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Some additional takeaways from Monday's presentation

Uploaded: Aug 24, 2017
Here are a few more nuggets I took away from the Monday presentation by Pleasanton City Manager Nelson Fialho and Pamela Ott, economic development manager, to the retired men’s group.
• Nelson shared the state’s definition of affordable housing—any site zoned for 30 units to the acre or more. The city lost a protracted law suit—that cost seven figures to defend—that required rezoning several parcels at that density. At 30 units to the acre, that means apartments, but there’s a real question on affordability. The one-bedroom units in the new complexes are all renting for $3,000 to $3,200 per month. For renters to qualify, under typical standards of one-third of take-home pay, that means $10,000 or more monthly in gross income or $120k per year. The city’s affordable housing ordinance brings down the costs in some units.
• Pamela shared some success stories and interesting facts. During the height of the recession and its aftermath, commercial vacancy rates hit 22 percent—now it down to 6-7 percent, a number that Pamela considered healthy because it allows companies to move or locate in Pleasanton.
• If you waiting to see the next steps on the ambitious and expensive civic center/library complex on the Bernal Property, don’t hold your breath. The City Council prudently decided that those plans need to be accompanied by plans for the existing site downtown. A downtown task force started working to update the specific plan earlier this year and is scheduled to complete its work in the spring of 2018.
• Rosewood Commons, which originally was AT&T’s Western headquarters, has undergone a major facelift since it was purchased in 2014 by Swift Real Estate Partners. Pamela noted that it had a 90 percent vacancy when it was purchased and now is 90 percent leased with another major announcement pending. Swift has added amenities such as basketball and bocce ball courts, a sand volleyball court and a fitness center. The goal was to offer amenities typically found in a Silicon Valley corporate campus. The six-building complex, which totals about 1 million square feet, was built with a dining room and conference center.
• Both Pam and Nelson discussed the city’s two-year work plan that identifies priorities in 12 areas. What’s unusual about this approach is it separates discussion of priorities from the budget process. The two-year plan is developed in the winter and spring and, once adopted, used as the foundation of the two-year budget. You can read it on the city’s website: www.cityofpleasantonca.gov

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