News


Planners OK 3-story retail center/apartment complex in downtown Pleasanton

New building on Spring Street will replace crumbling parking lot, old one story structure

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.

Comments

11 people like this
Posted by Joyce
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2015 at 9:50 am

Olson's last statement is weak to say the least. One would think that those who might choose to live there would take noise level(s) into consideration prior to moving there. Too bad P-town powers-that-be didn't take up offer of making it into downtown parking facility (so needed) similar to what Livermore did on Rilroad Avenue.


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Posted by Joyce
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2015 at 9:51 am

Oops, that was supposed to be "Railroad" Avenue, Livermore.....sorry.


6 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Dec 22, 2015 at 9:52 am

This will be a great addition to the downtown. City Planning staff is absolutely correct, that adding a transition between the commercial and residential area is key to vitalize our downtown. The reason for PDA's objection seems weak. People moving to these new residences in will do so fully aware of the location and the pros and cons of living in a mixed development.


13 people like this
Posted by Eric
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 22, 2015 at 10:05 am

With all this new residential property that is being built what is the city doing for the schools that are bursting at the seams?


30 people like this
Posted by mooseturd
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 22, 2015 at 10:17 am

mooseturd is a registered user.

This new development won't use any water either.


18 people like this
Posted by Susan
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 22, 2015 at 10:23 am

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."

Get it together! We believe this property should be utilized in a way that would enhance the overall vitality of our downtown?
Why don't you figure out how to enhance what is already on Main street before you go out to the outlying streets?
Downtown Pleasanton is weak at best as it sits right now.
Why doesn't the PDA all sit in a room and figure out how to bring Main street back to vitality? Stop pinch hitting, and strategize out 10 years.
I am all for this retail center/apartment complex, fits in with the work where you live concept.


15 people like this
Posted by Evelyn & Andy
a resident of Donlon Elementary School
on Dec 22, 2015 at 10:38 am

Having only lived in Pleasanton for eight years I still consider myself a "newbie" and still get a good chuckle when comments and complaints about the downtown "noise levels" creep into the discussion.

You want noise? Try growing up in South Philly. Pleasanton (& most of the West Coast cities btw) are ghost towns in comparison.


5 people like this
Posted by Bob12
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Dec 22, 2015 at 11:20 am

There is nothing wrong with including a "little housing" in the downtown area. Many cities are realizing the benefits of have residents near the downtown and making sure that not everyone has to drive to get to downtown. Our aging baby boomers will likely love the opportunity to find a home in or near the downtown in any quality city. Years ago in the business park they found that housing within was a real asset and actually a big benefit.


2 people like this
Posted by Johnson
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Dec 22, 2015 at 11:22 am

Every square foot of new residential is killing downtown Pleasanton's chance at a real and active center of activity and vitality. Think forward, if you have 4 or 5 houses for each timy business, where is the bustling activity going to be?

By comparison with our city to the East/Livermore, their new residential is on the edge of downtown not 1/2 block away. Obviously they get it, taking away business areas is like cutting off you nose to spite your -- well you get it.

This is the 2nd plan by Eric L. the Planner - Costco is the other project he has under his stewardship. Perhaps someone in leadership should tell him "more is not better" in Pleasanton. Where is he from - Hayward or some development loving area?

By the way, what was the vote? Was it unanimous with the Planning commissioners?


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Posted by just wondering
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2015 at 12:15 pm

I believe the planning commission vote was 3-2. What's not reported here is the parking situation with this development. It isn't providing close to its parking requirements and would pay in-lieu fees on 11 parking spots I believe.


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Posted by Rob
a resident of Mohr Park
on Dec 22, 2015 at 12:30 pm

Lot is small. This barely moves the needle.


15 people like this
Posted by Ennis
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 22, 2015 at 12:56 pm

Ok, I'll make the suggestion. There is a need to be strategic about re-developing the downtown area. If retailers are to generate sales they need foot traffic- that's what pays the rent (and the extra 10% of sales), labor, PG&E, a business license, etc. In order to create foot traffic you need...parking. I was planning on a stop at Wine Steward. I drove up Main Street...no parking. True Value lot...no parking. Circled the block 4 times...no parking. Gave up and went home. How about a tastefully designed 2 level parking garage in the RT location? Centrally located. It would also provide parking for the lovely theater. With the exception of the various banks and True Value, every retailer is dependent on very limited downtown parking. Blinders off, let's think outside the box....


6 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 22, 2015 at 1:29 pm

Water, traffic and parking must not have been considered by Planning commission.They must live in Sunol.


9 people like this
Posted by P Town Pride
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 22, 2015 at 3:28 pm

I am confused on why PDA spoke out against this project there is 4074 square-feet of commercial space? This is a very narrow lot and there would no street visibility so the back spaces would be difficult to lease and not pencil out. I think more high density downtown is needed. I think they just need to have the future tenants sign a disclaimers that states that obvious regarding noise and parking.

I live down I love the noise the more activity the better. I hate the fact that Livermore, Danville and Lafayette are thriving and P Town has gone from Banks and salons to real estate office and coffee shops. If you don’t like noise or hearing people having a little fun DON’T live down town or sound proof your home purchase sound counseling ear phones or all of the above.


1 person likes this
Posted by mjarivers
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Dec 22, 2015 at 6:14 pm

mjarivers is a registered user.

4000 square foot is 40% of my residential lot.

They are proposing to build five apartments, a commercial center, a business center on 4000 square feet?

I feel squeezed at times with neighbors, traffic, noise even.

How squeezed will all of these occupants be in 4000 square feet?


2 people like this
Posted by sanity
a resident of Amador Estates
on Dec 23, 2015 at 8:55 am

Regarding noise. It has been stated that the new tenants would have to understand that there would be noise from downtown. I ask you, how many times have people moved near airports and race tracks only to complain later about the noise and lobby to have them shut down? It happens more than you think!


2 people like this
Posted by To Sanity
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 23, 2015 at 10:32 am

Yes, people move into a home, sign their disclosures for the level of noise AT THAT TIME. When a new business comes in nearby or expands, all bets are off.

To you example, when there is a significant increase in airplane traffic, the close residents have the right to complain.

So yes in a year or two the new resident's will have the right to complain, and you bet they will!

Besides, we need more businesses = not more homes in the core area.


5 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 23, 2015 at 3:01 pm

@ennis--- I'm wondering how many businesses downtown we would have to bulldoze so the "few" who can never find a parking spot within a block of downtown can have their parking garage??? 40+ years here and still no trouble finding a spot downtown, day or night, weekends and holidays, might be more than a block away but it's a great place to walk! Save our downtown


11 people like this
Posted by sanity
a resident of Amador Estates
on Dec 23, 2015 at 3:29 pm

To: "To sanity"
So what you are saying is, effectively, if one more airplane lands than was landing in the year the idiots moved in they have a right to complain? That would constitute "More" noise, would it not? This is why society continues to crumble. The endless promotion of victimhood. Here's a dose of common sense for you. "If you move next to an airport, expect noise". If you can't deal with it. Move. Don't ruin others lively hoods and destroy business because you have poor judgement. It's called "Personal Responsibility." We need a ton more of that if we are going to survive. The way things are going, my bet is that we will not.


4 people like this
Posted by airport idiots
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 23, 2015 at 5:43 pm

Noise abatement procedures often border on the unsafe or nearly deadly. If you fly out of Orange County airport you should pray that you never experience the failure of an engine just after takeoff. That's the most dangerous time for it to happen and also the most likely time. Should it happen on that insane departure procedure -- done only because of noise complaints from homes built AFTER the airport was there -- I could bet my life that people will lose theirs in the crash.

I recently flew my jet into a large airport while experiencing an inflight emergency. I asked to be cleared to a lower altitude in order to safely get the plane on the ground. The controller said no, you cannot descend due to noise restrictions. Whiners on the ground exacerbated our emergency because they did not want to hear the planes from their homes that were never there when the airport opened. I asked the controller if he understood the meaning of "emergency" and advised him that we WERE going to descend and that we could both listen to the recorded conversation at the FAA hearing.

No amount of advice about the potential for noise will ever shut these people up. Go move to Nebraska and complain about all of the corn stalks making noise in the ceaseless wind. Or just shut up. I hope the builders of this property force the owners/renters to sign an ironclad contract limiting their rights to ever complain about noise, parking or any of the other inconveniences of living downtown.


Like this comment
Posted by res
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 24, 2015 at 9:28 am

You say the airport was there first but I would guess that those houses were there before you bought your jet, or possibly before any jets were there. Sounds like you feel you feel you have a right to disturb the peace and quiet of any family since you bought an expensive jet. Perhaps it is you that should move to Nebraska as I am sure the cornfields there will not be disturbed by the noise of your jet at any hour of the day or night.


1 person likes this
Posted by sanity
a resident of Amador Estates
on Dec 24, 2015 at 9:38 am

@res: And there it is...the dumbest thing I've read all day.
You sir, are part pf the problem. Where is your evidence that the houses were there first? Who says any of us has a jet. You are making wild assumptions with absolutely no evidence of anything. I can't believe you can spout that nonsense with a straight face. Did you not learn critical thinking and logic in school?


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Posted by Ennis
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 24, 2015 at 11:26 am

Map - Happy for you and your success in finding parking. There isn't a retailer or restaurant downtown who would like to have more foot traffic to build their business and while your parking sleuthing skills appear to be outstanding, there are significantly more than a 'few' who have problems finding parking, particularly Thursday through Saturday and who would be shopping downtown on a more regular basis with improved parking(maybe try asking a few of the retailers where you shop.) As a true to form anonymous PW poster, you've managed to clearly distort what was said to the extreme to make your point. The suggestion was a single site, RTP and its parking lot, and not bulldozing multiple businesses that you are implying. Merry Christmas....


1 person likes this
Posted by MHabibi
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Dec 24, 2015 at 12:21 pm

MHabibi is a registered user.

I am not sure they think about the Water usage, traffic and waste issues. How many more buildings do we need in Pleasanton? They are building housing and commercial units on Bernal cross from the Fire department and unit on Wes LosPositos. Do these government personnel know what they are doing? When we moved to Pleasanton, I could drive anywhere without any heavy traffic. Now Santa Rita and Stoneridge looks like downtown LA. Sorry but I am really really disappointed at our city council and those decision makers. The only benefit I see is to fill up the pocket of those greedy developers! Sorry that's my feeling.


1 person likes this
Posted by MHabibi
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Dec 24, 2015 at 12:24 pm

MHabibi is a registered user.

BTW, I forgot to mention, please keep your eyes and minds open during the next elections.


Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 24, 2015 at 12:37 pm

@airport idiots: Nice try, but absolutely nothing in your post makes sense. Standard SNA departure, while unconventional, is completely safe. And your so-called "emergency" would not have been met with the response you claim; likely you're creating this stuff out of thin air, pardon the pun, to make some unknown point.


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Posted by sanity
a resident of Amador Estates
on Dec 24, 2015 at 1:22 pm

@Steve. Sorry you were unable to understand the parallel....better luck next time. Maybe have someone explain it to you?


Like this comment
Posted by AR
a resident of Canyon Creek
on Dec 26, 2015 at 1:36 pm

I own property off of Dublin Canyon Rd. I'd love to have it developed with some commercial.


4 people like this
Posted by Timothy T
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 28, 2015 at 11:05 am

Solution: Downtown needs to be declared an "Entertainment District." New residents moving into the area sign a document stating that they understand they're moving into an Entertainment District. Noise complaints are not valid except between the hours of 1am and 7am.


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

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