Guest Opinion: Say No to unnecessary growth


Pleasanton residents have repeatedly shown overwhelming support for slow, balanced growth.

The city is preparing to approve a change to its General Plan that could include 1,292 more high-density housing units than mandated by the state. We question the wisdom of doing so. What's wrong with that? Plenty.

As the City Council prepares to adopt an update to its Housing Element, the city is at a crossroad and it's not metaphoric. It is important that the community recognizes that the city is approaching or already surpassed the tipping point of sustainability in terms of water quality and supply, waste water treatment and export, and adequate school facilities.

The unavoidable reality is that we are currently severely impacted by enforced water conservation that may get much worse, uncertain climate change impacts, unfunded regional growth mandates, sewer system limitations and more.

Every Pleasanton school campus significantly exceeds the enrollment recommendations identified in the Pleasanton General Plan; all campuses are also seriously overcrowded by state standards. There is currently no means of accommodating new student growth, without passing new local taxes.

In the past decade, while focusing on regional housing and transportation dictates, have we reached the limits of the most important requirements for sustainable growth and maintaining the quality of our lives?

Potential amendments to Pleasanton's General Plan could allow for up to 20% residential growth in the next nine years. Why plan for growth when we are already required to cut back water use 25%? West Los Positas Boulevard will turn into a high-density housing corridor. Discussions have started again about injecting treated sewer water into the ground water basin. Are you ready to drink treated sewage water?

What is Pleasanton's limit on sustainable growth, based on water supply, treated sewage waste water disposal capability, and school facilities? How many more residential units and commercial uses can we add until we reach unsustainable levels that severely impact the limits of critical infrastructure and our quality of life? Don't forget we also face the future impacts of an uncertain East-Side Specific Plan.

These questions must be addressed before any new update to the Housing Element should be considered and there is time for the Council to reverse the current zoning for 1,292 high-density housing units that exceed regional housing requirements.

What's the hurry? Is Pleasanton still the City of Planned Progress, or not? Let your Council members hear from you, E-mail them at Attend the Sept. 2 City Council meeting. Watch on CTV or online, and visit for more information.

Editor's note: Tom Pico was elected to the Pleasanton City Council in 1992 and served two four-year terms. In 2000, he won his first term as mayor, and was re-elected by a wide margin in 2002. Although he was eligible to seek re-election again, he chose to step down as mayor in 2004.

Matt Sullivan served eight years on the Pleasanton Planning Commission before being elected to the City Council in 2004, where he also served eight years.


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Posted by Mark
a resident of Parkside
on Jul 24, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Thank you for the opinion piece but we needed it months/years ago as we have been fighting this growth problem that long.

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 24, 2014 at 4:12 pm

it's waaaaaaaaaaaaay impossible to slow the growth...tens of thousands of folks are crossing the US borders daily and there is no reasonable can voters possibly trust that their elected officials care...duh

plutonia needs the new construction to house all the newcomers...not just citizens...

i appreciate the efforts of thousands of children to find new homes and a country that will help them meet their basis survival's the right thing to do...BUENOS DIAS AMIGOS!

what's happening with the housing frenzy is reflective of what is happening in other arenas of your lives and nationally...PLUS, what elected officials does not enjoy wasting you hard earned $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$?

it's mostly about loss of local control and nationally elected officials who care less/very little about your survival concerns...they prefer a cutie pie sound bite, exposure in the press, and learning the most current/waaaaaay in double talk! tee hee...

most elected officials enjoy posing with the voters but only if you pay $1,000 a shot!!!

BUENOS DIAS VECINOS/Neighbors! tee hee hee...jajaja! VIVA!


i rest my case...

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Posted by Danbo
a resident of Civic Square
on Jul 24, 2014 at 7:08 pm

Pleasanton is a great town in the middle of a state with great weather and high paying jobs. When you have those things, you will get growth with no way to stifle it. In 5 years, I went from paying $1000 for rent to $2000 and have been told that it will probably be $2500 at next lease. When interns make 6 figure incomes, they live in nice places. I have made my peace with leaving the home I have known for 30 years. Everything changes. Time to move somewhere else where the town isn't so great and the weather not so nice and the pay not so good. It's just the way it goes.

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Posted by William Tell
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2014 at 7:57 pm

Yeah, but where can you live more cheaply with only a 1.7% African American population? Know what I mean? Tell me that isn't why most civilized Americans don't want to live in Pleasanton?

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Dublin
on Jul 24, 2014 at 8:24 pm

Not in the too distant future there will be more people of color living in Plutonia and the United States of America.

yup...folks from all over Mexico/Central & South America, the Carribean; African Americans and immigrants of the African Diaspora; and Asians of every possible size, shape and color! Hundreds of languages and customs will prevail and not be erased! Foods will be wonderful to munch on! Clothing styles will change and the America that you luv today will be a distant memory.

but wait, how will Plutonia look? YOU TELL ME!

Like this comment
Posted by Me Too
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2014 at 11:45 pm

Horrible opinion piece. First: "Seriously overcrowded by state standards" - there is no state standard for school occupancy. Second: "Are you ready to drink treated sewage water?" - Yes, there is no scientific test that says treated sewage water is any worse (and sometimes actually better) than any current source that our city uses. Third: the water shortage and requested cutback on usage is not a Pleasanton thing, it is and entire state of CA thing (especially northern CA). To being that argument to the city level is ridiculous at best...

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Posted by Water shortage will be our future
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 25, 2014 at 5:08 pm

I am always amazed when a person criticizes an article's content yet offers no facts. For example to Me Too:

Treated sewer water is not cleaner than treated ground water. Recycled water has only been approved for non-potable uses like landscaping because traces of chemicals stay in the water and are not removed by the typical recycled water processes. "The water product itself contains trace remnants of pathogens and chemical residue, as well as hormones and vestiges of pharmaceutical products. These remnants within reclaimed wastewater present a potential danger to humans and the environment." Ref: Northeastern University Law Journal website: Web Link which includes sites for the toxicology reports and conclusions.

Too many people and too few resources like clean water is the problem.

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Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 25, 2014 at 5:44 pm

Water Shortage,

I agree with you, treated sewage has Pharmaceutical trace chemicals.

Pleasanton water department flushes their storage system several times monthly. The flushing is due to Nitrates (Bacteria) in the storage system.
The flushing is necessary to maintain safe drinking water.

The monthly flushing amounts to 2.7 million gallons year.

Like this comment
Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2014 at 7:54 pm

"Available technology can reduce chemical and microbial contaminants to levels comparable to or lower than those present in many current drinking water supplies"

Web Link

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

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