By Tim Hunt
The right call on the Eastside planUploaded: Mar 11, 2014
Four members of the Pleasanton City Council made the right call last week when they decided to continue planning what should happen on the east side of the community.
Senior city staff brought the question to the council because the urgency that everyone thought was driving the plan has faded. After the court-required rezoning last year, the city had plenty of parcels zoned for higher density housing to meet the state requirements over the next cycle that ends in 2023.
That said, there is no reason to waste 18 months of work by the citizens' task force to say nothing of the time and money spent on staff and consultant time and the partially finished environmental impact plan. The base plan, which can be adjusted, called for 2,279 housing units (both single-family and higher density). The 1,100-acre area has about 400 acres that could be suitable for development—the rest is former gravel pits that have been turned over to the Zone 7 water agency.
Completing the plan is the critical to developing a better circulation plan between Santa Rita and El Charro roads. For instance, traffic options on the south side of Livermore have improved greatly since Highway 84 was connected to I-580 and Jack London Boulevard extended west to connect with Stoneridge Drive at El Charro.
What's missing is the alternative from I-580 that splits the difference between Highway 84 and Santa Rita—the El Charro link and arterials that presumably connect with it (Stoneridge already does; Busch Road likely should).
To plan well, the variety of land uses need to be considered as well as how to maintain needed services like the trash transfer station.
Mayor Jerry Thorne observed that the city is "very divided" on the issue and suggested that developing a plan and then submitting it to the voters may be an alternative. I buy developing a plan, but council members need to do their job—every plan does not need voter approval—that is what elections are for.