News


City Council meets tonight on spending $4.2 million to acquire 3.18-acre site across from library

Last piece of San Francisco-owned property could soon be ours

The City Council is expected to move forward tonight with a proposed purchase of a vacant 3.18-acre property across from the public library that the city of San Francisco has owned since the 1930s.

The proposed acquisition comes at an opportune time. City leaders are considering relocating all city-owned buildings on the other side of Old Bernal to the Bernal Community Park.

At the same time, a task force has just been appointed to consider a long-range strategic plan for downtown Pleasanton, which includes this last 3.18-acre parcel. Uses could include an ACE train/downtown parking lot, housing, a church or retail stores. It's not a done deal but the SFPUC and Pleasanton are close on a price.

San Francisco's ownership of the acreage goes back to 1930 when it acquired Spring Valley Water Works. At the time, the properties were used for ground water extraction and water was pumped for sale outside the Pleasanton area.

When the SFPUC stopped pumping from the wells there in 1949, the land was declared surplus.

Development of the property was discussed for many years with suggested land uses ranging from industrial, commercial, office and residential uses to public and quasi-public uses such as parks, golf courses, church sites and a cemetery.

In the early 1900s, San Francisco's then-Mayor Art Agnos won a bid before the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to rezone the land for 2,600 homes, along with commercial and retail developments.

That brought Pleasanton back to the bargaining table, where it persuaded San Francisco to scale back its proposal to 1,900 homes. In exchange, Pleasanton agreed to annex the land and provide full water and sewer services.

Then Greenbriar Homes and a partner seized the opportunity to help the city and the developers.

The coalition bought the 510-acre Bernal property for $126 million, working a deal with Pleasanton leaders to receive building permits for homes, apartments and retail stores on part of the land while giving the rest — 318 acres of pristine land -- to the city of Pleasanton for public use as Bernal Community Park.

But the 3.18-acre property across from the public library was inadvertently left out of the deal Greenbriar negotiated with San Francisco.

So now,, after a long and arduous history of San Francisco finally giving Pleasanton control over the Bernal property, it comes down to a final deliberation over three acres.

The council is expected to go for it tonight.

The City Council meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the Pleasanton Civic Center, 200 Old Bernal Ave.

Comments

2 people like this
Posted by Mike
a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Dec 16, 2016 at 9:36 am

Interesting article :)


1 person likes this
Posted by Austin
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Dec 16, 2016 at 9:46 am

Where is the money going to come from for this purchase and what is the parcel going to be used for???


17 people like this
Posted by res1
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Dec 16, 2016 at 9:57 am

Article says "Uses could include an ACE train/downtown parking lot, housing, a church or retail stores." IF so, then why would the city purchase it. The city should not be owning the piece of land for any of those uses.

Originally the city was thinking of this land to expand the civic center. However, now that the city is looking at the Bernal property, why are we even contemplating this? I keep getting more and more disalungioned with our city management when I see things like this.

What I predict will happen is the city will purchase the land, later say there is no 'city' need for it, and then tell the residents we must rezone it to housing so we can re-sell it and get our money back that we will need for the new library.


3 people like this
Posted by Christina
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Dec 16, 2016 at 10:39 am

Thanks for such an interesting, historical article!


8 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Stoneridge
on Dec 16, 2016 at 10:42 am

res1 - So true. The City has no use for it. Perhaps they're buying it from SF. Then they'll sit on it for a few years, and sell it at a reduced price to a connected developer, who will turn it around for a profit. This is part of our local political corruption.


9 people like this
Posted by carlos
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Dec 16, 2016 at 10:45 am

So the city has $4.2 million for a vacant lot but can't afford school buses?


Like this comment
Posted by Common Sense
a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 16, 2016 at 11:21 am

I guess we can use the city's surplus to buy us more land ;)

Better that than wasting it on other stuff like pension and what not...


1 person likes this
Posted by Common Sense
a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 16, 2016 at 11:23 am

@ carlos

Bus your own children to school and back. Don't make us pay for your children's transport.


9 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 16, 2016 at 4:34 pm

Good call "res1". It's all smoke and mirrors, they probably have a residential developer on standby waiting for the green light on that property. Starting to remind me of that church property on Busch Rd- blink twice and it's rezoned residential, now that was a "fishy" deal!! Maybe keep an eye on this one, it may rival that Ironwood back door deal. Where is that 4.2 million coming from???


11 people like this
Posted by miffed del prado
a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 18, 2016 at 8:58 am

4.2 for 3 acres sounds a bit pricey even in these times in this town especially if the town has no idea what to do with it. Also i would like to defend Carlos who suggested school buses. I come from a town where we had the big yellow and it was great. You knew when your children were coming home and how. The streets were not clogged with mothers picking up the children. Also the library and post office parking lots were not jammed with waiting parents so you could actually park in those places at 3 o clock. I had to mail some Christmas gifts Friday at 3 pm and every spot was filled with a waiting parent_even the handicapped and i am handicapped. It stunk! School buses would get my vote and i am sure someone is going to write it's a different budget category! Thank you


6 people like this
Posted by SHale
a resident of San Ramon
on Dec 18, 2016 at 9:09 am

SHale is a registered user.

Aren't school buses paid for by the school district and not the city?


6 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 18, 2016 at 12:06 pm

With the expansion of the ACE train and its current volume of riders, a parking structure is needed. Get these rider cars off the street in the surrounding neighborhoods and out of residents driveways. What is the parking plan for when the expansion takes place? The structure would be ideal for all of the downtown events as well.


5 people like this
Posted by res1
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Dec 18, 2016 at 12:57 pm

A parking structure for downtown at his location would not work out. Too far. I currently park on the railroad right of way and never have had a problem finding a parking space. People do not park there because they think it is too far to their destination. This piece of land is even further.

There is only one reason why the city would purchase this piece of land. To put more housing downtown. The current council majority wants more housing so badly, partly because of pressure from their financiers, the chamber of commerce, that they will purchase this piece of land to ensure it only goes to a developer who wants housing. If the council leaves this sale to the open market, it is possible it will be purchased for commercial, a church, etc., and then their dreams for more high density housing go away.


4 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 19, 2016 at 8:00 am

Such a clever bunch running our town, when you have realtors and developers making the decisions this is what we get, hopefully the citizens that keep voting these clowns in will someday see the light but already it's a little too late. Anybody taking bets on why the city wants the lot so bad and what they want to do with it??? Where did that 4.2 million come from???


2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 19, 2016 at 9:21 am

@MDP, thanks for a good laugh. You really think that any of the oh so special Pleasanton punks would be seen on a school bus??? Where is the status in that? If not getting a ride from mommie in her gigantic SUV they want to drive themselves in their very own 16th birthday present, a new beemer.

This town does not need more parking, the right of way is always empty. The people in this town just have no desire to get out of their cars and walk more than ten feet into the mall from that parking lot. Building more parking will not get people to downtown it will just be another structure that we all have to pay for.

Let SF keep the land. It will only be used for more housing. Pleasanton needs to pay down the pension debt and force the employees to pay their own contributions in full for all future allocations.


6 people like this
Posted by yes to parking structure
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 19, 2016 at 10:20 am

Parking structure would be perfect. the upper levels for ACE train riders so they don't have to park on our streets surrounding the tracks (I like that big time) and the lower level would be perfect for parents picking up their kids from the two schools nearby. this way they will not clog the library parking lot and double park in that lot blocking the handicap spots. Perfect idea. Lets get the ball rolling.


3 people like this
Posted by Roger Smith
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Dec 19, 2016 at 10:39 am

Not a good idea at all. Let a private developer come up with a plan and pay for it. We the citizens should not be subsidizing it.


1 person likes this
Posted by Huggy Bear
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 19, 2016 at 11:02 am

Any additional parking, including a parking structure, should be for the downtown area, period!!


4 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Gatewood
on Dec 19, 2016 at 1:45 pm

I think the space would be best used as additional parking for downtown and the ACE train. This would help keep our downtown area vibrant by providing ample downtown parking and prevent ACE train parking overflow into the surrounding neighborhoods which currently creates a big headache for the residence in that area. In addition, adequate ACE train parking would encourage more people to use the ACE train, taking cars off 680 which is like a parking lot these days during rush hour. Of course, I understand that there are many people who don't need to use 680 during rush hour and will disagree with this because there is nothing in it for them. However, if you are a homeowner, this will help grow property value by maintaining Pleasanton's reputation as a great place to live with mass transit options to SF and the south bay.


2 people like this
Posted by Huggy Bear
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 19, 2016 at 2:40 pm

I would disagree that this space would work for downtown parking, too far away.


5 people like this
Posted by The Ghost of Christmas Past
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Dec 19, 2016 at 9:52 pm

Once a parking structure goes up, old time Main Street goes down. Look at Concord, Walnut Creek and Livermore Pleasanton will become a concrete jungle like those towns. The developers are licking their greedy chops over the Fairgrounds land....(what this story over the next 10 years...racetrack golf course etc soon, soon) the last piece of old Pleasanton will rise up in stacked town-homes and condos bit by bit. Once the old-timers die there isn't any Foothill or Amador grads left to stand-up for the historical well being of a city that prides itself on its history. If you weren't or aren't from Pleasanton why would you care.


2 people like this
Posted by Matt Sullivan
a resident of Stoneridge
on Dec 20, 2016 at 9:23 am

Matt Sullivan is a registered user.

The city needs to be transparent about its goals in acquiring the last bit of San Francisco land off Old Bernal. Let’s not kid ourselves. It’s not about some undetermined “public use”, but another piece of the puzzle in the un-approved Master Plan to move civic uses off of Main Street to the Bernal Property and provide a taxpayer-subsidized gift of prime real estate to developers, downtown property moguls and, businesses. The Chamber of Commerce and developers have always had an inappropriate influence on city policy, but recently this has morphed into a powerful Growth Coalition of the city, the Chamber, and developers whose only goal seems to be money for all three at the expense of the public. This was clearly evident from the Costco emails, continues with the civic center plans, and will be codified when the new Zoning Code changes are approved by the Council that will give the ability of staff to approve projects virtually in secret that once went to the Planning Commission under full view and scrutiny of the public.

With the election of Donald Trump and the immense dangers we face as a nation it’s hard to stay engaged with local issues like this. But at its core it’s the same corrupt situation: government by and for the plutocrats. While the Pleasanton Plutocrats are small fry compared to Trump’s, they are closer to home.


2 people like this
Posted by dknute
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Dec 20, 2016 at 9:28 am

I would think the councils best move would be NOT to purchase the property at all. Why spend 4.2 mm on property that is unnecessary to the cities plan and a property that sf can really do nothing with, without the blessing of Pleasanton. It seems to be, the best move is to do nothing at all. That is, until sf comes to pleasanton with a reasonable offer, and that being the original price of 500K. This should be tabled tonight. Pleasanton should NOT be in a rush for the property.


5 people like this
Posted by Dyanne
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 20, 2016 at 9:42 am

I hope that additional HOUSING is NOT to be considered. Pleasanton is already too crowded with too much traffic as it is. Also, where does this money come from??


4 people like this
Posted by Huggy Bear
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 20, 2016 at 10:22 am

@Matt Sullivan

I'm guessing you did not vote for Donald Trump, but what does he have to do with the Bernal property? Still bitter Matt?


2 people like this
Posted by Heard they want housing on the existing library site
a resident of Danbury Park
on Dec 20, 2016 at 10:25 am

And want to build a new police station etc, so they can use the land for housing.

Probably more Instant Slums, Stack and Pack
5 and 6 storie apartment buildings with not enough communal parking on the first level, no land or garden.

Does anyone know if this is true?


3 people like this
Posted by Geez
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2016 at 10:31 am

Wasn't it the same Matt sullivan who pushed hard for this property to be rezoned to 30 units per acre back when 70 acres needed to be rezoned to high density housing? Many of the same people he's now accusing of being in pockets of developers disagreed with him and refused to go along with him. Funny how he's now accusing them of wanting housing there!

Doesn't it make sense for the city to control this prime piece of property that's a gateway to our downtown rather than having SF sell it off to some developer? The downtown specific plan task force hasn't even been seated yet and people are already making up the facts. How about being part of the process that hasn't even begun yet instead of just making accusatory remarks--help create the vision!


2 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2016 at 10:38 am

BobB is a registered user.

@carlos,

Agree that we would be better off paying for school buses and other school improvements rather than this.

@common sense,

Thank you for paying your school bond taxes and taxes on the new school bond measure passed in November. I'm also looking forward to a new school parcel tax that will bring much needed improvements to the schools.


4 people like this
Posted by Don
a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 20, 2016 at 11:28 am

Since many believe the current library lacks sufficient space and cannot support an added story, it might be worth considering a second library building on this property since it's just across the street. Some well-defined departments, such as Juvenile, could be housed there as well as a room for presentations by visiting authors, speakers or musicians. More room for students after school and parking for parents would alleviate the current crowding, and ACE riders could be allotted a portion of the spaces.

So much new housing has gone up recently that the city should consider other plans that would benefit Pleasanton residents.


1 person likes this
Posted by Matt Sullivan
a resident of Stoneridge
on Dec 20, 2016 at 12:38 pm

Matt Sullivan is a registered user.

This blog could be a valuable forum for democratic discourse if only people would identify themselves. Being anonymous allows you to hide your motivations and your interests – whether strictly political, or as I suspect in some cases, monetary – and also allows for personal attacks and false statements without accountability. Of course, that’s the age we have entered with Trump. For these or any other reasons your posts lack credibility if you remain anonymous

Geez - You clearly have been involved in workings of Pleasanton politics for several years or you would not know that my position as a City Councilmember and a member of the Housing Element Task Force was that the site be rezoned for appropriately-sized HD residential in conjunction with reorienting the ACE station toward the property. I believed that was good land use planning and would fulfil a social need for affordable housing, and still do. However, I never advocated that the city buy the property, make it part of a larger package to sell to developers, and tax the public up to $200 million to move the Civic Center to the Bernal Property. There is a huge difference. Why don't you tell us who you are and what your interest is?

Huggy Bear – I thought I made the connection between Trump’s Plutocrats and Pleasanton’s pretty clear. You may want to read it again. And bitter has nothing to do with it. The word is horror.


4 people like this
Posted by Huggy Bear
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 20, 2016 at 2:22 pm

@ Matt Sullivan

My anonymous posting is the price we pay for a free net, a trade off so to speak. My opinions are to challenge thought, to continue a conversation. The conversation in this thread is the 3.18 acre site across from the library, not a forum for bitter political opinions. Get over it!!


3 people like this
Posted by Geez
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2016 at 2:40 pm

Where does it say the city is buying the site to make it part of a larger parcel to sell to developers?


Like this comment
Posted by Tired of Anger
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 20, 2016 at 5:55 pm

(removed because it didn't further the discussion)


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

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