News

City Council votes to restart East Pleasanton Specific Plan process

3-2 decision confirms new public process guided by Planning Commission

The city will soon begin work to draft an East Pleasanton Specific Plan after the City Council approved the project approach and scope of work for the multi-year public planning process in a 3-2 vote Tuesday.

Confirming their prior decision to re-prioritize east side planning, the council majority signed off on a public process starting anew with a "blank slate" overseen by the Planning Commission, with frequent check-ins with the council along the way -- as opposed to forming a new task force like what occurred with the previous specific plan attempt that was discontinued several years ago.

"This whole thing about the process being driven by (developer) Ponderosa is pure, homogenized nonsense. This process will be driven by the Planning Commission, the City Council, the staff and you, the residents. It won't be driven by Ponderosa," Mayor Jerry Thorne said during the hearing at the Pleasanton Civic Center.

"Remember this is a planning process ... It will be years before you ever, ever see anything built on the east side -- I can almost guarantee you that, because it takes us years to do anything in this city," the mayor added.

Timing seemed to be the central issue during the council members' deliberations on Tuesday night, their third in-depth hearing on the proposed east side process since November.

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Council members in favor of restarting the process now viewed this as the right time to help ensure coordinated, city-led planning of the East Pleasanton area while also aligning well with city preparations for the upcoming regional housing needs allocation (RHNA) and Housing Element update cycle.

"I have complete confidence in the Planning Commission," said Councilman Jerry Pentin, who joined Vice Mayor Kathy Narum in the majority.

"The possibilities that are out in the east side are wonderful. A mixed community that meets Pleasanton needs is what should come out of this specific plan," Pentin added.

The dissenting council members argued the city should not start east side planning until knowing Pleasanton's next round of RHNA numbers, which assign how many housing units and at what affordability levels Pleasanton must plan for its 2022 Housing Element -- draft RHNA numbers are expected to be announced in March 2021.

"I like the idea of giving a year, knowing what our RHNA number looks like and working from that. I think we'll have plenty of time to incorporate (east side) into our RHNA numbers if we need it," said Councilwoman Julie Testa, who voted No along with Councilwoman Karla Brown.

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"To say 'clean slate' doesn't make it happen. I think that there has been an undue influence. We've promised our community a process with a clean slate, and we're not going to have that right now. It's already gone too far into (Ponderosa) marketing a plan," Testa also told the audience.

The East Pleasanton Specific Plan would be the city policy document that lays the foundation for future development of Pleasanton's so-called east side, a swath of land on the far southeastern edge of the city (some within the city limits, some outside) long eyed for potential redevelopment with residential, commercial, business and other uses.

The council voted early last year to place the specific plan back onto its official priority list, almost four years after the city hit the pause button on a prior east side planning effort amid drought concerns and other considerations.

Before moving forward this time around, city staff wanted council confirmation on the process framework for the project approach and scope of work.

Council members hosted hours-long public hearings on the east side process at their Nov. 19 and Feb. 18 regular meetings. With the latter debate extending beyond midnight, they pushed out final deliberations to their next meeting -- which was on Tuesday, coinciding with Election Day in the primary.

The planning process, recommended by city staff and approved Tuesday night, centers around workshops and meetings overseen by the Planning Commission, with regular check-ins with the council along the way, as opposed to creating a new task force to lead the effort like what happened from 2012 until mid-2015 when the city previously attempted to complete an East Pleasanton Specific Plan.

The final city deliberations on the specific plan, once completed, would occur before the council -- though a public vote on ratification remains a possibility, but has not been confirmed.

Estimated to last 18 to 24 months, the specific plan drafting process would be paid for in part by Pleasanton-based developer Ponderosa Homes, which has secured agreements with key east side property owners to act on their behalf, but all consultant contracts would be retained and managed independently by the city, staff said.

City planning officials want to restart the east side process soon to solidify the specific plan and help maintain coordinated local control over development of the area, and they contend the planning process would dovetail well with the next RHNA cycle.

There is also renewed interest from the major private property owners in East Pleasanton, after they recently inked agreements with Ponderosa to represent them during the specific plan process, as well as from some affordable housing advocates who see the east side as an opportunity zone.

Some residents in town -- including the PleasantonVoters.com citizen group, who have framed the debate as "East Pleasanton sprawl" -- oppose the proposal, arguing the city is rushing unnecessarily to restart east side planning with a poor process to appease a developer and should instead wait for the next RHNA numbers to be released.

The council heard similar comments from new speakers aligning with either side of the issue Tuesday night.

At the end of the two-hour hearing, the council majority voted 3-2 to direct staff to move forward with the recommended East Pleasanton Specific Plan drafting process.

As part of their approval of the planning process, they added language to the motion to state the city and Planning Commission are restarting "with a blank slate" as well as to direct city staff to begin work now to look citywide for all properties that could qualify as RHNA sites.

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City Council votes to restart East Pleasanton Specific Plan process

3-2 decision confirms new public process guided by Planning Commission

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Mar 4, 2020, 11:10 am

The city will soon begin work to draft an East Pleasanton Specific Plan after the City Council approved the project approach and scope of work for the multi-year public planning process in a 3-2 vote Tuesday.

Confirming their prior decision to re-prioritize east side planning, the council majority signed off on a public process starting anew with a "blank slate" overseen by the Planning Commission, with frequent check-ins with the council along the way -- as opposed to forming a new task force like what occurred with the previous specific plan attempt that was discontinued several years ago.

"This whole thing about the process being driven by (developer) Ponderosa is pure, homogenized nonsense. This process will be driven by the Planning Commission, the City Council, the staff and you, the residents. It won't be driven by Ponderosa," Mayor Jerry Thorne said during the hearing at the Pleasanton Civic Center.

"Remember this is a planning process ... It will be years before you ever, ever see anything built on the east side -- I can almost guarantee you that, because it takes us years to do anything in this city," the mayor added.

Timing seemed to be the central issue during the council members' deliberations on Tuesday night, their third in-depth hearing on the proposed east side process since November.

Council members in favor of restarting the process now viewed this as the right time to help ensure coordinated, city-led planning of the East Pleasanton area while also aligning well with city preparations for the upcoming regional housing needs allocation (RHNA) and Housing Element update cycle.

"I have complete confidence in the Planning Commission," said Councilman Jerry Pentin, who joined Vice Mayor Kathy Narum in the majority.

"The possibilities that are out in the east side are wonderful. A mixed community that meets Pleasanton needs is what should come out of this specific plan," Pentin added.

The dissenting council members argued the city should not start east side planning until knowing Pleasanton's next round of RHNA numbers, which assign how many housing units and at what affordability levels Pleasanton must plan for its 2022 Housing Element -- draft RHNA numbers are expected to be announced in March 2021.

"I like the idea of giving a year, knowing what our RHNA number looks like and working from that. I think we'll have plenty of time to incorporate (east side) into our RHNA numbers if we need it," said Councilwoman Julie Testa, who voted No along with Councilwoman Karla Brown.

"To say 'clean slate' doesn't make it happen. I think that there has been an undue influence. We've promised our community a process with a clean slate, and we're not going to have that right now. It's already gone too far into (Ponderosa) marketing a plan," Testa also told the audience.

The East Pleasanton Specific Plan would be the city policy document that lays the foundation for future development of Pleasanton's so-called east side, a swath of land on the far southeastern edge of the city (some within the city limits, some outside) long eyed for potential redevelopment with residential, commercial, business and other uses.

The council voted early last year to place the specific plan back onto its official priority list, almost four years after the city hit the pause button on a prior east side planning effort amid drought concerns and other considerations.

Before moving forward this time around, city staff wanted council confirmation on the process framework for the project approach and scope of work.

Council members hosted hours-long public hearings on the east side process at their Nov. 19 and Feb. 18 regular meetings. With the latter debate extending beyond midnight, they pushed out final deliberations to their next meeting -- which was on Tuesday, coinciding with Election Day in the primary.

The planning process, recommended by city staff and approved Tuesday night, centers around workshops and meetings overseen by the Planning Commission, with regular check-ins with the council along the way, as opposed to creating a new task force to lead the effort like what happened from 2012 until mid-2015 when the city previously attempted to complete an East Pleasanton Specific Plan.

The final city deliberations on the specific plan, once completed, would occur before the council -- though a public vote on ratification remains a possibility, but has not been confirmed.

Estimated to last 18 to 24 months, the specific plan drafting process would be paid for in part by Pleasanton-based developer Ponderosa Homes, which has secured agreements with key east side property owners to act on their behalf, but all consultant contracts would be retained and managed independently by the city, staff said.

City planning officials want to restart the east side process soon to solidify the specific plan and help maintain coordinated local control over development of the area, and they contend the planning process would dovetail well with the next RHNA cycle.

There is also renewed interest from the major private property owners in East Pleasanton, after they recently inked agreements with Ponderosa to represent them during the specific plan process, as well as from some affordable housing advocates who see the east side as an opportunity zone.

Some residents in town -- including the PleasantonVoters.com citizen group, who have framed the debate as "East Pleasanton sprawl" -- oppose the proposal, arguing the city is rushing unnecessarily to restart east side planning with a poor process to appease a developer and should instead wait for the next RHNA numbers to be released.

The council heard similar comments from new speakers aligning with either side of the issue Tuesday night.

At the end of the two-hour hearing, the council majority voted 3-2 to direct staff to move forward with the recommended East Pleasanton Specific Plan drafting process.

As part of their approval of the planning process, they added language to the motion to state the city and Planning Commission are restarting "with a blank slate" as well as to direct city staff to begin work now to look citywide for all properties that could qualify as RHNA sites.

Comments

Ann
Mohr Elementary School
on Mar 4, 2020 at 1:49 pm
Ann, Mohr Elementary School
on Mar 4, 2020 at 1:49 pm
37 people like this

How can the City promise a “clean slate” on the East Side Planning when the Planning Commission, with many developer- friendly members with ties with the Chamber of Commerce BacPac Campaign Funding Group and Ponderosa Homes, with it’s plan for 1900 homes, lead the charge to build more million + homes? Sounds like some members of the council gave a green light for the Fox to be in charge of building the Hen House !


Ben
Kottinger Ranch
on Mar 4, 2020 at 3:05 pm
Ben , Kottinger Ranch
on Mar 4, 2020 at 3:05 pm
36 people like this

Ponderosa already has a plan they have been marketing and I worry that their close ties with the Chamber of Commerce, the Planning Commission, and Council Members Thorne, Pentin, and Narum will tilt the planning process. I do like the added "clean slate" concept but Ponderosa will quickly steer the Planning Commission toward their already established, Chamber of Commerce endorsed, and well promoted plan.

The only way to level the playing field in the planning process is to limit the money in politics. As we go into the next election year, we need to support City Council candidates that decline campaign donations from Ponderosa and their aligned supporters. A City Council not dependent on developer campaign funding will improve confidence in the process and will create a more balanced East Side Plan. Los Angeles has officially limited developer campaign donations and we need to do it here.


Susie
Fairlands Elementary School
on Mar 4, 2020 at 4:52 pm
Susie, Fairlands Elementary School
on Mar 4, 2020 at 4:52 pm
31 people like this

The Clean Slate comment is a way to placate those who are suspect of the relationship of the Council majority and Ponderosa and their supporters. The Mayor ended the meeting with a comment that they would have to have substantial income from the property which a commercial/office park would not provide in order to extend El Charro (from the outlet stores to Stanley Blvd.) - So he already has an preference and is not open minded. As you may know, extending El Charro, beside the concern of how it will affect our drinking water in Zone 7 lakes on the property, it will open the flood gates to heavy traffic from Dublin and 580 down to Stanley Blvd (by Shadow Cliffs) and then on to 1st Street and/or Bernal for those wanting to bypass 580/680 interchange!


GregDublin
Dublin
on Mar 4, 2020 at 8:13 pm
GregDublin, Dublin
on Mar 4, 2020 at 8:13 pm
6 people like this

Sounds good. Let's get it built out already. No reason to wait. What would you rather have? Gravel Pits?


Abigayle
Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 4, 2020 at 11:03 pm
Abigayle, Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 4, 2020 at 11:03 pm
18 people like this

To Ben, I watched the meeting last night on TV and it was bought up that Councilmember Karla Brown accepted thousands of dollars by the quarry company for her last campaign. I’m going to fact check but so should you given your comments about contributions. She did not deny it and appeared shocked that it was mentioned.


Abigayle
Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 4, 2020 at 11:06 pm
Abigayle, Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 4, 2020 at 11:06 pm
6 people like this

Ditto to Susie. Talk about double standards. I think she should recuse herself from any EPSP participation if she respects the residents who voted for her. I’m disgusted


Stan
Stoneridge
on Mar 5, 2020 at 5:59 am
Stan, Stoneridge
on Mar 5, 2020 at 5:59 am
34 people like this

This process is being driven by a profit motivated developer who is known for making promises that never materialize in order to gain support from special interest groups in the community. The quarry operator is not asking for zoning change to allow the largest housing development in Pleasanton’s history and a plan that defies our voter approved urban growth boundary, Ponderosa is. The quarry operator is on record as opposing building housing that puts children so close to dangerous quarry pits that will not go away if homes are built. Save your disgust for any elected who takes money from developers and votes for this.


Abigayle
Mohr Elementary School
on Mar 5, 2020 at 7:21 am
Abigayle, Mohr Elementary School
on Mar 5, 2020 at 7:21 am
14 people like this

Stan, a special interest group is a special interest group, period. No elected official should take that amount of money. It puts the special interest group’s desires ahead of the voters. I dont believe any one wants to put a school next to industrial and that’s why the planning process is being done in a public forum. I think there is a lot of paranoia and the same old tired dialogue about us versus them. I remember when the Stoneridge neighborhood was built and people protested your house (and you) being here too.


Fred
Birdland
on Mar 5, 2020 at 10:17 am
Fred, Birdland
on Mar 5, 2020 at 10:17 am
20 people like this

Perhaps the YES votes of Thorne, Narum and Pentin could let us know many times and how much money they have taken as compaign contributions from builders and developers including the Chamber that is pushing for the project? Anyone know the facts or want to come clean to the Pleasanton Weekly Forum?


Becky Dennis
Foxborough Estates
on Mar 5, 2020 at 10:56 am
Becky Dennis, Foxborough Estates
on Mar 5, 2020 at 10:56 am
51 people like this

After participating in the last East Pleasanton planning effort, as a climate action and affordable housing advocate, and based on the City’s own studies, I concluded that developing there will only make matters worse for Pleasanton on both counts. Before their March 3 meeting I asked the Council to focus on 3 areas:

1) Pleasanton’s workforce housing needs and greenhouse gas pollution.
More than half of people working in Pleasanton earn 40% of Alameda County’s median income, qualifying them for very low income housing. These people work in retail, maintenance, childcare, restaurants, as clerks, in healthcare etc. They are so important to our community and our quality of life, yet most must commute into work from outside the Tri-Valley because Pleasanton does not build housing they can afford. The resulting long distance commute between a majority of Pleasanton’s jobs and a majority of Pleasanton’s workforce, (more than 50,000/day at last count) makes Pleasanton a major contributor to greenhouse gas pollution.
 
2) Find a plan for East Pleasanton that will reduce Pleasanton’s GHG emissions, or at least be “carbon neutral”.
Previous plans in East Pleasanton failed to mitigate either the demand for affordable housing generated by market rate development, or the GHG emissions from the daily out-commute of new residents, and the in-commute of the additional workforce needed to service them.
There’s a climate crisis. The City should not approve ANY land use plan that will result in additional unmitigated carbon emissions, even if it includes a small number of restricted use affordable units.
In the midst of a climate crisis the “City of Planned Progress” should focus exclusively on nonprofit, affordable housing that brings Pleasanton’s workforce closer to Pleasanton’s jobs. To do otherwise seems willfully irresponsible. From a climate action standpoint, best new use for East Pleasanton would be restoration as an active, native vegetation, carbon sink. If there’s truly a blank slate for planning, Ponderosa should also be invited to pay for a cost/benefit comparison between carbon sink and residential development.
 
3) Meeting Pleasanton’s State mandated housing requirements, with infill sites for nonprofit housing.
Look at other sites in areas that won’t require for profit developers to pay for new infrastructure. I’m sure Pleasanton can meet its Low and Very Low Income workforce housing requirements with nonprofit infill development.
 
If you feel strongly that any future land use in East Plasanton should have a net positive effect on Pleasanton’s environment, please make yourself heard during the upcoming planning process. The results of all past impact studies do not support financially feasible residential or commercial development in East Pleasanton. But, as Lincoln once said, “Public sentiment is everything.”


Thank you Becky
Jensen Tract
on Mar 5, 2020 at 2:02 pm
Thank you Becky, Jensen Tract
on Mar 5, 2020 at 2:02 pm
12 people like this

Well said and thank you for the fresh (air) ideas. The big question I have is, will the Chamber of Commerce and their 3 Council spokesmen agree, or will they fight for Ponderosa to make billions selling houses for $1-1/2 million each? Think about it: 1900 homes at $1.5 million each is $2.8 BILLION dollars in revenue. That will pay for a LOT of campaign donations for future candidates.


kmary1
Country Fair
on Mar 6, 2020 at 9:54 am
kmary1, Country Fair
on Mar 6, 2020 at 9:54 am
4 people like this

Campaign Contributions in the last City Council Election, as stated in the Pleasanton Weekly, October 12, 2018. Doesn't look like any major contributions
from organizations of Companies.

ust as important are the campaign finance statements, called Form 460, turned in to city clerk Karen Diaz under guidelines established by the FPPC and also posted online.

Most candidate contributions this year have been $250 or less, only a few at $500 and only two for $1,000 or more. Expenditures also have been modest, with the largest payouts going for Facebook promotions, video production, newspaper advertising, yard signs and campaign literature.

In the campaign period from July 1 through Sept. 22, Narum held the largest war chest among the four council candidates at $13,722, which includes funds leftover from her last campaign and $9,424 contributed since July 1.

Among the other three, Streng has accumulated $8,974, Testa has $3,315 and Ledoux trails with $2,675.

Narum had one contribution of $2,000, that from the Jerry Thorne for Mayor committee, and two separate contributions of $500 each were made by George McMichael and Rich Reed, her brother.

Three supporters donated $500 each to Streng's campaign, the most anyone contributed to the candidate. They were from the Jerry Pentin for Council campaign fund, Kathy Soldati, a Pleasanton teacher, and Steven Jensen, who is retired.

Allen Roberts, a retired computer manufacturing engineer, and Laurene Green-Homer, an engineer, each contributed $500 to Testa's campaign, the largest contributions she has received. The top contribution for Ledoux's campaign was $1,000 from Jeffrey Parrett of Pleasanton.

So far in this campaign, Streng has spent the most at $6,690. Much of this went for Facebook posts, video work, the printing of fliers, banners and T-shirts, and copies of precincts lists.

Narum has spent $5,322, most of it for printed literature, door-hangers and yard signs. These expenditures, common for all candidates, included website design fees and newspaper ads. Half the $500 cost of sponsoring the final 2018 Concert in the Park on Aug. 31 was donated in-kind.

Testa's expenses to date total $3,203, including $1,630 for campaign signs and more than $400 for campaign fliers and buttons.

In his most recent campaign filing, candidate Ledoux reported charges to his Citibank credit card account of $1,654 for signs and other materials ordered from Vistaprint in Waltham, Mass., and Build A Sign in Austin, Texas. He also lists a campaign debt of $2,018.


Naveed Khan
Stoneridge Park
on Mar 6, 2020 at 11:23 am
Naveed Khan, Stoneridge Park
on Mar 6, 2020 at 11:23 am
15 people like this

Whatever the Planning commission decide should be put to vote in special election for city. People are highly skeptical of the planning Commission and the City Council. Their main purpose is to get re-elected and how to raise funds for the election Campaign. [Portion removed as unverified allegation]


Ron
Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 6, 2020 at 6:25 pm
Ron, Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 6, 2020 at 6:25 pm
16 people like this

The saddest fact of all is very simple, the City Council lacks “Plain Old Common Sense” ! Where will all the infrastructure come from? How do we handle the additional traffic, need for police and fire, water which will be rationed when a drought occurs, electricity that will be shut down at crucial time.... Wake up City Council..... Use the land for what it was designed to be a commercial area, put more job in Pleasanton. Unfortunately this requires that ingredient that has been missing “Common Sense”.


East Ender
Vintage Hills
on Mar 6, 2020 at 8:17 pm
East Ender, Vintage Hills
on Mar 6, 2020 at 8:17 pm
5 people like this

Common sense dictates that infrastructure will be impacted at least equally if not moreso if commercial projects remain in this location. Ever try parking in the Home Depot lot on a weekend? Common sense also understands that Zone 7 is beginning its own process for planning for the Chain of Lakes (at long last) pipeline project. Because a portion of that area is included in the planning area of the city, it makes sense for the two projects to be moving forward simultaneously. Each impacts the other, and if both entities are able to understand what the other is doing as planning goes on,the region can only benefit. And like it or not, Pleasanton is an important regional entity, and we should recognize how Dublin's commercial projects have impacted Pleasanton's infrastructure as well.
Common sense says start now.


Karen
Birdland
on Mar 7, 2020 at 12:11 pm
Karen, Birdland
on Mar 7, 2020 at 12:11 pm
3 people like this

I don’t understand Becky Dennis comments. Providing smaller homes or townhouses and 2-3 Bedroom apartments with patio yards will be welcome by people needing entry level homes and a combo of market rate and low income rents. The key is mixing housing with choices less than 1million homes and tiny apartments or condos. I see our business parks and Bay Area location as being the reason for long commutes to jobs and not new home construction. So why doesn’t businesses pay more in fees to provide affordable housing for their administrative, janitorial and other service workers??? Politics, that’s why! It’s easier to make new housing subject to fees which ultimately gets passed to the homebuyers or middle class new people. Ms Dennis suggestion to amp up and put all the Cit’s needed affordable by design and subsidized housing in the East Side is just to shove it somewhere instead of in smaller amounts all over town. I’m not sure but isnt Foxborough Estates where Ms Dennis lives pretty nice and has no real chance of affordable housing opportunities nearby? Nice to be so environmentally superior. As far as carbon offsets, make more non-emission cars, transit systems that actually work for commuters, and an appropriate but not dominant affordable housing area with walkable resident serving stores like cleaners, drug store, smaller grocery, cafes, etc.


Ali
Birdland
on Mar 9, 2020 at 7:31 pm
Ali, Birdland
on Mar 9, 2020 at 7:31 pm
50 people like this

It is disgusting the so-called city "leaders" are in bed with Ponderosa - and indeed they are despite a pretense of a "clean slate." Simply stated the fairest and most honorable thing for them to do is refuse any and all election contributions and "gifts" from any source aiming to benefit economically from developing the east side. Promises from Ponderosa are really self-serving untruths. Their primary, secondary and tertiary aim is profit. Community planning should be pristine and free of developer influence. Ponderosa's aim is transparent as is the corruption of the mayor, Narum and Pentin.


wowza
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2020 at 8:10 pm
wowza, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2020 at 8:10 pm
2 people like this

Ali, and let's not forget Brown and her $4,000 donation from the adjoining property owner gravel company who is opposed to any development. Seems Brown and Testa should refuse donations from the gravel company as well.


Agree with Becky Dennis
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2020 at 11:27 pm
Agree with Becky Dennis, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2020 at 11:27 pm
6 people like this

Wasn't the Chain of Lakes supposed to be a passive recreation area anyway? At least that is what I was told when I read the Pleasanton Weekly cover story years ago on what it would become.

So why is the pro-growth City Council now indicating it wants thousands of houses out there?

It needs to be restored to native vegetation, habitat restoration area like it was originally envisioned to be, not a conglomeration of strip shopping centers and housing subdivisions.


Karen
Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 10, 2020 at 9:57 am
Karen, Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 10, 2020 at 9:57 am
2 people like this

Dear Agree, the quarry lakes are flood control and drinking water. They will always be passive recreation which means no boats or swimming. A couple of lakes are designated for wildlife habitat already and will remain so but further enhanced. There will always be a trail around the lakes and buffer zones because they need to be protected. We get no access or enhancements without the area’s development. Take a good look, they are now water filled pits surrounded by steep slopes and little vegetation except for Znartin Avenue.


East Ender
Vintage Hills
on Mar 11, 2020 at 12:09 am
East Ender, Vintage Hills
on Mar 11, 2020 at 12:09 am
7 people like this

Ali, do you have evidence of gifts and fraudulent behavior, such as bribery, on the part of any of the city officials you mentioned? If not, I suggest you owe them an apology. You may not like that they've decided to start planning for the east side, but that just doesn't rise to level even close to your accusation.
They live in the same neighborhoods as the rest of us, shop in the same grocery stores as the rest of us, eat dinner in the same restaurants. They work long hours studying the issues which affect all of us, and are rewarded by having insults hurled at them by people who don't agree with them but have often ignored facts and failed to understand the truths of the issues.
Of course the East Side must be planned, and there is no better time than now, when Zone 7 is embarking on it's own study of a Chain of Lakes pipline project, some of which falls into the same area as the East Side project. While the two projects will be independent of one another, each will have an impact on the other. Give them credit for recognizing that, sieze the opportunity to give your input at the multiple meetings that will be coming up, and stop accusing them of wrong-doing.


Karl
Birdland
on Mar 11, 2020 at 12:28 am
Karl, Birdland
on Mar 11, 2020 at 12:28 am
5 people like this

It always fascinates me to see all these comments about corruption and evil developers.

I’m a close to 50 year resident and most of the great things we have in Pleasanton- like all of the parks - were the result of collaboration between the city and developers. Most of the houses the critical people live in would not be here now. And neither would these people.

Given our proximity to the many jobs in Silicon Valley, we are going to see continued city growth. People who think they can stop all development need to join the real world.

I’m not supporting any sort of development. I support making the developers give the city lots of parks, open space and walking trails in the east side area.

And let them charge millions of dollars for those new homes so that the people that move here pay for that privilege!!!


David
Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 12, 2020 at 8:40 am
David, Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 12, 2020 at 8:40 am
Like this comment

Karl, how refreshing! You are so correct. I’ve been here for 35 years and every single development has gone through years of public meetings. Residents have had lots of input, so to say the East Pleasanton planning will be anything but that is ridiculous. My experience is most people who protest new houses actually live in one that was protested. Further many people who raise heck end up moving away in 5-10 years so they are not really vested in our community except for their property values.


Ali
Birdland
on Mar 12, 2020 at 8:07 pm
Ali, Birdland
on Mar 12, 2020 at 8:07 pm
39 people like this

East Ender:

Being in bed with Ponderosa says it all. How naive can you be? You believe city council members gain nothing personal from Ponderosa as their bed partner? So much for neutral community first planning. Take a course in politics or better yet enter politics and you quickly will learn how corrupt deals are crafted behind the scenes.


Pleasanton Parent
Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 12, 2020 at 8:31 pm
Pleasanton Parent, Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 12, 2020 at 8:31 pm
Like this comment

Can’t do it. Covid-19


Karen
Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 13, 2020 at 12:05 am
Karen, Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 13, 2020 at 12:05 am
Like this comment

Ali, can you give a specific instance of when a City Councilmember gained personally from Ponderosa. I’m fact checking because that is a bold accusation at best since development proposals in town go to a special city-wide vote after years of public hearings and public input. I understand Ponderosa has been based in Pleasanton for over 30 years and has built many of the neighborhoods and parks here.


Sanjay Reddy
Gatewood
on Mar 13, 2020 at 12:33 pm
Sanjay Reddy, Gatewood
on Mar 13, 2020 at 12:33 pm
41 people like this

Thank you for directing me to the city links on campaign contributions. The long list of donations from builders, developers and PACs is too long to list. I am finally seeing the facts. Donations to Narum, Thorne, Pentin say it All.

You tell me, why would Ponderosa and a long list of their employees make generous donations to these 3 PLUS: Greenbriar home builders, Morganroth builders, Signature homes, build jobs PAC which their website states they support candidates that are pro- housing policies, KDW construction, Hodnefield properties, pacific union holdings, DeSylva gates CEO, CFO, COO, and engineer, Centrrpoint Properties development and sooo many more. I am shocked and disappointed.


Ali
Birdland
on Mar 13, 2020 at 6:05 pm
Ali, Birdland
on Mar 13, 2020 at 6:05 pm
44 people like this

East Ender and Karen: There you have it from Sanjay. The history of developers - including Ponderosa - in bed with Pentin, Thorne and Narum. Moreover, only the naive would believe there are no back channel undocumented meetings, exchanges, calls, e-mail and coffee conversations between city council members and the city manager as well and developers with the aim for developers being self interest. Sadly this is the state and reality of politics and government. We need government leaders who put what is best for their constituency first and solely and leaders who resist corruption and self interest.


Gabe
Country Fair
on Mar 13, 2020 at 7:55 pm
Gabe, Country Fair
on Mar 13, 2020 at 7:55 pm
43 people like this

Agree with Sanjay and Ali. Mayor Thorne's "clean slate" proclamation is empty rhetoric. Narum and Pentin and Throne's triumvirate are beholden to developers.


Flightops
Downtown
on Mar 14, 2020 at 7:03 pm
Flightops, Downtown
on Mar 14, 2020 at 7:03 pm
28 people like this

Nice try JT AND KB but it was obvious from the beginning of that council meeting and the way it was being run by the “3 musketeers “ that they were going to shove that vote down our throats, not wait for the updated RHNA, and give Ponderosa homes what they want- “clean slate” what a joke!! Visions of that temporary church on Busch road being bulldozed and ‘ol Pondeross Homes jumping in and cramming in those million dollar homes on those tiny lots, certainly not affordable.


Akeem
Kottinger Ranch
on Mar 14, 2020 at 7:18 pm
Akeem, Kottinger Ranch
on Mar 14, 2020 at 7:18 pm
44 people like this

I too was at the City Council meeting when the "3 musketeers" unsuprisingly voted in their predetermined way. Looking at who contributed to their campaigns is anyone surprised?


David
Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 15, 2020 at 6:27 pm
David, Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 15, 2020 at 6:27 pm
1 person likes this

What is so wrong about starting a planning process. Look up the definition of planning, as in plan ahead? This is an industrial area probably with lots of contamination that needs to be cleaned up and removed away from the residents and lakes having habitat near it. It is apparent that many posters here are not really familiar with or know that area and only drive by it and glance. If we wait longer, the State will likely increase the amount of housing and affordable units that Pleasanton is required to have. So as an immediate neighbor (not Birdland, Kottinger Ranch, Downtown or heavens on the Westside), let’s plan to get quality senior housing, parks, and walkable shopping and rid of dust, trash, and chemicals near our drinking water supply. ,


Sal
Downtown
on Mar 15, 2020 at 8:56 pm
Sal, Downtown
on Mar 15, 2020 at 8:56 pm
39 people like this

There is nothing wrong with government planning, David, as long as it is free from from economic influence from special interest groups. Would it not be refreshing for city leaders to "plan" what is best for Pleasanton without heed to developers? No doubt Thorne, Pentin and Narum will tell you by involving Ponderosa in the "planning" process they are saving money and getting benefits such as parks, etc., from the developer. That kind of talk is so superficial. Real, unbiased quality community planning can and should be done without developers looking to make a ton of money.


David
Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 16, 2020 at 10:41 am
David, Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 16, 2020 at 10:41 am
Like this comment

Sal, we agree on several things however I think expertise from the developers and land owners who have a big financial stake and exposure to losses in the success of the plan is important to recognize. I don’t want the community to spend time and involvement on a pretty colored plan prepared by a committee that is not feasible. Especially if the State will step in and take our local control away and mandate high density housing there.


Justin
Mission Park
on Mar 16, 2020 at 7:04 pm
Justin, Mission Park
on Mar 16, 2020 at 7:04 pm
3 people like this

David- It is well known that the State cannot take away a landowner's property rights and "step in and take local control away," especially within the City Limits.

Land zoning for housing approval is the legal right of the City of Pleasanton, as granted by the State of California's constitution. The State of California's housing and urban development requires the City to zone land to meet our housing requirements (RHNA). Beyond that, the State cannot force zoning.

Due to COVID 19, these are tense times and we should all be careful and and keep to the facts.


David
Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 16, 2020 at 9:34 pm
David, Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 16, 2020 at 9:34 pm
Like this comment

Justin, stay tuned. The State is on to cities that only zone land for housing to meet RHNA, but the legislature has been discussing mandating that building permits and/or construction begin in order to get RHNA credit. That keeps certain cities from unrealistically zoning land, or rather zone unrealistic land for housing. There is only a taking of private property rights if it’s substantially down zoned (loss of value). In this case, the property owners will be co-applicants so they want in part the residential zoning which is not down zoning from industrial storage. We have a housing and affordability crisis in Calif so penalties may be imposed for non-compliance along with required density bonuses, fee reductions, etc. We need to plan now and take the community and land owners/builders input into consideration.


Sal
Downtown
on Mar 17, 2020 at 4:14 am
Sal, Downtown
on Mar 17, 2020 at 4:14 am
29 people like this

David: Cities can use highly qualified independent consulting firms for city planning and development. This way the city obtains the expertise it needs and this along with incorporation of citizen input (not from a committee selected by the Mayor or the city council) makes for the most community-centric unbiased appeoach. Cities use independent consulting firms all the time. As this time three city council members decided to have Ponderosa be integral to East Side planning and considering how Ponderosa and many developers contributed to them, their bias is more than evident, shameful and noxious.


Sportegan
Avignon
on Mar 17, 2020 at 5:33 am
Sportegan, Avignon
on Mar 17, 2020 at 5:33 am
18 people like this

As we enter the next election year, we must support candidates for the City Council who refuse to make campaign donations from Ponderosa and their supporters.


Alyssa
Apperson Ridge
on Mar 17, 2020 at 5:34 am
Alyssa, Apperson Ridge
on Mar 17, 2020 at 5:34 am
1 person likes this

Of course the East Side must be planned, and there is no better time than now, when Zone 7 is embarking on it's own study of a Chain of Lakes pipline project, some of which falls into the same area as the East Side project. While the two projects will be independent of one another, each will have an impact on the other.


Leslie Carter
Val Vista
on Mar 18, 2020 at 4:07 pm
Leslie Carter, Val Vista
on Mar 18, 2020 at 4:07 pm
8 people like this

This is all ridiculous.

I watched the council meeting then looked at the city map on the City's website. Most of the east Pleasanton land is outside of the city limits. Let's just plan what is inside the city limits after we get our housing numbers? The state is not going to penalize us for land in the county.

By adding open space industrial land, we are only raising our housing number capacity and adding to the strain of our schools, streets and water constraints.


David
Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 18, 2020 at 8:50 pm
David, Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 18, 2020 at 8:50 pm
Like this comment

Leslie, the number of required houses will dramatically increase within the City Limits on different infill sites across town unless we plan for it in the East Pleasanton area as well.

Sal, you are right that facilitators are used all the time and that is what Pleasanton did for the plan that was 99% finished circa 2015 but halted over short-term drought concerns. Consultant teams don’t have the risk of a development being infeasible or rather the responsibility for a successful plan being built and that’s why many such plans are just policy documents.

To my knowledge, this is the first time all the property owners have agreed to have a developer, Ponderosa represent their collective interests and work with the community to achieve a workable realistic plan Let’s all participate in those meetings!!

If you are concerned about contributions, it came out in the last meeting that Council Brown took 4,000.00 from the quarry operation That’s the biggest number I have ever seen.


Sven
Country Fair
on Mar 19, 2020 at 5:15 am
Sven, Country Fair
on Mar 19, 2020 at 5:15 am
29 people like this

David's belief that use of consulting firms to plan city development produces unfeasible "policy documents" is false and inaccurate. I work for a major consulting company that has helped city governments plan, develop and facilitate construction for large residential and commercial projects. We don't do the building but we plan it and ultimately work with builders selected after the bidding process. We have done this for 50+ years. If all consulting firms offered no more than unfeasible policy documents they would not be in business long. If this is what happened with the City of Pleasanton before then the City leaders obviously selected the wrong consulting firm. To claim consulting firms all provide useless assistance is uninformed. I can tell you from many many years of experience the best planned community developments come from plans derived by using an experienced unbiased consulting firm. Relying on one developer from the onset, regardless of their promises, entails their primary motive which is profit. While Ponderosa may promise they will listen to all community input, their agenda, as a major developer, is profit, and this will be a major influence in the final plan. As another person on this forum said, City planning should be pristine and free of the bias that comes when a firm such as Ponderosa is handed the job from the beginning - even if Ponderosa uses the "tactic" of promising to abide by the plans from outside consultants. Sure. If Ponderosa is so eager to help they can bid against other developers for the job once the plan is conceptually and operationally in place. If Ponderosa is so eager to make Pleasanton a better place then they also can bid the job at a price congenial to the City and its residents.


David
Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 19, 2020 at 5:27 pm
David, Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 19, 2020 at 5:27 pm
Like this comment

Sven, you don’t sound bias at all! LMAO. I have worked with many consultant teams myself and still stand by my comments. Typically their plan is generalized and each developer thereafter needs to amend the plan to make it feasible. Besides, Ponderosa is paying for the plan prep so they and the property owners they rep should have a seat at the table equally along with the residents and City officials who give input and make the decisions.


Sven
Country Fair
on Mar 19, 2020 at 8:37 pm
Sven, Country Fair
on Mar 19, 2020 at 8:37 pm
21 people like this

David, WADR, you patently have worked at the wrong consulting firms. You also say "Ponderosa is paying for the plan prep" yet you see no bias from that. Really?


Kay
Old Towne
on Mar 20, 2020 at 6:33 am
Kay, Old Towne
on Mar 20, 2020 at 6:33 am
21 people like this

David's comments sound like a disguised Ponderosa employee or a special friend for Ponderosa.


Terry
Golden Eagle
on Mar 20, 2020 at 1:52 pm
Terry, Golden Eagle
on Mar 20, 2020 at 1:52 pm
21 people like this

Agree with Kay.


Karl
Birdland
on Mar 20, 2020 at 2:11 pm
Karl, Birdland
on Mar 20, 2020 at 2:11 pm
3 people like this

Kay and Terry -

Doesn't David have the ability and right to think his own thoughts without being accused of being under the influence of Ponderosa? Kind of like calling a him a big liar?

Just curious - are you really Matt Sullivan or are you a couple of his pawns?

How does it feel to be treated the way you have treated David?


Angelo
Heritage Oaks
on Mar 20, 2020 at 5:58 pm
Angelo, Heritage Oaks
on Mar 20, 2020 at 5:58 pm
23 people like this

Karl - how did Matt Sullivan get into this topic? Frankly by doing so you sound like a person with displaced anger bordering on paranoia. This undermines your credibility.


Karl
Birdland
on Mar 20, 2020 at 6:44 pm
Karl, Birdland
on Mar 20, 2020 at 6:44 pm
1 person likes this

Angelo

My point was they are making the same claims as Matt - vilifying people they don’t agree with.

Plus a little sarcasm....

Sorry I ruined your day.

This is all entertainment for me - not to be taken seriously


Angelo
Heritage Oaks
on Mar 20, 2020 at 8:43 pm
Angelo, Heritage Oaks
on Mar 20, 2020 at 8:43 pm
39 people like this

Karl I hear that beeping sound people make when they offer a dubious explanation (loaded with further sarcasm) for their behavior. Mission failure.


Sportegan
Birdland
on Mar 21, 2020 at 8:09 am
Sportegan, Birdland
on Mar 21, 2020 at 8:09 am
10 people like this

The only way to level the playing field during the planning process is to limit money in politics. As we enter the next election year, we must support candidates for the City Council who refuse campaign donations from Ponderosa and their supporters.


David
Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 21, 2020 at 9:51 am
David, Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 21, 2020 at 9:51 am
1 person likes this

i have been respectful. As usual, people in disagreement start making laughable accusations and dream up conspiracies to turn objective opinions into diabolical motives. Sad.


Jindal
Lund Ranch II
on Mar 21, 2020 at 11:48 am
Jindal, Lund Ranch II
on Mar 21, 2020 at 11:48 am
29 people like this

Respectful, not exactly. Self-righteous, yes.


Barry H.
Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 25, 2020 at 8:29 pm
Barry H. , Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 25, 2020 at 8:29 pm
Like this comment

Zindel, is Lund Ranch II in Happy Valley where the new homes were protested for years until being approved recently?


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