By Tim Hunt
Doubling DublinUploaded: Oct 1, 2015
Thirty years ago when I was the managing editor the Tri-Valley Herald, we ran a headline about "Doubling Dublin" when the first plans for the city east of Tassajara Road were submitted.
Those plans and others for the land between the original Dublin have been executed over the past many years. The population has increased from about 25,000 to 51,780 today. With the exception of Schaefer Ranch in the western hills, the rest of the growth has occurred east of Dougherty Road.
The missing piece to connect East Dublin with the original core is the Army's Parks Reserve Forces Training Base, which covers about one-quarter of the city's total land mass. After years of work with the Army, the city, and potential developers, 189 acres along Dublin Boulevard will finally start construction.
The Army originally optioned the development rights to SunCal, an Irvine-based developer that sold the project to two national developers, Standard Pacific Corp. and Brookfield Residential Properties, Inc. They bought the property from the Army in 2011.
The approved plans include 1,995-unit master planned community on the 189 acres that will join the two halves of Dublin. The plan also includes a new school coupled with a park on 12 aces (very important in a community where student enrollment has been significantly higher than projections), as well as a 30-acre community park and up to 200,000 square feet of commercial and retail space.
The housing units will be ideally located for residents who commute elsewhere—near to Interstate 580 and the Dublin-Pleasanton BART station.
The project, which will take a number of years to build-out depending upon the business cycle, amounts to infill. In the agreement with the developers, the Army gained a number of needed improvements including the new main gate on Dougherty Road.
The current Dublin City Council has been restrained when considering additional residential projects on the eastside, particularly given the over-crowded schools. There is no single factor more critical than space in schools for parents looking to live in the Tri-Valley area.
The school district missed in East Dublin, just as the San Ramon Valley district missed in the Dougherty Valley. In San Ramon, the remaining homebuilder, Shapell Homes (which since has been purchased by Toll Bros.), stepped up quickly to provide land for another school.
And, in fairness, both districts used the best demographic information they had available at the time—neither saw the influx of Asian and Indian families drawn by new homes, excellent schools and many job opportunities in the technology sector.
Time will tell how well the city and the school district planned for the remaining large parcel within the Dublin city limits.
Incidentally, I believe the reason that eastern development stands out so much in Dublin is simple--there are no mature trees. When you compare the western hills of Dublin, which were as bare as the eastern ones are today you can see the difference mature trees make.