makes sense and I applaud him for it.
Posted by Anonymous, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 17, 2010 at 7:21 pm
To the previous poster, "Affordable Housing" is subsidized housing. The amount that an owner can sell an "affordable house" for is less than the price of materials, and that does not even include the price of the land.
Also, our firemen, police, and even entry level teachers do not qualify for "affordable housing". Their entry-level salaries are more then the maximum amount allowed to get the "affordable", I mean, subsidized, housing.
"Chamber of Commerce, an organization that supports the local economy and businesses in our community". PLEEZE! In every election, the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce has a single litmus test before they endorse. Do you support more housing. They are actually the "Chamber of Developers". I have a business in town and saw what they are up to and will not join the organization. The decision-makers support the developers.
Posted by June, a member of the Alisal Elementary School community, on Mar 18, 2010 at 3:38 pm
Dear Anonymous: To your comment:
". . .the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce has a single litmus test before they endorse. Do you support more housing. They are actually the "Chamber of Developers". I have a business in town and saw what they are up to and will not join the organization. The decision-makers support the developers.
I presume you live in a house in Pleasanton in addition to having a business here. You are truly the epitome of hypocrisy. Please reveal the name of your business. Im sure you wouldnt want me or any of the other evil Chamber-supporting businesses to bother patronizing you. Heaven forbid you should be in business to make any profit.
Posted by Pete, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 19, 2010 at 12:26 am
If the City of Pleasanton, along with past leadership from elected officials and community activism were absent...a maintainable and sustainable future would not even be possible. Mr. Stark and Mr. Raty are just doing their job with the limited resources available. People have been trying to break the spirit of OUR community for years. Hell... I get pissed off a lot for no other reason than an average citizen thinks everyone is watching their back. Not!!! Our problem today, in my humble opinion, is the average citizen does not know where to go without jumping through hoops to receive an answer worth a shit. Leadership, not Pleasanton Staff, thinks you want to take them down. Not all of us do! Our general plan has moved along at a rate that becomes manageable. Maybe not for the rest of the world.. but as planned as I understood it as far back as the 60's. Housing Cap? It is a damn good way for a community to take a reflective look at themselves toward current change with future needs. Schools...? there was only one past person patient enough to take the time to understand a persons context of a conversation and apply its application to todays current affairs with an answer to why? or why not? it would/could provide educational value. Who are those persons today, within OUR community, that provide that peace?
Posted by Vince, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Mar 19, 2010 at 8:33 am
I think most of these posts are pretty accurate. But, let's look at the history: A very old Council approved an initiative after completion of the 1996 GP update to look for voter support for a 29,000 unit cap on housing and an urban growth boundary. I remember thinking it was a great idea, and I voted, with the vast majority, to support it. Now, many years later, under a new Council, the cap part of it gets challenged. This Council defended our voter approved cap, as is their duty and responsibility. However, they knew it was going to be a tough fight, especially given all the new legislation passed in recent years to erode local land use rights. And now that it has been set aside, Pleasanton will have to do what other cities have done - figure out how to hang onto what local controls we have, while looking seriously at "smart" growth policies. Remember, the city is not in the business of building housing, just making zoning changes to accomodate the state's mandates. In this economy, not a whole lot of building is going on, nor will it for some time, which gives the Council time, with public support, to put together new policies with a HE update that will insure our long term fiscal health and quality of life. Nothing wrong with that!
Posted by Jack, a resident of the Danbury Park neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2010 at 12:52 am
We have low crime, great school scores and a family oriented town. I think the slow growth is in part responsible for that. Low income & subsidized housing is not what the most of the citizens want. They don't want to pay for it either. Jerry Brown is jealous that we have a better city than Oakland and he wants to drive some of their problems onto our streets.
Posted by Dan Doerr, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 21, 2010 at 9:29 am
Ironically, the Pleasanton schoolteacher, Sandra De Gregorio, who screwed us all will not even be able to qualify for an "affordable" home, because we pay her too much!
Perhaps Oak Grove should just become a "project" - two or three big tall apt. buildings - developers won't have to worry about the ridgelines, because no local legislation will stand up to the needs of Sandra, Jerry and the entitled.