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By Tim Hunt

Rising demand drives soaring rents

Uploaded: Aug 22, 2013

It's no wonder that developers are rushing to put up higher density rental housing in Pleasanton as well as Dublin.
Rents for the new Dublin complex near the East Dublin-Pleasanton BART station range from $1,968 for a 788-square-foot one bedroom to nearly $3,400 for a three-bedroom unit. The hefty prices stem, no doubt, from a prime location for a person planning to commute elsewhere in the Bay Area on BART, but they are reflective of the rents that have soared in desirable locations.
With Pleasanton now have rezoned a number of parcels for high-density and presumably somewhat affordable housing, developers are rapidly moving ahead. The parcel at the corner of Valley Avenue and Stanley Boulevard, across from McDonald's, received unanimous City Council approval earlier this month with only one person objecting at the public hearing.
The plan contains 345 apartment units in two-, three- and four-story buildings as well as a 15,000- square-foot building for a drug store with a drive-through window. It will be a welcome addition for the property owners who have seen a number of other development proposals die at the City Council level. The prior effort was for a second Home Depot in Pleasanton—one that drew heated opposition from residents living along Valley Avenue for the additional traffic—particularly 18-wheel delivery trucks.
Before that, it was an Albertson's grocery store, which drew opposition from anti-traffic folks as well as existing grocery stores. No such opposition emerged to either the New Leaf (Whole Foods Junior) in the long-abandoned anchor space in Vineyard Avenue and Bernal shopping center) or to the mega-Safeway at Bernal and Valley avenues.
The newly approved apartments and retail space will give residents in the broader neighborhood another retail choice—most "drug stores" offer a wide variety of products including lots and lots of food and alcohol. Just check the circulars in the Sunday newspapers.

Switching gears: Pleasanton Police Chief Dave Spiller and his management team celebrated last week when five new officers joined the department.
Like the rest of the city departments, the police force has been in a soft hiring freeze with only vital positions being filled since the city adjusted its budget in 2007-2008 to cope with the economic downturn. The five positions bring the department back to 81 sworn officers, the level at which it is funded.
At one point because of officers being off on short-term disability and the vacant positions, the department was well below that number in personnel available for patrol.
Incidentally, during the National Night Out on August 6, the police department took great pride in showing off its new SWAT vehicle that it drove around town to various gatherings. The armored vehicle has gun ports and totally has changed department tactics when confronted with an armed person holed up and threatening to shoot it out.
As the chief explained, in the past they might have had to go in—now, unless there are lives threatened, they pull up the vehicle, hand a megaphone to a trained negotiator and patiently talk the person out.
Federal grant funds, designed for frontline officer safety, were used to purchase the vehicle.


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