SummerHill switches to condos for its Pleasanton apartment project

Cuts plans for 177 rental units to 94 ownership condos

In a move that may indicate the Pleasanton rental housing market is becoming saturated, a developer has canceled plans for a controversial 177-unit, multistory complex on West Las Positas Boulevard, switching to a 94 ownership condominium development instead.

SummerHill Housing Group has won the City Council's approval for the condos as part of a 16-building complex on a 6-acre site at 5850 W. Las Positas Blvd., across from Hart Middle School.

Kevin Ebrahimi, vice president of development for SummerHill Homes/SummerHill Apartment Communities of Palo Alto, said the new plan replaces the larger development that brought loud protests earlier this year from residents in the Parkside community across the Arroyo Mocho that is directly behind the SummerHill property.

The council approved the new plan in a 4-1 vote with Councilman Jerry Pentin voting against it. He also voted against the earlier plan, insisting that the SummerHill project have access to a trail that could be built behind the development.

Parkside residents, represented by George Bowen, successfully opposed that plan, arguing that there's already a trail behind their homes and a second one isn't needed. Bowen said owners of homes backing onto the arroyo already face nighttime noise and some vandalism by unruly hikers on that trail.

But while opposed to the larger apartment project, Bowen told the council Tuesday that SummerHill representatives have met with the Parkside owners, agreeing to a number of suggestions made to soften noises from the new complex and protect trees and other vegetation on that side of the arroyo.

Others on the council, including Mayor Jerry Thorne, praised SummerHill for downsizing its development plans.

"We're now looking at half the traffic, half the school impact," said Councilwoman Karla Brown.

Councilwoman Kathy Narum agreed.

"This is a positive change from 177 apartments to a development with 94 for-sale condominiums," she said. "That means less water needs along with all the rest."

The SummerHill project's 16 buildings will be positioned to provide a nearly continuous street frontage with small open spaces and the buildings wrapped around a larger oval-shaped open green area and tot lot. The two-story buildings will be 29 feet high, with the three-story buildings rising to 41 feet.

The project will include 10 two-bedroom units measuring 1,214 square feet; 70 three-bedroom units measuring 1,530-1,836 square feet, and 14 four-bedroom units measuring slightly more than 2,000 square feet. Some of the buildings will feature private patios and balconies, although there will be no swimming pool in the complex.

SummerHill has agreed to make 10 condominium units in its complex affordable as workforce and lower-income housing in accordance with a city formula, and will also pay $122,452 into the city's Lower Income Housing Fee (LIHF) in lieu of providing the full 20% of its condo units as required.

SummerHill expects to start construction early next year with the first new owners moving in later in the year or in early 2017.

In other action Tuesday, the City Council approved a resolution stopping all planning work on an East Side Specific Plan. It thanked those who have been members of a task force for their discussions over the last three years, and vowed to make any future planning effort for the 1,100-acre East Side part of a council priority issue, with public notice to be given at that time.

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Like this comment
Posted by Karen
a resident of Parkside
on Jun 19, 2015 at 8:38 am

Congratulations Council on a job well done.

7 people like this
Posted by Member
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Jun 19, 2015 at 9:21 am

When will the city actually require developers to provide 20% low income housing? I keep seeing developers paying the City in Lieu of providing the much needed affordable housing... Where is that money going? When will low income people in Pleasanton get the needed helping hand?

2 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 19, 2015 at 12:50 pm

@member - see City of Pleasanton's website for information on residental housing Web Link . The website does not explain the funding or budget process but at least it gives information to people who need a helping hand.
Glad that Summerhill, Town Council, and Planning Commission corrected the error of their ways and listened to the people.

2 people like this
Posted by Jtjh
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jun 19, 2015 at 1:53 pm

I guess there's no possibility that this development was always the true plan? :-)

It's not unusual for developers seeking planning approval to use their own version of the 'Russian front' negotiation strategy.

Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Parkside
on Jun 24, 2015 at 12:19 am

We still should not build one more unit without building more schools, and working on traffic. I feel very sorry for the families that have to take their elementary kids to two schools each day.

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

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