Around Pleasanton: Downtown likely to dominate City Council meeting Tuesday | May 3, 2019 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

Column - May 3, 2019

Around Pleasanton: Downtown likely to dominate City Council meeting Tuesday

by Jeb Bing

The Pleasanton City Council is set to continue its review Tuesday of a task force's recommendations for updating a specific plan for the city's core downtown district as well as the possibility of a new "town square" where the library and Civic Center now stand.

Tuesday's review will follow the council's lengthy discussion April 16 of the Downtown Specific Plan Update Task Force's latest draft plan.

"The reason that this is before the council is because final consideration of the task force's policy recommendations needed to be made prior to the final draft document being submitted to the Planning Commission and City Council for review," City Manager Nelson Fialho said. "This enables policy issues to be considered upfront by the City Council, rather than at the end."

This will be the council's third "check-in" on recommendations being advanced by the task force, which has held 17 meetings since launching the downtown plan update Jan. 24, 2017.

The council will continue discussions Tuesday on these five issues:

Massage regulations. Fialho said the council will likely delay implementation of new regulations until a more comprehensive update occurs later this year to strengthen the Pleasanton Municipal Code.

Active ground-floor uses on Main Street. The council is expected to grant regulations that would enhance and encourage ground-floor active uses on Main Street, such as shops and restaurants, while providing Gerry Beaudin, the city's community development director, the ability to work with property owners to discourage more banks, salons or real estate offices on Main Street.

Ground-floor residential in the downtown area. The council voted 4-1 at its last meeting to require that any new developments must have only active uses on the ground floor of buildings fronting on Main Street or on a new "town square" site. Residential units and offices would be allowed on second and third stories of ground-floor retail if built above the commercial properties, but not allowed behind those buildings.

Ground-floor access to those upper floors would be allowed, as it is today, but new development would also have to provide on-site parking so no one is parking on Main Street or in public lots.

Development standards. The council majority voted April 16 to maintain the standard of 40-foot height limit on Main Street buildings, up to 46 feet with a maximum of three stories on future Civic Center site developments and to make Peters and Old Bernal avenues transition zones with new developments limited to 36 feet from today's 40 feet and a maximum of only two stories.

Land-use changes. The council Tuesday will also review, at Councilwoman Kathy Narum's request, its 3-2 vote against the task force's proposal to consider requests by two property owners to annotate or footnote the downtown plan to allow the property owners and the city to consider housing on their properties where they now have businesses, subject to the normal public review and discretionary review process by the Planning Commission and City Council.

Joe Barone and wife Maricela, who own and operate their Barone's restaurant at 425 St. John St., and the Safreno family who owns the Shell station at the corner of First Street and Vineyard Avenue, are asking for the ability to redevelop their sites with a residential project.

Joe Barone told the Weekly that he has no plan to close his popular restaurant in order to build more housing on the largely residential street.

His petition to include a residential review option, similar to the Safrenos', would be an annotation in the city's land-use map that says that a property could be considered for residential or mixed-use or any other combination, rather than have it remain strictly commercial.

The City Council meeting will start at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Civic Center at 200 Old Bernal Ave.

Editor's note: Jeb Bing is editor emeritus for the Pleasanton Weekly.