News


Pleasanton Council OKs plan to allow another 2,200 high-density housing units here

Action meets court order to bring more mixed-use rentals to Pleasanton for moderate-to-lower income tenants

Facing a packed meeting room but with almost no objections, the Pleasanton City Council approved a final plan Wednesday night that will allow 73 acres in various parts of the city to be rezoned for high density housing.

The two- and three-story apartment complexes would provide "affordable" housing on 11 separate building sites scattered around the city.

The council will ratify its vote, as required by law, at a second reading of the new housing ordinance at a special meeting at 7 p.m. next Tuesday in its Civic Center council chambers. The public will then have 30 days to file any legal objections before the final document becomes part of the city's General Plan and is filed with both the Alameda Superior Court, which ordered the added housing in Pleasanton, and the state's Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) which concurred.

The actions by both the City Council Wednesday and the city's Planning Commission earlier followed the court's ruling that declared the city's 1996 housing cap of allowing no more than 29,000 homes and apartments here to be illegal.

When the additional affordable housing units are built, along with some 650-800 units already approved in the Hacienda Business Park, the total number of homes and apartments in Pleasanton will add up to about the 29,000-unit maximum that voters in 1996 wanted. Another wave of new housing requirements expected to be imposed by the state in 2014, however, will force Pleasanton to allow far more than 29,000 units.

Wednesday's action also marked a turning point in the city's long politically-motivated policy of slow growth that has been in place since the election of Mayor Ben Tarver in 1982. Mayor Tarver, who died Jan. 4, 2010, was Pleasanton's first "slow growth" mayor, actively supporting measures to slow down new home construction and an outspoken advocate of saving open space and the Pleasanton hills from business and residential development.

As mayor, he championed the 1996 housing cap ordinance that was approved by more than 80% of Pleasanton voters. He was succeeded in office by Tom Pico, and then by the city's current Mayor Jennifer Hosterman, both of whom also supported the housing cap at the time it was approved by voters.

Forced by a court order and state housing authorities to drop the cap and to now vote for a pro-growth rezoning measure, Hosterman and the other council members find themselves in charge as Pleasanton re-opens the housing growth tap. With a population based on the 2010 Census of just under 70,000, adding another 3,000 housing units, which the council has now approved and with most of the units likely to have at least two-bedrooms, could bring another 9,000 residents to Pleasanton based on an estimated three-people for each new rental unit.

Council members, recognizing the overall population increase their action will mean, expressed concern over its impact on schools.

At one time, the Pleasanton school district planned to build a 10th elementary school on a 13-acre site it owns on Vineyard Avenue to serve Ruby Hill and newer home developments in the vicinity. That plan was dropped for lack of funds. However, among the 9,000 new residents projected to fill the new affordable housing projects are expected to be a large percentage of younger couples with school-age children, and council members noted that more elementary schools may be needed.

"A lot of these new units will be occupied by younger families, so we need to understand the possibly dire needs our school district will face (by this rezoning action)," said Councilwoman Cheryl Cook-Kallio. "We need to work with the district to identify the sites where those needs will be,"

Councilwoman Cindy McGovern agreed, asking city staff to make sure guidelines are in place to provide space for news schools and to make sure room for playgrounds are part of the high density housing complexes to serve the children who will live there.

"The number one reason people move here is for our excellent schools, and we don't want to lose that," McGovern said.

City Manager Nelson Fialho said that while he and others on the city staff will work with the school district in analyzing the impact, the city and school district are separate governing agencies with no authority to co-mingle funds. He also pointed out that the court-ordered additional housing gave the city design review authority, but stipulated that few other requirements, such as special school construction fees, could be imposed.

Even though the council chambers were filled for Wednesday night's council meeting, only 10 spoke during the public comments portion of the meeting, and only one objected to the plan. That was Pat Costanzo, who represented the Kiewit-owned acreage northeast of the Valley Avenue-Stanley Boulevard intersection. Kiewit had asked to be included as a site for rezoning to allow high density housing, but was excluded pending the city's study of an East Site Specific Plan.

Other speakers said they would have liked to see changes in either the location of some of the sites or the numbers of housing units those sites could accommodate, but otherwise applauded the council's final considerations.

"Collectively, this is a very comprehensive piece of work," said Scott Raty, president of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce. "Let's now move forward by preparing and adopting a specific plan for the east side so that we'll never be in the position again where we're forced to make housing decisions by the state or its (Department of Housing and Community Development)."

It's been more than year, since October 2010, that Pleasanton officials have been addressing the city's share of the region's housing needs, which both the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the HCD have long said was inadequate.

In fact, critics addressed the city's lack of so-called workforce housing shortly after the 1996 housing cap was approved. The HCD insisted that the city rezone more land to accommodate the city's need for affordable housing nearly a decade ago, and eventually reversed its approval of the city's housing element plan because the city failed to meet those requirements. A local affordable housing group, Citizens for a Caring Community, has repeatedly asked the council to provide more housing for those who can't afford the cost of most homes and apartments here.

One of its members, former Councilwoman Becky Dennis, told the council Wednesday that the city should raise its requirement for affordable units from 15% to at least 20% for each new development so as to reduce the need for more housing requirements by the state.

In a letter to the HCD, Dennis and Pat Belding, the Caring Community organization's chairwoman, urged the state agency to raise the city's requirement for housing units for the very-low income group much higher.

Citing the city's zoning approval for an affordable housing complex in Hacienda Business Park, the organization's letter stated: "Zoning for an additional 305 (very low income) units should be added back for a total unmet need of 844 VLO residential units."

Still, Urban Habitat, an Oakland-based affordable housing coalition that successfully pursued a suit again Pleasanton over both its housing cap and unmet affordable housing needs, and the HCD appear to be satisfied with Wednesday's council actions. It's likely that after next Tuesday's ratification and the 30-day waiting period for legal objections, that city staff can proceed with the actual rezoning actions.

Although the city, itself, will not build any housing, the rezoning will enable developers to have an easier time in obtaining permits for multi-family, two- and three-story developments on the properties.

In the council's latest action, the sites will be rezoned to accommodate 1,884 apartment units at a ratio of 30 units per acre, with 400 more at 40 units per acre. Most apartment structures in Pleasanton are in the range of 20-25 units per acre.

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Comments

Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2012 at 10:43 am

A link to the proposed sites map please?


Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 6, 2012 at 11:45 am

Web Link

This is the agenda, with links to attachments.


Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 6, 2012 at 11:47 am

This is the attachment with maps: Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 6, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Ben Tarver is certainly turning over in his grave.

The rest of us long time residents are shedding a tear for what once was a nice little town.

As one commentor said earlier, bye bye Pleasanton.

Next in line will be Stongeridge Mall II coming to you after Alameda county sales the fairground property.


Like this comment
Posted by Rev. James Percival
a resident of Apperson Ridge
on Jan 6, 2012 at 1:36 pm

[Removed because it did not further the conversation]


Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jan 6, 2012 at 3:25 pm

It's best to move ahead with progress rather than resisting it.

Mike


Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 6, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Progress? The type of mandates being shoved down our throats is not progress. It is the reverse of progress. It defies what makes America special.

Mike you sound like a lemming. Just merrily marching over a cliff because everyone else is.

Progress is taking the Lead out of gasoline. Progress is not packing people so tightly together that we become another black hole of Calcutta.


Like this comment
Posted by Proud attendee
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2012 at 4:34 pm

I'd like to see the final map.....the link came up thread aborted city passwords, etc,...NO info. I know it destroys the East side, so all map makers must suffer for that assult.

And please don't tell me the county is messing with the fairgrounds again (or still). Is that the doing of our illustrous new county supervisior. The Alamada County Fair in Pleasanton has been winning national award regularly for most of the last 10 years. It is absolutely the cleanest, and best attended....full of shade trees. We get the best vendors because we can draw record attendance...for 17 days.......better and longer than most STATE fairs....the only 17 day one in CA. So best vendors think it's worth their time and cost to set up here. Contra Costa has a dusty, tiny, fair of 6 days I think. Top vendors don't bother to set up there. We have a number of air cond bldgs,etc. etc A relocated fair would stoop to Contra Costa standards.
Clowns like Perata have been trying to get it in the Oakland area for years.. that would be the end of a NATIONALLY AWARD status fair. Alameda County would LOSE bigtime to RElocate the fair, and would forevermore LOSE money. A giant step to obilvion.


Like this comment
Posted by Gail
a resident of Parkside
on Jan 6, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Oh terrific. My property backs up to Site 13. Just the other side of the canal.
Do you suppose the city will be building us a nice HIGH sound wall so we don't have to look at the goings on in the back of apartment buildings.
Somehow I don't think so.
I don't know why they even allow people to speak at the council meetings. They never listen to anything anyone says. They just do what they want to do.
I've lived here since 1977, grew up in San Ramon. Have watched the building of more and more houses.
Let's see how many people we can cram into Pleasanton.


Like this comment
Posted by Pedro
a resident of Civic Square
on Jan 6, 2012 at 6:52 pm

(post removed)


Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 6, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Interesting how the links at the City move around. Here is the agenda page: Web Link However, when you click on January 4, which included a series of attachments that provided the maps, the link takes you to an agenda for January 10. I've posted quite a few links and never had this problem before.


Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 6, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Looks like an "oops".


Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 6, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

You can always go to the "Home" of the City's Laserfiche website and find everything, and I mean everything. Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Wes
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Jan 7, 2012 at 12:50 am

Bad taste, Pedro. Strong racist connotations, as censors Stacey and KR so astutely point out.


Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 7, 2012 at 7:57 am

Wes, Anyone can click on "objectionable content."


Like this comment
Posted by Dianna
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 7, 2012 at 8:58 am

Does everyone understand that this is only the beginning? Pleasanton will get additional housing requirements every year.
There will be the equivalent of another town of all very high density on the east-side of Pleasanton. The land has not been publicly discussed yet, but if you look at the aerial it is a lot of land that will be zoned high density residential.
It is sad that no one feels it is worth speaking at the public meetings when the council majority has made up their minds.
Get ready to be asked to pass more tax measures to pay for this unmitigated growth.


Like this comment
Posted by Bill T
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Jan 7, 2012 at 4:56 pm

In the name of quality journalism, can these articles please INCLUDE A DIRECT, EASY TO ACCESS, AND UNBROKEN LINK TO THE ACTUAL REZONING MAP DISCUSSED. Thank you.


Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 7, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Bill T, I did email the City Clerk, but I don't expect any corrections to be made before Monday.


Like this comment
Posted by Teri
a resident of Foxborough Estates
on Jan 9, 2012 at 9:57 am

Go to Web Link. Select 06 Attachment 19-20-21-22 (page 2) for the map. Good luck.


Like this comment
Posted by Teri
a resident of Foxborough Estates
on Jan 9, 2012 at 10:19 am

Sorry...should have mentioned in my previous note...select 2012, then select 010412. You'll see the attachment near the bottom.


Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 9, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Come on Jeb, how many times to people have to ask that links to the pertinent city information be provided in the storyline? No mention that this is on the consent calendar and can be approved with one drop of the gavel either. From the city council agenda: "Items listed on the consent calendar are considered _routine_ in nature and may be enacted by one motion." Emphasis mine . . . how is this topic routine?

For tomorrow's meeting: Web Link

For the January 4 meeting: Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 9, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Sorry, put the above on the older of the two stories! Teri already provided the links on this thread.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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