It's been said that a conversation is an open dialogue as opposed to a monologue between two people. Having an open and transparent dialogue is a basic obligation of government, and one I take seriously.
The give and take between Pleasanton residents and business owners and those of us you have elected to serve is an open dialogue that develops over time. As messy as the give-and-take can sometimes be, transparent dialogue is the bedrock of democracy.
We are having such a dialogue with the proposed Johnson Drive Economic Development Zone (EDZ) right now. The rezoning proposal is intended to spur investment in roughly 40 acres of mostly under-utilized vacant land situated along Johnson Drive near I-680 and Stoneridge Drive.
The idea of exploring a Johnson Drive EDZ was endorsed by the City Council in 2014 because rezoning the mostly industrially-zoned property for commercial purposes could allow for a wider, more modern range of uses.
If the land is rezoned, the goal would be to allow the area to transform into a thriving commercial corridor that capitalizes on its location at the intersection of the I-580 and I-680 freeways, creates more opportunities for desirable new uses and services in the community, diversifies our economic portfolio and generates roughly $2 million annually in new tax revenue.
The city is in the midst of a detailed exploration of the benefits and challenges of creating an EDZ along Johnson Drive.
It's true that Costco and two hotels have expressed an interest. Costco has signed a letter of intent with the property owner, which does not guarantee approval unless the City Council first votes to rezone the land no projects are proposed at this time. Issues to be resolved prior to any council approval of the EDZ include mitigating traffic and air quality issues and the cost of infrastructure.
Since the conversation started in 2014, the city commissioned a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (DSEIR), a typical step in any land-use planning process. The public comment period for that document was extended well beyond the required 45 days to ensure everyone had a say.
The Planning Commission held a public comment hearing to give and take comments on the DSEIR, and city staff held two community meetings, which were advertised through direct mail, newspaper ads, on Twitter, Facebook and Nextdoor.com. Staff also posted fliers at public facilities and placed notices on the city's website to get the word out.
Currently, staff is in the process of drafting responses to the numerous public comments received so far and finalizing an economic study to augment the work already undertaken. The city will be making this new information available to the public for further review and conversation.
After that, there will be a joint Planning Commission and City Council meeting, slated for sometime in April, and I look forward to continuing the dialogue which hopefully will remain civil and respectful in keeping with our Community of Character traits.