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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Pleasanton officials sprint to approve housing plan

Uploaded: Nov 29, 2022
The Pleasanton City Council and staff are going to be hitting it particularly hard during the holiday period in a sprint to finish the city’s updated housing element.
State law requires an update every eight years that must be approved by the state and show how the city will have enough land zoned to meet its regional housing goals in that period. For Pleasanton, that’s more than 5,900 units, an ambitious number that likely reflects its great location at the intersection of two interstate freeways, the BART line and the ACE train line as well as the regional and state planners’ preference for high density development near transit hubs.
That Pleasanton sprint is designed to avoid a seldom-used state law that gives developers the freedom to build virtually anything without city input or control if there’s no approved housing element.
The effort comes against the backdrop of the changing economic situation that grew out of the pandemic and other trends such as the demise of enclosed shopping centers such as Stoneridge mall. Think of the demographics of the Tri-Valley and then imagine a shopping center designed for five major tenants with just two and one that is viable only because the owners of the shopping center—in partnership with another major mall owner—are propping it up. I suspect the factory outlet mall in Livermore was much, much busier than Stoneridge on Black Friday. The city tried to do an orderly process for the future of the mall with the various property owners, but that also will have to speed up dramatically.
Throw in the very real exodus of companies and company headquarters elsewhere and it’s a mixed picture at best. For homeowners, they can take heart in David Stark’s opinion (he’s the government affairs officer for the Bay East Association of Realtors) that homes in these corridors are always going to be desirable. The latest news, reported in the San Francisco Business Times’ afternoon newsletter yesterday, was that Oracle has put a five-story, 186,000-square-foot office building next to the BART station up for sublease. Oracle announced the move of its corporate headquarters from the Peninsula to Texas earlier this year. Oracle acquired the building when it took over PeopleSoft in 2004.
Stark spoke last month to the virtual fall gathering of the East Bay Economic Alliance for Business. He was joined on the panel by Michael Ghielmetti whose firm is focused on residential and mixed-use projects in Oakland as well as Alexander Quinn who gave an economic update on the East Bay.
Ghielmetti, who has the huge Brooklyn Basin project going on the Oakland waterfront, spoke to the challenges of trying to entitle parcels, obtain financing and then build on them. The lead times are so long that it’s almost a roll of the dice as to where the market will be when the product finally hits the market. To build townhomes, a product that he thinks will be viable going forward, he’s at $900,000 market price, a number that a decreasing number of people can reach given interest rates that topped 7% last month as the Federal Reserve marched the key lending rate upward to try and control inflation.
Mix in as Quinn did, the huge amount of space available for sublease, particularly in the core San Francisco market (more than 7 million square feet) and the reluctance of knowledge employees to return to the office, and the future of the San Francisco office market is in question. He pointed out that riders had returned to the New York subways at about 57% of pre-pandemic levels compared to 36% for BART. Commute hour bridge traffic is almost at pre-pandemic levels. A permanent shift or transitory one that will return to whatever “normal” is.
It's a holiday season with more questions than answers, but Pleasanton is pushing one answer with its full court press its housing element approved and submitted to the state.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Jake Waters, a resident of Birdland,
on Nov 29, 2022 at 8:26 am

Jake Waters is a registered user.

Where are they going to get the water to supply these areas? Do they have a plan for that?

Posted by Karl A, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Nov 29, 2022 at 9:29 am

Karl A is a registered user.

Plan water resources needed to support housing mandates?

It's clear they are taking the same approach as mandating the elimination of gasoline cars and natural gas appliances. No plan to provide adequate electricity, just like there is no plan to increase the capability to store more water in above average rainfall years.

Why plan now?

Just hope for the best and hope things “work out".

Or have a complete disregard for the impact of these mandates and lower the state to levels of a third world country.

You can always collect billions in taxes to support a bunch of programs that are supposed to help the homeless or build more water infrastructure when the reality is most of the money goes to support non-profit and state worker salaries.

As long as the government workers and non-profits get their money, who cares what happens to the rest of us.

Posted by Dirk Svensen, a resident of Country Fair,
on Nov 29, 2022 at 9:38 am

Dirk Svensen is a registered user.

Apparently, pain for California residents will have to get much worse for things to change. I am not sure I am willing to wait around another ten years for this to turn around (it usually takes that long). Toilet-to-tap is coming :)

Posted by Dave, a resident of Highland Oaks,
on Nov 30, 2022 at 11:51 am

Dave is a registered user.

I agree with the comments on Water and Other Services. The State mandates new housing units but no plan for additional resources like water or electricity.

You would like to think Pleasanton could remain slow growth but unfortunately, with a housing crisis, and two train stations in town this is what happens.

They don't build train stations where they don't plan on high growth.

Posted by Just Another Resident, a resident of Pleasanton Valley,
on Nov 30, 2022 at 2:52 pm

Just Another Resident is a registered user.

@Karl - totally agree about salaries. Why aren't these people willing to work for free? Shameful.

Posted by Karl A, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Nov 30, 2022 at 3:21 pm

Karl A is a registered user.

Just Another Resident - Can't tell if you are being sarcastic.

I am not suggesting people work for free. What does concern me is that a small amount of money actually goes to what taxes are supposed to used for.

Two examples:
1) Alameda county implemented additional sales tax to address homelessness. Has anyone seen any results / improvementS
2) The state got a $1 BILLION bond measure passed quite a while ago to address water supply issues. Has anyone seen any projects to improve the state's water situation? Any new dams or other water storage projects approved?

Posted by John, a resident of Los Cerros Middle School,
on Dec 5, 2022 at 10:41 pm

John is a registered user.

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