News

Pleasanton council endorses Tri-Valley housing policy framework

Cities hope for stronger voice with coordinated effort, community education

Local leaders throughout the Tri-Valley have been carefully watching regional and state officials' legislative proposals to address the housing shortfall, and the five municipalities now have a plan in place for a coordinated response.

The Pleasanton City Council last week threw its support behind a Tri-Valley cities' housing and policy framework, a consensus document that details shared concerns about the Bay Area's so-called "CASA Compact" and creates a starting point for proactive education and advocacy to achieve common priorities.

"I really like the idea of the five cities in the Tri-Valley getting together, working and trying to find the common ground. Putting the five cities together gives us substantial clout ... versus trying to go it alone," Councilwoman Kathy Narum said before the council's unanimous vote March 5.

Amid the slew of legislative proposals that have come forward to address California's housing shortfall, the cities of Pleasanton, Dublin, Livermore and San Ramon and the town of Danville -- who already coordinate efforts on certain Tri-Valley priorities -- decided in recent weeks to join forces on more in-depth education and advocacy on the topic of housing.

Of particular concern locally is the CASA Compact.

Developed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission-appointed Committee to House the Bay Area (dubbed CASA) and released in December, the CASA Compact is a 10-point plan with recommendations and strategies to remedy the Bay Area's housing issues, according to Gerry Beaudin, Pleasanton's community development director.

While the CASA Compact itself isn't a piece of legislation, it is being used by regional and state officials to guide their legislative proposals to address the housing crisis, Beaudin said during his presentation to the council.

Councilman Jerry Pentin criticized the CASA Compact as being finalized without a typical full public review process and without most suburban Bay Area cities, like Pleasanton, having a seat at the table or a chance to provide informed input.

Tri-Valley local leaders have shared concerns with the CASA Compact, and the housing policy framework is a strategy to make sure their voices are heard.

The framework is designed to lay the foundation for education in the community and for coordinated advocacy to help influence the housing legislative process and achieve goals common among the five municipalities -- while also leaving the door open for each city to pursue individualized housing policy advocacy when needed.

The Tri-Valley's framework centers on five themes summarizing points of consensus among the five councils -- key topic areas they see as woefully and inadequately addressed by most state housing legislative proposals.

At the top of the list is balanced solutions, a push for equal policy consideration of housing, employment, and transportation and transit in proposed solutions to the housing crisis, Beaudin said.

The other themes focus on provide, promote and protect affordability; context-sensitive housing in communities (avoiding one-size-fits-all approach); solutions for infrastructure and public services; and funding and resources.

The framework also directly addresses the 10 elements in the CASA Compact, six of which were ranked as high levels of concern for the Tri-Valley.

Of those, only item No. 10 -- CASA's proposal to create a new Regional Housing Enterprise public agency to implement the compact -- received total opposition from the Tri-Valley.

Four others were labeled as "oppose unless amended": minimum zoning near transit, "good government" reforms to housing approval process, expedited approvals and financial incentives for select housing, and funding and financing the CASA Compact.

CASA's element No. 8, unlocking surplus public land for affordable housing, also received a "high concern" ranking but would be supported by the Tri-Valley with amendments.

The four other items were ranked as low concern: just cause eviction policy, emergency rent cap, emergency rent assistance and access to legal counsel, and remove regulatory barriers to accessory dwelling units. The latter is fully supported by local leaders.

Most Pleasanton council members spoke highly about the Tri-Valley framework, but first-term Councilwoman Julie Testa initially said she wanted absolute opposition to the CASA Compact and saw the local accord as too supportive of CASA's initiatives.

"I think that we're selling our community short if we aren't really standing strong (in opposition)," said Testa, a slow-growth advocate in her first year on the council. "Other cities are standing up in opposition, and I think we should be doing that."

Pentin countered that Pleasanton needs to work with the state and can't afford to be the poster-child for "no" on new housing -- referring to the city's reputation in the wake of losing a costly court battle over its housing cap, which an Alameda County Superior Court judge in 2010 invalidated as a violation of state law requiring all cities to provide adequate housing.

Vice Mayor Karla Brown added in support, "I don't see this as a rollover and accept CASA, at all ... I think it's a great start."

Testa ultimately joined her four colleagues, after a brief pause, in casting a vote in favor of the Tri-Valley framework.

Going forward, city staff will continue to track state housing bills (Pleasanton has 62 on its list) and then hold discussions with the Legislative Subcommittee of the City Council on what positions to take on certain bills before the full council weighs in.

The council also could hold a future conversation soon on topics for additional, Pleasanton-specific housing advocacy -- issues such as local control, voter rights, local context like exempting historic downtowns, layers of bureaucracy, affordability, service impacts and unfunded mandates.

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Comments

4 people like this
Posted by SMH
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 12, 2019 at 9:52 am

Just keep in mind. Agreement with this autocratic state’s edict is the path of least resistance for staff and provides an excuse for them to rubber stamp all projects instead of having to actually do their jobs and review each projects value and impact to the city. So, now that even more local control is being stripped away maybe we can reduce city staff?

No matter what Karla Brown started to the contrary, its a roll over move from the city. Unbelievable.


2 people like this
Posted by sjd
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 12, 2019 at 10:19 am

"provide, promote and protect affordability; context-sensitive housing in communities (avoiding one-size-fits-all approach); solutions for infrastructure and public services; and funding and resources."

1, 2, and 4 are vague or don't address the problem of acquisition and construction costs, and the council opposes zoning changes near transit which conflicts with 3.

Pretty weak honestly. Maybe that's intentional because housing isn't popular.


4 people like this
Posted by Charlie Brown
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Mar 12, 2019 at 10:29 am

On the Yellow Brick Road to "Stack and Pack!


8 people like this
Posted by Frankie
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 12, 2019 at 10:53 am

Frankie is a registered user.

When will big tech companies take responsibility and start being part of solving the housing supply and affordability crisis not to mention the traffic gridlock to Silicon Valley.


3 people like this
Posted by sjd
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 12, 2019 at 12:06 pm

@Frankie
It's not the tech companies. Google tried to build housing - Mountain View wanted to bring it down in size and delayed it for quite a while. Vallco mall had a huge community plan done and a small subset of voters there forced a referendum over it, diminishing what the community would get.

We could instead let other companies build housing competitively... but these cities like their taxes from big companies and don't want the housing to match.


Like this comment
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 12, 2019 at 5:51 pm

Ten years ago Pleasanton voters had competing measures on the ballot.
Measure QQ and measure PP. Intended to limit development on slopes, and the ridgeline.

I predict that Newsom and his ultra liberal majority will sue Pleasanton, forcing the development on the slopes below the ridgeline much like development along I-580 in Oakland where they built the stack and pack housing with the ridge line just above the stack and pack.


5 people like this
Posted by John B
a resident of Happy Valley
on Mar 14, 2019 at 11:52 am

When cities in bay area permitted businesses, respected city council members and mayors forgot to add housing to the plans with respect to job growth. This put a lot of pressure on affordability, rents and traffic. It appears SB 50 will allow SFR to be converted to duplex, triplex or even 15 apartments condo etc in high job growth areas or near by transit areas. Every one accepts and recognizes housing is an issue for almost a decade, but nothing was done. In North Plesanton, there are areas where lots of size of 1 acre+ exists with a small house. This is absolute waste of land use. Deplorable. This kind of usage of land is prime for SB 50 and to get more housing, avoiding city bureaucracy. We can't be holding zoning done 50 years back to address the issues of 21st century. Future generation simply cannot afford the house in bay area unless you are working in Google or FB etc. If you think rationally I see positive things are happening at state and probably will be appreciated later...Always CA is torch bearer


Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Mar 14, 2019 at 1:48 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

“In North Plesanton, there are areas where lots of size of 1 acre+ exists with a small house. Deplorable. This kind of usage of land is prime for SB 50 and to get more housing, avoiding city bureaucracy.” Any home, no matter the size, sitting on 1+ acre(s) actually belongs to the people living there. Are you suggesting taking that property from the owners, and if so, how? Or are you stating there should be no future 1 acre home lots?


5 people like this
Posted by John B
a resident of Happy Valley
on Mar 14, 2019 at 2:35 pm

I am not saying take away your parcel and build more. Rather City should encourage the owners who would like to build more on their lots. As I understand those parcels are R1. There is no reason for them to be R1 on a acre+ lots. They can be zoned as RM either to build more houses there or apartments. By no means force them to do. I am sure many owners would like to do this, as they can make more money. I see this as win-win situation, owners make money and this puts pressure on rents/prices to go down over a period of time. This is what SB 50 calls for and some cities have NIMBYism not to support that.


Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 14, 2019 at 2:54 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

So liberal big government California wants companies to take responsibility for housing???? Ok.....have we gone full circle crazy?

Am I hearing advocation for FoxConn in the Silicon Valley.

This is right up there with defined segregated safe places for people of underrepresented communities....proposed by liberals.


6 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm

BobB is a registered user.

John B,

That does sound like a good idea, to allow those lots to be rezoned.


4 people like this
Posted by K
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Mar 14, 2019 at 4:06 pm

Hi John B -

I see you identify your neighborhood as Happy Valley.

May I ask what size lot your house is on?

If it's fair to build more houses in another part of town because you feel those people are wasting space needed for more housing, should we do the same where you live?

Widen the road, put in needed improvements and built some high density there.

I only bring this up as you seem to have some conflicting details between where you live and what you suggest about "wasting" land.

I do agree that this is a different time. People need a place to live and the old zoning doesn't work for the future. I really don't like it when people in Pleasanton complain about "stack and pack" housing. That's really all people can afford, plus many younger people do not want to deal with a large lot's maintenance.


Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 14, 2019 at 8:10 pm

Can we all just agree to put it in mtn house?


3 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2019 at 8:58 pm

BobB is a registered user.

K,

I agree with your "stack and pack" comment. It is what younger people can afford and we need more of it in Pleasanton.


Like this comment
Posted by John B
a resident of Happy Valley
on Mar 15, 2019 at 12:27 am

K,

Objectively SB 50 can impact me or you or any one. By no means I am finger pointing to one particular area, just that I go around this area and hence little bit more familiar. Some one has to take the initiative and see how this issue can be solved. With city charging 100k to 200k fees on a new development, land costs, civil, architectural, structural engineering costs, pge costs, one can easily incur more than 500k before, you put a first stone to build a new house. Added to that, two to three years of planning, revisions, public hearings..and cost of $300sqft construction costs. I do not see any builder can build and make money by building low income or middle income houses, unless some one provides subsidy (which is hard to come by). One of the solution is to encourage the current home owners to increase the housing by converting SFR to duplex or triplex or fourplex or xx number of apts, where some of the costs already incurred....


Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 15, 2019 at 7:42 am

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

LA tried that - how has it worked out to solve the problem?


2 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 15, 2019 at 9:02 am

Long gone are the days of developers building single story mass produced “cookie cutter” style affordable housing on standard sized lots, there’s a lot more profit in those stack and pack zero lot line monsters=the more family members you can squeeze in the higher the selling price. Get back to basics bring back the real neighborhoods, quit trying to change our town into a big city.


2 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2019 at 12:51 pm

BobB is a registered user.

Map,

That was 50 years ago. Get with the times. I see mainly improvement.


6 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 15, 2019 at 12:56 pm

BobB,
I don't. If you prefer tight quarters there are plenty of opportunities and communities built around that concept. Please pursue your interests in those communities.

But just as I must accept your preference to live in those environments I ask you accept that I purposely choose to live in one that doesn't reflect that today, yesterday, and for the most part what I believe those that live here prefer moving forward.


3 people like this
Posted by Robert S. Allen
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 15, 2019 at 1:24 pm

Robert S. Allen is a registered user.

Repeal AB 2923 that pushes stack/pack housing at BART stations. Adequate parking and good local transit, for those living within miles of a station, serves regional housing far better until jobs and other destination uses come. Keep local agencies in control of land use around transit stations, not the metro-dominated BART board.

A referendum would have done well.


2 people like this
Posted by K
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Mar 15, 2019 at 2:23 pm

PP -

May I ask how long you have lived in Pleasanton?

Perhaps "you" need to locate to a new area of the country or another part of the state, one that can actually support the type of lifestyle you want.

To think that this town can continue to use planning theories and practices from the last century, given we are on the edge of the fast growing Silicon Valley, is really very unrealistic. Gone are the days when people in Silicon Valley had no idea Pleasanton even existed. Most confused us with Pleasant Hill.

The types of higher density housing Pleasanton has put in place is SIGNIFICANTLY different (smaller, more spread out) than Fremont, Santa Clara, San Jose, etc. It really is not bad.

And Pleasanton is putting it exactly where is should be - closer to BART or on the edge of town so it provides people who want (or should I say need) that type of housing while minimizing the impact to the rest of the town.

Of course, we can all say "I have mine" and have no concern for others being able to live here - including kids who grew up here and can't possibly afford to live here now. We can be happy with our ever growing equity - many exceeding 6 figures - and say screw everybody else.

But is that the type of town we want to be? People make a big deal about this being the town with "Character".

That's true if the characteristic happens to be "selfishness".

And before you say I should be the one to move, that is exactly the thought process I'm going thru as I get ready to retire.


3 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2019 at 3:11 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@PP,

I could move to Dublin, but prop 13 is keeping me here! Seriously, my taxes would go up quite a bit.

Many newer Pleasanton residents prefer denser housing.


10 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 15, 2019 at 8:05 pm

Well. That is your choice. Sometimes you have to pay for what you want. I already did when i moved here.

Ill take that bet - id wager given the choice 90% of Pleasanton residents new and old would choose a std lot (1/4 acre or less) with normal 40' distances between single family homes over zero lot lines and high density condos.


3 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 15, 2019 at 8:09 pm

K,
Why not sell your house below market value to a young family then if you're concerned about the affordability of Pleasanton to younger generations? Clearly a good ppint and something you could directly influence and control today. Or does that selfishness only apply to others?


5 people like this
Posted by K
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Mar 16, 2019 at 7:55 am

PP -

I stand by my comment about Pleasanton having a selfish attitude. This is demonstrated by a community not wanting to provide affordable housing to lower income people - and lower income in Pleaseanton ($100K+ maybe??) really isn't that low income.

To comment on your suggestion about my level of selfishness, here's a partial list to offset my unwillingness to sell to one person under market value:

1) 10% of my annual salary - over a 35 yr period - donated to Alameda County Food Bank, Hope Hispice, Amador HS, scholarships for low income student thru my college alumni association, etc. This adds up to about 3 2/1 years of salary
2) 200+ hours of volunteer work each year as an ESL tutor, TriValley Haven, and multiple other local non-profits. This is probably equivalent to another 1/3 tear of salary over the last 35 yrs
3) Helping my older neighbors, who I have known for 46 years, as they are trying to stay in their homes aging in place

So I think I am a very generous person, helping a large group of people over many years.

And I want to continue to live in a community that is generous to all socioeconomic groups. Pleasanton used to be a very solid middle class - both blue collar and white collar - community.

There are still many generous, caring people, but as a whole it's turned into a rich, elitist, selfish town. And it has that reputation throughout Silicon Valley and the Greater Bay Area.

I'm embarrassed to tell people I live here - you know, judged by the company you keep?


1 person likes this
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Mar 16, 2019 at 3:12 pm

Maybe we should consider recinding prop 13. We never seem to have enough money and our facilities and teachers are lacking. Maybe with more money we can improve our condition. I used to live in Texas and we paid more in property taxes than here but the schools looked like colleges and facilities were top notch to say the least. Moved here and the schools looked terrible. Portables, old gyms etc. I think we should pay more in property taxes for the kids.


Like this comment
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2019 at 5:53 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@Sam,

People are already talking about changing prop 13 so that it applies differently to businesses vs residences.


1 person likes this
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Mar 16, 2019 at 8:22 pm

I mean residential primarily. We don’t pay enough and the amount paid is not consistent with the current value of the home. Taxes should go up at same rate as value does.


3 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 16, 2019 at 8:35 pm

Sam,
You have the freedom to donate extra dollars to government anytime, when you personally believe you are not paying enough taxes.

Just leave everyone else out of your remorse!


1 person likes this
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Mar 17, 2019 at 7:48 am

Interesting enough I do pay more than I need to and am proud of it.

I’m 63 and feel I and others like me should give something back. Fortunately for me and others is that an entire young generation coming feels the same way. Get ready because things are changing.


4 people like this
Posted by Flightops
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 17, 2019 at 9:47 am

Flightops is a registered user.

Always seems like the same cast of characters (posters) wanting us long term lovers of the small town that we live in to pack up and get out of town and make way for the big city lovers, sorry that’s not happening even though ptown has been turned into a parking lot with over privileged drivers always in a hurry to get to who knows where?? When was the last time we saw any affordable housing built anywhere in this town or the surrounding areas? The developers are laughing all the way to the bank at the expense of our quality of life


3 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2019 at 12:15 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@Flightops,

You might not be leaving, but Pleasanton is changing, and there is no going back. It isn't a small town anymore.


2 people like this
Posted by sjd
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 17, 2019 at 10:24 pm

It's amazing to me that a number of people apparently think developers just stopped building "affordable" housing. "These new condos are a money grab" etc.

Your single family home in 1970 was a money grab too.

Was your housing affordable when you bought it 30 years ago? That was because market rate housing was "affordable" to middle class buyers (to say nothing of the racial covenants and racial lending disparities that existed well past formal school integration). Developers were selling at the highest price they could sell for, and they still do.

What's changed is that demand has gone up and land prices with it. The only way to overcome that is with more units per parcel. That comes with challenges, like needing better public transit, different school layouts than the traditional 2 acre, and more. But the idea that we'll just get more affordable housing by building no apartments (or "stack and pack" as the term in the Tri Valley seems to be) as if new detached single family homes would somehow be cheaper is just laughable. You can see that new detached homes off of Stanley are $1.2M+, actually.

And there is no going back.

Is it fair that small Peninsula cities get taxes from big companies and export the housing which just doesn't make as much money for city services? No, it's not. But that's why you actually need regional or state law on some things to change.


Like this comment
Posted by sjd
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 17, 2019 at 10:32 pm

Also just as a side note, I would really rather not have the big tech companies building their own housing. Society decided the Hershey company town of yesteryear wasn't really a good thing.

If you want them to pay money for their impacts... Well, that's what taxes are for.


Like this comment
Posted by K
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Mar 18, 2019 at 9:19 am

In 1968, my family moved from upstate New York to California. The difference in the schools and curriculum was very apparent.

NY - Fantastic facilities, more academically challenging (I went from a B to A student)

CA - Really poor facilities, not as challenging academically

Conclusion, even back then, before Prop 13, CA invested much less in education than NY.

So is California's problem really not enough tax money or is it California not putting a priority on adequately funding schools with the BILLIONS of dollars they collect in property taxes. BILLIONS even with Prop 13 in place?


2 people like this
Posted by John B
a resident of Happy Valley
on Mar 18, 2019 at 11:59 am

Here is the link of fees Web Link from city. Min fees incurred is about 150k by city + land costs + architect, civi, landscape, structural costs etc easily runs about 500k+. Unless high density is permitted, the above costs cannot be spread to produce atleast middle income housing. However you slice and dice it, SFR are going to cost ~$1.5M. Only way is to reduce the cost is by denser housing..any thoughts otherwise..


Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 18, 2019 at 2:47 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

K,
Its the application of the money collected paired with the non-core requirements school's are being forced to support (diluted what schools are required to support).
- daycares, lunches, dual sets of books, books in general vs electronic media, social services, etc, etc.


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