Editorial: Cheers for new Valley Trails housing, park plans | News | PleasantonWeekly.com |


Editorial: Cheers for new Valley Trails housing, park plans

Project heads to City Council for approval Tuesday night

Members of the Pleasanton Planning Commission spent the first few minutes of their meeting earlier this month voicing approval of a multimillion-dollar 36-home development planned in the Valley Trails community, before then carrying on for the next four hours over plans by the developer to also build a public restroom in the neighboring Valley Trails Community Park free-of-charge.

In the end, as the clock approached midnight, the commission voted 3-2 to approve the development plan by Ponderosa Homes, moving the proposed project forward for consideration by the City Council next week.

Let's hope the council makes quick work of the project, sparing the 85 Valley Trails homeowners who will likely crowd into the council chamber again after their agonizingly late night of unnecessary debate April 12 before the Planning Commission.

Ponderosa plans to tear down the financially troubled Evangelical Free Church of Pleasanton in the Valley Trails community and replace it with 36 new single-family homes on the 9-acre site. It will also build a private clubhouse for its new development, making it available to all 498 Valley Trails homeowners for scheduled once-a-month events.

Key to the plan will be a public restroom in the adjacent 6.1-acre neighborhood park, which Ponderosa will build free-of-charge along with a five-year maintenance agreement. Jeff Schroeder, Ponderosa's senior vice president, said the restroom was a priority mentioned by Valley Trails homeowners when he met with them at two meetings to describe his 36-home proposal.

Of the 21 speakers at the April 12 meeting, only one -- former councilwoman Kay Ayala -- sought a delay in voting on the Ponderosa plan until the Pleasanton school district had a chance to determine if it wants the site. The school board, which years ago sold off the site, said again April 18 that it's not interested.

The hours-long debate over the public restroom made no sense. The Valley Trails community wants it; city staff favors it; Ponderosa will pay for it.

Some of the commissioners were concerned that none of the city's 33 neighborhood parks, like Valley Trails', have restrooms except for the new Stoneridge Creek Neighborhood Park, which also has tennis courts. The city's larger "community" parks -- Bernal, Lions Wayside, Creekside and Delucchi -- all have public restrooms.

Planning Commissioner Nancy Allen, who along with Commissioner Greg O'Connor voted against the Ponderosa development plan, summed up her reasoning:

"I don't think taxpayers should be burdened with maintaining restrooms in neighborhood parks," Allen said. "I'm concerned about the costs over the years, as well as with security and graffiti."

Commissioner Herb Ritter disagreed, pointing out that annual property taxes from the 36 new Ponderosa homes will likely exceed $74,000 on a site that now produces no tax revenue. Enough, he believes, to relieve the city of unbudgeted costs for the Valley Trails Park restroom as well as provide relief when needed for those using the park.

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9 people like this
Posted by Park user
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 27, 2017 at 4:44 pm

Thank goodness for finally a good project for this land! Having a restroom there will be great too for the Valley Trails neighbors. Will it have water fountains like the restroom at Stoneridge Creek Park restroom? If so, that is a nice addition to the neighborhood, and would cost the city upwards of $500,000 to construct based on the cost of past restrooms.

Perhaps the commissioners were mistaken about their assertion that the neighborhood parks don't have restrooms. Other neighborhood parks do have restrooms according to the city's website. This includes Creekside Park off of West Las Positas. Also Upper Pleasanton Field, Sutter Gate, Veterans Plaza, and Delucci have restrooms too and are Neighborhood parks according to the city website (see the page # 71 with the parks listed here Web Link - neighborhood parks are listed with the letter "N"). Maybe they were unaware of this.

I'm hoping that the city council will not also have an hours long debate on the pros and cons of a restroom.

1 person likes this
Posted by Dave
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 27, 2017 at 5:16 pm

There's not going to be any foundation issues with the these new homes are there? That's the first thing I would be asking if I were a homebuyer looking to buy into one of the new homes in that area. Are there new construction techniques so that that is not a problem anymore?

1 person likes this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Apr 27, 2017 at 5:28 pm

Ponderosa scores again, on to the next church!!! That's 2 churches in the last 2 years cashing out with ponderosa. Better make sure those new homes have a good foundation warranties or the new owners have really good lawyers.

5 people like this
Posted by Herb
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Apr 27, 2017 at 5:43 pm


I can't say that I'm sad to see a change. I've had some nice walks with my dog down the Valley Trails park path and then suddenly saw the unkempt grasses, tall weeds, and dirt of the big church owned field next to the park. Often wished that the church would just sell the land if they're unable to properly take care of it. Sure that I'm not the only one who has thought that.

3 people like this
Posted by Sue
a resident of Happy Valley
on Apr 28, 2017 at 9:43 am

Nancy Allen.....not having a restroom at a park would create a new set of problems ! ! ! An absolute necessity ! ! !

4 people like this
Posted by Perry Mason
a resident of Castlewood
on Apr 28, 2017 at 11:15 am

I think this is a great project for the neighborhood and the city as a whole.

Just a quick question: Where was all this 'concern' regarding cost, from Commissioners Allen and O'Connor when they supported new dog parks in the city. Which by-the-way require quite a bit of on-going service and maintenance by the city and not everyone has a dog!

Amazing, that, because folks prefer to utilize indoor plumbing in 2017, these two Commissioners are 'concerned'. You should be more concerned that you both made fools of yourselves at the hearing. I am convinced you just like the sound of your own voice (newsflash: not everyone enjoys it). Please re-focus on why you are there and what a Commissioner is supposed to be concerned with.

My gosh, what a deal for the city: new FREE building, FREE land, ZERO operational costs for the first 5 years. What am I missing? Oh yeah... NOTHING!!!

Pleasanton City Council and Mayor - PLEASE approve this project!!

15 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Valley Trails
on Apr 28, 2017 at 12:17 pm

Nimby, Nimby, Nimby, every neighbor for themselves! As long as you got your enticements to heck with everyone else! Kids lose boohoo!

7 people like this
Posted by Not A Waste Of Money
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 28, 2017 at 12:27 pm

There is a concern about cost related to this project? Where was the concern about cost when the neighbors around the "tennis park" demanded that the city change plans for a tennis court that was being placed where it was supposed to be placed per the original site plan?

Valley Trails deserves an upgrade to their park much more than the people who didn't bother to understand the plans for the tennis park when they moved next to it and demanded costly changes once the city moved forward as planned.

1 person likes this
Posted by Isotope
a resident of Mohr Park
on Apr 28, 2017 at 10:28 pm

Isotope is a registered user.

"Valley Trails deserves an upgrade to their park"


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