Letters | October 4, 2013 | Pleasanton Weekly | PleasantonWeekly.com |


Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - October 4, 2013


Council action on business park could mean more housing

Dear Editor, Pleasanton's City Council's action on Sept. 17 opened the door for still more residential development in Pleasanton. Mayor Jerry Thorne once described California's housing requirements as "out of control," but it was the mayor and three other members of the Council who voted to exempt 900,000 square feet of rezoned housing in Hacienda Business Park from the commercial center's overall cap of 9.9 million square feet of development. Jobs created from the additional development certainly will mean more housing required for Pleasanton with no strategy for dealing with any increased housing.

Director of Community Development Brian Dolan irrationally said he didn't believe retaining the office space would result in the need to rezone for additional housing while simultaneously claiming it is impossible to predict the impact on future housing. Well, Mr. Dolan, a clue is recent methodology for housing allocations under "Fair Share Factors" where jurisdictions with higher numbers of jobs received a higher allocation.

The result will be a nearly 10% increase in Hacienda's commercial employment properties in relation Pleasanton's existing housing requirements without a plan to accommodate any future increase in required housing allotments.

Hacienda Business Park was originally developed with a promise of providing jobs for residents. The park's emphasis on its own commercial growth by not balancing housing for the jobs it already provides threatens our quality of life as city streets and services will be strained by building ever more housing. It's time our representatives and city staff showed some backbone against the business park's Owner's Association.

Homes needed for 2 exchange students

Dear Editor, We are looking for host families for high school-aged students who are here for the 2013/14 school year. We accept all kinds of families. Our students have the appropriate visa, medical insurance and pay for all of their own personal expenses. All that is required of a host family is to provide room and bed and an extra plate at the table.

Currently, there are two boys for whom we need homes, one from Spain and one from China. Jiaqi, 16, enjoys playing basketball and table tennis, Chinese calligraphy writing, practicing guitar, and going on trips with his family. GPA: 3.9. Allergies: dust mites, asthma. Jose, also 16, is from Spain. He enjoys scuba diving and skiing. He interested in playing soccer during his exchange year and joining a debate team. He is Catholic and would like to attend services while in the U.S. GPA: 2.5.

The program length is from now (they are being housed temporarily until we find homes) until the end of the school year. For more information email me at pchristian@ciee.org or call 619-445-4126.

Dublin development threatens burrowing Owl colony

Dear Editor, The city of Dublin's land exchange with the U.S. military will allow residential and commercial development on189 acres of mostly open grassland at Camp Parks Reserve Forces Training Area, consequently threatening one of the few remaining breeding colonies of burrowing owls in AlamedaCounty. Camp Parks is one of the few remaining relatively undeveloped portions of the Livermore-Amador Valley. SunCal, one of the nation's largest land developers, is planning six major development projects, including the nearly 2,000-home Dublin Crossing development, and has agreed to construct new military facilities worth $66 million, which will lead to further destruction of burrowing owl habitat.

Burrowing owl populations are declining. California lists the burrowing owl as a "species of concern" but provides no protection for owl habitat and routinely approves eviction of burrowing owls from known breeding locations to allow development. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has provided recommendations to the military that they should conserve burrowing owl habitat at Camp Parks and avoid any impacts to nesting burrowing owls or their habitat. Neither Camp Parks staff nor the city of Dublin have responded to requests for information about whether burrowing owl habitat and nest burros will be protected, or whether there will be mitigation for evicting or displacing the owls.

Jeff Miller, Alameda Creek Alliance


Posted by Shelia, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2013 at 11:52 am

Thank you for highlighting the relationship between jobs and housing in Pleasanton. Our elected officials, which have been heavily supported by local businesses, Hacienda Business Park and the Chamber, are voting to grow the business park and increase jobs in the area.

Normally that would be a good thing, but social engineering through ABAG and HUD, has resulted in a relationship between more jobs leads to more high rise - Stack and Pack housing.

I am very disappointed in our Mayor and 3 councilman/woman.

You were elected by more than just business in this town - now represent us.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Oct 8, 2013 at 12:22 pm

Being a responsible American citizen also means that you remain involved in government even after an election.

Holding elected officials accountable also involves maintaining contact with any elected official and expressing your concerns. Otherwise, you will be ignored and not have a voice.

so get off your duff and schedule an appointment to meet with your reps or go away and whine someplace else...i rest my case!

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Oct 8, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Americans generally do not understand the numerous responsibilities that come with being an American citizen.

May I politely suggest that you move to Argentina and there you will learn what it means to be ignored by your "elected" government!

tee hee...

Posted by local, a resident of Birdland
on Oct 8, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Sheila, I agree with you. The ABAG calculation require us to provide more housing based on jobs provided. The business park has become greedy. They want housing but do not want to shift over commercial entitlements to housing entitlements. The best solution for addressing the ever increasing of demand for housing by ABAG is to shift commercial entitlements to residential entitlements. If the business park does not think that is a good idea for commercial reasons then don't ask for residential entitlements. The best plan is to shift entitlements from commercial to residential. If they want more commercial entitlements, come back later with another plan to increase that. We can then look at what those additional commercial entitlements will do to our housing numbers.

Our city used to have a growth management plan. Has that gone away? The growth management plan used to allow us to hold up housing permits until the infrastructure needed was in place. This was used in the past because of school overcrowding. The council was able to hold up residential permits until there was a concrete plan to ensure the schools had the capacity for the additional growth, or to require a new school to be built. I see all of this housing being approved but do not see a plan where the new housing will be putting in the required fees to pay for the impacts to schools. This is never going to happen and the current residents will be left holding the bag. If you hold up permits, the developers will find a way to help solve the problem. Otherwise, they just laugh all the way to the bank, knowing that others will be left paying for the impacts to the infrastructure.

Posted by Bill, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 8, 2013 at 5:32 pm

I also agree. With the metering light ON at the Bernal to I680 freeway on-ramp, it is taking upwards of twenty minutes to get from Valley/Bernal intersection to southbound I680, a distance of around 1/2 mile. What happens when the high density complex goes in next to Safeway. This is 210 apartments and 97 homes. Over 60% of these future residents will be heading to I680 for the morning commute. Why are we allowing all this building to take place when the infrastructure cannot absorb the present traffic? And it's not only the Bernal interchange, all the other freeway ON ramps are plugged to max with morning commute traffic as well.

Posted by Sad but True, a resident of Parkside
on Oct 9, 2013 at 9:02 am

So now I see. Thorne and his crew were supported by the chamber and business park, and they will follow the money, even if it means Pleasanton will have to accept more high density housing. That is not right!

We are looking at 177 stack and pack houses in our back yards due to his earlier vote to approve the CM Capital site for high density housing. Now where is he going to put the latest growth? Convert the sports park or Bernal park?

Posted by john, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2013 at 9:18 am

Many of us strongly support more growth. It has certainly worked for Dublin. Not only did they allow more growth than Pleasanton, they also approved a parcel tax for their schools. The result: Dublin schools now enjoy higher math API scores than Pleasanton, and Dublin elementary class sizes are smaller.

More growth brings more revenue, better schools, and rejuvenates a community. Dublin has a upbeat, aspirational, and forward looking character. Pleasanton, for a long time now, seems to have gotten tired and old.

The time for more development has come, and I welcome it.

Posted by Sad but True 2, a resident of Hart Middle School
on Oct 9, 2013 at 9:46 am

Thank you to the author for raising this issue up. It is unfortunate that Pleasanton is in a situation where there is a link between jobs (which increase revenue) and increased housing and traffic (which reduce quality of life and schools). But it is what it is.

It is a cop out for staff and the Council to say there will not be a housing or traffic impact if they allow Hacienda to grow 10% over the alternative they had in front of them. I expected better. I hope our Council and staff does growth management better than this in the future. I will be writing in as our leaders need to hear from us.

p.s. John, more job do NOT bring more schools. That is why the school board asked the city to pay for new schools to support future housing. They are broke. Unfortunately, today more housing means overcrowded schools and lower test scores.

Posted by local, a resident of Birdland
on Oct 9, 2013 at 10:17 am

More growth does not bring better schools. The school administration has tried to get additional tax money from the local residents because they claim they do not get enough money per student from the state. Adding more students actually makes the problem worse. It is like a business that sells a widget for $1.00 that costs $1.25 to build and they say that they loose money on each transaction but will make up for it with more quantity.

School infrastructure is the other big issue. In the past, new development has paid higher fees to pay for the school infrastructure. Two issues with that. The money that we have been receiving has been going to pay off debt that should not have been taken on, instead of putting the money towards new infrastructure. The other issue is the district has lowered the school impact fee so that it no longer covers the true cost of providing the infrastructure for the additional impacts. So once again, the more students we add, the worse off we are because of insufficient funds to pay for new schools. The school administration is letting the lower fees to happen because they will use the new growth as an excuse for a new bond measure in 2014 which will really be used to hide the fact that the developer fees they have been collecting have been squandered and not used appropriately. By the way, we are still paying heavily on a local school bond measure on our taxes where the district increased the bond limit illegally without the property owners even voting on it. If you ask the district about this, they will try to cover it up each time by saying what they did was fine but is illegal now, although it was always illegal.

Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2013 at 11:07 am

Did someone actually use Dublin as an example of respnsible growth? Really? Do you think the long time residents think their life has improved over there? NOT LIKELY!

Posted by john, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2013 at 12:08 pm


Sure, there may be some small minority of older residents who don't have children in schools, and are pining away for how things were 30 or 40 years ago. Sorry, but times change, and the most of us welcome it. Yes, Dublin is a great example of responsible growth.


You said, "More growth does not bring...". Yes it does. Again, look at Dublin. Dublin now has smaller classes and higher math API scores than Pleasanton. The number don't lie.

To "Sad but True",

Then how do you explain Dublin? Dublin has smaller class sizes and higher math API scores than Pleasanton. The improvement in test scores correlated very well with increased growth in housing.

Posted by so you know, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2013 at 1:01 pm

You certainly have a right to prefer Dublin if your choose to but please don't assume that others - young or old - want Pleasanton to look like Dublin. We moved our family here as we love how special Pleasanton is.

The Dublin school district does not fund Pleasanton schools, the Pleasanton schools district does. Suggest your read minutes from recent city meetings where Pleasanton school district acknowledged we need schools but they do not have funds to buy land or pay for schools. They are deep in debt and said the need others to pay as school impact fees do not cover. So we have a serious problem here in Pleasanton and building more makes it worse. You can also contact the Pleasanton school district if your have ideas to help.

Posted by local, a resident of Birdland
on Oct 9, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Dublin is the best example of irresponsible growth. John, you are the first person from Pleasanton that I have heard say they like what Dublin has done. People I have spoken with cringe when you tell them that there are people who want Pleasanton to look like Dublin.

John, if you have followed some of the threads you will realize that Dublin receives significantly more per student from the state than Pleasanton.

Posted by Bill, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 9, 2013 at 1:31 pm

John - you must be a realtor because the only person who would trade open space for rack and pack apartments is a realtor or developer. Comparing Dublin to Pleasanton's situation is like comparing apples to oranges. Dublin was able to counter the rack and pack apartments along I580 with large developments of single family homes in the surrounding hillsides. Pleasanton is forced to build only the high density rack and stack apartments. I don't call this change for the better.

Posted by john, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2013 at 2:41 pm

"John, if you have followed some of the threads you will realize that Dublin receives significantly more per student from the state than Pleasanton."

Sounds like a good thing to me. And how to they manage to get that?

To "so you know"

Could you please stick to one name, you know like "john" or something? Anyway, you said " we love how special Pleasanton is." Please define "special". We moved here for the high API scores in the schools. Those scores have dropped while Dublin's have shot up. Also, Dublin passed a parcel tax and Pleasanton did not.


Sorry to disappoint, but I am not a Realtor. Also, last I checked the proposed development near me in Vintage Hills would have single family houses, townhouses, and apartments. It would also have some new shops. Sounds great to me.

Posted by local, a resident of Birdland
on Oct 9, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Dublin gets more from the state then Pleasanton because of the way things were calculated decades ago based on how rural places are. It would seem fair to make all districts receive the same amount of money per student from the state but do not expect that to happen because of the lobbying power of some of the district who get more than the average. It would probably be REAL expensive for the state to give all districts the amount that the top district receives so the other alternative is to figure the average amount and every district receives that. Neither one of these is likely to occur.

Posted by Back on Track, a resident of Parkside
on Oct 13, 2013 at 8:28 am

The letter to the Editor was about the Hacienda business park receiving a 4:1 vote by the Council in favor of a 10% growth in their cap. More jobs means our ABAG ratio is out of whack and we need more houses. Who wants more houses? Not me!

Why did our elected officials vote for the possibility of more houses assigned by ABAG? I trusted them - and got burned. And who is the one person that voted NO? The letter did not say.

Posted by who is it?, a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Nov 10, 2013 at 7:00 pm

I agree, who voted NO to increasing the amount of square feet in Hacienda business park, as if all of the new homes approved recently did not exist? Let me guess, the Chamber back candidates perhaps like Thorne? Anyone want to fess up, I know you read these things.