By Tim Hunt
Big plans for the east sideUploaded: Oct 22, 2013
A unanimous City Council last week approved moving ahead on environmental studies for East Side Specific Plan that covers about 1,000 acres.
The environmental impact will consider up to 2,279 homes, a total that is highly unlikely to be approved in the final version, but a critical number because the city and the school district both are expecting development to pay the freight for major infrastructure improvements. School officials have indicated they will want both a donated site and a developer-built elementary school.
For the city, the biggest infrastructure piece is extending El Charro Road to connect with Stanley Boulevarda key link in the valley-wide road network, but an expensive one that will include an underpass for the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. Planners estimate it will be a $60 million project. Then, toss in the various trails and parks that the city will require and you can see the need to plan for that many units.
About 600 of the 1,000 acres are exhausted gravel quarries that will have to be reclaimed before they can be used. Three of the lakes are owned by Zone 7 and will be part of its Chain of Lakes plan.
The key question will be whether residential or commercial uses can actually pencil with the heavy expense for infrastructure to say nothing of the challenges of doing business with the city of Pleasanton. Of course, given the desirability of the community, there will be builders eager to see if they can sharpen their pencils enough to bring new housing to market.
When the opportunity to build apartments opened up after the city was required to rezone additional land to meet its regional housing goals, developers have submitted numerous proposals. Of course, most of these projects utilize existing infrastructure and thus do not costs that likely will be involved on the east side.
So, for those potentially up in arms, take a deep breath. The process has a long way to go and there are still many more questions than answers.