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It's mediation for residents, senior living developer

Original post made on Jun 12, 2008

Developers who want to build a senior living facility on the northwest side of town are now headed toward mediation with neighboring residents who are concerned about their views, traffic, noise and the project's ability to fit in with the local surroundings.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, June 12, 2008, 3:04 PM

Comments (12)

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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jun 12, 2008 at 9:58 pm

Here we go again on another "NIMBYs don't want senior care in their backyard" because "we are here now". "You will block my view."

Chairman Phil Blank seems also disingenous to think that the zoning approvals for the land use can stay static for 23 years while the neighborhood changes without there being a responsibility to the land owners by the city itself. To accuse the landowners of disingenuity is simply disingenous in itself.

Poor, poor seniors. You are NOT WELCOME in Pleasanton. Not too long ago St. Augustine's senior care proposal was similarly shot down. Plutonians have no use for anybody except themselves.

With a 98 year old father living is such a facility in Ohio, I know quite well what these facilities are like. They are quiet, serene, and generate little traffic given their size. The number of staff is not large, and, I guarantee you that the occupants are not driving cars, partying, and the like! Just go visit one to see for yourself.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 12, 2008 at 10:12 pm

Hrm, I didn't read it that way. I think the problem is the proposed plan and the way it is being processed, not the fact that it is an assisted care facility. Sunrise bought it in 2006 but the approval is from 1985. Are they trying to reduce any upfront costs associated with the planning process?


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jun 12, 2008 at 10:28 pm

Here's what I read:

"Many reiterated Bender's concerns about losing their views of the Pleasanton Ridge to the west and said they couldn't understand why the project doesn't require additional traffic and environmental studies, considering the neighborhood has changed dramatically over the past two decades since the approval.


Residents also were skeptical of Sunrise's plans to increase the number of employees from their previous three-story plan, which they said would increase traffic, as well as plans to house people with alzheimer's and dementia, which would mean a higher level of care than what was originally proposed in 1985."

Also:

"headed toward mediation with neighboring residents who are concerned about their views, traffic, noise and the project's ability to fit in with the local surroundings."

All are NIMBY things. Funny to talk about increased traffic at the corner of Stoneridge and Foothill with the huge traffic generated by Stoneridge Mall, Kaiser, Safeway headquarters, and the high density of NIMBYs living in the vicinity. The incremental traffic the facility would create is miniscule relative to other factors that are already present in the area (mentioned above).

The issues are blocking of views with building height, traffic, and environmental objections.

Can't find anything in the article saying anything otherwise. Who really cares about 1985 versus today. If that was so important, then the city had a responsibility to re-zone the property's use. But, of course, that's ridiculous given that Kaiser is practically across the street from this facility.

Like I said, Kaiser does not block the views of the NIMBYs, but this facility may.



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Posted by i was there
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2008 at 10:54 pm

Frank

You needed to be at the meeting to understand all that took place. For example, the Weekly doesn't mention that at least 3 of the 5 Commissioners (including Chair Blank) expressed strong support for a senior assisted living facility being on this property. This is a complicated project due to something being approved some 23 years ago with no expiration date on it and some of the documents are unclear what the intent was. Now you have the landowner coming in with a project trying to be substantially in conformance with an approval 23 years ago. Things change. . . the property in question is part of a major entrance into Pleasanton. I think the neighbors now understand that something will be built there. Its just a question of finding the right compromise that works both for the owner as well as the surrounding area.

This is one where I think you really need to read the staff reports and the minutes to understand the issues and not just rely on the Weekly summary before you criticize a Commissioner's comment based on a quote in a newspaper article.


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Posted by Kimberly
a resident of Lydiksen Elementary School
on Jun 13, 2008 at 9:45 am

The notices printed in the newspaper in 1985 and the two documents that the Planning Commission said mattered -- the official city council ordinance adopted by the city and the city council resolution signed by then mayor Ken Mercer, the city clerk and the then city council, approving the environmental document --- by the then mayor and city council said the building was 2 to 3 stories in height and that it was a 'retirement hotel' for still active seniors. Ms. Ann Fox read from one of the original resolutions at the meeting. Also Mr. Greg O'Conner read the condition in the original ordinance that said the 1985 approval lapsed within a year if there was no further designs reviewed or building permits issued.

This was the first meeting in the city I have ever attended and I could tell from the detailed questions from some of the commissioners that they had gone through all of those documents word for word.

Then a new developer, in spite of the 'approval one-year lapse' language and the references to 2 to 3 stories in the original approval documents, comes in with a monstrous 4 story monolith, that is actually a full time convalescent hospital. They based it on a diagram in the unlabeled "Exhibit A" from the 1985 approval that Commissioner O'Connor pointed out was not even labeled "Exhibit A."

Based on what I have been reading about the Neal School and the Signature Properties mess, I would say that developers trying to pull the wool over the eyes of residents is their standard operating procedure.


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Posted by iwastheretoo
a resident of Amador Estates
on Jun 13, 2008 at 10:42 am

It was a very interesting meeting indeed. The vote was unanimous - all of the commissioners agreed. Think about that! You have "I will approve anything Narum" followed by "I will approve almost anything Olsen" followed by "I will approve almost nothing O'Conner" followed by "I will approve nothing Fox" followed by "Aren't I cool being chair Blank". But they all agreed on this one.


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jun 13, 2008 at 8:17 pm

Since I wrote my post, it was written about how I needed to be there to really know what the issues are. Yet none of the subsequent posts described any issue of substance for poor me, who was not there. Of course, most of Pleasanton was not there and so we read the newspaper and these blogs to learn what the issues really are. The blog is your chance to explain. A real chance for you to be clear, crystal. But here's what you said:

"landowner coming in with a project trying to be substantially in conformance with an approval 23 years ago. Things change" WHAT CHANGED AND WHY DOES WHATEVER CHANGED AFFECT THE ORIGINAL USE OF THE PROPERTY? WHAT'S THE BEEF? ARE THESE CODE WORDS TO THE EFFECT THAT WHAT CHANGED IS "WE ARE HERE NOW AND YOU ARE NOT"? IF SO, THIS IS NIMBYism AT ITS WORSE!

"the property in question is part of a major entrance into Pleasanton. " SO, TOO, IS THE STONERIDGE MALL COMPLEX THAT HAS BEEN THERE FOR MANY, MANY YEARS. SO WHAT DOES THE INTERSECTION BEING AN ENTRANCE HAVE TO DO WITH A SENIOR CARE FACILITY WHICH ACTUALLY WOULD GENERATE LITTLE INCREMENTAL TRAFFICE RELATIVE TO THE MALL, KAISER, THE CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS?

"'approval one-year lapse' language and the references to 2 to 3 stories in the original approval documents, comes in with a monstrous 4 story monolith, that is actually a full time convalescent hospital." THIS IS LARGELY RHETORIC. A SENIOR RESIDENTIAL CARE FACILITY DOES NOT DEFINE A CONVALESCENT HOSPITAL. WHETHER IT HAS A ALZHEIMER SECTION OR NOT. EVEN IF IT WERE A CONVALESCENT HOSPITAL, WHAT IS HORRIBLE ABOUT THAT? IF THE MONOLITH WERE 2 OR 3 STORIES, IS THAT OK, BUT NOT 4 STORIES? IF THIS REALLY IS THE ISSUE, SAY SO. YOU DON'T WANT YOUR VIEW BLOCKED WITH 4 STORIES BUT COULD ACCEPT 3 STORIES (OR, BETTER, 2 STORIES).

"The vote was unanimous .....But they all agreed on this one." WHAT'S THIS SUPPOSED TO MEAN. GEE, THE COMMISSIONERS UNANIMOUSLY VOTED TO SEND THIS TO NEGOTIATION, THEREFORE, THERE MUST BE REAL ISSUES. I INTERPRET THE OPPOSITE. THE ISSUES ARE NOT SUBSTANTIVE ENOUGH FOR THEM TO TAKE A POSITION AT THIS TIME BECAUSE THE NIMBY RESPONSE HAS BEEN VOCIFEROUS AND THEREFORE POLITICALLY VOLATILE. OBVIOUSLY, THE SAFE THING TO DO IS PUSH THE DECISION OFF TO THE FUTURE. SENDING IT TO ARBITRATION IS JUST BUYING TIME.


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Posted by Nyk
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 14, 2008 at 2:14 pm

Frankly, I think you need a tranquilizer, Frank. But that's just my observation from your total CAPS responses. There exists in every n'borhood, including yours, Frank, a degree of nimby-ism and nimby-ists where nothing is good enough or to their liking. I live near this proposed facility. To me, it seems huge for the lot that it's proposed to fill but if they have a right to build it, then I guess they can and will. Therein lies the crux...is it in substantial conformance? Looking at the comparison chart supplied by the planning commission, it states that in 1981 the proposed building was a 48,000 squre foot 2 story building on a 110,720 square foot lot. In 1985, the building increased to 98,000 - 107,586 square feet in 3 - 4 stories ("not entirely clear from the report" as stated on the chart) on the same 110,720 square foot lot. Now, to compare aplles to apples, right across Stoneridge is a 5 story, 175,230 square foot building on a 304,920 square foot lot and it seems big to me. So, the long and short of it is that with the proposed setbacks for Sunrise Devlopment's new facility, whatever YOU want to call it, seems very large for the lot. Parking is as much an issue to my thinking as traffic. The intersection of Pleasant Hill Road and Stoneridge is, at best, a stressful intersection, meaning you have to look and act quite fast to traverse the traffic lanes, at least at many times of the day. That notwithstanding, I personally don't think the facility will radically increase the traffic, just make it more stressful. However, the parking for the facility seems inadequate based on the numbers supplied in the comparison chart. This may mean that parking will spill onto Pleasant Hill Road and the surrounding residential streets and the street parking for the neighborhood park which has frontage on Pleasant Hill Road and is next to the proposed care facility. Unless, of course, we could build a parking lot in Pleasanton Hts and run a shuttle but with the cost fuel that's out and then there's those NIMBYs over there. As to the loss of views by the Gold Creek Townhomes, they just didn't do their due diligence when they bought their units because the "vacant" lot was already approved for something which they could have easily found out about. Caveat emptor, baby. Good luck to all.


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Posted by i was there
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2008 at 3:37 pm

Frank, I usually agree with most of your postings but I think you're off base on this one.

Once again, at least 3 out of the 5 Commissioners publicly stated that they thought a senior assisted living facility was an appropriate use for the property and indicated support to have one on the property in question. So its not a question of use of the site.

Planning Commissioners are not politicians. They are supposed to look at the facts, take public testimony and make a decision based on that information. The way I understood what happened is the Commissioners voted to have a facilitator (not arbitrator, there is a difference) work with the property owner and neighborhood representatives to try and find a design that transitions with the neighborhood just across the street. I believe that the motion included a specified time limit so that it can't go on forever. It sounded to me that the likely outcome could be something that could be found not to be in conformance requiring a PUD modification. By having by-in from both sides, it seems like the outcome could be a better design for all rather then the property owner being locked into replicating what was approved some 23 years ago. Then the liklihood of the neighborhood raising non conformance issues seems less. That seems like something worth trying.

I see this property as part of a major entrance into Pleasanton and raised this only in that whatever is on this property should look well designed and sited on the property. I, in no way meant to relate that to traffic rather only to appearance on the property.


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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 15, 2008 at 2:00 pm

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm...maybe I'll consider moving in! I can see it now, rows of corn on the horizon, a few apple trees, a cabbage patch and of course, rows and rows of onions in my back yard! How sweet it is. Shucks, I could even sell fresh corn on the cob with lard and pepper sauce on weekends...is this cool or what?

Maybe even fresh tortillas from block to block....fresh off the grill!

Now this is what I call Exhibit A...for sure! VIVA!!!


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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 16, 2008 at 11:45 am

Addendum: And on the horizon, winding it way to Plutonia, the smell of refried beans, rice, crispy pork rinds and baked armadillo shell, yum yum...you're in for a treat Plutonians!!! Not to forget the smell of freshly baked red pan dulce! Double YUMMY!!


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jun 16, 2008 at 9:30 pm

"Frankly, I think you need a tranquilizer, Frank." wrote Nyk.

"Frank, I usually agree with most of your postings but I think you're off base on this one." wrote I Was There.

I wrote: "Yet none of the subsequent posts described any issue of substance for poor me, who was not there. "

Thank you Nyk and I Was There. Explanations and elaborations, you are indeed offering. MS Word counts nearly 700 words of explanation between your two posts. You are responding to my point: "The blog is your chance to explain."

You probably wish that I need tranquilizers(your way of putting down critics?), but you originators of this complaint may need some "clarity" pills because you need to justify the substance of your complaint and explain it to the rest of us who are not close to the issues. Convince us you are not NIMBYs and tell us what you would accept and why. Keep on.... we are listening (and reading).

Given that the project proposed as it was may justifiably deserve improvements, it is just those purported defects that you say need improvements that we'd like to hear about. The original article quoted certain claims from opponents, and the downstream posts as well contain a lot of "scare" rhetoric, all of which have yet to be justified.

My re-hash of Nyk's points is basically the larger size of building on the given lot versus the size in the original, old plan. Too big. I Was There is making the point that 3 of 5 planning commissioners are onboard for senior care at the site (implied is the other two don't want seniors!) Nyk further talks about parking and residential streets. This one sounds like a new item not previously mentioned. To my point, put all the real issues on the table and not just rhetoric referring to "a full convalescent hospital" and telling us we should be afraid of that. Spillover parking is a real concern if it is indeed likely.

Facilitator, arbitrator... nothing wrong with this step so long as it is not a stall.


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