News

Pleasanton: Judge rules in favor of city to effectively end latest lawsuit over proposed Costco store

Court says follow-up EIR was adequate; appeal period in play once order is finalized

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/[email protected])

An Alameda County Superior Court judge last Friday ruled against the petitioners suing the city of Pleasanton for a second time over environmental approvals for the proposed Costco and overarching Johnson Drive Economic Development Zone, potentially ending the lawsuit and clearing the way for the project to move forward -- though an appeal period is still in play.

The lawsuit filed in March by the Pleasanton Citizens for Responsible Growth, a group spearheaded by former city councilman Matt Sullivan, challenged the adequacy of the city's second round of environmental review that occurred after a settlement in PCRG's prior lawsuit in 2018 and that the City Council approved in February in the hopes of advancing the project.

At issue in the hearing last week was whether the city adequately considered the cumulative air quality and traffic impacts on the JDEDZ caused by three proposed or pending projects in neighboring Dublin: the IKEA store, Kaiser Permanente medical campus and At Dublin, according to Pleasanton city attorney Dan Sodergren.

"At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge (Frank) Roesch ruled in the city's favor and denied the petition for writ of mandate. Judge Roesch found that there is substantial evidence to support the analysis contained in the Recirculated Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Report for the (JDEDZ)," Sodergren told the Weekly.

The ruling, which is still subject to a final order by Roesch to follow soon, effectively concludes the lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court, although the petitioners would have up to 60 days to appeal the decision to the state's Court of Appeal, according to Sodergren.

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support PleasantonWeekly.com for as little as $5/month.

Learn more

"While we are disappointed with the preliminary ruling, we're still awaiting a final judgment from the court and will assess next steps once we receive it," Sullivan told the Weekly on Monday afternoon.

Under consideration since 2014, the JDEDZ is the local regulatory framework laying out how redevelopment could occur for a new Costco Wholesale store with gas station, two hotels and other projects at prominent property just south of the I-680 and I-580 interchange. The project was previously paused by a ballot measure in 2016 and the prior PCRG lawsuit, in addition to this second lawsuit by the citizen group.

The timeline of the proposed Costco project and design review application, as well as the already approved plans from a hotel developer to build two hotels with 231 rooms in the JDEDZ area, remain unclear.

"There is a 60-day appeal period that has to expire before we can move forward with anything of significance related to the JDEDZ. There is no additional comment from the city," city spokeswoman Cindy Chin told the Weekly.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Sign up

Follow PleasantonWeekly.com and the Pleasanton Weekly on Twitter @pleasantonnews, Facebook and on Instagram @pleasantonweekly for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Pleasanton: Judge rules in favor of city to effectively end latest lawsuit over proposed Costco store

Court says follow-up EIR was adequate; appeal period in play once order is finalized

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Mon, Nov 16, 2020, 11:53 am
Updated: Mon, Nov 16, 2020, 4:57 pm

An Alameda County Superior Court judge last Friday ruled against the petitioners suing the city of Pleasanton for a second time over environmental approvals for the proposed Costco and overarching Johnson Drive Economic Development Zone, potentially ending the lawsuit and clearing the way for the project to move forward -- though an appeal period is still in play.

The lawsuit filed in March by the Pleasanton Citizens for Responsible Growth, a group spearheaded by former city councilman Matt Sullivan, challenged the adequacy of the city's second round of environmental review that occurred after a settlement in PCRG's prior lawsuit in 2018 and that the City Council approved in February in the hopes of advancing the project.

At issue in the hearing last week was whether the city adequately considered the cumulative air quality and traffic impacts on the JDEDZ caused by three proposed or pending projects in neighboring Dublin: the IKEA store, Kaiser Permanente medical campus and At Dublin, according to Pleasanton city attorney Dan Sodergren.

"At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge (Frank) Roesch ruled in the city's favor and denied the petition for writ of mandate. Judge Roesch found that there is substantial evidence to support the analysis contained in the Recirculated Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Report for the (JDEDZ)," Sodergren told the Weekly.

The ruling, which is still subject to a final order by Roesch to follow soon, effectively concludes the lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court, although the petitioners would have up to 60 days to appeal the decision to the state's Court of Appeal, according to Sodergren.

"While we are disappointed with the preliminary ruling, we're still awaiting a final judgment from the court and will assess next steps once we receive it," Sullivan told the Weekly on Monday afternoon.

Under consideration since 2014, the JDEDZ is the local regulatory framework laying out how redevelopment could occur for a new Costco Wholesale store with gas station, two hotels and other projects at prominent property just south of the I-680 and I-580 interchange. The project was previously paused by a ballot measure in 2016 and the prior PCRG lawsuit, in addition to this second lawsuit by the citizen group.

The timeline of the proposed Costco project and design review application, as well as the already approved plans from a hotel developer to build two hotels with 231 rooms in the JDEDZ area, remain unclear.

"There is a 60-day appeal period that has to expire before we can move forward with anything of significance related to the JDEDZ. There is no additional comment from the city," city spokeswoman Cindy Chin told the Weekly.

Comments

Long Time Pleasanton Resident
Registered user
Mohr Park
on Nov 16, 2020 at 2:03 pm
Long Time Pleasanton Resident, Mohr Park
Registered user
on Nov 16, 2020 at 2:03 pm
22 people like this

Thank you Judge Roesch! Next thing we will be how does the EIR be effected by what if the Alameda Fairground gets converted to a shelter for the homeless. The voters have voted and let it be. Don't be a sore loser like Trump!


Vic-tah
Registered user
Mission Park
on Nov 16, 2020 at 4:16 pm
Vic-tah, Mission Park
Registered user
on Nov 16, 2020 at 4:16 pm
29 people like this

So what's the betting that the opposition does appeal? Gesh. And how long after that until the first shovel? What a waste of judicial time and an abuse of the system.


Flightops
Registered user
Downtown
on Nov 16, 2020 at 4:33 pm
Flightops, Downtown
Registered user
on Nov 16, 2020 at 4:33 pm
23 people like this

There is still plenty of time to gas up at those overpriced Shell gas stations, M. S. will definitely have a plan C up his sleeve to keep dragging this out who cares what Pleasanton’s majority wants !!


Mica
Registered user
Alisal Elementary School
on Nov 16, 2020 at 5:24 pm
Mica, Alisal Elementary School
Registered user
on Nov 16, 2020 at 5:24 pm
28 people like this

I figure these lawsuits are a delaying tactic to make CostCo give up and go away. I hope the lawsuits are deemed frivolous and that the City counter-sues to get back the taxpayer dollars that were spent in attorney fees fighting a legal challenge for a second time. M.S. group did the same on the Stoneridge Drive completion. They claimed a rare and endangered plant would be destroyed when it was later found to be a common weed.


AnaB
Registered user
Dublin
on Nov 16, 2020 at 7:17 pm
AnaB, Dublin
Registered user
on Nov 16, 2020 at 7:17 pm
12 people like this

Why build a Costco in Pleasanton? There is one in Danville and another in Livermore, no need for 3 so close to each other. I feel Ikea would be more beneficial, especially with all the 4-story apartment buildings continuing being built. I have so many others saying the same thing, it's ridiculous to build another Cosco, period!


Name hidden
Birdland

Registered user
on Nov 16, 2020 at 9:02 pm
Name hidden, Birdland

Registered user
on Nov 16, 2020 at 9:02 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Ornithology
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 16, 2020 at 9:20 pm
Ornithology, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Nov 16, 2020 at 9:20 pm
25 people like this

Phew...

Please ( with praying hands) let this be the end of M.S. and crew holding this development hostage.

To Costco:

Please stick with us. Most here are very excited to have you in Pleasanton.


Ptowner
Registered user
Pleasanton Middle School
on Nov 17, 2020 at 9:33 am
Ptowner, Pleasanton Middle School
Registered user
on Nov 17, 2020 at 9:33 am
29 people like this

Matt Sullivan no longer represents the majority of the citizens of Pleasanton. He and his group have been on the wrong side of this issue and have been standing in the way of the majority of the voters who long ago have expressed their wish to have Costco in Pleasanton. The delay in providing the advantages of having a Costco in Pleasanton to meet the needs of the people, the jobs denied, the lost tax revenue that could have been put to good use, and the cost to the city for legal fees has been outrageous and shameful. Let the will of the people be realized. Thank you Judge Roesch for your proper ruling.


chet
Registered user
Lund Ranch II
on Nov 17, 2020 at 7:17 pm
chet, Lund Ranch II
Registered user
on Nov 17, 2020 at 7:17 pm
5 people like this

@AnB...Ikea is going to build in Dublin. All plans are in place. As yet they haven't pulled permits.


Cliff S
Registered user
Pheasant Ridge
on Nov 17, 2020 at 9:16 pm
Cliff S, Pheasant Ridge
Registered user
on Nov 17, 2020 at 9:16 pm
9 people like this

The high cost of low price: Why is it so important to you Costco advocates to have another big box store here, killing all the small businesses and killing Pleasanton's rare small town feel? step back, slow down, quit spending money on more cheap junk and save the planet, and our town. Please care. if you're compromising on your morals because you are begging for cheap gas, what you really need is to get rid of your gas guzzler. (Gas should be 10.00 a gallon) Or just plow down old Pleasanton, throw it away, build new retail everywhere like all the other boring new towns so all of us who do care will move away for you. We do not need more Walmarts, home depots, Macdonalds, shake shacks, chick filets, burger kings... all the places who don't care about the community or the environment at all, just their stock holders, your money, and shutting out local business with cheaper prices. not worth it. The claimed tax dollars and low paying jobs are not worth the cost.


Grumpy
Registered user
Vineyard Avenue
on Nov 18, 2020 at 7:13 am
Grumpy, Vineyard Avenue
Registered user
on Nov 18, 2020 at 7:13 am
17 people like this

Yes, but no one is proposing to tear down downtown. The Costco will be in an unused corner of town.

And no one is proposing shopping at Costco instead of downtown—not any more than they already do at the crowded Livermore or Danville locations. And both have or will have cheap gas.

The only question is why build a Costco so close to ones already. And that’s up to Costco, not us, to decide, based on their analysis. Which so far says they should.

All that’s left is what is in it for sure, and that’s sales tax revenue—and maybe convenience.

Not difficult to figure out. We get a slight benefit, as supported by the voters, and Costco figures they somehow make enough money to justify. I doubt much else will change, except for traffic.


Dave
Registered user
Highland Oaks
on Nov 18, 2020 at 10:46 am
Dave, Highland Oaks
Registered user
on Nov 18, 2020 at 10:46 am
7 people like this

Im here for the comments


CWM
Registered user
Stoneridge
on Nov 18, 2020 at 12:52 pm
CWM, Stoneridge
Registered user
on Nov 18, 2020 at 12:52 pm
16 people like this

Cliff, I get where you are going but I think you're barking up the wrong tree. I agree that small businesses are feeling the pinch not only due to large retailers like Costco, Wallmart..... but also the pandemic that we are living with. However I think the real threat to small business is the internet. With a large number of people using the internet for the first time to order all sorts of goods because of Covid-19 they are realizing the convenience of ordering online and having it delivered to your front door. I would worry much more about the ease of ordering on the internet than having a Costco built by the freeway.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.