The Pleasanton Planning Commission has approved a developer's plan to build a three-story commercial center and apartment complex at 273 Spring St. despite opposition from the Pleasanton Downtown Association (PDA) that wants only retail businesses on the site.
Architect Galen Grant of FCGA Architecture told commissioners that the complex will replace an old single story building that sits far back on the property and once was home to the Valley Humane Society. The crumbling front parking lot on Spring Street would be leveled and become part of a new 4,074-square-foot two-story commercial and office building with a 2,015-square-foot three story attached apartment building housing four residential units in the rear.
A fifth apartment would also be built on top of a section of the commercial and office building.
Although some planning commissioners were concerned about the size of the project for the deep, narrow property, most agreed that the project will "introduce interest and vitality to the area."
The final vote was 3-2 in favor of the development.
Laura Olson, executive director of the PDA, disagreed.
"As an organization, we feel strongly that the proposed residential units would not benefit our downtown, especially since they are located one parcel in from Main Street, the core of our commercial district," she said. "We believe this property should be utilized in a way that would enhance the overall vitality of our downtown by being developed with a majority of commercial retail space."
Vic Malatesta, owner of Vic's All-Star Restaurant on Main Street and this year's president of the PDA, agreed, signing a letter sent to city officials opposing the Spring Street project.
However, Erich Luchini, Pleasanton's associate planner, said the project is consistent with the land use designation for the Spring Street site and would provide new commercial and office space to serve residents and businesses in the city's market area.
"Staff believes the proposed project is also consistent with the General Plan (and) will introduce more activity . . . in the downtown that would create a transition between the commercial and residential parts of downtown," he said.
In a 46-page report prepared for the commission, Luchini also stated that by rezoning the Spring Street property to allow the mixed use development, developers will be able to build a mixed use building the meets the guidelines of the Downtown Specific Plan.
Grant, the project's architect, said the three story apartment section of the new building will be placed far back on the site, barely visible from Spring or Main streets. Both the commercial and residential sections of the new building will have elevators with two-car garages for each of the five apartments.
Pleasanton architect Charles Huff also endorsed the project.
"This site has included two businesses that failed," he said. "The city was offered the land for a public parking lot and said no. Now we have a developer who has gone way beyond the city's requirements to please city staff and this should be approved."
Asked by Planning Commissioner David Nagler why the PDA opposes the project, Olson said the residential component was the organization's main concern.
"We're concerned with complaints from residents downtown about late hour noise," she responded. "We are a downtown and don't want more residents coming in who might complain."
The decision by the Planning Commission to approve the project will be considered again by the City Council on Jan. 19.