The rubber starting to hit the road about housing in Pleasanton | Tim Talk | Tim Hunt | |

Local Blogs

By Tim Hunt

The rubber starting to hit the road about housing in Pleasanton

Uploaded: May 18, 2021

This evening’s Pleasanton City Council meeting includes two key items related to housing in the city.
The council, after two long working sessions, is expected to approve the two-year work plan that covers a wide variety of areas. This is the basis for both the two-year budget and what work the staff members will prioritize over the next two years. It’s on the consent calendar, so barring a council member pulling it, approval should be routine.
This ties directly to the start of the process to update the housing element of the General Plan to accommodate the new regional housing goal numbers for the period of 2023-2031. As the Pleasanton city staff has been reporting to the council, these are nearly triple the goal for the last cycle (which notably was about half of the prior cycle).
The goal is for the city to zone enough land for 5,935 units to be built in that eight-year period. The very low income category grows 1,034 to 1,750 while the low income grows by 617 to 1,008. That’s 2,758 in just those two categories that many cities have failed to address in past cycles. The above moderate—in other words market rate, comes to 2,313 an increase of 1,760.
This will be a major challenge, but the city does has a couple of things going for it. If it seriously restarts the planning for the East Pleasanton area, there’s lots of land there and the opportunity to scale housing by spreading costs over hundreds of units. That, coupled with designing affordability in by building smaller units could result in adding quality new neighborhoods with homes that could house teachers and other key professionals. It also has the area around Stoneridge Shopping Center where those huge surface parking lots are rarely used. Some already is zoned for housing, but more could be.
To put the housing goal in perspective, if achieved, it would add about 20% more housing stock over eight years. Currently, the state Dept. of Finance estimates Pleasanton’s population at 78,371 with 27,292 households.
For the majority of the council that already is demonstrating its slow growth approach to say nothing about its horrible mistake of pulling out of the planning for potable reuse of waste water valley wide, it’s going to be a major struggle to deal with its goals amid the state pressure for more housing. Recycled water that is locally controlled is a huge asset in droughts like we are facing this year.
Councilwoman Julie Testa is a leader in an organization battling to maintain local control.
The Legislature did little in 2020 during the pandemic to deal with the statewide shortage of new housing, but there’s plenty on the agenda for the current session. Homelessness statewide has soared and that’s driven by the affordability issue that comes from the lack of supply.
The state has a whopping $76 billion surplus and Gov. Newsom has proposed a $268 billion budget that he and the Legislature must agree on by June 15 to avoid legislative pay being docked. Since that provision has been in effect, the Legislature hasn’t missed yet.
Stay tuned to see what happens with housing legislation once the budget is settled.