By Tim Hunt
Why Pleasanton lets coastal redwoods perishUploaded: Jul 22, 2021
Reviewing the notes from Pleasanton City Manager Nelson Fialho’s talk Monday I noted a few more interesting tidbits. I reported Tuesday on most of his discussion with the GraceWay Church retired men’s group.
• Relatively early on in the pandemic shutdown, the city purchased three Ultra Violet Disinfecting robots to use to keep spaces safe for its firefighters, police officers and other employees working on site during the pandemic. The robots can disinfect a room within a matter of minutes using ultra-violet light. Moving forward, Fialho expects them to be routinely used at facilities such the library and the senior center where food service at lunch time will eventually return.
• Responding to a question about coastal redwood trees that are dying—as are other trees, from the drought or other factors. We’ve seen a few mature live oaks die in our area. The redwoods are native to California, but certainly not to a warm inland valley such as the Tri-Valley area. Most were planted by developers because they are attractive and grow quickly. They also do not do well with recycled water that now is used to irrigate the Ken Mercer Sports Park. Fialho said that when the redwoods die, they are removed and replaced by a species better suited to our climate and recycled water.
• Again responding to a question: Yes there is a drought. Yes it’s bad. And yes, it will be worse next year. Residents and businesses have been asked to voluntarily conserve 15% of water year-over-year. Lake Oroville, the main reservoir for the State Water Project that serves the Livermore Valley, is under 50% of its normal capacity.
• Again responding to a question about the housing situation, he pointed out that the city unsuccessfully fought a years-long battle against a social justice housing group that sued the city because it did not have an approved housing element. Getting a housing element in the city’s General Plan approved over the next two years will be a major project because the city is expected to zone land for about 6,000 new units. He pointed out, that based on the prior experience, the city has to strive to comply. State law trumps local ordinances. Fialho pointed out that Pleasanton’s population is about 83,000 and it has 63,000 jobs, significantly more jobs that housing units. The Association of Bay Area Government looks at those numbers when it assigns housing goals. Throw in two BART stations to say nothing of the ACE train station at the fairgrounds and regional planners think the city needs to accommodate more housing. It has the opportunity to do that in East Pleasanton (the land off Busch Avenue east of Valley Avenue). There’s also reuse opportunities around Stoneridge Shopping Center and potentially in the business parks.