City Council endorses revised JDEDZ, advances new Costco toward approval | News | PleasantonWeekly.com |

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City Council endorses revised JDEDZ, advances new Costco toward approval

Retail giant remains 'committed' to Pleasanton; project opponent vows 'fight is not over'

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Aerial shot shows Johnson Drive Economic Development Zone site southeast of the I-580/I-680 interchange. Costco and a hotel developer are aiming to build on the 20-acre vacant portion near the middle of the photo. (File photo by Mike Sedlak/mike@digitalsight.com)

The years-long effort to bring a Costco Wholesale store to Pleasanton cleared another hurdle on Tuesday night when the City Council unanimously supported the latest version of policy and environmental review documents central to rezoning the project site.

Council members are set to confirm their decision in two weeks to formally sign off -- again -- on the proposed Johnson Drive Economic Development Zone, a city regulatory endeavor that would lay the foundation for allowing the Costco, plus two new hotels and other businesses, to come to a swath of land southeast of the I-680/I-580 interchange.

"Many of us have been through this entire process. If there's been a vetted project in this city, this is it," Councilman Jerry Pentin said. "I'm satisfied the work has been done. I'm satisfied that the residents of Pleasanton have spoke that they want this project."

Vice Mayor Kathy Narum also pointed to citizen support for the proposed Costco, including an email she received urging the city to "remove the 'Pyramids of Pleasanton'" -- referring to the mounds of post-demolition debris sitting for years on a prominent Johnson Drive parcel.

She said she thinks that resident support has actually grown amid the extra public review and city hearings, "based on comments the past couple of years about 'why haven't you started', 'don't you know how to dig', 'do we need to buy you a shovel' and on and on and on."

"It was a difficult decision for me because there's many good things and there's some challenges," Councilwoman Karla Brown added. "But I think we came to a place that I can support."

The JDEDZ project was first initiated by the city in 2014 as a concept to spur commercial development on under-utilized land on Johnson Drive and Commerce Circle. It details rules for how redevelopment could occur on the 40 acres near the freeways' interchange, including rezoning a nearly 20-acre site left vacant when Clorox closed its research center there.

The updates to the JDEDZ documents center on the results of more than a year's worth of additional environmental review, mainly around air quality, ordered by the council as part of rescinding its original JDEDZ approvals from 2017 in favor of supplemental analysis to address concerns raised in a lawsuit challenging the project.

Most other key elements of the JDEDZ package remain the same as they were two years ago, although cost estimates for traffic improvements in the area have now risen to between $23.1 million and $25.3 million -- above the original pricetag estimate of $21.47 million.

Pleasanton Citizens for Responsible Growth, the group that sued the city over its original JDEDZ approvals, is "very disappointed" by the council's actions Tuesday night, according to the group's spokesman, Matt Sullivan.

"The city continues to conceal the true environmental, public health, and traffic impacts of the project and refuses to provide the details of public subsidies to Costco, a $135 billion corporation. We are weighing the alternatives to respond to this action, but suffice to say, this fight is not over," Sullivan, a former City Council member, told the Weekly on Wednesday morning.

Sullivan did not speak during the hearing Tuesday night at the Pleasanton Civic Center, but the council did hear from a handful of speakers on both sides of the JDEDZ proposal.

Jenifer Murillo, director of real estate development for Costco, said the company remains committed to opening its first-ever store in Pleasanton -- on land it now owns along Johnson Drive.

"We believe that this Costco will add over 275 well-paying jobs with great benefits," Murilo said. "It will generate millions in sales tax revenue. We believe it will redevelop and repurpose an under-utilized property in a key economic corridor along I-680."

"We are committed to Pleasanton. We are committed to this project. And we look forward to continuing our involvement in this community," she added.

Randy Brown, board chair for the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce, said he supports the JDEDZ, in part, because of "the transformation of an under-utilized area of the city that, let's face it, is a real eyesore."

"This is a thriving commercial corridor that capitalizes on its location and will create many opportunities for new uses and services for our community," he added.

Resident Don Maday was less supportive, saying the new higher roadwork costs represent "a substantial escalation from the original number ... And really, it begs the question: How much more do we expect it to go up before construction is completed?"

"I ask that you re-examine the economics on this deal," Maday added. "We heard from the Costco people this is a really desirable place for that, for them ... I think you could get more, and I would ask you to reconsider it and renegotiate."

"The issue is not not wanting Costco. The issue is where our tax money is going," Kathy Hemmen told the council. "We need to be concerned about our money. I get the feeling we're not sure about the dollars and cents."

City staff also reported receiving more than 350 comment letters and emails during the new environmental process and up through this week, with about 85% of those in favor of the JDEDZ and less than 15% opposed.

Following the nearly two-hour hearing, the council voted to certify the JDEDZ's "revised final supplemental environmental impact report" and to approve a resolution for the General Plan amendment to change the land-use designations of parcels to accommodate the expanded commercial uses.

The council also voted to introduce an ordinance for rezoning the JDEDZ site, a required two-step process. The second reading and final adoption of the ordinance is scheduled for the council's Feb. 18 regular meeting.

Also slated for that meeting is consideration of an updated JDEDZ transportation fee, which will be charged to all JDEDZ developers (except Costco) to make sure they repay their fair share of the public infrastructure work.

With the roadwork needing to be finished before Costco could open, the transportation improvements are generally split into thirds among the city, Costco and those future JDEDZ developers -- with Costco fronting that latter third and the city repaying that money via a tax-sharing agreement.

We need your support now more than ever. Can we count on you?

Comments

39 people like this
Posted by Greg
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 5, 2020 at 4:24 am

Good! Finally. Let’s get started.


36 people like this
Posted by Pat
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Feb 5, 2020 at 4:56 am

So glad Costco is coming to Pleasanton!


22 people like this
Posted by Big Matt
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 5, 2020 at 8:48 am

How long until Matt Sullivan files another lawsuit?


24 people like this
Posted by Matt Sullivan
a resident of Stoneridge
on Feb 5, 2020 at 10:22 am

PCRG Statement on JDEDZ Approval

Pleasanton Citizens for Responsible Growth is very disappointed by the actions of the City Council last night to approve Costco and the Johnson Drive Economic Development Zone project. The city continues to conceal the true environmental, public health, and traffic impacts of the project and refuses to provide the details of public subsidies to Costco, a $135 billion corporation. We are weighing the alternatives to respond to this action, but suffice to say, this fight is not over.


44 people like this
Posted by Carl
a resident of Stoneridge
on Feb 5, 2020 at 10:54 am

Matt, You are working against the vast majority of Pleasanton residents who are in favor of the project. You have lost at every turn and continue to make the city spend money to fight against your personnel agenda. Get over it, you fought the fight but are on the ropes about ready to go down for the count. The City has bent over backwards to get you an updated EIR yet you say it is now just a bunch of lies. What exactly are the lies in the report? Get over yourself!


23 people like this
Posted by Spudly
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Feb 5, 2020 at 11:02 am

I agree with Carl. Move on. Stop messing with my cheap gas, hot dogs, and occasional upgrade to a slice of pizza upon checkout. Build now!


15 people like this
Posted by Ed T
a resident of Stoneridge
on Feb 5, 2020 at 11:15 am

I was at the meeting last night...I was surprised to hear that the City has already signed an agreement with Costco. I heard many conflicting answers from the staff which contradicted their report.

The staff said Costco paying $8.4 million; city paying $8.4 million. I wonder who pays the remaining $8.4 million- the total is $25.3 million. Nothing in the staff report shows Costco paying $8.4 million.

The staff said Costco and the City splitting RIght of Ways 50/50, yet the attachments to the staff report show that Costco will be reimbursed for its contribution to ROW by sales tax revenue sharing.

The staff said 10 gas pumps with 2 sides each. This disputes the RFSEIR. Actually 20 pumps with 2 sides.

Costco is in charge of all infrastructure management and construction! The city has oversight. Good luck overseeing Costco spending $25.3 million, of which $20 million is our taxpayer money.


27 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2020 at 11:20 am

It was about time! We the People (or the majority of We the People) have already spoken, and this delay should never have even happened because of a few ( and I mean, very, very few) disgruntled ones. Get that Costco built. We want it!


15 people like this
Posted by Dave L
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Feb 5, 2020 at 11:27 am

Explain to me how this is going to work?

"This is a thriving commercial corridor that capitalizes on its location and will create many opportunities for new uses and services for our community,"

I really don't care what they build there. However, the 680 NB Sonerdige on ramp is already a crazy mess. That is also where 680 NB goes from three lanes to two lanes. Ridiculous. Then it opens up to at least 5 lanes.

I predict a traffic mess at 680 and Stoneridge Drive.


12 people like this
Posted by Ed T
a resident of Stoneridge
on Feb 5, 2020 at 12:26 pm

Another thing the staff said last night...

Costco and the City will split the cost overruns 50/50. This is wrong! The staff report clearly says that cost increases will be paid by the city in one of two ways:
1) increasing the rate of tax sharing- City gets less sales tax, or
2) the city uses other reserves.

Costco manages infrastructure construction and has no obligation for overruns in costs. Watch out for this one!


25 people like this
Posted by Big Matt
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 5, 2020 at 12:34 pm

Way to go Matt Sullivan! Keep up the good fight! Thank you for wasting time and taxpayer dollars. You LOST. Nobody will take you seriously until you tell us who is funding the PCRG. Perhaps gas station owners who want to continue to gouge Pleasanton Residents? Get over it and move on Matt. All of us on the forum eagerly await your tired, recycled, blah, blah, blah, response. Not! Your 15 minutes were up a long time ago.


18 people like this
Posted by Matt Sullivan
a resident of Stoneridge
on Feb 5, 2020 at 12:57 pm

Sorry, Big Matt. I'm not going away anytime soon. Deal with it!


20 people like this
Posted by Jake Waters
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 5, 2020 at 1:40 pm

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Put on the hard hats and grab the shovels. Matt’s conspiracy theories failed. Costco has been acquitted. Onward to a great and needed addition to our city.


12 people like this
Posted by Big Matt
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 5, 2020 at 1:43 pm

Way to go Jake! Put on the hard hats while Matt Sullivan puts on his TIN FOIL HAT!


23 people like this
Posted by SR
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2020 at 1:51 pm

Deal with it? Are you serious, Matt? Please, Pleasanton, "weigh the alternatives" to making Matt Sullivan and PCRG pay for the millions in costs his delays and obsession has cost the taxpayers of Pleasanton. He has never had anything to back up his position, he has lost at every turn, and the cost of what the vast majority of Pleasanton wants keeps going up and up due to his delay tactics. The city keeps trying to appease him. Why? Why should we have to deal with him continuing to require the city to use our tax dollars to feed this crazy obsession he has? What exactly is in it for him? It has to be something big. I guess a big payoff from the band of top-secret financiers funding all of this. And maybe I am wrong on my thoughts of who is funding it but the accusations that are out there have never been denied and I will NEVER buy overpriced gas from the Pleasanton stations even if Costco is never built. I haven't since this was started and I won't ever again. Geesh! Enough is enough. Every taxpayer in Pleasanton should be furious at the waste.


20 people like this
Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 5, 2020 at 2:04 pm

This was all about the local gas stations and big-time loss of revenue for them.

Stopped buying gas from them after they came out as opponents of Costco.

I hope you go broke, fellas.

Dan


25 people like this
Posted by sumati
a resident of Kolb Ranch Estates
on Feb 5, 2020 at 2:35 pm

Matt Sullivan, please take your own words and use them-

2 EIRS approved- deal with it
1 Election lost - deal with it

Majority of community against you- deal with it

However, unfortunately for us, you'll probably continue with this BS.. not going to ask where your getting the money to fund your lawyers etc. because clearly you don't want to disclose this information....


14 people like this
Posted by Susan
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Feb 5, 2020 at 2:42 pm

I will be so disappointed if Costco is allowed to build another store in Pleasanton. This is a horrible idea and will only benefit the ones who will be stuffing money into their own greedy pockets. Get ready for more traffic folks amongst other negative outcomes. And as far as an eyesore?? I would rathe look at the two gravel pyramids then an ugly Costco. Time to move..


18 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Feb 5, 2020 at 2:59 pm

So Matt Sullivan reveals himself. It’s not about Environmental concerns. It’s not even about what our community wants. it’s about Matt getting his way because he’s smarter and thinks he superior than the rest of us. He just simply does not like big boxes because he is a child of the 60’s. But his frivolous lawsuits are costing us taxpayers money from our general fund that could have been applied to parks, senior housing, and street maintenance. Matt, you sound like Trump when you say there are public subsidies when you know that’s not true. A lot of us are not going away either.


33 people like this
Posted by Karl
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 5, 2020 at 3:01 pm

Can anybody think of a way that a lawsuit can be filed against Matt Sullivan to recoup all of the money wasted on hos lawsuits?

I'd personally donate some money towards attorney's fees to get a suit filed.


17 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2020 at 4:03 pm

Hear, Hear, Karl!!

Can Pleasanton file something like a restraining order against Matt Sullivan and/or put in place some means to stop these endless, losing lawsuits, and/or force disclosure of the financial supporters so we can affirmatively boycott the organization(s) behind this and make them pay for costing us taxpayers so much? It can't be just for individual, personal reasons...

Nothing will ever have 100% support in a large community. But the vast majority of us clearly WANT the Costco, are good with the deal proposed, are satisfied with the EIRs and the due diligence, and are really, really, really pissed about how long this is getting dragged out!!


16 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2020 at 6:20 pm

Why does this Sullivan clown keep wasting our money on unnecessary delays? We can use every bit of retail sales tax revenue thatis64i we can get. JCPenney is on its last legs, and Macys isn't far behind.


15 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 5, 2020 at 7:12 pm

Karl:
Yes, A lawsuit will destroy Matt Sullivan and his group.
How it works, engage a law firm to bring the litigation before the court.
The court will allow discovery.
Discovery is where it begins.
The law firm engaged will totally dominate the Matt Sullivan group beginning with depositions.
Discovery will get all financial records of Matt Sullivan and his group, cell phone records, email records, medical records, mental health records, much more, there is no end to what discovery can get.
With all of the discovery going on, more depositions will be continuing with all of the other people discovered in the first set of depositions.
The Matt Sullivan group will not be able to handle this type of litigation.
They will surrender, the court will order the Matt Sullivan group to pay law firm expenses.


19 people like this
Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 5, 2020 at 8:17 pm

I want the Costco... But I've also read the documents, and Matt Sullivan is right...


13 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2020 at 9:30 pm

Jack, everyone has access to the same materials as Mr. Sullivan. It's all very public and "the most vetted," as Councilmember Pentin noted. And clearly the vast majority of the residents, along with the various City departments, commissions, and Council have concluded that we're good with it. It's time to accept that and let it go.


11 people like this
Posted by Amy
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Feb 5, 2020 at 9:47 pm

Resident:
Please name one person of our city leaders who is capable of negotiating with Costco. One person who can vet the contract.


8 people like this
Posted by Jake Waters
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 5, 2020 at 10:45 pm

Susan, I guess it’s time for you to move.

Stop with the traffic conspiracy. I did not hear anybody crying about Workday. I don’t hear anyone crying about the Mall redevelopment. Live with it as you get your gas at Costco. And you know you will.


11 people like this
Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 5, 2020 at 10:57 pm

Resident, I get it, you want the Costco. So do I. But do you believe for a minute that Patio World will generate one trip on Johnson for every 5 trips that Costco generates? That's just one of the assumptions on which this financial package is based.
I too want the Costco... But Matt's not wrong...


11 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2020 at 11:12 pm

Last I recall, a number of the City staff were engaged in the negotiations, not just the City Council. And frankly, one only has so much leverage to negotiate when it's clear to Costco how much residents want this (for which it was actually that public ballot measure (MM) to kill the deal that first tipped the hand; bad move Matt et al!) But Costco also has an eager backup in Dublin, which I'm sure would be more than happy to make an attractive deal if we push Costco to the point of seeking alternatives. That affects how aggressive one can be. And if we don't get the Costco, and Dublin does, then we lose on a number of fronts both shorter and longer term.

Meanwhile, it was decided that regardless of whether there is a Costco, that the roadwork to improve Stoneridge and 680 is needed and will happen anyway. Or are we going to revert to arguing for reverting the JDEZ to some fields and a small strip mall?


18 people like this
Posted by Eric
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2020 at 8:32 am

A Pleasanton Costco will mean we don’t have to drive an extra 18 miles and sit through 9 more stop lights when we have to go to Danville. The traffic Armageddon argument is absurd. It’s about a several companies and their lying mouthpieces not wanting competition and another losing their precious street parking.


14 people like this
Posted by Reality Bites
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 6, 2020 at 11:23 am

I wish Matt Sullivan cared more about the impact of all the home building that has occurred in Pleasanton over the past 5-10 years. We have exceeded the housing requirement forced upon us by the State and continue to cram in more and more housing. Costco will never put the strain on our resources as the 1000's of homes that have and will be built. Schools are grossly overcrowded, our water and sewer systems cannot handle the load, and our streets have become crowded.


15 people like this
Posted by Andy D
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Feb 6, 2020 at 11:45 am

I think Matt and his organization is mainly backed by Black Tie and the Shell Gas Station owner. He has probably nothing else to do with his time so he has this pass time of creating trouble for a project which is liked and backed by majority of Pleasanton residents. I personally do agree that probably we are giving too much to Costco but that is the trend all over the country where cities and counties give millions of incentives to companies like Google and Amazon to attract them. So my request to Matt is that please stop wasting the city's money and time and let us all move on with life.


18 people like this
Posted by DM
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Feb 6, 2020 at 12:01 pm

The Costco is needed and welcomed. The residents have spoken. That area will definitely need traffic improvements and the road infrastructure addressed.

Lets get the truth out there. The main opponents to the Costco are the Cox family, whom with 6-7 gas stations or more, could no longer have a control over the gas prices in the area, their monopoly would have to end and they would have to be more competitive on their gas pricing.

The other is the owner of Black Tie Transportation whom does not want to be forced to move, and/or lose free parking at both the rear Double Tree lot or street parking for the company's employees and equipment.

For both of those organizations it is only about their profitability and that only, yet they both pull the "traffic and environmental" card out.


The Danville and Livermore Costco locations are far too crowded as it is, the new Costco is needed. While there would be an increase in local traffic, it would be less of an impact with road improvements. In turn, there would b3 less cars on both 580 and 680 traveling out of their come town to reach the existing Costco locations.

The tri-valley is short on hotel space. This would be addressed. Other Johnson Drive tenants, including AT&T, Fed Ex and others, have already agreed to cooperate. It's time for Cox Family and Black Tie to think about the community and not just themselves.

So down with the "pyramid" and up with much needed Pleasanton improvememts.


12 people like this
Posted by Wombat
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 6, 2020 at 1:55 pm

Don't have strong feelings about a Pleasanton Costco either way. May be a bit more convenient (despite the added local traffic) but I've had no complaints on driving to Costcos at Livermore or San Ramon.

Oh, and everyone: Lay off the personal attacks on Matt Sullivan simply because you don't agree with his views on this matter.


22 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2020 at 2:18 pm

I don’t think the attacks are because Matt disagrees... it’s because he keeps interfering with and delaying the desires of the majority of residents (2 to 1 by Measure MM), and costing taxpayers in the process. There has to be an end to this after so many failures!! And we all believe the key drivers (and funding) for these efforts are certain selfish business interests.

The residents have voted against MM, the City has gone around and around to appease the opposition, and the duly-elected City Council has voted to proceed. Accept the reality and move on. Otherwise the majority of people will rightfully be angry and will attack back. We want the Costco and our rights to that are just as valid (and there are 2x as many of us!) :-)


7 people like this
Posted by Macie tupeli
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 6, 2020 at 3:11 pm

Easy extra income for all. Try paid surveys and other.



Web Link


6 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Feb 6, 2020 at 11:04 pm

Dear Reality, not to get off track but Pleasanton has not exceeded the number of houses mandated by the State. In fact, our City has not met the fair share allocation of actual homes built. It is because of no growthers like Sullivan that has placed Pleasanton in a deficit so the State’s updated mandates will necessite building a bunch a higher density units in order to catch up and comply instead of spreading the units across town in smaller quantities. The State is getting very serious about building more homes to meet population demands.


14 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Feb 6, 2020 at 11:20 pm

Dear Wombat, Sullivan claims back room deals, conspiracy theories, etc against City Councilmenbers and Staff members. . Talk about personal attacks. He deserves the criticism and he should not dish it out unless he’s prepared to take it. He writes letters to the PW and goes to meetings to personally attack the character of those who don’t share his opinion. He has cost the taxpayers money needlessly, and created a lot of chaos in the community. I’d wish he would find a hobby, new religion or moved.


8 people like this
Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 7, 2020 at 9:58 pm

Perhaps Matt can tell us how he knows about the backroom deals he claims are going on?

I mean, it sounds as if he might be intimately familiar with how business is REALLY conducted in government, being that he was once part of said government.

Hat tip: Joe Biden


9 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 11, 2020 at 12:38 pm

Looking forward to Costco. Great use for that piece of wasteland by the freeway.


5 people like this
Posted by I Kim
a resident of Donlon Elementary School
on Feb 12, 2020 at 9:49 pm

I guess Sullivan is not going to give up until someone sues him and make him financially liable for the cost of delay.
I am tired of driving down to Costco Livermore or San Ramon last two years and dealing with the large crowds. Also, My wife pays more around 50 cents whenever she fills up gas our neighborhood.
We need volunteers of lawyers who can sue Sullivan and make a kind of "go fund me" to support lawyers' cost.
Thanks.


6 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 12, 2020 at 10:08 pm

Kim,
What it takes is 10% of the voting residents to give $5K each into a offensive fund to take on the Mat Sullivan group, run them out of town forever. I for one am willing to provide the first $5K. Do you have idea as to how we can make this happen?


3 people like this
Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Feb 12, 2020 at 11:37 pm

Wait, what? Run them out of town?

Look, I’m sick of the delays too. And I consciously don’t go to most Pleasanton gas stations—the ones that had the lawn signs. But they have a right to be here, and I’m proud they have the right to be wrong about this issue without being ran out of town.


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