The Pleasanton Planning Commission gave initial support last month to two proposed projects requiring modifications to existing city regulations, going against the recommendations of city staff in the process.
Commissioners voted on Jan. 22 in favor of the concept of modifying a condition for the Rose Pavilion that prohibits a drive-thru on "Pad B" in Phase III of the site -- to accommodate a planned Taco Bell drive-thru in the place of the Oil Changer building.
The commission also indicated support that night for a landowner's request to modify the North Sycamore Specific Plan to subdivide 990 Sycamore Road into five lots, while the specific plan as written only allows a three-lot subdivision maximum.
Both items are due to return to the commission for final consideration at future meetings. Ultimately, each item would need to head to the City Council as well for final approval.
Taco Bell in Rose Pavilion
Jinglebells LLC, through its consultant Marks Architects, seeks permission to build a new Taco Bell restaurant with a drive-thru in the Rose Pavilion at the location where Oil Changer currently operates at 4210 Rosewood Drive
But in order to do that, the company would need the city to remove a condition of approval imposed on the Rose Pavilion Phase III planned-unit development (PUD) 30 years ago that prohibits operating a drive-thru at that location.
The tenant spot eyed for the proposed Taco Bell is in the shopping center on the west side of Rosewood Drive near the Santa Rita Road intersection. It's next to the Goodyear tire center and near the Restoration Hardware Outlet and CVS Pharmacy.
City staff recommended denial of the request based on the original direction from the City Council in 1989 to add a specific condition barring a drive-thru in that area of Rose Pavilion. Ellen Clark, the city's community development director, also noted that drive-thrus tend to "have higher trip generation, thus more traffic and higher emissions, and contribute to less pedestrian-oriented environments than a non-drive-thru restaurant."
But the Planning Commission disagreed at the Jan. 22 meeting, supporting the applicant's request in part because the rest of the Rose Pavilion, as well as most other properties in the area, allow drive-thru restaurants, according to Clark.
"The Planning Commission noted the rationale for the City Council having imposed the condition at the time the PUD was approved was unclear but appeared to have been intended to limit the use of 'Pad B' to a '50s-style diner' restaurant use that never materialized; and the restriction on drive-thru uses at this sole location was anomalous," according to Eric Luchini, city associate planner.
The commission voted 5-0 to give initial support to the proposed modification on Jan. 22. Commissioner Herb Ritter was absent for the meeting, so commission alternate Brandon Pace was elevated to a full voting seat.
City staff is scheduled to return with an updated resolution for consideration at this Wednesday night's commission meeting (Feb. 12). The PUD major modification request would then head to the City Council for a final decision, likely in March if advanced by the commission, according to Clark.
The future Taco Bell drive-thru would still need to receive a conditional use-permit and design review approval from the city in the future when plans are completed -- assuming PUD modification passes.
Sycamore Road subdivision
The Bringhurst family is looking for city approval to amend the North Sycamore Specific Plan and PUD plan to allow for a five-lot subdivision at their 3.28-acre property at 990 Sycamore Road, located near where Sycamore Road intersects with Alisal Street. The proposal would create five lots overall, for four new houses and one lot with the existing house.
The specific plan allows for only three lots currently, so city staff recommended denial of the property owners' request to retain consistency with the original plan approvals, according to Clark.
The commission sided with the landowner in concept at the Jan. 22 hearing.
Clark said the commissioners reasoned "that allowing three lots on the north part of the site (each approximately 15,000 square feet) would be compatible with the current character of other lots and homes already along Sycamore Creek Way; and the lotting pattern (two approximately one-acre lots) on the south side of the parcel, would be similar to/consistent with a PUD for the same site, that had been approved in the past."
She said the commission still thought work needed to be done to ensure the two homes on the south portion of the site retained a more rural character along Sycamore Road.
"The applicant was asked to revise their plans to reduce the size of the home on Lot 1, and increase setbacks; and, an increased amenity contribution to support pedestrian and bike improvements in the area was also requested," according to Clark.
There was no formal vote taken, but the three commissioners at the dais were unanimous in a straw poll in favor of the five-lot concept, according to Clark. Commissioners Jack Balch and Greg O'Connor recused themselves due to conflicts of interest, while Ritter was still absent.
The proposal would return to the commission for formal action once the revisions are made, at a yet-undetermined future date. This project would require final approval by the City Council as well.