In a super-short 48-minute-long meeting Tuesday night, the Pleasanton City Council rezoned downtown site for combined residential and commercial uses, heard an update on the city's continued water conservation efforts and still squeezed in 11 public comments, mostly about efforts to call for a referendum to overturn its recent approval of a housing development on Lund Ranch II.
In its major action, the council voted unanimously to allow developer Financial Investors to convert an historic family residence at 377 St. Mary St. for a proposed business that could include a small restaurant, ice cream shop, coffeehouse and a bakery.
The area in front of the home and possibly along its Peters Avenue side would be rebuilt as an outdoor public patio.
Fireside Investors' representatives said an old garage behind the house will be torn down to make way for the construction of three 2,400-square-foot, three-story town homes on the property. They will face Peters with the development extending north to a parking lot and building that serves the headquarters of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce.
The development will result in the removal of four Peters Avenue parking spaces to accommodate the driveways leading to the three new homes.
At the start of Tuesday night's meeting, Bill Wheeler, owner and CEO of Black Tie Transportation , and Allen Roberts of Grey Eagle Court led off remarks on issues ranging from development on Johnson Drive to the Lund Ranch housing development
Wheeler, who speaks frequently at city and civic forums, again asked the council to hold back on rezoning property along Johnson Drive the could accommodate a new Costco membership store. A city task force is currently looking at possible uses for the largely vacant site, once home to a Clorox research center that has since been torn down.
Roberts, a sponsor of efforts to force the council to hold a referendum on its recent approval of the Lund Ranch development, said the planned development would violate Measure PP, a voter-approved measure that bans the construction of homes on hillside.
Other speakers supported Roberts, although many complained about tactics being employed by paid individuals who are seeking signatures on petitions calling for the referendum. They cited high-pressure efforts that include "in your face" approaches at last Saturday's Farmers Market and what they called "deceitful" forms they were asked to sign purportedly about other issues, but actually backing the referendum.
The pro-referendum backers have until Feb. 5 to submit petitions signed by at least 10% of registered Pleasanton voters.
Daniel Martin, Pleasanton's utility superintendent, closed the brief meeting with a favorable report on water conservation.
Speaking in a nearly empty council chamber after other speakers left when their remarks were completed, Martin said residents and businesses continue to conserve drinking water despite recent and ongoing heavy rains.
"The city achieved a 27.8% reduction in water use during all of 2014 and 37.7% last year," Martin said. "That amounted to savings impacts of 1.65 billion gallons of water in 2014 and 2.23 billion last year for a savings of 3.88 gallons."
He said the statewide snowpack is holding at 10.2 inches of water equivalent, which represents 105% of the average snowpack for this time of winter. A year ago, the snowpack measured at just 50%.
But despite the snowpack, the major water reservoirs are storing far less water this year than their late-December historical averages, according to Martin.
"Considering the encouraging early snowpack data and future rain and snowpack projections, we are recommending continuing the temporary suspension of the excess use penalties," Martin said.
The City Council agreed, with plans to look again at water shortage issues in March.