The Pleasanton Planning Commission has recommended that two large commercially-zoned properties in Hacienda Business Park be rezoned for condominiums and apartments to meet the state's insistence that more mid-priced and affordable housing be built here.
The action came after an estimated 70 residents of residential units already in Hacienda filled the City Council chambers, most of them expressing opposition to the zoning change.
Some of the 20 speakers who addressed the commission at its public hearing said the area already is over-built with homes and apartments and that it lacks basic services, such as retail stores, an elementary school and enough public parks.
But planning commissioners endorsed the proposal by city planners as a good step toward meeting housing numbers in the mid-to-low-income range that state housing authorities wants Pleasanton to build to accommodate its growing workforce.
"The sites that were rezoned are only part of the Planned Unit Development modification process," explained Janice Stern, a Pleasanton principal planner. "There are no development proposals for these sites which with the new zoning could accommodate up to 523 multi-family units."
The sites rezoned are an 11-acre parcel at the southeast corner of Owens Drive and Willow Road, owned by W.P. Carey, and another 8.2-acre site at the north corner of Hacienda and Gibraltar drives, owned by BRE.
The Planning Commission rejected the city staff's proposal to rezone 12.4 acres next to Roche Molecular Systems to await further consideration of land use changes for other segments of Hacienda Business Park.
City Manager Nelson Fialho said the first step was to rezone enough land to meet the needs of the city's housing element, which is under review by the state. The next step will be to set up a task force to more broadly review zoning and residential needs in the business park, which is expected to happen next month when the council will be asked to approve the rezoning recommendations by the Planning Commission.
Stern said the task force also will query those who attended last week's public hearing before determining what additional amenities need to be added in Hacienda.
Last year, Carey, BRE and Roche discussed their long-range plans for developing the three sites they wanted rezoned before a joint workshop meeting of the City Council and Planning Commission. At the time, the developers planned a mix of market rate and affordable housing units, with one area planned exclusively for below-market units.
Council members Matt Sullivan and Cindy McGovern questioned the plan to cluster affordable units, pointing out that Pleasanton's housing policies have always tried to disperse housing for lower-income residents, usually in homes and apartments indistinguishable from market rate housing. The council also expressed its concern that the developers' plans failed to include any retail stores, which planners said are nearby in other Hacienda locations.
None of the developers was at the Planning Commission hearing, which was limited to discussing only the zoning changes. No actual development plans are under consideration.
When the Hacienda Business Park was originally developed in the early 1980s, it primarily consisted of office uses. Since then, more than 730 acres of the park have been turned into mixed-use residential.