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City Council endorses 87-home Irby Ranch project, with land for Sunflower Hill housing

Original post made on Feb 8, 2017

The Pleasanton City Council voted Tuesday night to support an 87-home development on the edge of downtown, a project that also sets aside more than 1.6 acres for a planned residential complex for adults with special needs.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, February 8, 2017, 12:21 AM

Comments (67)

Posted by tan luddenya
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 8, 2017 at 9:41 am

Thank you City Council for your support on this project!

Posted by Ndna Jnz
a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 8, 2017 at 9:55 am

I do not understand Arne Olsen's comment, "... provides a price-range of housing that we really need in our town.” What price range do we need? With 2 and 3-story houses at an average of ~2,400 sq ft, do these somehow fall under the "Affordable Housing" category? Isn't 2,400 sq ft about the average - or at least median - size of all Pleasanton single family housing? And Ms. Narum's comment, "fabulous win-win for the location..." means little without the future Sunflower Hill project thrown in. By the way, I fully support that project, and understand that it's best for them to have the land "donated." But, why does this city council *continue* to approve high density housing when we have tremendous traffic and school overcrowding, and most Pleasanton residents continually express concerns of over-growth? I feel sorry for the purchasers of these homes on their first evening commute home, trying to wade through the traffic down First Street at 6 PM on a Friday. In the rain.

Posted by Ortega
a resident of Parkside
on Feb 8, 2017 at 10:41 am

Ortega is a registered user.

City council seems to always shortchange the citizens with short-term thinking. Arne Olson's "elightened" thought process shines through in his comment that "it provides a price-range of housing that we really need in our town.” A million dollars?? Is that council's version of affordable housing? So far we have none that I am aware of even with all the building that has been approved.

Serpa's justification is absurd in light of the reality of what is actually needed: The houses, likely to be priced at under $1 million (read high $900s), would be geared toward buyer profiles such as empty nesters, young families or couples, single residents or those looking to downsize, Serpa said. Really? Empty nesters need 2 or 3 story narrow towers called homes? Young families, couples and singles, as a rule, can afford a million dollar house.

Sunflower is something we need - it is my opinion this could have easily been funded by the city and other private funding without selling out to another of these devs.

Posted by Matt Sullivan
a resident of Stoneridge
on Feb 8, 2017 at 12:06 pm

Matt Sullivan is a registered user.

A little historical perspective ….

This site was evaluated during the rezoning the city did to satisfy the lawsuit filed by affordable housing advocates at the state Attorney General. Other, more suitable sites (close to transit, less impacted by traffic, etc.) were chosen. This rezoning satisfied our RHNA obligations through 2025.

The Irby property owners lobbied the city at that time to include the property in the rezoning, to no avail. Now they are back asking for rezoning and approvals outside the process, and as Julie rightly points out, these units are IN EXCESS of what the city needs to satisfy its housing obligations. There is a city ordinance that places a "floating" housing cap based on RHNA, but the city continues to ignore this.

We’ve also seen the bait and switch before. Remember when the Busch Road Pumpkin Patch project was approved with the agreement to build another school site on the property? Well, the school was never built, but guess what was: more houses. And remember when the same project had included a new church on the site? Well, a plastic bubble church was put there and sat until a year ago when they decided to move somewhere else. What is going in its place? That’s right, more houses. Bait and switch is right out of the developers’ handbook and has always worked well in Pleasanton.

Posted by Julie Testa
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Feb 8, 2017 at 12:10 pm

I do not know of one person in Pleasanton who does not support Sunflower Hill’s concept of supportive housing for special needs adults. That was not what our City Council was being asked to vote on at the meeting.

Staff was honest in saying they were not processing a Sunflower Hill application! The developer was honest in thanking SunflowerHill because without them this development would not be there. It is manipulative to fill the council chamber with a high level of emotion to divert from the real project to discourage dissenting opinions. 

Pleasanton city council unanimously voted to rezone land for 87 houses that will be built starting this year, 2017 to be completed by 2019. Creating immediate impact on our community. Sunflower Hill had no plan to submit (city staff made up a picture for them), no funding plan (some ideas and a commitment of a fraction of the funds needed), they have three years to make it happen or they lose their option.

There is a pattern of approving housing with community enticements that end up not happening.

Posted by Bubble Church
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 8, 2017 at 1:13 pm

The "Bubble Church" Mr. Sullivan so rudely refers to was a long time Pleasanton congregation that unfortunately ran into severe financial problems. To say they were part of a "bait and switch scheme" is offensive. Oh that's right, Matt Sullivan says whatever he wants about the citizens of Pleasanton without regard to facts or being respectful.

For a guy that always complains about the Pleasanton Weekly, he sure does use it's blog space a lot.......

Posted by Developerton
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 8, 2017 at 1:22 pm

The developers have figured out their winning formula. When proposing any housing, set aside a small piece of the property and say it is for special needs or a church. Then get those advocates to lobby for you. The city council will then approve your plan.

However, it seems like this council is so excited to approve any new housing. Remember that most of these city council members were put there by the chamber of commerce. The chamber has the best developer-friendly politicians that money can buy. They have approved more housing in the last several years than in the previously couple of decades. The public must like all the high density housing, congested traffic, and overcrowded schools, or they would not be voting for these people.

Posted by Rick
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 8, 2017 at 1:54 pm

Any chance the City can upgrade our 1950s traffic lights to facilitate the added traffic. The last time I drove this I hit 7 red lights between the freeway and this development. Traffic backed up unnecessarily, added wear and tear on cars and more than necessary green house gases.

Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 8, 2017 at 4:33 pm

That " bubble church" was approved as a temporary structure for a maximum time not to exceed 10 years I believe then was to be replaced by a permanent building but then that church was able to "cash" out and bail leaving ponderosa homes to get that property rezoned somehow(?) and build more homes, once again the city slips one past us! Almost like it was the plan all along. Any bets on that special needs housing ever gets built? When did million dollar houses become affordable housing?

Posted by Bill
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 8, 2017 at 4:37 pm

This empty-nester's knees have no interest in a large two or three story home.

That said, it seems a decent use of the property. It looks like it will be a nicely done development.

Posted by Janet Brown
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 8, 2017 at 7:10 pm

I was a speaker last evening in support of Sunflower Hill. I have been a resident of Pleasanton for over 50 years and I have a 27 year old son with special needs who attended special education classes in the PUSD from age 5-22. I cannot be more proud of my hometown for approving this project so that our special children who have been raised in this wonderful community now have an opportunity to live out the rest of their lives in such a sustainable and enduring community as Sunflower Hill. To the Pleasanton Weekly poster who commented and identifies as "Developerton", I can assure you that the developer of the Irby Ranch property did not have to ask us parents of special needs children to advocate and lobby for his project's approval. We have been our children's advocates for all of their lives. It is what we do because they cannot advocate for themselves and we will continue to do so as long as we are here on this earth. Thank you to the Mayor and City Council for your support in approving this project and and for your confidence in Sunflower Hill.

Posted by David
a resident of Ironwood
on Feb 9, 2017 at 7:04 am

THANK YOU CITY COUNCIL FOR YOUR LEADERSHIP. This project provides in addition to donated land for special needs housing and $1M for affordable housing (which includes subsidies for low income senior rentals like Kottinger and The Gardens), the City gets an important street connection to relieve traffic at Stanley & Bernal AND a fanastic creek trail!!
Mr. Sullivan likes to throw rocks a lot about conspiracies which is divisive. He glosses over the lawsuit against the City which threatened to shut down all new commercial building because the City failed to rezone land to comply with State mandates. He in part caused the problem leading to the successful lawsuit by voting no on every new housing development and spending our taxpayer money to defend a losing battle. To point at the Irby project as being a bad location is sour grapes.
We lived next to the church bubble for years and know the congregation well. Fact is, they had to sell and move due to big financial problems. We were glad to have 25 homes instead of a 80K campus or 100 homes for seniors instead of a school site -- talk about traffic that would have created! Mr. sullivan, keep to your little bubble tucked away in some fancy neighborhood on a small quiet street. We are far more affected by traffic than you and understand that property rights still exist in this Country.

Posted by Save Pleasanton
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 9, 2017 at 8:01 am

Unfortunately, we that live in the downtown area will suffer from this massive housing development and the other massive housing developments that are being planned by the City (including a huge "Stack & Pack" apartment project being proposed for the city land once the library and police dept. buildings are relocated). Most of us didn't find out about the Irby Ranch project until it was too late (notices only went to very few households surrounding the project). Yes, that while the Special Needs portion of the project is an absolute necessity, the project as a whole is not. There isn't even a guarantee that the a Special Needs portion of this project will even be built! This is yet another example of the BAIT & SWITCH technique that Developers and City Governments around the Bay Area are using to get these massive housing projects passed through the community. Our neighborhood will now be stuck with EVEN MORE TRAFFIC on our downtown and surrounding streets and extremely OVER-CROWDED schools generated from this project as well as the Vintage Hills Apt. complex on Bernal & Stanley once it opens up. There is a very strong and organized pro-growth agenda driving these MASSIVE projects, and we who live in this town, need to stay informed and let the City and Developers know that WE DON'T WANT THESE MASSIVE HOUSING PROJECTS in our City. If we let them continue with this agenda, we'll loose the beautiful Town of Pleasanton that we all love (and is the reason most of us live here) for good.

Posted by Bella
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Feb 9, 2017 at 8:34 am

I APPLAUD THE CITY COUNCIL. This is not MASSIVE housing construction and in order to get community benefits like a new street connection and open space along a new arroyo trail, not to mention special needs and/or affordable housing, there is a trade off to make it financially viable. That's Business Finance 101. Now if you are worried about traffic in town, none of you mention the 6-story 300,000 plus square foot Work Day campus. Now that is MASSIVE and will attract cars from every direction onto Pleasanton streets. Matt Sullivan was on the City Council when it was approved and he never mentions it. Not that I have a problem with Work Day here, but lets get real about what is MASSIVE and its not 87 homes.

Posted by Pete
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2017 at 9:26 am

Pleasanton voters have spoken. Special elections have set the agenda for Pleasanton. Two council members were elected with less than 10000 votes...combined. Why complain...? These blogs do nothing... both sides are manipulative. All none vetted new projects create traffic concerns...Vintage Apartments being the worse. An electronic speed indicator should be installed immediately...crossing Vineyard/Bernal toward Valley Ave. Legacy seeking can be gained without placing the safety of our Community at risk. Over the last 50+ years "our town" has lost many friends due to traffic accidents. 3D models of infrastructure within all new development, when relating within all arterial major thoroughfares...should be policy. That's common sense.

Posted by Save Pleasanton
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 9, 2017 at 9:38 am

Yes, Bella, you are correct....there are "TRADE-OFFS" to all these types of projects that are popping up in residential communities around the Bay Area and now in Pleasanton. The problem with this type of "deal" is that the City and Developers are misleading communities by these "trade-offs" (benefits to the community, affordable housing, open space, more streets, more trees, etc.) to get their projects passed. Sadly, the majority of these "trade-offs" NEVER HAPPEN with these projects and communities are stuck with huge projects they didn't want along with increased traffic, crime, safety and over-crowded schools. There will be 87 houses built on this property, of which 31 of those homes will be 3-stories. That's pretty massive (you can also fit a lot of people/families in a 3-story house). If the City and Developers continue to build these types of housing projects in the residential area of Pleasanton using MISLEADING "TRADE-OFFS" to get them passed, then our once peaceful, charming and beautiful town will become one big Legoland.

Posted by just the facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2017 at 10:27 am

SP, please point to where stack and pack housing is planned for the current city owned property. High density housing was proposed on the site across from the library as part of the court settlement several years ago. the only person who wanted that was Matt Sullivan--everyone else rejected it as not appropriate for the gateway into downtown. You are doing nothing more than FEAR MONGERING. You forget that before anything can be done, the citizens have to vote favorably to change the current proposed uses on the Bernal property.

People seem to overlook that in order to get to the property for the special needs community a road needs to be built. A property owner isn't going to build a road without some way to recoup the costs. This is a bit chicken and egg. It's also being overlooked that the property is being deeded to the city. If for some reason Sunflower hill doesn't happen the city still retains control and can find another organization to work with such as vets housing. Very different from some of the other scenarios where the property reverted to back to the property owner when something didn't happen.

Instead of all this fear mongering how about some compassion and instead asking what can I do to help make the special needs community a reality?

Posted by FrequentWalkerMiles
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2017 at 11:12 am

I think Julie Testa's one post here is worth more than the rest of the comments combined. No one in their right mind is against a worthwhile cause like special needs adults. But this whole thing is just shady as heck.

Posted by Save Pleasanton
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 9, 2017 at 11:21 am

Responding to JTF, the comments made by those on this board who are opposing high-density housing projects (not projects that would be beneficial to the community) aren't fear-mongering, just shedding some light on to the community about the negative impact high-density housing projects have on our community. We all need to be informed and have a voice. There is an absolute need for a Special Housing community, which would be an AMAZING benefit to this community! It will also be extremely disappointing if "it doesn't happen." What DOES NOT benefit the community are these high-density housing projects (already built or proposed). The residential area of Pleasanton doesn't have the need or infrastructure to support these high-density housing projects, nor does the City have the money to deal with the increase in traffic, safety issues, crime and over-crowded schools that these types of projects will bring to or community. Not to mention the environmental impact with the "fill-in" plan the City has for what little empty property and wild-lands that are left in Pleasanton. You can bet, these properties will be "FILLED-IN" with these types of projects. Guess our SLOW GROWTH plan wasn't as feasible as developer's open wallets. Looking at ya Dublin!

Posted by just the facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2017 at 12:19 pm

SP wrote (including a huge "Stack & Pack" apartment project being proposed for the city land once the library and police dept. buildings are relocated). You did NOT state the basis for this comment. Where is this written? That's the basis for my comment that you are just FEAR MONGERING. There hasn't even been a decision made with regard to which if any of the city buildings would be moved to the Bernal property let alone what might replace them.

The density of the Irby houses is similar to the houses across the street in the reflection neighborhood. I don't think anyone would call that neighborhood high density like the apartments being built at Stanley and Bernal.

Posted by housing cap
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2017 at 2:07 pm

Pleasanton used to have a housing cap that was greatly supported by the community and reaffirmed by votes multiple times. Then the lawsuit came in saying Pleasanton could not meet our regional housing needs (RHNA) numbers. Pleasanton settled this suit by removing the housing cap so we could meet our RHNA numbers. However, the city council has gone WAY past this now. The housing cap that the residents voted on should not have been completely thrown away, allowing the council to approve housing like a runaway train. The housing cap, that was voted upon by the residents and have a provision that it could only be changed by another vote of the public, should have been amended to meet the state housing requirements instead of being completely tossed. Our housing cap should have been amended to allow the exceeding of the housing cap to meet RHNA numbers, that is it.

The problem now is the council sees the lack of a housing cap as permission to develop housing on every piece of land in Pleasanton. That is definitely against the spirit of what the voters approved. Since the Council did not support the residents, it is probably time for a new housing cap initiative in Pleasanton that has a housing cap that can only be exceeded to meet state housing numbers. Until then, expect to see the chamber of commerce putting up candidates who support their developer friends.

Posted by Susan Houghton
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 9, 2017 at 2:42 pm

As the President of the board of Sunflower Hill, I think it is important for our organization to officially weigh in on some of the inaccurate assumptions and 'alternative facts' that have been suggested.

First, let me reiterate that we are VERY grateful for the wonderful community support for our organization and the prioritization that City Council gave to our vision a few years ago.

Sunflower Hill could have very easily found another location and another developer to work with. As many know, we're also developing a site in Livermore. But we also chose THIS location - Irby Ranch - because of the proximity to downtown, access to amenities and transit AND the ability of our families to purchase homes in the subdivision. It's a win-win. And no, we don't feel 'used' at all. Quite the contrary.

Our planned residential community of 30 one-bedroom units will be publicly financed with state tax credits, funds from the Alameda County Housing Bond, a developer contribution and city of Pleasanton housing funds. It is a very similar financing plan to how Kottinger Gardens is being constructed.

The homes around the SFH campus/community serve as an added, private purchase opportunity for families to ensure their child, if not selected for one of the 30 units, can still access the services and amenities on the SFH campus and be with their friends and peers. Livermore's site does not provide this option.

That's why is important to remember that there is a huge benefit to Sunflower Hill to be a partner in the Irby Ranch project. More families will be able to ensure long-term residential living for their children with special needs. And with the skyrocketing rate of individuals being diagnosed with developmental delays, we think that's extremely important.

We've been hearing the phrase 'alternative facts' in the national media lately and I am worried we're seeing that in some of the posts I've read over the last day or so.

For the record, let me reiterate that Sunflower Hill and Dahlin Architects DID indeed create the site plan that was submitted to the city council on our project. We've been working with Dahlin for 3+ years. They are the same architects on our Livermore project.

While do we have a financing plan that's already been submitted to the city, we cannot 'officially' secure these funds until we receive site control and development rights to our parcel. That's why approving the project and our development agreement on Tuesday night was so important. As Supervisor Miley's office also shared, we are exactly the type of project that the Housing Bond was designed to support.

Our housing partner, SAHA Housing, is extremely experienced in developing affordable housing. We would not have had it any other way. After five years, I assure you, no one wants this project to succeed more than our board, advisors and families. Because our children are ready to live there NOW.

By approving Irby Ranch and the opportunity for Sunflower Hill to move forward, Pleasanton has shown to the Bay Area and the State and Nation, it is a community of character, where all citizens have the opportunity to 'age in place.' We get calls daily from parents in other cities asking how we got so lucky to have a community that cared so deeply to make this happen.

We absolutely believe that a civil discourse is important and we respect the right of those to speak against our project. But it is very important that "the facts" BE the actual facts. There is too much "good" about this opportunity and what it will mean to the families of individuals with special needs to do otherwise.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. More information and the actual "facts" can be found on our website -

Susan Houghton
President, Board of Directors
Sunflower Hill

Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 9, 2017 at 2:50 pm

I love how Irby was in tears...I'd be too if I landed so much cash for selling my family farm to developers. He just became wealthy. That's work crying about.

Posted by member
a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 9, 2017 at 3:05 pm

we do not need only caters to a small group of individuals. extra crowding, no thanks.

Posted by Janeen Rubino Brumm
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Feb 9, 2017 at 4:09 pm

As a Sunflower Hill board member, Pleasanton resident of over 26 years, and mother of an adult son with developmental disabilities, I am very grateful for the unanimous approval of this project. Thank you so very much to Karla Brown for making the first motion to approve and to Kathy Narum for seconding the motion. The Pleasanton City Council and Mayor are making sure some of the most vulnerable members of our community are given a chance to live independently in the city they grew up in, with friends/peers, with social activities and programs (like 'senior living'), with access to public transit and walking distance to downtown, as well as giving us parents the chance to buy into the residential community and age right next to our adult child and still be a part of their life. That is why this entire project is so needed. I am also grateful for the many many Pleasanton residents that wrote letters to our city council and showed up in droves at the city council meeting, showing their support. My family and I are incredibly grateful! We love Pleasanton!

Posted by Curious
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 9, 2017 at 7:35 pm

@ Susan @ Janeen - Has the City Council given you any assurances the Sunflower Hill development will ever be built? Is there any contractual language that mandates the project be completed? If not, I would hold your praise for the City Council until you actually see construction start.

Posted by David
a resident of Ironwood
on Feb 9, 2017 at 7:55 pm

Grumpy - The Irbys have a right to develop or get paid market value for their land. Why would they take less money for acreage at a prime location. Its not your open space to drive by and glance at driving 45 MPH. IM HAPPY ONE OF THE ORIGINAL FAMILIES inPleasanton before most of us arrived can now move on from the years and years of NIMBYs arguing about what they should do with their land. I hope they find some friendly place without self-serving, self-entitled people.

Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 9, 2017 at 9:40 pm

@JTF must be new in town and not realize that as soon as the city council gets their new fancy buildings on that Bernal property the developers will be circling overhead waiting for approval on that newly vacated land at the end of Main Street, no fear mongering intended it's JUST THE FACTS! We know what's going to happen, watch these guys in action and learn, we need to turn off this leaky faucet. As for comparing the density of the Irby houses to the Reflection houses across the street I don't ever recall seeing any 3 story homes in that neighborhood so maybe toss that argument for justifying more homes that we don't want or need. It's going to be a real sad story if that special needs housing doesn't get built, or if by some miracle it does get built is their some kind of guarantee that the families of those special needs adults have first dibs on those 87 stack and pack houses?? Whats it going to cost P-Town to build that special needs housing, somewhere down the line before the last nail is driven it all comes back to the local taxpayer!

Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 10, 2017 at 9:32 am

@David, aren't you missing something? Their land was low value commercial land. That's why it was fallow for all these years. The city council decided to donate their neighbors' rights to have the zoning plan followed to Irby so he could sell that right to the developer. That's why he was crying. His properly zoned commercial land suddenly had residential development rights worth millions more.

Now, whether the city council acres in the community's best interest is the question. There's no question that the zoning right granted was worth tons and is why Irby cried.

If you find community self determination to be offensive to you, then why live in a community that wants to determine its future? You could move to Irvine. They have lovely homes, and more every day. Of course, they too are in a valley, and are choked with smog in the summer. But you'll find no anti growth residents to annoy you there.

Posted by David
a resident of Ironwood
on Feb 10, 2017 at 9:48 am

Grumpy - the community did have its say during multiple public hearings over the years and as a result a number of amenities were obtained. Im not pro growth- I simply dont like all your hurtful accusations about people who have owned land here for years and went through a long public process subject to foul comments like yours. if you disagree with the decision, fine, but there is no need to be so hateful. No wonder your name is Grumpy.

Posted by Shc
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Feb 10, 2017 at 11:29 am

The "bubble church" that Mr Sullivan cites as some sort of dark corner conspiracy was nothing of the sort. As previously noted it was a temporary structure. The preschool they ran and funded ran into a scandal - a teacher bound a student with duct tape and had the audacity to photograph it and show it to her coworkers - ad the school hemmoraged families and caused the church to lose money and reputation. So much so, that the church left the location and changed their name to cleanse themselves of the affair. The last part is a bit simplistic, as they also had a slight change in their church organization, but the point attempted is that the church was not making some sort of conspriratiorial real estate move.

Posted by Lynn
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 10, 2017 at 11:46 am

I am addressing comments made by "Member." I wonder if you could clarify your objections for us. Several posters have expressed reasonable concerns about the single-family home portion of the development. However, those posters clearly stated that they recognize that adult housing for special needs adults is needed. What follows are figures which highlight the desperate need for this type of housing in our area: these are the approximate numbers of special needs individuals eligible for programs and housing by city: Pleasanton--700 individuals, Dublin 600 individuals, Livermore--900. In Alameda county, there are 17,000 individuals. Do you still believe that these special needs adults are a "small group of individuals" that are being "catered to?"

The special needs residence is relatively small, so we can't blame crowding on these individuals. These residents will not contribute to traffic--because the great majority will take public transportation.

I, too, am concerned with crowding--especially in our schools. I look at the housing going up all around Hart Middle School. I could be wrong, but I know of no plan to build another middle school to meet the needs of these new students. Before long, all of our schools are going to look more like mobile home parks than schools, as more modular buildings are installed to accommodate the growing population. I remember "the good old days" when Ben Tarver was mayor and the city council had a controlled-growth philosophy.

If our city council should have continued to be reasonable regarding expansion. Why on earth would we not build schools to keep up with expansion. I believe developers are supposed to address the school issue.

In my opinion, if the city had done a much better job controlling growth, we would not have a situation where residents are concerned about crowding created by a housing development for adults with DISABILITIES (in order to qualify for this housing, I believe the disabilities would need to be severe). I know families with severely disabled members. If you do not, I can tell you that the families have legitimate fears relating to care of their loved ones when they grow old and pass on. It is truly heart breaking.

Your concerns are not the fault of these disabled individuals and their families. The blame lies with uncontrolled growth. This has created the attitude you expressed. Specifically, that you are unwilling to support housing for people with disabilities. If I look around Pleasanton, I can identify "less worthy" developments--developments that added considerable headaches. I think those of us who do not have the daunting daily challenges and worries that accompany having a special needs adult need to be grateful and do what we can to support ALL members of our community.

Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 10, 2017 at 11:53 am

David, I don't know what it is I said that you see as being hurtful. Irby's crying is no different than when someone cries when they win the lottery. It's not his fault he's selling out to the developers. It's the city's. And I'm pretty sure the council is not hurt by anything anyone says on here.

I don't even know if I disagree with the decision. But I want everyone to focus on the reality of it: the city gifted the Irby's a right to develop that their neighbors had not expected years ago.

An extreme version of this would be if I petitioned to have my hosiery be zoned into a nuclear waste dump. I'd cry for sure then, for the billions I'd be making. But the question isn't about my tears, it's about those of my neighbors.

Therefore I challenge you to
1) Find an accusation I made about the Irby's--one that a reasonable person would find slanderous if untrue. You may think I'm one of the usual posters here who does like to talk about how this or that group is out to get us, but I never have.
2) Focus your comments on the issue at hand: did the zoning change do a net good for the community.

I also agree with others that we should ignore the Summerhill portion in this analysis. Yes, it's true that granting Irby the development in exchange for some funding and land is a trade of value. But there were other ways to perform such work and the opportunity cost seems very high. I suppose Pleasanton could have instead just sold Main St.

Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 10, 2017 at 3:31 pm

@lynn. I think you'll find that the majority of us citizens have no problem with housing for special needs residents it's the fact that the developer is using this housing as a "decoy" to build those 87 stack and pack houses that we surely don't need, and was a pretty good dirty deed getting that property re-zoned for residential use, the city council and city planners are getting really good at bowing down to whatever the developers want. All of a sudden everything is going to 3 stories, maybe we should designate it as "stack and pack multiple families"?

Posted by housing cap
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2017 at 4:14 pm

@Lynn, you said " If I look around Pleasanton, I can identify "less worthy" developments--developments that added considerable headaches." Could not agree with you more. However the problem I have, and probably many others, is if you look at the Irby development without the special needs component, we would call this development "less worthy". The kicker is there is no guarantee that the special needs component will be built. In fact, there is no requirement that it be build. Since there is no requirement that it be built, we have to assume it will not be and base our comments/decisions on this. If there was a requirement that the special needs component be built before, or as part of, the rest of the housing, I could go along with it. Without that guarantee, I feel using Sunflower Hill and special needs was a gimmick by the developer. I think Sunflower Hill lost a big opportunity here. If they could have lobbied the council that the Sunflower Hill being built as part of the rest of the project was a condition of approval for the rest of the development, that would have forced the developer to make the Sunflower Hill component real. The developer would not be able to built their pro-profit component unless they found/contributed financing for the Sunflower Hill component. As it see it, the developer is laughing all the way to the bank with the current approvals.

Posted by Lynn
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 10, 2017 at 4:32 pm

Hi Map. I hear what you're saying. I mentioned that those who expressed concerns about the single family housing portion of the development in their posts made a point of stating that they are in favor of the special needs portion. To extrapolate, I do believe that you and most Pleasanton residents support special needs housing. in my opinion, the poster I referenced was not considering the benefit to our special needs community. That being said, I have concerns about this development--they might mirror your concerns. For example, it seems like the number of units (30) devoted to special needs residents is much too low (considering the statistics I quoted in my post). I feel that the number of single family homes should be much lower, and the special needs housing should be much higher. Also, the "price point" quoted doesn't make sense to me. I don't see many families with special needs adults (maybe empty nesters) being able to afford this housing. Two-and three-story homes makes no sense for older parents of special needs adults. It seems to me that those players (outside of Sunflower Hills) are putting their own interests above the interests of the community they claim to be supporting. Thank you for your comments and clarification!

Posted by Lynn
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 10, 2017 at 4:44 pm

Hi Housing Cap: I wanted to thank you (as well as Map) for sharing your opinions and concerns!

Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2017 at 5:07 pm

I'm in favor of both parts of this proposal. Seems like a good thing for present and future residents of our town.

Posted by retire when 70
a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Feb 10, 2017 at 8:06 pm

Yay! for quality homes for our special needs citizens. Good.

Nay! for the nightmare they've built along Bernal/680. Traffic torture for years and years to come. Who in their right mind would buy one of those monstrosities?

Posted by retire when 70
a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Feb 10, 2017 at 8:07 pm

ps as long as the special needs angle isn't a scam.

Posted by Save Pleasanton
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 10, 2017 at 11:03 pm

Unfortunately, RW7 the Social Needs project was a TROJAN HORSE and will mysteriously DISAPPEAR when this project is developed. If only we can find a way to overturn the high-density housing portion of this project passed by the City and developer with their DECEPTIVE tactics. Yes, the Special Needs project is an absolute necessity in our community. In fact, I think this whole debate has actually made people more aware of this void in our community, which is probably the only positive aspect of this debate. Unfortunately, the high-density housing portion of this project will impact the ENTIRE downtown, not just the small amount of households that were notified of this project located within a 1,000 square foot radius of the project (shady tactic). The City and Developer knew exactly what they were doing when they didn't notify the rest of the downtown community that will be directly afffected by this project. They knew there would be a strong resistance to the proposed High-density portion of this project by the downtown community, which is exactly why the surrounding downtown neighborhoods were never notified. Now, not only will be be drowning with even more traffic nightmares and over-crowed schools, but the think of all the businesses downtown that will lose money due to people AVOIDING DOWNTOWN from all the traffic in the downtown area that this project and the Vintage Hills apartments will generate. DId they factor the loss of downtown businesses and revenues from the negative impact of these projects into their deceptive equation? We need to speak up and email the CIty and stop them from these DECEPTIVE tactics with developers to get these high-density housing projects passed that we don't want or NEED.

Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2017 at 8:06 am

BobB is a registered user.

@Save Pleasanton,

Who are you to say what "we want or need"? I know of plenty of people who would like to buy one of those houses or rent one of the new apartments being built.

Pleasanton has seen great benefits from the new business and housing moving into the area. The schools have improved. The town is more welcoming to new immigrants with many silicon valley workers moving to the area.

Good all around.

Posted by JustHere
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2017 at 8:32 am

You know, really, a new housing development is a failure when it is built and then nobody buys and moves in. THAT is a failure. However, if they are built and sold and then a family moves in, that is a successful transaction.
Too many people seem to feel once THEY move in nothing can change from that point forward. Same people have their heads planted firmly in the dirt.
Not happy with how things are or about to be? Become active or move. Just whining and crying won't do it.

Posted by Disgruntled resident
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 11, 2017 at 10:06 am

We will be a walking town one day soon. Add these high density homes to the almost 400 apartments being built just a block down and no one will be able to get around town. It's a lot of traffic for our own town but add in commuters and Stanley and 1st will be gridlocked more than it is already.

Sunflower Hill is needed. The houses are not. It is horrible they piggybacked these two projects together. No thought whatsoever to the traffic that is horrifically building up around this town not to mention the lack of space in the schools or stores and restaurants. Tried getting some food at a restaurant last night and lines everywhere were out the door. It's only going to get worse as this city council council continues to disregard what is best for this town.

Posted by retire when 70
a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Feb 11, 2017 at 12:16 pm

Haters like BobB always lean on the virtue signaling..if you don't agree with him, well, you're a racist whether you realize it or not.

A useful idiot for corporate and developer interests

Posted by retire when 70
a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Feb 11, 2017 at 12:21 pm

Matt Sullivan refers to the Plastic Church

I'm not a clever person, I may not understand this reference.

However unlike the Government., the Plastic Church is unable to print money or collect taxes at the point of the gun.

Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2017 at 1:31 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@"retire when 70"

"Haters"? Who am I hating? Where did I say anything hateful?

Racist? Where did I accuse anyone of being that.

As some other posters here were saying, it seems to be a small group of people on these threads, and their opinion runs contrary to the voting public who approved Lund Ranch and Costco. Many of them may not realize that Pleasanton has changed and newer residents may have different needs and desires than some of the older ones. It is time to face the new reality.

Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2017 at 1:36 pm

BobB is a registered user.

"Who in their right mind would buy one of those monstrosities"

You realize there was a waiting list for some of those?

Posted by JustHere
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2017 at 1:45 pm

So many confused. New houses on this side of the bay are normally sold BEFORE the house is even completely built. Sure, those who live here already aren't happy. Well, you have options. For some, who are looking to buy a house that isn't 50yrs old, there aren't a lot of options.
You want open space, then buy the land when it is for sale.

Posted by Rational
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 11, 2017 at 2:10 pm

Excepting this current project, I personally think this community is being taken the wrong direction. Ok Mayor and City Council, enough of the high density housing. There is a point in which over saturation occurs and impacts out weigh benefits. Furtherance will depress value over the long term, and though your political career maybe short term, most of us have made our life here based upon current conditions for land/population density balance and overall quality of life. And, your arbitrarily adopted policies are now well on the path to degrading it. P Town has already exceeded its mandated requirements and further densification is only a a result of spineless leadership and lack of understanding as it relates to prudent long term urban planning. This is a suburb market, and not intended to be a dense urban CBD.... If the citizens of P Town wanted urban and the inconveniences associated there with, plenty of options exist in surrounding communities. In addition, to the extend you do rollover and accept multi family development applications, get a educated on what newer design principles and materials look like. This Planning Department and your design review is still stuck in the 70's and 1980's. Once this current real estate cycle corrects, which it will, the bloom will be off multi family investment product and institutional owners will inevitably cutback on their management standards. Aside from the increased burden that will fall on Pleasanton PD, I hope the city has the gumption and staff to maintain enforcement over the long term.

Posted by retire when 70
a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Feb 11, 2017 at 3:36 pm

BobB, it's statements like this:

"The town is more welcoming to new immigrants"

The discussion was about growth and development. However people like yourself have a need to play this angle to display your superiority. Did you take a poll to arrive at this conclusion, or do you just assume a large portion of old white folk are racist and xenophobic?

Corporations and developers, especially here in the SF Bay Area, love people like you.

Posted by retire when 70
a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Feb 11, 2017 at 3:45 pm


Great post. Sadly politicians and developers have perfected their con. Short-term gain, long-term pain.

Vote for this, and we'll give you ......that. Most voters have moved on, too busy with their iPhones and such to put the work in to really understand the issues. Easy pickens for sneaky politicians and corporate interests

Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2017 at 3:50 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@"retire when 70",

I wasn't implying anything like that. I meant what I said. With additions like Ranch 99 and other ethnic groceries and shops, as well as larger numbers of recent immigrants in the school systems, the town is more welcoming to immigrants. I think that is a good thing. With more residents coming from Silicon Valley, I do think at has increased the emphasis on academic achievement in our schools. Two BART stations have also helped, giving us more options for commuting.

You say "Corporations ... love people like you." And I hope so. I've worked most of the last 35 years for corporations, and moved to the Bay Area 25 years ago because a large corporation paid my way. I like to think their products have improved our lives; We're currently using their products to communicate!

I think you may have been reading a little too much between the lines in what I said.

Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2017 at 3:52 pm

BobB is a registered user.

"Most voters have moved on, too busy with their iPhones and such to put the work in to really understand the issues."

Or could it be that they just disagree?

Posted by retire when 70
a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Feb 11, 2017 at 4:10 pm

Keep pounding your drum BobB. Solid virtue signaling.

I'm up to around 20 minutes or so just to GET ON 680 in the morning .. gives me plenty of time to ponder all the wonderful development in a city that obviously was backward and had so much room for improvement. I didn't quite realize how much of a rube I was until I read your posts

I think those structures along 680 are downright garish, big units all squashed together. My wife and I think they are horrible and comical at the same time. However if one is inside all day staring at a computer or iPhone or entertainment center, what does it matter? I have a lot of learning to do I can see about quality of life.

Posted by retire when 70
a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Feb 11, 2017 at 4:16 pm

Not only do they disagree BobB..we've also learned from your careful and thorough research they are more welcome to immigrants. This automatically puts them and you at the top of the virtue pyramid. Congrats.

Posted by Save Pleasanton
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 11, 2017 at 5:33 pm

We may have lost a chance to voice our concerns over the Irby Ranch property, unfortunately, but we all need to be informed and get involved on what the City has planned for FUTURE developments. We can't let these high-density projects get passed without the greater community even knowing about them until it's too late. We are all extremely busy with our lives, but we need to stay informed and get involved, by periodically going to the City of Pleasanton's website and reviewing agenda items, upcoming meetings, etc. The Irby Ranch project has been an invaluable lesson to me personally of the need to stay informed to what the City has planned for the future of Pleasanton. There are massive projects in the pipeline (either proposed or are in "the talk" stages) that will affect ALL of us in Pleasanton. To name some of the larger projects: DOWNTOWN - proposed relocation of the Library, City Offices, Police Station on Bernal ALONG with the School District offices located on Bernal & First Street to the Bernal Property. This will be a proposed $200 MILLION project, money that the City DOES NOT HAVE. Where do you think the City will be getting the money to fund this huge project...DEVELOPERS! The Developers will turn all that land on Bernal located at the entrance of Main Street, and the property located on Bernal & First Street into, yep, more HIGH-DENSITY HOUSING PROJECTS, and more than likely HIGH-DENSITY APARTMENT UNITS, extremely MASSIVE projects right in our DOWNTOWN. The other massive project in the pipeline: EAST PLEASANTON Web Link a development that would include a proposed 1,400 homes. Imagine the burden just these two MASSIVE projects will bring to our town! There are other proposed projects and proposed REGULATION CHANGES in the City's pipeline that will add to the DENSIFICATION of our town. We need to preserve the SMALL TOWN CHARM of Pleasanton and the reason the majority of us live in this great town and not on the Peninsula or in the South Bay. We need to stay informed and voice our concerns to the City and Councilmembers. To find out a more about the Downtown Specific Plan, please visit . The next Task Force Meeting will be held on March 28, 2017 at 6:30pm in the Council Chamber at 200 Old Bernal Avenue.

Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2017 at 5:44 pm

BobB is a registered user.

"To name some of the larger projects: DOWNTOWN - proposed relocation of the Library..."

And here I was looking forward to the new library. I've looked at the model in the entrance to the current library and read the materials, and like what I see.

Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2017 at 5:52 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@"Save Pleasanton"

You may be surprised to know that many of us aren't interested in "small town charm" or would say that phrase even applies to present day Pleasanton. It may have had that in the past, but a word I would have used to describe Pleasanton 35 years ago was dull. I can only say that personally I'd rather live in Cupertino or Mountain View, but my job relocated to the East Bay, and the home prices were also cheaper in Pleasanton and Dublin so we bought a house here. I don't have a problem at all with the density many of the Peninsula towns, and hope that our schools continue to improve to match them in quality.

Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2017 at 5:54 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@"retire at 70"

"Not only do they disagree BobB..we've also learned from your careful and thorough research they are more welcome to immigrants."

I'm afraid I'm having trouble parsing this sentence. Who is the "they" who are "more welcome to immigrants."

Posted by Save Pleasanton
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 11, 2017 at 6:01 pm

BB you should have moved to Dublin, were the houses are cheaper and you would get that high-density feel that you miss so much.

Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2017 at 7:45 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@"Save Pleasanton,

I did like several of the houses we looked at in Dublin. It came down to a commute that was about 10 minutes shorter, and getting outbid on the house we really wanted in Dublin. But I do agree that it is a nice place to live. We have a number of friends there who really like it.

Posted by JustHere
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2017 at 8:43 am

Very odd that many 'posters' here slam Dublin for this and that. The new housing that goes up, is sold and occupied. The businesses in Dublin are thriving; just look at that the parking lots, which are full of folks from Pleasanton. Hum.
Pleasanton to the rest of the Bay Area 'might' be known for the fairgrounds and that is about it.
to those horrified what is happening, move. Lake and Mendocino counties are pretty much what Pleasanton was like 30yrs ago.

Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 12, 2017 at 6:11 pm

Unlike some of these posters I moved here almost 50 years ago not because it was cheap or because of my work but because it was a nice quiet small town where everybody was a "good" neighbor, there was no crime, no traffic, no homeless standing at every intersection begging for money- then we got discovered maybe 15 - 20 years ago, and people with huge wallets willing to pay anything for a chance to live here followed by developers willing to help relieve these people of those big wallets started the decline of our once nice quiet town. Not against responsible growth but right now we need to drop the " city of planned progress " logo because it's getting really embarrassing!! Maybe something like "city of planned traffic jams" or " city of not enough police officers". Lose the stack and pack housing, quit trying to squeeze multiple families in each residential unit and acting surprised when you have 4or 5 vehicles parked outside each unit on my cities streets, lose the idea of soaking us for 200 + million to build new city offices and a library (CARROT) that we don't need for the sole purpose of creating bare land downtown for those developers! Only people benefiting from new city buildings are the employees themselves, it won't be us!

Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 12, 2017 at 6:34 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.


One of the problems in this town is you and your ridiculous rant.
"homeless standing at every intersection begging for money".
"city of planned traffic jams".
"city of not enough police officers".
Why are your staying on?
You can relocate to a nearby city where all of the above declarations you have made genuinely exist.

Posted by Rational
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 12, 2017 at 7:49 pm

@ BobB.

Just goes to show how differently people see the world. I personally see the virtues of proper urban planning and implementation of land use principle that are supposed to guide development and control growth. In so doing, communities can still grow in smart and appropriate ways, and expand such that it supports the City's core principles and balance benefits against impacts. Your stated desire to live in "Cupertino or Mt View" only serves to highlight that you, my friend, must be a "fish-out-of-water" here. There is absolutely nothing appropriate about a quest to to have the community profile of Pleasanton emulate either of those two communities, (and I am intimately familiar with both). There is absolutely nothing similar about the demographic composition, physcographics, regional transit, business/corporate profiles, or even political tendencies..... And you don't even want to attempt to pitch me on the quality of their school system.... I apologize if this sound harsh, but sometime I think that people should honestly look inward and realize how far out of step they really are with the majority and just accept it, or, if they can't accept it then make the choice to act on the potential personal benefits of moving to where other like minded people may tend to congregate....

On a semi-related note: @ retire @ 70.... They say 70 is the new 50.... Stay active, stay involved....

Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2017 at 10:26 pm

BobB is a registered user.


Maybe you missed what I was saying but I used to live in Mountain View and liked it. I moved here for work way back in 2004 because my job moved. Maybe you also missed that I like it here (and in Dublin, Livermore, and San Ramon as well). I think Pleasanton has improved over the years I've been here. I was a little wary at first, but it has definitely changed since my family moved here, and in my opinion, it has changed for the better. As I said above, the opening of newer ethnic groceries, restaurants, and tech businesses has made my family feel even more welcome. I'm also glad to see that Workday is adding a new building.

"...And you don't even want to attempt to pitch me on the quality of their school system..."


All I said was that I've noticed an increased emphasis on academic achievement in the school system since I've been here, largely as a result of lots of families moving here who stress that with their families. I think that is for the better.

" ... far out of step they really are with the majority ..."

But I get along just fine with my neighbors (here and in surrounding towns like Dublin, San Ramon, and Livermore). I like it here, and it continues to improve. I seem to be meeting plenty of like minded people here. Why would I want to leave?

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