Ponderosa shows plans for gated senior community in Ironwood
110 detached single-family homes for 55+ to go on former school site
If built, it would be the first gated senior residential development in the city.
Proposed by Ponderosa Homes is a 110-unit single-family home community for residents who are 55 and older. Company executives laid out their plans to the Planning Commission at its March 19 meeting.
The last portion of the master plan for the Ironwood residential development off of Valley Avenue and Busch Road, the senior complex would be built on land previously reserved for a public school. The Pleasanton Unified School District, which has a five-year option agreement on the 23-acre site, has told Ponderosa that they don't intend to exercise the option, according to a city staff report.
The complex would join the Ironwood community, which was approved in 2002 and consists of 175 single-family homes, 16 duets and a 172-unit senior apartment community. The senior apartments and most of the single-family homes have been built and the Pleasanton Presbyterian Church is completing a new church facility there as well. The senior home community would be built on the eastern edge of Ironwood, bordered by the city's Operation Service Center to the south and the Old Mohr Avenue right-of-way and a Zone 7 Water Agency (former Hanson Aggregates quarry) lake to the north.
Pam Hardy, manager of land planning for Ponderosa, said the complex would offer seniors the advantage of home ownership as well as a sense of security with it being gated.
But Commissioner Phil Blank said he disliked the idea of the gate and private streets, citing that the city's General Plan discourages gated communities.
"There's too many gated communities in Pleasanton," Blank said. "I don't think that's the community spirit. If we keep allowing them, someday all of Pleasanton will be gated."
But Hardy said there are a number of benefits to having the community gated.
"It adds another layer of security," she said. "Seniors take extended trips and they're not at home a lot. Residents will also be single women who want the security of a gate."
She added that fire and police personnel would be able to access the property during an emergency with a special code.
Commissioners Greg O'Connor and Arne Olson said they were in favor of the gate.
"I think the reasons to have a gated community here are overwhelming," Olson said.
City planner Steve Otto told the commission, which was missing members Kathy Narum, Jennifer Pearce and Anne Fox, that other project proposals that have recently come to the city's planning department including the Lester property west of Foothill Road and Staples Ranch have proposed gates in their developments.
The homes would be for seniors who are 55 years of age and older. A spouse can be 45 years and older and caregivers and disabled children are also allowed to live in the homes, Hardy said. Four one-story models ranging from 1,900 square feet to 2,670 square feet would be offered and one of the models is two stories. The complex would include a 4,400-square-foot clubhouse with a kitchen, wine locker, meeting room, office, exercise room, restrooms and storage areas. Outdoor amenities include a pool, spa and bocce ball court.
John Knight, who lives nearby on Sagewood Court, said he would like have access to the Iron Horse Trail. Hardy said Ponderosa has looked into the matter, but said that it would be impossible to connect to the trail along the planned emergency vehicle access road because it is a private road. The city's Community Trails Master Plan shows a future trail along the northern side of the site.
The meeting on the proposal was a work session to get feedback from commissioners. The plans will return to the commission in the near future for approval.