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Pleasanton Planning Commission OKs housing site inventory

Proposed list of locations now headed to City Council for final approval

Following on the heels of an online community meeting earlier this month, the Pleasanton Planning Commission unanimously adopted a proposed housing site inventory list for council recommendation last Wednesday.

As required by state law, Pleasanton city officials have been working over the past year to identify land sites for accommodating nearly 5,000 units of new housing. Though the city must plan for their assigned Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) during the 2023-31 sixth housing cycle, no actual building is required by the city government.

A total of 24 sites were approved during the Dec. 15 Planning Commission meeting, including Hacienda Business Park, Stoneridge Mall, Stanford Health Care-ValleyCare and the Pleasanton Unified School District administration office. Other locations on the inventory include the Muslim Community Center, Signature Center, Laborer Council and a parcel on Vineyard Avenue owned by PUSD.

Some of the extensive discussion that evening concerned several key sites including both Mission and Valley Plaza shopping centers, which were not recommended by the Planning Commission or city staff.

During public comment, some residents said Valley Plaza could be "a great spot" for mixed-use development, while others wanted the area to remain as is. However, a staff report cited a "number of community comments in opposition to including these sites" at a Dec. 1 community meeting and other factors for not including either shopping center on the housing site inventory.

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Both sites "are filled with small businesses, many of which have served the city for many years," according to staff, and "are also more centrally located within the city where local services and amenities within the center are needed."

Representing the owners of Valley Plaza, Ralph Martin said staff's recommendation to remove the sites "is premature and should be reconsidered as a mixed use project." According to Martin, the owners envision a mixed use site with 10 to 20 units per acre that "would fit the neighborhood better and be more buildable."

"The way it's laid out now, we feel that the three out-parcels would remain, that being the Kentucky Fried Chicken, Hunan Chef and Jack in the Box," Martin said. "Then we'd do a mixed use where some of the original tenants would be able to be relocated or new tenants would be part of the mixed commercial development which would serve the neighborhood."

Vice Chair Nancy Allen said including Mission and Valley plazas on the inventory "may make sense in the future … but right now it's a vital business center that's serving thousands of community members."

Commissioners Ken Morgan and Matt Gaidos agreed, with Morgan stating that Pleasanton needs "all the services that are provided by sites like Mission Plaza and Valley Plaza."

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"The biggest priority for me right now is to make sure we don't remove services and buildings that are useful to the community, and that's even more important as the community grows," Morgan said.

Originally a proponent for inclusion of the SteelWave site in eastern Pleasanton, Gaidos ultimately voted with the rest of the commission to remove it but said "it's going to be inevitable that that's developed."

"It's at the edge of the entire city line and at the edge of our community, and that's an asset in development, that it's not going to upset a tremendous amount of what Pleasanton truly is," Gaidos said. "The number of units that could represent towards our RHNA number allows us to be more flexible with other areas," he added.

Former East Bay Regional Park District board member Jocelyn Combs suggested combining both plazas with the Tri-Valley Inn site so that "you have a long line of properties there that you could do a specific plan on for mixed use."

Combs also supported staff's recommendation to remove the SteelWave site.

"It was a contentious, large, complicated project and bringing it forward with the Housing Element feels really awkward … like almost circumventing any traditional process," Combs said.

Allen said she "felt strongly we should remove" the SteelWave site as well.

"By us putting it on there, we could divide the community and usurp the planning process," Allen said.

"I just value that what needs to be done in this area needs strong public feedback or we could have a community so divided that I can't even imagine it," Allen added.

The City Council is scheduled for a final vote on the Housing Element site inventory next month.

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Pleasanton Planning Commission OKs housing site inventory

Proposed list of locations now headed to City Council for final approval

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Dec 21, 2021, 5:58 pm

Following on the heels of an online community meeting earlier this month, the Pleasanton Planning Commission unanimously adopted a proposed housing site inventory list for council recommendation last Wednesday.

As required by state law, Pleasanton city officials have been working over the past year to identify land sites for accommodating nearly 5,000 units of new housing. Though the city must plan for their assigned Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) during the 2023-31 sixth housing cycle, no actual building is required by the city government.

A total of 24 sites were approved during the Dec. 15 Planning Commission meeting, including Hacienda Business Park, Stoneridge Mall, Stanford Health Care-ValleyCare and the Pleasanton Unified School District administration office. Other locations on the inventory include the Muslim Community Center, Signature Center, Laborer Council and a parcel on Vineyard Avenue owned by PUSD.

Some of the extensive discussion that evening concerned several key sites including both Mission and Valley Plaza shopping centers, which were not recommended by the Planning Commission or city staff.

During public comment, some residents said Valley Plaza could be "a great spot" for mixed-use development, while others wanted the area to remain as is. However, a staff report cited a "number of community comments in opposition to including these sites" at a Dec. 1 community meeting and other factors for not including either shopping center on the housing site inventory.

Both sites "are filled with small businesses, many of which have served the city for many years," according to staff, and "are also more centrally located within the city where local services and amenities within the center are needed."

Representing the owners of Valley Plaza, Ralph Martin said staff's recommendation to remove the sites "is premature and should be reconsidered as a mixed use project." According to Martin, the owners envision a mixed use site with 10 to 20 units per acre that "would fit the neighborhood better and be more buildable."

"The way it's laid out now, we feel that the three out-parcels would remain, that being the Kentucky Fried Chicken, Hunan Chef and Jack in the Box," Martin said. "Then we'd do a mixed use where some of the original tenants would be able to be relocated or new tenants would be part of the mixed commercial development which would serve the neighborhood."

Vice Chair Nancy Allen said including Mission and Valley plazas on the inventory "may make sense in the future … but right now it's a vital business center that's serving thousands of community members."

Commissioners Ken Morgan and Matt Gaidos agreed, with Morgan stating that Pleasanton needs "all the services that are provided by sites like Mission Plaza and Valley Plaza."

"The biggest priority for me right now is to make sure we don't remove services and buildings that are useful to the community, and that's even more important as the community grows," Morgan said.

Originally a proponent for inclusion of the SteelWave site in eastern Pleasanton, Gaidos ultimately voted with the rest of the commission to remove it but said "it's going to be inevitable that that's developed."

"It's at the edge of the entire city line and at the edge of our community, and that's an asset in development, that it's not going to upset a tremendous amount of what Pleasanton truly is," Gaidos said. "The number of units that could represent towards our RHNA number allows us to be more flexible with other areas," he added.

Former East Bay Regional Park District board member Jocelyn Combs suggested combining both plazas with the Tri-Valley Inn site so that "you have a long line of properties there that you could do a specific plan on for mixed use."

Combs also supported staff's recommendation to remove the SteelWave site.

"It was a contentious, large, complicated project and bringing it forward with the Housing Element feels really awkward … like almost circumventing any traditional process," Combs said.

Allen said she "felt strongly we should remove" the SteelWave site as well.

"By us putting it on there, we could divide the community and usurp the planning process," Allen said.

"I just value that what needs to be done in this area needs strong public feedback or we could have a community so divided that I can't even imagine it," Allen added.

The City Council is scheduled for a final vote on the Housing Element site inventory next month.

Comments

Robertbush81
Registered user
Mohr Park
on Dec 22, 2021 at 9:52 am
Robertbush81, Mohr Park
Registered user
on Dec 22, 2021 at 9:52 am

This doesn't sound like much of a plan. Hopefully it is just a placeholder until cities sue the state since this is massive overreach forcing built out cities to entertain this. I don't think turning shopping centers into ultra dense housing is going to solve problems. Taking 50% of the mall property and redeveloping it into ultra dense housing units as a transportation village probably makes some sense. It would revitalize the remaining mall. Maybe Workday could take the lead on that.


George Withers
Registered user
Jensen Tract
on Dec 22, 2021 at 9:53 am
George Withers, Jensen Tract
Registered user
on Dec 22, 2021 at 9:53 am

If I understand the Planing Commission's direction, they would eventually like to concentrate more people, and traffic, in the area of Santa Rita Rd & Valley Ave. There are times during the average day, that Santa Rita Rd. is total grid-locked. Please come up with a better plan than this!!


Mica
Registered user
Alisal Elementary School
on Dec 23, 2021 at 12:29 am
Mica, Alisal Elementary School
Registered user
on Dec 23, 2021 at 12:29 am

I live near the Santa Rita and Valley area. Im intrigued by a mixed retail and houses construction at the Valley and Mission Plazas. I like some of the businesses there now but its an old fashioned strip mall and has alot of pavement where apartments or condos could be above the relocated businesses and be more visible to the street. Residents can walk to a grocery store, restaurant or take out, and their kids could be close to an elementary, middle and high school. The industrial area called SteelWave does not seem right for a lot of housing because its near to the dump and you cant walk to shopping or take a bus. I agree with an earlier poster that Valley is very congested already and has been gridlocked after 3pm if an accident happens on Stanley.


Robertbush81
Registered user
Mohr Park
on Dec 23, 2021 at 8:34 am
Robertbush81, Mohr Park
Registered user
on Dec 23, 2021 at 8:34 am

I don't disagree that revitalization projects have merit and value and perhaps there is money to be made regarding Valley Plaza. I don't think the state should be forcing a built out area to take on 15,000 more residents. I am guessing most folks don't want their quaint shopping centers converted into 3-4 story structures and parking garages by state mandate.


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