The Pleasanton City Council has a jam-packed agenda scheduled for Tuesday evening, with hot topics like the Downtown Specific Plan update, the Chabad Center for Jewish Life expansion and state housing legislation leading the docket.
The Trails Master Plan update, which has caught the attention of mountain bike aficionados at previous city meetings, is also on the council’s schedule -- along with two proclamations, a 21-item consent calendar and a closed-session with legal counsel on a pending lawsuit.
The council’s open session is set to start at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at the Pleasanton Civic Center, 200 Old Bernal Ave. The full agenda packet is available on the city website via this link.
* Of the big-ticket items, listed first on the agenda is the appeals hearing for the Chabad project, which has placed the city in the middle of the neighborhood dispute, as Rabbi Raleigh Resnick, the Chabad’s spiritual leader, and backyard neighbors Darlene and Michael Miller each separately appealed the permit conditions approved by the Planning Commission in June.
The Chabad seeks permission to expand its religious activities while also offering a preschool and hosting outdoor events at property the Jewish organization bought in 2017 -- a land-use proposal that drew concerns from neighbors who faced noise and rowdiness problems with the site when it was the Pleasanton Masonic Lodge.
The permit conditions endorsed by city planning commissioners June 27 were aimed at finding a balance between the property rights of Chabad and their neighbors, a middle ground that neither group ended up particularly happy with, leading Resnick and the Millers to file separate appeals.
The council held an initial public hearing in August but held off on a final decision after learning of an 11th-hour partial compromise attempt between Chabad officials and the Millers -- a proposal that seemed to be falling apart as the two-hour meeting wrapped up that night.
Since the last hearing on Aug. 21, the city also received a letter from St. Clare's Episcopal Church -- a neighbor who shares a parking lot with Chabad -- raising concerns about parking and trash storage.
After months of discussion and review among the stakeholders and Pleasanton planning staff since that Aug. 21 council hearing, city officials are recommending the council deny both appeals and uphold the commission's project approval on Tuesday night.
* Next up will be the city staff asking for direction from council members on five key topic areas related to the Downtown Specific Plan update that have become the center of recent public debate.
With the two-year update process winding down, the Downtown Specific Plan Update Task Force is getting ready to finalize its proposal to the City Council.
But at its Feb. 26 meeting, following input from city advisory boards and other stakeholder groups, the task force contemplated some recommendations that differed from its members’ previous leanings and from the draft Downtown Specific Plan update document released in the fall, according to city staff.
As a result, city officials are now looking to the council to provide direction to the task force on those specific topic areas: massage regulations, active ground-floor overlay, ground-floor residential in commercial and mixed- use districts, land-use discrepancies for certain properties and development standards such as height and floor area ratio limitations.
The final task force meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday (April 23), at which time the group will confirm its recommended draft plan update that will advance to public hearings before the Planning Commission and City Council during the summer, according to city staff.
* The council, at its crowded meeting, will consider signing off on the final draft of the updated Trails Master Plan, which focuses policies and long-range planning for the city's off-street trails network.
The updated plan has led to some discussion from residents at city meetings around the topics of giving higher priority to a project to create a separate mountain bike trail at Augustin Bernal Community Park and making sure the plan clearly states that private property eyed for possible future trails is off-limits to the public until actually built and opened in the future.
* The council will then carry on its conversation about how to respond to proposals from regional and state legislators to address the Bay Area’s housing shortfall.
Council members will review and consider the city’s legislative framework for 2019, an annual process that this year will focus heavily on topics such as the CASA Compact, Senate Bill 50 and closely watching other bills of interest.
* The council will also present two proclamations (declaring this week as National Victims’ Rights Week and this month as Fair Housing Month), weigh a 21-item consent calendar and talk in closed session with legal counsel about a pending civil case.