News

City Council advances Johnson Drive EDZ proposal toward final approval

Plan set for formal adoption Dec. 5 provides framework for bringing Costco, hotels, more retail near freeway junction

The City Council has moved the Johnson Drive Economic Development Zone (JDEDZ) proposal toward completion, putting Pleasanton that much closer to seeing a Costco, two hotels and other new commercial operations on their way to town near the I-580/I-680 interchange.

With their 4-0 vote Tuesday night, council members approved the final environmental impact report, a General Plan amendment to allow new commercial uses at the 40-acre site and a resolution declaring their intent to adopt a JDEDZ transportation fee down the line.

All that remains is the second reading of a new ordinance to approve a planned unit development rezoning of the site, a plan that includes strict design guidelines that could help expedite city review of future projects in the area city leaders hope will become Pleasanton's newest commercial center.

That final ordinance adoption, expected to take place next month, would mark the end of the city's years-long JDEDZ consideration process that included the debate being taken to voters one year ago.

“It’s time to be moving this forward,” Councilwoman Kathy Narum said toward the end of the 1-1/2-hour discussion Tuesday night at the Pleasanton Civic Center.

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“I actually had a Livermore leader say to me, ‘Could you guys please open the Costco so our Costco isn’t so busy,'” Narum added with a chuckle.

The JDEDZ framework is expected to be finalized Dec. 5, when council members are set to formally adopt the rezoning ordinance — a required two-step process — and give final approval to a roadwork financing agreement with Costco that they endorsed in concept in September.

The city could begin accepting applications from JDEDZ developers one month after ordinance adoption, according to community development director Gerry Beaudin.

The council chamber, which was standing-room-only for business anniversary recognitions earlier in the meeting, was down to about two-dozen audience members by the time the JDEDZ discussion began Tuesday night.

Council members heard from only one resident speaker during public comment.

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Christina Nystrom Mantha, who also sits on the city’s Economic Vitality Committee, which endorsed the JDEDZ last month, urged the council to adopt the proposal and bring the long community debate to a close.

“Personally, as a Pleasanton resident, I would love to see Costco come to Pleasanton. I shop at Costco and would love for the tax dollars stay in our city,” she said. “The overwhelming response that I get when I talk to other residents about this is: ‘The election was a year ago. We’ve been talking about this long enough. It’s time to take action.’”

Two Costco representatives also addressed the council Tuesday night, reiterating their commitment to bringing their third warehouse store to the Tri-Valley, on a parcel along Johnson Drive.

Mayor Jerry Thorne did not take part in the discussion, continuing to recuse himself after previously owning Costco stock in a retirement managed portfolio earlier in the JDEDZ consideration process.

The JDEDZ seeks to breathe new life into largely underutilized property southeast of the freeway interchange that includes a nearly 20-acre chunk left vacant since 2013 -- except for leftover building rubble -- after Clorox closed its research center there.

The proposal details rules for how redevelopment could occur in the 40-acre area, consisting of 12 parcels at 7106 to 7315 Johnson Drive and 7035 and 7080 Commerce Circle currently with a mix of land-uses. Some of the land is vacant while other areas are in use now.

Through the JDEDZ framework, Pleasanton planners look to spur a thriving retail and commercial hub that capitalizes on the near-freeway location, creates opportunities for new businesses to broaden Pleasanton's economic base and tax revenue, and streamlines the development review process in that area, according to Beaudin.

An economic development zone has been on city leaders' radar since Clorox vacated its Johnson Drive site for another property in Pleasanton.

The council endorsed the broad concept and initiated analysis of JDEDZ specifics in 2014, but efforts slowed last year after a citizens group successfully put an initiative measure on the ballot seeking to prohibit retail uses of 50,000 square feet or more from operating in the zone.

Measure MM, which came about soon after Costco became linked to the Johnson Drive site, failed at the polls last November with about 63% of Pleasanton voters opposing it -- clearing the way for JDEDZ consideration to proceed.

City leaders and many residents point to the strong defeat of Measure MM as a sign the Pleasanton community at large supports bringing Costco to town and the JDEDZ concept overall.

The JDEDZ project cleared a key hurdle last month when the council signed off on a financing agreement with Costco to pay for road improvements needed to accommodate new development in the area, a deal that includes a 60-40 sales tax sharing agreement with Costco to cover a portion of the costs.

City officials hope the JDEDZ would spark new retail or broader commercial interest in not only the acreage currently vacant, but ultimately all parcels in the area.

Safeguards are included for those operating in the JDEDZ area now, such as FedEx, AT&T, Black Tie Transportation and Valley Bible Church. Existing land-uses would be permitted to continue as is, protected by grandfathering provisions.

But for the vacant land, as well as redevelopment of occupied parcels, city officials propose changing the General Plan designations and zoning districts to allow for a wider range of new commercial uses in the JDEDZ.

Costco and a hotel developer have already pledged their desire to come to Pleasanton in the JDEDZ, provided they come to terms to purchase property there from Nearon Enterprises, which owns 27 acres in the area, including the old Clorox site.

Administratively, the proposal from city staff calls for a General Plan amendment to change the land-use designations in the JDEDZ to retail-highway-service commercial and business and professional offices, as well as rezoning the properties to planned unit development (PUD) commercial.

With the PUD-commercial zoning would come specific rules developers must follow for site design, covering topics such as vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle circulation, landscaping, architectural standards, lighting, signage, parking, drainage, and outdoor equipment and storage.

It is because the JDEDZ package details those design guidelines upfront that city officials support allowing many retail operations, including a potential Costco, to need only staff-level permit approval, rather than consideration during a commission meeting.

Costco, under the "membership warehouse club" category, and hotels are among the businesses that would need approval from the city's zoning administrator with an application that adheres to all JDEDZ design guidelines -- unless a planning commissioner or council member calls for a public review of that approval.

The council members spent time going over the options one-by-one, making sure they all agreed on what made the list. Their adjustments included removing meeting halls, massage parlors, gun sales, and trade, music or other schools as potential uses at the JDEDZ.

Other possible uses in the "permitted," or staff-level approval, category include restaurant, food market, hardware store, garden center, car dealership, photo studio, and general retail without drive-thru.

Operations in the JDEDZ's "conditional," or commission-level, category include bar or brew pub, religious center, health club or gym, office building and general retail with drive-thru.

The JDEDZ package also includes certification of a final supplemental environmental impact report (EIR), which concludes the JDEDZ project can establish mitigation measures to reduce the project's impacts on a range of environmental conditions to a less-than-significant level.

But unlike most EIRs set for certification, this one concludes there would be significant and unavoidable impacts in two areas: transportation and air quality. Still, city staff thinks the EIR can be approved and JDEDZ advanced with a "statement of overriding considerations" for those two impacts.

In the case of transportation, the only reason it is left unmitigated is because the traffic improvements include work on the I-680 ramp at Stoneridge Drive, which requires Caltrans approval and therefore is technically outside of the city's control. Staff anticipates no problems obtaining clearance from Caltrans for the roadwork.

As for air quality, city staff contends the negative impacts are due primarily to the size of the project at 40 acres and the number of car trips expected to be generated,

The analysis found the negative pollutant impacts on the local level are less than significant, but at the regional level, on Bay Area air basin, the impacts are significant and unavoidable.

However city staff argues those levels would occur for any project of JDEDZ size anywhere in the Bay Area, and that is true too for almost all large, high-economic development projects in California, even those that give people the ability to work and shop closer to home.

The JDEDZ package also features a financing agreement with Costco to pay for road improvements needed to accommodate new development in the area, a deal that includes a 60-40 sales tax sharing agreement with Costco to cover a portion of the costs.

That part of the agreement sees Costco front the city $6,785,000 in cash for the infrastructure work -- just over a third of the overall design and construction pricetag -- and the city repaying the money with 40% of the sales tax revenue generated by the Costco until the debt is repaid, with the balance subject to 1.5% annual interest.

The other portions of the financing deal, to pay for roadwork design and construction, call for $6.4 million to be paid by city traffic impact fee reserves and $6,785,000 in a separate cash payment from Costco as part of its developer fee package.

Any other developer who builds on the JDEDZ in the future would need to pay their proportional share of the infrastructure costs back to the city, and city officials plan to use those funds to pay down their debt to Costco.

City officials are still working on the final methodology for the JDEDZ transportation fee, but they expect to bring forward a final fee proposal early next year.

In addition to the Stoneridge/I-680 ramp, other pending JDEDZ roadwork includes Johnson Drive widening, improvements at the Johnson-Stoneridge intersection, and new traffic signals at Johnson and Commerce Circle and Johnson and Owens Drive (north).

City officials say conservative estimates for the JDEDZ would see $1.4 million to $1.7 million in new annual General Fund tax revenue from the first phase, including Costco and the hotels, and at full build-out, $2.1 million to $2.3 million per year. That's on top of new property tax revenue that could be created for the Pleasanton Unified School District.

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Jeremy Walsh, a Benicia native and American University alum, joined Embarcadero Media in November 2013. After serving as associate editor for the Pleasanton Weekly and DanvilleSanRamon.com, he was promoted to editor of the East Bay Division in February 2017. Read more >>

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City Council advances Johnson Drive EDZ proposal toward final approval

Plan set for formal adoption Dec. 5 provides framework for bringing Costco, hotels, more retail near freeway junction

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Nov 8, 2017, 6:54 am
Updated: Wed, Nov 8, 2017, 8:19 am

The City Council has moved the Johnson Drive Economic Development Zone (JDEDZ) proposal toward completion, putting Pleasanton that much closer to seeing a Costco, two hotels and other new commercial operations on their way to town near the I-580/I-680 interchange.

With their 4-0 vote Tuesday night, council members approved the final environmental impact report, a General Plan amendment to allow new commercial uses at the 40-acre site and a resolution declaring their intent to adopt a JDEDZ transportation fee down the line.

All that remains is the second reading of a new ordinance to approve a planned unit development rezoning of the site, a plan that includes strict design guidelines that could help expedite city review of future projects in the area city leaders hope will become Pleasanton's newest commercial center.

That final ordinance adoption, expected to take place next month, would mark the end of the city's years-long JDEDZ consideration process that included the debate being taken to voters one year ago.

“It’s time to be moving this forward,” Councilwoman Kathy Narum said toward the end of the 1-1/2-hour discussion Tuesday night at the Pleasanton Civic Center.

“I actually had a Livermore leader say to me, ‘Could you guys please open the Costco so our Costco isn’t so busy,'” Narum added with a chuckle.

The JDEDZ framework is expected to be finalized Dec. 5, when council members are set to formally adopt the rezoning ordinance — a required two-step process — and give final approval to a roadwork financing agreement with Costco that they endorsed in concept in September.

The city could begin accepting applications from JDEDZ developers one month after ordinance adoption, according to community development director Gerry Beaudin.

The council chamber, which was standing-room-only for business anniversary recognitions earlier in the meeting, was down to about two-dozen audience members by the time the JDEDZ discussion began Tuesday night.

Council members heard from only one resident speaker during public comment.

Christina Nystrom Mantha, who also sits on the city’s Economic Vitality Committee, which endorsed the JDEDZ last month, urged the council to adopt the proposal and bring the long community debate to a close.

“Personally, as a Pleasanton resident, I would love to see Costco come to Pleasanton. I shop at Costco and would love for the tax dollars stay in our city,” she said. “The overwhelming response that I get when I talk to other residents about this is: ‘The election was a year ago. We’ve been talking about this long enough. It’s time to take action.’”

Two Costco representatives also addressed the council Tuesday night, reiterating their commitment to bringing their third warehouse store to the Tri-Valley, on a parcel along Johnson Drive.

Mayor Jerry Thorne did not take part in the discussion, continuing to recuse himself after previously owning Costco stock in a retirement managed portfolio earlier in the JDEDZ consideration process.

The JDEDZ seeks to breathe new life into largely underutilized property southeast of the freeway interchange that includes a nearly 20-acre chunk left vacant since 2013 -- except for leftover building rubble -- after Clorox closed its research center there.

The proposal details rules for how redevelopment could occur in the 40-acre area, consisting of 12 parcels at 7106 to 7315 Johnson Drive and 7035 and 7080 Commerce Circle currently with a mix of land-uses. Some of the land is vacant while other areas are in use now.

Through the JDEDZ framework, Pleasanton planners look to spur a thriving retail and commercial hub that capitalizes on the near-freeway location, creates opportunities for new businesses to broaden Pleasanton's economic base and tax revenue, and streamlines the development review process in that area, according to Beaudin.

An economic development zone has been on city leaders' radar since Clorox vacated its Johnson Drive site for another property in Pleasanton.

The council endorsed the broad concept and initiated analysis of JDEDZ specifics in 2014, but efforts slowed last year after a citizens group successfully put an initiative measure on the ballot seeking to prohibit retail uses of 50,000 square feet or more from operating in the zone.

Measure MM, which came about soon after Costco became linked to the Johnson Drive site, failed at the polls last November with about 63% of Pleasanton voters opposing it -- clearing the way for JDEDZ consideration to proceed.

City leaders and many residents point to the strong defeat of Measure MM as a sign the Pleasanton community at large supports bringing Costco to town and the JDEDZ concept overall.

The JDEDZ project cleared a key hurdle last month when the council signed off on a financing agreement with Costco to pay for road improvements needed to accommodate new development in the area, a deal that includes a 60-40 sales tax sharing agreement with Costco to cover a portion of the costs.

City officials hope the JDEDZ would spark new retail or broader commercial interest in not only the acreage currently vacant, but ultimately all parcels in the area.

Safeguards are included for those operating in the JDEDZ area now, such as FedEx, AT&T, Black Tie Transportation and Valley Bible Church. Existing land-uses would be permitted to continue as is, protected by grandfathering provisions.

But for the vacant land, as well as redevelopment of occupied parcels, city officials propose changing the General Plan designations and zoning districts to allow for a wider range of new commercial uses in the JDEDZ.

Costco and a hotel developer have already pledged their desire to come to Pleasanton in the JDEDZ, provided they come to terms to purchase property there from Nearon Enterprises, which owns 27 acres in the area, including the old Clorox site.

Administratively, the proposal from city staff calls for a General Plan amendment to change the land-use designations in the JDEDZ to retail-highway-service commercial and business and professional offices, as well as rezoning the properties to planned unit development (PUD) commercial.

With the PUD-commercial zoning would come specific rules developers must follow for site design, covering topics such as vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle circulation, landscaping, architectural standards, lighting, signage, parking, drainage, and outdoor equipment and storage.

It is because the JDEDZ package details those design guidelines upfront that city officials support allowing many retail operations, including a potential Costco, to need only staff-level permit approval, rather than consideration during a commission meeting.

Costco, under the "membership warehouse club" category, and hotels are among the businesses that would need approval from the city's zoning administrator with an application that adheres to all JDEDZ design guidelines -- unless a planning commissioner or council member calls for a public review of that approval.

The council members spent time going over the options one-by-one, making sure they all agreed on what made the list. Their adjustments included removing meeting halls, massage parlors, gun sales, and trade, music or other schools as potential uses at the JDEDZ.

Other possible uses in the "permitted," or staff-level approval, category include restaurant, food market, hardware store, garden center, car dealership, photo studio, and general retail without drive-thru.

Operations in the JDEDZ's "conditional," or commission-level, category include bar or brew pub, religious center, health club or gym, office building and general retail with drive-thru.

The JDEDZ package also includes certification of a final supplemental environmental impact report (EIR), which concludes the JDEDZ project can establish mitigation measures to reduce the project's impacts on a range of environmental conditions to a less-than-significant level.

But unlike most EIRs set for certification, this one concludes there would be significant and unavoidable impacts in two areas: transportation and air quality. Still, city staff thinks the EIR can be approved and JDEDZ advanced with a "statement of overriding considerations" for those two impacts.

In the case of transportation, the only reason it is left unmitigated is because the traffic improvements include work on the I-680 ramp at Stoneridge Drive, which requires Caltrans approval and therefore is technically outside of the city's control. Staff anticipates no problems obtaining clearance from Caltrans for the roadwork.

As for air quality, city staff contends the negative impacts are due primarily to the size of the project at 40 acres and the number of car trips expected to be generated,

The analysis found the negative pollutant impacts on the local level are less than significant, but at the regional level, on Bay Area air basin, the impacts are significant and unavoidable.

However city staff argues those levels would occur for any project of JDEDZ size anywhere in the Bay Area, and that is true too for almost all large, high-economic development projects in California, even those that give people the ability to work and shop closer to home.

The JDEDZ package also features a financing agreement with Costco to pay for road improvements needed to accommodate new development in the area, a deal that includes a 60-40 sales tax sharing agreement with Costco to cover a portion of the costs.

That part of the agreement sees Costco front the city $6,785,000 in cash for the infrastructure work -- just over a third of the overall design and construction pricetag -- and the city repaying the money with 40% of the sales tax revenue generated by the Costco until the debt is repaid, with the balance subject to 1.5% annual interest.

The other portions of the financing deal, to pay for roadwork design and construction, call for $6.4 million to be paid by city traffic impact fee reserves and $6,785,000 in a separate cash payment from Costco as part of its developer fee package.

Any other developer who builds on the JDEDZ in the future would need to pay their proportional share of the infrastructure costs back to the city, and city officials plan to use those funds to pay down their debt to Costco.

City officials are still working on the final methodology for the JDEDZ transportation fee, but they expect to bring forward a final fee proposal early next year.

In addition to the Stoneridge/I-680 ramp, other pending JDEDZ roadwork includes Johnson Drive widening, improvements at the Johnson-Stoneridge intersection, and new traffic signals at Johnson and Commerce Circle and Johnson and Owens Drive (north).

City officials say conservative estimates for the JDEDZ would see $1.4 million to $1.7 million in new annual General Fund tax revenue from the first phase, including Costco and the hotels, and at full build-out, $2.1 million to $2.3 million per year. That's on top of new property tax revenue that could be created for the Pleasanton Unified School District.

Comments

Geoff Cleary
Livermore
on Nov 8, 2017 at 7:36 am
Geoff Cleary, Livermore
on Nov 8, 2017 at 7:36 am

It'll be very nice to have a second Costco along the 580 corridor. I went to Costco twice this past Sunday. I was turned away the first time because there was not a single available spot to park. The second time I went back on that same Sunday (about four hours later): still no spot to park. The Livermore Costco is at capacity.


Eric
Pleasanton Valley
on Nov 8, 2017 at 7:59 am
Eric, Pleasanton Valley
on Nov 8, 2017 at 7:59 am

Thank you council for listening to your voters. Like you Geoff we went to Livermore Costco on Sunday morning and there was no parking the que to park was out on the street. We drove to Danville Costco which was filling up. They were so busy all of the registers were open with lines. A trip to a Costco took 2 hours plus 2 gallons of gas burned.


Perry Mason
Castlewood
on Nov 8, 2017 at 9:54 am
Perry Mason, Castlewood
on Nov 8, 2017 at 9:54 am

Yes, thank you Council. This was the right move and right fit for that area. Of course, we all know the naysayers and alarmist will soon be filling this post with their doomsday, collusion and dirty politics accusations. They just can't come to terms with the fact that things did not go their way and we can think on our own.

Despite the oppositions masked, untruthful and deceptive efforts, the project is moving forward with an overwhelming majority of citizen support.

I have one piece of advice for those who opposed this project based on false presumptions and deceitful tactics: as the lyrics from a song from the movie Frozen "let it go, let it go..."

Cant wait to see the "No Parking Anytime" signs going up on the 7000 block of Johnson Drive and look forward to the day of the Grand Opening!


Christina
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 8, 2017 at 10:10 am
Christina, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 8, 2017 at 10:10 am

I love Costco, but I'm confused why they're getting a subsidy from the City of Pleasanton? If I read the details correctly, the City wouldn't see any benefit from Costco's sales tax for 20+ years. That's a long time! What happens if Costco goes out of business in 10 years? What if Costco turns into an Amazon fulfillment center, would the City ever see sales tax then? I'd rather our tax dollars go to desperately needed services, rather than to a corporation that can pay their own way.


Perry Mason
Castlewood
on Nov 8, 2017 at 10:39 am
Perry Mason, Castlewood
on Nov 8, 2017 at 10:39 am

@Christina - you should not be confused. No one is getting a subsidy from the city. It appears that you did not read the details correctly. The deal calls for a portion of sales tax to be directed towards paying of the debt the city incurs for the improvements. If Costco closes the site prior to the debt being paid off, the debt is cancelled and the city is under no further obligation. Keep in mind, that Costco is slated for only one of the parcels. There are still two hotels and other business slated for that area of town. Each of those projects will be charged impact fees which will be directed towards the original debt. Also, keep in mind that the sales tax is borne by those who patronize Costco. So, in its simplest terms, the members will be paying the debt, not the entire population of Pleasanton. The rest of the portion of tax not directed towards the debt goes directly into the General Fund for the city. Not a bad deal if you ask me. These types of deals are commonplace with many cities today.


Joe
Las Positas
on Nov 8, 2017 at 12:13 pm
Joe, Las Positas
on Nov 8, 2017 at 12:13 pm

Don't need it. Don't want it. Last November 8500 people said no big-box. Many of these who said no were Costco members. Why did they say no?
1) traffic?
2) subsidies?
3) many years to break even?
4) pollution?
5) crime?
6) hurt small business?

It may have been only 37%- but, 8500 citizens, many Costco members, said no Costco. I am a Costco member.


Christina
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 8, 2017 at 12:39 pm
Christina, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 8, 2017 at 12:39 pm

Thanks for the explanation @PerryMason. I now see on the City website that if Costco closes, the City would not have to repay Costco $4 million. That's good, but what about the $6.4 million in TIF money the City is donating and the $1.5 million to buy out adjacent properties? If Costco closes, the City is still out $7.9 million!

Just because "everyone else is doing it" (helping pay for Costco) doesn't mean we should. Again, I love Costco (seriously who doesn't?) but that money could go to a lot of desperately needed programs.


Voter
Amador Estates
on Nov 8, 2017 at 1:52 pm
Voter, Amador Estates
on Nov 8, 2017 at 1:52 pm

If 8,500 (37%) said no then 14,500 (63%) said yes. Called voting. Costco is wanted. Buck up buckaroo.


Joe
Las Positas
on Nov 8, 2017 at 2:00 pm
Joe, Las Positas
on Nov 8, 2017 at 2:00 pm

8500 is a lot of people. Something tells me that it's not over. When it's built, the fat lady can sing. She's been warming up for almost 4 years-- still no song.


BobB
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 8, 2017 at 2:04 pm
BobB, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Nov 8, 2017 at 2:04 pm

@Joe,

They said no because they are NIMBYS. They are also very much in the minority.


Joe
Las Positas
on Nov 8, 2017 at 3:02 pm
Joe, Las Positas
on Nov 8, 2017 at 3:02 pm

When almost 4 in 10 people vote against something-- they are not VERY MUCH in the minority. It ain't over until it's built.


Ben
Val Vista
on Nov 8, 2017 at 4:38 pm
Ben, Val Vista
on Nov 8, 2017 at 4:38 pm

@Joe..and it WILL be built! The Chamber wants it, the Council wants it and according to Measure MM he voters want it.


Michael Austin
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Nov 8, 2017 at 5:45 pm
Michael Austin, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Nov 8, 2017 at 5:45 pm

Joe:
At the new Pleasanton Costco grand opening, I will treat you to a Costco Hot Dog.


Jake Waters
Registered user
Birdland
on Nov 8, 2017 at 5:53 pm
Jake Waters, Birdland
Registered user
on Nov 8, 2017 at 5:53 pm

Here we go again for the 15th time about the negatives of Pleasanton having their own Costco. Does it ever end? Do we ever get to spike the ball or do the touchdown dance in the end zone? Do we constantly have to read the comments from the loser’s, whiners, nay sayers, and fear mongers? Costco will be built, we adults have decided that through something called the Democratic process- voting. Please take your whining on the road as Hillary Clinton did and spare us your misery.

Oh, and all of you nay sayers will be shopping at Costco and filling your cars with gas, because you won’t want to drive the distance to Livermore or San Ramon. You have to love it, don’t you?


BobB
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 8, 2017 at 7:27 pm
BobB, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Nov 8, 2017 at 7:27 pm

If it opens I, for one, will be driving to San Ramon or Livermore as my personal act of protest. That will cut down on pollution and traffic. Because "big-box" is bad -- in my back yard. :-)


Joe
Las Positas
on Nov 8, 2017 at 9:08 pm
Joe, Las Positas
on Nov 8, 2017 at 9:08 pm

Michael - haven't eaten a hot dog in 30 years, but thanks for the offer.

Jake- haven't waited in line for gas since the shortage of 1979.

BobB - yep, I'm a nimby.

Jake- you can spike the ball when the loan to Costco is paid off in 2040. Then we will get full sales tax.

Michael - I would have a piece of pizza with you then (in 2040), if we are still both around.

You fellas have a good night. Whatever is meant to be, will happen. I'm just not so sure the 8500 have had their last say.


justwondering
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 8, 2017 at 10:07 pm
justwondering, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 8, 2017 at 10:07 pm

Joe, I'm a bit confused by your comments. I thought I learned way back in elementary school that we were a democracy and the most votes won. In this case limiting the size of a store only received about one-third of the votes and not limiting the size of a store got two-thirds of the votes thus winning and allowing a store such as Costco to be located on the Johnson Dr. Are you not willing to accept the results of the election and the majority who said build a Costco?

You sound an awful lot like Matt Sullivan who refuses to identify where the money came from to pay for his so called economic analysis or the latest post card I received in the mail. He accuses the city of not being transparent yet its okay for him to not divulge where the money is coming from that's being spent on behalf of Pleasanton citizens for responsible growth. Really?? Can't help but wonder if he is fronting for the Cox family gas stations (that charge the highest price in Pleasanton) now that black Tie and the Cox family seem to have had a falling out.

You seem to be threatening some sort of action--legal, nail strips on Johnson Dr? Why don't you say what you really mean and be transparent.


SHale99
Registered user
San Ramon
on Nov 9, 2017 at 6:32 am
SHale99, San Ramon
Registered user
on Nov 9, 2017 at 6:32 am

Joe: It IS over, time to face the music that is coming. There are no legal maneuvers for the tiny minority who object. I also wonder why you and Matt seem to ignore the TWO hotels also in the plans for the zone. Did you miss that detail? nearly 2/3 are ok with a big sq foot retailer there. What 1/3 dislike is a nit since in THIS country simply majority is 51%.
the store will be built and the lot will be full. You and Matt can picket outside, by yourself.


Voter
Amador Estates
on Nov 9, 2017 at 7:59 am
Voter, Amador Estates
on Nov 9, 2017 at 7:59 am

Joe, "8500 is a lot of people. Something tells me that it's not over."
If 8500 people is a lot then 14500 is more. Most elections have much less margins of victory. Why is it the losers in past elections can't accept the results?


Matt Sullivan
Registered user
Stoneridge
on Nov 9, 2017 at 8:23 am
Matt Sullivan, Stoneridge
Registered user
on Nov 9, 2017 at 8:23 am

Boy, you guys have been pretty rough on Joe. Like patriotism, personal attacks instead of honest debate is the last refuge for scoundrels.

It’s not democracy when government hides the facts from the voting public. Even with my sixth-grade education (there’s you answer, Michael Austin) I could see that the MM election was a sham.

You may have got “your Costco”, but your “win” was illegitimate. We can only hope that justice will ultimately prevail.

I’ll repeat my earlier post here:

The legendary investigative journalist from the 20th century, I.F. Stone, coined the phrase describing our pollical system: All governments lie!

He was prophetic when it comes to the Johnson Drive EDZ and Costco. The city has been misleading you about this project: its costs both monetarily and in terms of your quality of life, the perversion of the democratic approval process, and its true benefits to the community.

They have been dishonest about the $20 million in subsidies – all public funds – handed over to a multi-billion-dollar corporation. They have been dishonest about how many years it will take to pay back the public in sales tax revenue. They have been dishonest about the true traffic impacts from the project and the necessary mitigations that may not be built for 20 years. They have been dishonest about the air quality impacts from the project and its effect on your health. They have been dishonest about the process used by the city to approve the project and their intention to subvert your rights. You don’t have to take my word for it. Reams of information and independent analysis and facts have provided to the to the city and the press that proves this. It’s all been ignored.

What is true, is that there is a Growth Coalition made up of the city, the Chamber of Commerce, developers, and the press that sets the agenda and sells it to you with propaganda and outright lies. It’s like a cancer, and it feeds off never ending development and growth to provide the money to keep it growing. But there is no such thing as never-ending growth. But Sustainability is not in their vocabulary.

This is the state of our so-called democracy. And many of you accept it or ignore it because it gets you the dollar-fifty hot dogs and crates of toilet paper you so desperately desire. The City Council doesn’t represent you, it represents the Growth Coalition and they get away with it because enough people want Costco at any price so that it insulates them from the opposition that puts their jobs at risk.

Is this really the society and form of government we want? There’s another famous quote, this one misattributed to Alexis de Tocqueville, but nevertheless true: “We get the government we deserve”.


Eric
Pleasanton Valley
on Nov 9, 2017 at 9:31 am
Eric, Pleasanton Valley
on Nov 9, 2017 at 9:31 am

As a matter of fact Matt this is the kind of government I want. One that listens to the majority not one that bends over to a few bitter business interests that deceminate misleading information and ballots to scare voters into voting their way. As Charlie Brown once said, “Good grief”.


no name chosen
Registered user
Downtown
on Nov 9, 2017 at 9:42 am
no name chosen, Downtown
Registered user
on Nov 9, 2017 at 9:42 am

Put up the no parking signs and let Black Tie pay for employee parking instead of getting it for free from the city and the taxpayers. Bill and Matt can shout from their soapboxes all day but the fact is that SOMETHING was going to go there, that lot was never going to remain vacant. Oh wait, Bill and Matt could buy the land themselves and fork over the projected revenue every year for the rest of their lives and then they can keep EVERYTHING out. But they don't want to do that, they just want things to remain as they are today with Bill's free parking and Matt's non-stop grandstanding.


SHale99
Registered user
San Ramon
on Nov 9, 2017 at 9:44 am
SHale99, San Ramon
Registered user
on Nov 9, 2017 at 9:44 am

Oh Matt: no original complain, so you repeat same. You aren't happy with the elected officials, you have made that clear. You are not happy with most of the 'appointed' volunteers, you made that clear. Have you checked the last few years of votes to see by what margins the elected officials were elected or re-elected? I'm guessing you haven't. You speak for yourself and maybe a minority although I suspect you don't speak for them either. You get to vote, just like everybody else. Really, no reason to cry when your candidate loses. The voters have spoken, the majority of them. More than once. Once again you fail to detail the source of the 'public funds'. They kinda aren't since it is developers who paid into the fund. Sure, sales tax will be in play, but big deal. Long story short, that area will generate $$; much more than when it was a simple office building. Which, btw, you were dead silent when the building was knocked down. Where were your suggestion then??
This has all to do with Black Tie and existing gas stations. Period. Again, you seem to skip over the planned 2 new hotels. Why? They don't bother as much? Really? Time to move on.


Jake Waters
Registered user
Birdland
on Nov 9, 2017 at 9:56 am
Jake Waters, Birdland
Registered user
on Nov 9, 2017 at 9:56 am

@ Mr. Sullivan

You said, "Boy, you guys have been pretty rough on Joe. Like patriotism, personal attacks instead of honest debate is the last refuge for scoundrels."

We are scoundrels. The pot calling the kettle black. I see you for what you are: a bitter man. You don't want honest debate. The debate is over, because we voted for the project, there is your debate.


Perry Mason
Castlewood
on Nov 9, 2017 at 10:51 am
Perry Mason, Castlewood
on Nov 9, 2017 at 10:51 am

Here we go with the lawsuit threats - I knew we would come to this point. All idol threats; there is no legal basis for any lawsuit and whomever brings the suit will lack legal standing. It may get to the point of filing, but it will quickly be extinguished.

Let me remind those who are claiming secret handshakes, etc. Those in opposition weren't even willing to allow the project to follow its normal course of consideration. Nope, they couldn't wait for formal proposals to be submitted, public hearings to take place, etc. No, they insisted on short circuiting the process and gathered signatures for an opposition initiative. They were the ones who choose the language of a "Yes" on MM was a 'no" to Costco and a "no" was a yes to Costco. Despite their deceptive and heavy handed tactics the voters (overwhelmingly) defeated Measure MM. That wasn't good enough for them either. Now they claim that folks were too stupid/simple to really understand what they were voting for. Then came the accusations of back room deals, unethical and secret meetings took place. Crooked elected officials and questionable Staff decisions.

As the project made its way through the process we were bombarded with misleading "facts" from a masked group of "concerned" citizens. Its easy to figure out who the major financial supporters were and are.

Now that the project has navigated its way through the formal, legal and compliant process, those in opposition are still crying foul. So, they throw out the lawsuit card. You may find a firm to take your case, but they will take a lot of money from you as well and you will end up with absolutely nothing but billing statements.

You cannot bring litigation based on hurt feelings.

Mr. Sullivan may I remind you of the Terms Of Use that those of use who utilize this post must abide by;
* You agree to be respectful of others, be truthful and be solely responsible for all postings you make.
* You agree not to use any profanity, nor post any information that is hateful, libelous or obscene, or that is threatening, abusive or offensive to any individual, group or class of person.




Joe
Las Positas
on Nov 9, 2017 at 3:45 pm
Joe, Las Positas
on Nov 9, 2017 at 3:45 pm

Since I signed off last night, wishing all a good night, things got heated. Mentions of an illigetimate election, hidden facts, lawsuits --even nail strps on Johnson Drive.

For the record, I was wrong about the number of people who did not want a big-box in that area. It was 12,849. 37.37%. Yep, 21,532, 62.63% said a big-box was ok. But, Matt has a point: did these people have the facts of the deal when they voted? No.
If an election were held today which voted on Costco, knowing what we know now, I wonder the results. The deal got worse than many expected; the traffic has gotten far worse. More accidents, many involving big-rig delivery trucks.

I still contend that this is almost 4 in 10 who said no Big-Box; no Costco. Not an overwhelming victory for Costco, or a "tiny minority"ahainst--especially considering number of Costco members in Pleasanton. I ask, why did so many Costco members voted against a Costco in Pleasanton?

I'm not whining; I'm not threatening-- just asking two questions: 1) why did so many Costco members vote against a Costco in Pleasanton and, 2) if the election were held today, with the facts now known, would the result be different?

And, when Matt say that we can only hope justice prevails, we can wonder what is meant.


Sam
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 9, 2017 at 6:59 pm
Sam, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 9, 2017 at 6:59 pm

If I need a five-gallon jar of mayonnaise, and I can't find a place to park, I'll do my heart a favor and hold the mayo.


SHale99
Registered user
San Ramon
on Nov 9, 2017 at 7:46 pm
SHale99, San Ramon
Registered user
on Nov 9, 2017 at 7:46 pm

Oh Joe: Why do you insist on paying so much attn to the minority? yeah, it's a 5 digit number, but still just around 1/3. I see you put percents, so you get it?
And no, it has been debunked here several times. If there were voters who voted 'confused' it was, again, a tiny minority.MM didn't lose by a little, it lost by nearly 2/3. Even if a few percent were 'confused', it would not have made a difference. The people (who can and did vote) made it clear what they want. Region wise, people have made it clear. Only a few NIMBY's have complained (loudly) and Matt pokes his attacking opinion (note opinion, not facts) up here and there with scare tactics and wrong info.
I say again where were the NIMBY's when the office building was getting knocked down and the 'zone' was created? They were NOT posting here....fact.. Once Black Tie figured out what would happen and existing gas station owners figured out what a Costco would do, then everybody came out from hiding to whine. Female Opera singing is queuing up...... I say the lot will be full and nobody will be picketing.


Joe
Las Positas
on Nov 9, 2017 at 8:18 pm
Joe, Las Positas
on Nov 9, 2017 at 8:18 pm

Have never said that people were confused. Maybe, some were - but agree it would not have moved the needle.

What I did say, is that people did not have the facts a year ago. Many expected a much better deal than this. No one expected the developer to pay zero. No one expected the total to go from $16 million, which was the City estimate, to $21.4 million. This isn't about confusion; it's about not knowing the facts one year ago during the vote.

With the facts now available, I wonder if the vote were taken now- would it be different.


Pleasanton Parent
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Nov 9, 2017 at 9:41 pm
Pleasanton Parent, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Nov 9, 2017 at 9:41 pm

Joe - the vote was on a zoning issue which would permit a facility like costco, not directly on a costco deal (i.e. approving the finances).


Perry Mason
Castlewood
on Nov 9, 2017 at 10:01 pm
Perry Mason, Castlewood
on Nov 9, 2017 at 10:01 pm

Perhaps if the vote were held today the result may (although I doubt it) be different.

However...the reason why all of the "facts" and final costs were not known at the time of the vote is because Mr. S and his band of masked crusaders refused to WAIT for the project to follow the normal path of process. Instead they made a tactical mistake and pushed an initiative prematurely. Now that they got caught in their own trap they want to cry foul and divert our attention elsewhere.

In reality, they have no one to blame but themselves!

Let me remind everyone that it was during Mr. S's tenure on the City Council that the NIMBY spirit ran amok, which eventually lead us to being sued compelling Pleasanton to rezone dozens of parcels to accommodate high density housing which we are seeing today. Instead of steady and planned growth there was highly restricted to no growth.

Let me be the first to thank Mr. S and his band of masked crusaders for the outcome. No wonder few trust what the opposition has to say. Just look at their track record. Everything they touch ends up costing Pleasanton money (the cost of the housing litigation, Measure MM costs, etc.). And they have the audacity to scream about misappropriation of our tax dollars??

P.S. Just for the record, Measure MM was very poorly worded and full of loopholes. Nothing in the Measure would have prevented the construction of multiple 50K square foot buildings. All the developer would have to do was separate the buildings by a mere one inch from another then span them all together. Ooops.


Samuel
Birdland
on Nov 10, 2017 at 7:50 am
Samuel, Birdland
on Nov 10, 2017 at 7:50 am

So many people are so stuck on the meaning of the MM vote. It was NOT about COSTCO!!!! Why was it so hard to understand that it wasn't a vote for or against COSTCO. It wasn't about knowing the details of a COSTCO deal and what it would cost the city.
And all this talk about how the voting went is ridiculous! It's done!
Stop complaining about the vote, it's done, and over!


SHale99
Registered user
San Ramon
on Nov 10, 2017 at 8:53 am
SHale99, San Ramon
Registered user
on Nov 10, 2017 at 8:53 am

Joe: As noted MM was not about the 'deal' between Costco, developer and the city. It was about sq feet. Voters spoke, I suspect NONE were confused.
and the deal facts? Again, the needle would not have moved. The dollars you speak of? A developer paid into account. The sales tax amounts? nobody cares. When the NIMBYs sank even lower they began suggesting the Costco could close at a future date. How many Costco locations have closed since the Costco/Price Club merger? None around here. Net-net that zone will produce far more sales taxes than the office building did (which was zero).
And, shoppers going to this new Costco won't even think about who paid for the road improvements or the stop lights a mile away. I'll shop there just to see if the NIMBYs picket. I suspect they too will be shopping or getting gas......


Anne
Birdland
on Nov 10, 2017 at 10:37 am
Anne, Birdland
on Nov 10, 2017 at 10:37 am

MM was about allowing 50,000 sq ft --Big Box Costco--, or not allowing. Everyone knew it was about Costco. Passing MM would have stopped Costco.

I voted "No", allowing zoning for Costco. I trusted the City to work out favorable terms. Had I known these terms, I would have voted "Yes" on MM (no on Costco), preventing this one-sided, corporate welfare giveaway of our tax dollars.

I wish we could vote again.


Map
Del Prado
on Nov 10, 2017 at 4:10 pm
Map, Del Prado
on Nov 10, 2017 at 4:10 pm

Soon people will forget about measure MM, the graders and cement trucks will finally give us our Costco, price gouging Shell Oil will have to lower their prices to compete with Costco gas and Blacktie Limo will need to find another location for free parking for their employees. That predicted traffic Armageddon in West Pleasanton will not materialize and the sales taxes will only get better each year. Now if we could only get Measure PP recalled and rewritten to remove all the loopholes for the developers it would truly be a great finale for 2017.


BobB
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2017 at 4:14 pm
BobB, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Nov 10, 2017 at 4:14 pm

@Anne,

I'm voted no (yes on 50,000 sq ft building), and would happily do so again, knowing what we know now.

Build the Costco.


BobB
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2017 at 4:15 pm
BobB, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Nov 10, 2017 at 4:15 pm

@Sam,

Making fun of Costco shoppers won't win many converts to the no Costco NIMBY side.


Joe
Las Positas
on Nov 11, 2017 at 5:21 pm
Joe, Las Positas
on Nov 11, 2017 at 5:21 pm

Sam,
Read the Costco ad. Says its mayonase is rich in Omega-3. This can be good for your heart. So, if there are no parking spots, I suggest you run in while your car is in line for gas. Let it idle while you are shopping, like the other 100 cars waiting for gas .
Your heart may be better for the mayo, but your lungs may suffer a bit.

NIMBY,
Joe


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