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City, school officials talk about state response to housing crisis

Future legislation expected to reduce local control, be more urban-centric

Pleasanton city officials led a presentation at the school board's regular meeting Tuesday evening to discuss state and local housing trends and what residents can expect in terms of growth mandates in the not-too-distant future.

City Manager Nelson Fialho, along with community development director Gerry Beaudin, gave a report to the Pleasanton Unified School District and the community, with one main theme: local jurisdictions will have less and less control as the State Legislature attempts to solve a housing crisis.

"State law is really going to take away a lot of our ability to manage growth. We have a lot of influence and sway currently ... but it continues to be pulled back by the state and we believe that our ability to manage change at a reasonable pace will diminish over time," Beaudin lamented during the nearly 90-minute presentation Tuesday at PUSD headquarters.

According to the California Housing and Community Development Department, the state is truly in the midst of a housing crisis. In 2017, the report found that statewide developers were building approximately 80,000 new units annually -- compared to the estimated 180,000 units needed per year to truly house the state.

"From the state's perspective, there is a housing crisis and it will threaten the overall social and economic vitality of the state if it is not addressed," Beaudin told the school board. "That is why legislators in Sacramento have taken such an interest."

The public discussion last week focused more broadly on what could happen locally and regionally from a policy perspective, and the potential impact on Pleasanton schools largely wasn't addressed.

Regionally, the housing shortage is compounded by the expected growth set to hit the Bay Area. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission projects an additional 1.3 million jobs and 2.4 million people in the Bay Area by 2040. This equates to estimated employment growth of 15% and household growth of 25%.

Issues associated with a lack of housing and a booming population are relevant to Pleasanton as well, where the population has quadrupled since 1970, according to Beaudin's staff report.

Perhaps one of the recent key changes in the Pleasanton housing market is the proportion of single-family houses to units in multi-family complexes.

In 1991, the ratio of single-family to multi-family dwelling units across Pleasanton was 74% to 26%. In 2018, that gap closed to 71% to 29% -- a significant shift, according to city officials, due to an influx of more multi-family developments to single-family housing projects. During that same time, Pleasanton's overall number of housing units grew from 19,891 to 28,054.

Recently passed legislation such as Assembly Bill 2923 -- which allows BART to construct and govern housing on its land within half a mile of its stations such as on parking lots at Pleasanton BART stops -- has served to take local control away from municipalities to solve the housing crisis.

Beaudin says legislation coming from Sacramento to combat the housing crisis is primarily geared toward urban communities in a "one size fits all" type of solution, one that may leave suburban and rural areas floundering.

Regionally the Committee to House the Bay Area (dubbed CASA) was established by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to make recommendations that will achieve the state's goals of making affordable housing available to Bay Area residents.

To do so, CASA established 10 key elements to guide its decision-making:

1. Just cause eviction policy

2. Emergency rent cap

3. Emergency rent assistance and access to legal counsel

4. Remove regulatory barriers to accessory dwelling units

5. Minimize zoning near transit

6. Good government reforms to housing approval process

7. Expedited approvals and financial incentives for select housing

8. Unlock public land for affordable housing

9. Funding and financing the CASA compact

10. Regional housing enterprise.

"These are really important because they will form a lot of the framework for legislation that is going to come out of Sacramento for the next couple of years," Beaudin said, adding that the elements are "relatively urban-centric."

At this point, Pleasanton officials are attempting to anticipate where new housing will be placed, and while they have ideas, final development locations are not yet certain.

"I can assure you that come the calendar year 2022, we will have a map of the city that shows zoning to accommodate the state mandates, because we have to," Fialho said.

Fialho added that the city can expect the most density to be seen around transit centers such as the city's two BART stations, explaining that state legislation will encourage these locations.

"The concerns that I had in putting together the presentation was that it sounds like an alarm bell," Beaudin said. "And to a certain extent it should get everyone's attention, but the market does what the market has always done, which is come and build things."

As the conversation wrapped up, PUSD Trustee Jamie Yee Hintzke discussed options for how the district could respond to state mandates, especially around development on publicly owned land.

"We own a significant amount of property and I'm actually wondering if it is appropriate, for sometime soon, if we had a housing task force or something. Where it's maybe a board subcommittee or staff ... where we can really start digging deeper than this and trying to get some traction," she said. "Because right now we don't even know what to ask."

"We don't know what to ask either," Fialho responded with a chuckle, while also assuring the community that when the city's response to state legislation develops further "it will be a very public process."

More information on the evolving housing market in Pleasanton can be found online via the city of Pleasanton Housing Division.

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Comments

14 people like this
Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 3, 2019 at 8:09 am

Isn’t anyone concerned about water? It’s a huge problem now.


13 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 3, 2019 at 12:21 pm

Good thing we added a new fourth and fifth grade.....im sure those new housing units wont add a student population in the other grades.

State needs to focus on infastructure. How about fixing Bart instead of building houses on Bart parking lots


Like this comment
Posted by sjd
a resident of Livermore
on Feb 3, 2019 at 12:46 pm

"State law is really going to take away a lot of our ability to manage growth." otherwise known as "outsource problems to Tracy"

"the potential impact on Pleasanton schools largely wasn't addressed." CA's own imposed tax structures with housing means you can't improve this without constitutional amendments. Consider the impact on Hayward or Tracy or Stockton if we do nothing.

Housing units grew by 9,000 over 27 years but the overall percentage shifted 3%? Please, that's not significant. Get out of Pleasanton for a day.

"but the market does what the market has always done, which is come and build things." Nah, the market demand for housing has been through the roof for years but cities don't allow it to be built (and the TriValley is by no means the worst here, but it is part of it).

""We own a significant amount of property and I'm actually wondering if it is appropriate, for sometime soon, if we had a housing task force or something."
You're a little bit late on this! People have been struggling for quite a while now! A task force is a bit belittling honestly.


5 people like this
Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Feb 3, 2019 at 2:43 pm

James Michael is a registered user.

What, me worry? The state has a budget surplus...they will fix everything. Just like they always do. Oh, wait...now I'm worried.


15 people like this
Posted by Rob
a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 4, 2019 at 9:58 am

Build Costco before it turns into 500 condos


Like this comment
Posted by Rose
a resident of Parkside
on Feb 4, 2019 at 10:27 am

Need to aggressively move on our Eastside Plan now before it is not our choice! Pleasanton hasn't really built any affordable housing - even the apartments are not that. I think it's Karla Brown's idea to look at some multi-family dwellings like duplexes.


13 people like this
Posted by Juanita
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Feb 4, 2019 at 11:04 am

Juanita is a registered user.

Pleasanton has been NIMBYs kicking the can down the street for decades. Residents wanting to stay in the 1950’s and local politicians whose egos were bigger than vision is what got us in this mess. Being located at a major interchange, within close proximity of major employment centers, and frankly just being in desirable California makes it real plain population growth will continue and we needed to build housing along the way. I’m mad because our failure to build a mix of housing over the years throughout town will now result in super high densities and cramming all the affordable housing into a few remaining locations. I shutter to think what the East Side density will become (as the NIMBY panacea) not to mention it’s not near BART, transit, and its next to industrial (yeh, corral all the affordable units for poor people in a toxic area).


5 people like this
Posted by Doug
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 4, 2019 at 12:46 pm

@Rob : "Build Costco before it turns into 500 condos"

Doesn't work that way. The reason that Pleasanton was ordered by the courts to build more housing was that the ratio of Pleasanton jobs to Pleasanton residents was too high. According to Jerry Brown's memo, I recall that the ratio was around 1.6 Pleasanton jobs for every adult resident of Pleasanton, which was astoundingly high. The courts said "no" to Pleasanton's strategy of inviting more and more businesses into Pleasanton while at the same time trying to throw the responsibility for housing all of those new workers off onto surrounding communities. More jobs in Pleasanton mean more responsibility for providing more housing by Pleasanton.


3 people like this
Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Feb 4, 2019 at 1:57 pm

James Michael is a registered user.

"More jobs in Pleasanton means more responsibility for providing housing by Pleasanton"

Except...it doesn't work that way because "if you build it they will come" and move here and keep their jobs in Silicon Valley, or San Francisco or San Jose and contribute to the commute nightmare. Nobody can be denied the purchase of a dwelling simply because they don't work in that city.


Like this comment
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2019 at 2:35 pm

BobB is a registered user.

James Michael,

Are you saying we shouldn't build more housing? If so, why not?


3 people like this
Posted by Doug
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 4, 2019 at 3:50 pm

@James Michael: "Nobody can be denied the purchase of a dwelling simply because they don't work in that city."

Not sure what that has to do with the court ruling against Pleasanton. What the court was basically saying to Pleasanton was very simple: If you (Pleasanton) are going to encourage business development within your boundaries, then you also have to carry your fair share of the housing burden in proportion to the number of jobs associated with those businesses.


2 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2019 at 5:03 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@Doug,

And they are right to say that. We should be doing both.


9 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 4, 2019 at 6:03 pm

The property tax paying citizens in the community have the exclusive right to determine, through their elected representatives, what type of community they want. The low-level state court has false authority to interfere with the community's majority right, to determine what they, the majority want. Had this case got into federal court, Pleasanton would have won.


6 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2019 at 6:39 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@Pete,

Residential water use is not at all a problem.


4 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2019 at 9:06 pm

BobB. If residential water isn’t an issue why did the state mandate Cities require residents to restrict usage several years ago. Water is an issue.


13 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2019 at 9:48 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@Rick,

It was about awareness. Like not offering water at restaurants without being asked. It was to make us aware that farmers were struggling and the Sacramento San-Joaquin ecology was threatened due to the drought conditions and agricultural activity. Residential water use is negligible.

Residential water is not an issue.


9 people like this
Posted by sjd
a resident of Livermore
on Feb 5, 2019 at 5:57 am

"The property tax paying citizens in the community have the exclusive right to determine, through their elected representatives, what type of community they want."

You can't run around disregarding how one citiy's actions (like attracting businesses without housing) affects everyone else, especially given the disparities in the resources communities have as a result of that. Yes, this goes double for NIMBY pininsula cities too. Your property taxes are not enough to make up for all the externalities and those taxes are only enough in concert with business taxes to keep the city afloat.

Want proof? Look at Moraga - they can't even afford their street repair anymore.


6 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Feb 5, 2019 at 10:57 am

David is a registered user.

How many taxpaying residents live here and then relocate elsewhere within 2-5 years. People don’t live in the same house or town like past generations and we are now more transient or mobile. In 15 years, we and one other neighbor are the original owners on our street while everyone else in the neighborhood has moved for jobs, retirement, or other. We have to look at the long term planning of the city and not just what the current taxpayers think is right.


7 people like this
Posted by Mike
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2019 at 1:00 pm

The worse part of the housing crisis is that first time buyers are priced out of the market. Unless I help my kids with a huge downpayment, they will be forced to move out of our community.


There is no room to build new entry level starter homes. Even if there was, lower priced houses are purchased by investors for rental income and middle class families cannot afford to upgrade their homes in the communities they live in because of astronomical property taxes.


1 person likes this
Posted by MM
a resident of Parkside
on Feb 6, 2019 at 8:02 am

comment to "Build Costco before it turns into 500 condos".."Doesn't work that way."

I would like to see the number of residents living in Pleasanton Vs the number of those residents that actually work in Pleasanton or are retired in Pleasanton. Isn't that what we should be providing housing for and not those that commute out of Pleasanton to work? Why would access to Bart be a requirement for affordable/high density housing projects if they reside and work in Pleasanton?


2 people like this
Posted by Doug
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 6, 2019 at 8:24 am

@MM :”I would like to see the number of residents living in Pleasanton Vs the number of those residents that actually work in Pleasanton or are retired in Pleasanton. Isn't that what we should be providing housing for and not those that commute out of Pleasanton to work?”

I think that trying to micromanage housing requirements to that level is not practical or desirable. Ultimately you’re talking about a system in which every person would be required to live in the very same town or city where they work, and a new government bureaucracy would have to be set up to track and enforce that requirement. As for Pleasanton, such a requirement would cause Pleasanton property values to plummet because Pleasanton housing prices are kept at high levels due to the many highly paid Pleasanton homeowners who work elsewhere in the Bay Area in high tech and other industries.


2 people like this
Posted by Juanita
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Feb 7, 2019 at 9:55 am

Juanita is a registered user.

Get the City of San Jose, Mountain View and Santa Clara County to build the housing for tech workers which are generated at Google, Apple and other major employers and housing problem solved!!!


2 people like this
Posted by John r
a resident of Happy Valley
on Feb 19, 2019 at 7:33 pm

Hi

In this age of acute shortage of housing I see 1 acre lots on sycamore Rd with one little house. This area is less than two miles to downtown, but looks like very country side. I strongly urge to change the use of land to at least medium density. I strongly feel, if city cannot manage how to use the land because of NIMBY effects, let state take control of it and make regulations. Builders will automatically come and construct more housing there. I see the entire sycamore rd is in the other world of Plesanton. It’s a myth transportation is going to increase. It’s just pushed from Plesanton to Tracy or somewhere else jamming the feee ways and tHe other roads. My two cents...

Thanks


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