City planners OK rezoning 19 more acres in Hacienda Business Park for housing

Those there now oppose adding more residents

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.

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Like this comment
Posted by ali
a resident of another community
on Oct 2, 2009 at 2:06 pm

Developers won and they just want to make more money.

Like this comment
Posted by Curious
a resident of Del Prado
on Oct 2, 2009 at 3:36 pm

@ Ali - I do not see your point. So the alternative would be to build more commercial buildings to sit empty with all the existing empty commercial buildings in the Hacienda.

Like this comment
Posted by Jon H
a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Oct 2, 2009 at 10:39 pm

Yes, those dvelopers who wnat to make money won as opposed to those developers who don't want to make money. Its either residential or business, wither way, somebody needs to make money or there is no reason to build.

Like this comment
Posted by Figgy
a resident of Valencia
on Oct 5, 2009 at 9:21 am

What this report didn't mention is that 19 residents spoke at the Planning Commission hearing opposing the rezoning. Also there were about 100 residents attended the hearing and they all strongly oppose this rezoning plan, even though not all of them got the chance to speak out.

Some of the concerns from the local residents are:
1. Can the already over-crowded pleasanton schools facilitate the potential students?
2. What is the impact on the traffic?
3. What extra resources such as firefighters and policies are needed to provide service to the new development?

No studies have been done to address any of these questions. Yet the planning commission has decided to move forward to approve the plan, which the local residents strongly oppose.

Like this comment
Posted by Pacifico
a resident of Valencia
on Oct 5, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Ali: The alternative is to build nothing before the city has concrete plans on how it will cope with more than 1,500 children that will be added to the neighborhood as a result of the new residential buildings.

Like this comment
Posted by Pacifico
a resident of Valencia
on Oct 5, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Curious: The alternative is to build nothing before the city has concrete plans on how it will cope with more than 1,500 children that will be added to the neighborhood as a result of the new residential buildings.

Like this comment
Posted by Troy
a resident of Hacienda Gardens
on Oct 5, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Dear Pleasanton Weekly,
While the article was factual in its content, it left out key aspects of the meeting. Perhaps, because the writer was not as impassioned as most of the residents. I was at that meeting, and every speaker was against this development. And while the planning commission appeared concerned, and even asked some poignant questions, it seemed they all strayed from the key issues raised by the speakers when it came time to raise a motion and vote. To write about only a few points of what was over 20 sited at the meeting; the residents were promised a committee to investigate the impact of such a large development last year to which they were told that could be started as early as the next morning (last year). As of the meeting, nothing had been accomplished on this issue. The legal team present at the meeting (clearly "for" the development) announced it would be little to no impact to the surrounding community. There were no facts to back this up and residents were quick to protest the statement, that the parks were already full and some have to wait in line to use the park facilities. With the addition of at least several hundred kids, there were two high school students with the concern to attend the meeting that made statements that their Pleasanton schools were already overflowing. One stated she was in a class of approximately 40 students, and several had to sit on the floor. She was concerned about what bringing in additional students would do to an already overburdened school system. Gee, does anyone come to Pleasanton for the schools?

It was also brought up by one of the speakers that this project didn’t actually have to be built, the only action legally required was to properly zone a parcel for the high density housing – something that was never mentioned to the people. I thank the one speaker at that meeting that had the time to read and understand the legal jargon.

And after hearing this and so much more, the planning committee moved forward with the motion for two of the three buildings. It seemed as if they had decided their agenda prior to the meeting’s start.

I see this gearing up as a battle between common sense vs. local politics and development money. Translation; a very long, uphill battle where common sense can evade otherwise intelligent people.

This development needs to happen somewhere else in Pleasanton as it would upset the fragile existence of the existing, multiple micro-communities already sharing resources.
Troy Grooms
Pleasanton Resident

Like this comment
Posted by Lori
a resident of Avila
on Oct 7, 2009 at 2:47 pm

Do we want to turn ourselves into Dublin? Look at all the overgrowth they have had recently. What about our schools? Arent we already impacted? I'm against more any apartment building in Plstn. We dont have the school space, or room for more traffic. I pay I high price to live in Plstn for a reason. Apts at these sights, or any other sights, in Plstn will not be good for our quiet community or our children. No on rezoning!!!

Like this comment
Posted by SLi
a resident of Valencia
on Oct 18, 2009 at 11:43 pm

We need to be more creative in planning Pleasanton's future -- Turning the business park to Dublin alike (meaning high-density condo's) is the worst plan for Pleasanton -- everyone in Pleasanton will end up paying for the new development if the lots become high-density residential buildings. This financial/social burden on everyone includes schools, public transitions, public services, police, fire, hospital, parks, roads ... you name it.

Instead of high-density residential buildings, we should solicit opinions from all residents what facility is the best one suit for Pleasanton. An Art center for the tri-valley? A kid's muesium? An education center on green energy or future technology? A wine-tasting gallery for the entire bay area? Anything adding culture meaning to Pleasanton, making Pleasanton standing out in the country and in the world, and bringing long term revenue to Pleasanton, is better than a big box housing thousands of people who only consume resources.

I have great respect for leaders in the history of City Pleasanton who made Pleasanton a beautiful Gem in the bay area. We look upon the current leaders to set up a vision for Pleasanton for at least 20-50 years.

Like this comment
Posted by Keep asking Good Questions
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Oct 19, 2009 at 5:35 pm

It's nice to see so many people interested in this subject-rightly so when it comes to the school issue.
These high density projects are great for the developers (they get to build and sell something!) but lousy for the the community as a whole due to the way money trickles down to the school district.
These projects produce kids but not the needed funds to build the schools. The state requires very little in the way of developer fees for high density housing ($2.00ish per square foot)versus the city who asks builders to fork over over $7.00 per square foot for single family structures. While it may sound like you could potentially do better fee wise the more units you have, that has not historically been found to be true as the calculations for high denisity square footage are fuzzy and easily to manipulate.

Even with the high fees PUSD is collecting currently they tell us they're broke and can't afford to finish the high school expansions let alone build the 10th elementary school they've been promising for years. How are we to add all these new students from this Hacienda project when there'll be even less money coming in?

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