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New Home Depot goes to council Tuesday

Store would anchor retail center at Bernal-Stanley

Fresh on the heels of back-to-back public hearings that filled the City Council chambers, another packed meeting is expected Tuesday when the council considers a plan by Home Depot to build a second Pleasanton store at Bernal Avenue and Stanley Boulevard.

The proposed Home Depot would be part of a major retail center proposed for the 14.7-acre site across from McDonald's. It would be developed by Regency Centers, a commercial development firm that wants also to open a Longs Drugs and other smaller stores, including a Starbucks coffee shop.

Regency's proposal already faces fierce opposition from a citizens' group called Stop Pleasanton Gridlock, a leading advocacy group that favored the extension of Stoneridge Drive to El Charro Road two weeks ago. The council approved a motion to keep that extension in the new General Plan, now being updated.

But the group wants the council to nix the Home Depot plan, arguing that "a big box store doesn't belong in the middle of a residential area, three miles from freeway access."

"We do not need 20 semi-trucks a day delivering propane tanks and lumber barreling through inner city streets creating noise and safety concerns, and while we are sleeping!" said Nancy Allen, who heads up the citizens' group. "These trucks will come from all areas of the city: Sunol, Stoneridge, Valley, Santa Rita and First Street. Also, there is no guarantee that the Johnson Drive store won't be closed in the future. If it does close, all Pleasanton Home Depot customers will have to drive across town to get to the new store location at Stanley."

Included in the handouts being distributed by Stop Pleasanton Gridlock are copies of an email purported to be from Mayor Jennifer Hosterman sent to an unidentified constituent who had complained about truck noise on Valley Avenue near her home.

"I don't know what to tell you," Hosterman wrote. "Either the traffic has increased such that you are so bothered that you need to consider a move, or not. In either case, the city of Pleasanton has bent over backwards to accommodate your ongoing questions."

In a PowerPoint presentation prepared for Tuesday night's meeting, the Gridlock group will cite reports obtained from the police department that trucks are allowed to travel on Pleasanton streets that are the most direct route to their destination. A Safeway truck driver told the group that he travels from a Livermore Safeway store to Pleasanton using Stanley, Valley and Santa Rita, which makes the trip 2-3 times shorter than by using I-580.

In emails to residents throughout Pleasanton, Allen and her group hopes to rally opponents to attend the council meeting and voice their concerns.

The Planning Commission approved Regency's development plan in a 4-1 vote last December, with Commission Chairwoman Anne Fox casting the only dissenting vote. She said large retail stores such as home Depot should be built closer to freeways.

Home Depot and other retail operations at the proposed Regency development would produce roughly $1 million in tax revenue for the city.

Don MacKenzie and Pete Knoedler of Regency said the Bernal-Stanley store would actually reduce cross-town traffic by attracting customers on Pleasanton's east side and from Livermore who now travel to the home improvement store's facility on Johnson Drive. Regency also would pay for added traffic lanes and traffic signals on Bernal and Stanley. Delivery trucks would be required to serve the new store by using Isabel Road in Livermore to Stanley, and then traveling south to the retail center.

Regency was scheduled to make its case before the council last February, but postponed its public hearing to await traffic studies, that have now been completed.

The council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Civic Center, 200 Old Bernal Ave.

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