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Around Pleasanton: Downtown planning -- Are developers now making the decisions?

Original post made on Mar 26, 2019

A task force that's about to wind up its 2-1/2-year effort to recommend a new "vibrancy plan" for downtown Pleasanton appears to have changed course.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, March 26, 2019, 2:17 PM

Comments (15)

20 people like this
Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Mar 26, 2019 at 7:06 pm

Grumpy is a registered user.

Yes, the task force's behavior feels either incompetently misguided or corrupt. It deserves more journalistic investigation...I'd argue it's one of the most important near-term stories you have in front of you to follow. If there's corruption, there should be enough digging to help lead to prosecution. If there's incompetence, then that should be highlighted to prevent such a task force from being formed in the future.

I'm not antidevelopment. But, as the planning commissioner alluded to, something very surprising and distant from the actual work charged to the task force happened.

22 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 26, 2019 at 8:20 pm

What a bunch of morons, only people benefiting from ideas like this would be the investors, contractors, realtors, the big losers are the citizens who enjoy and support our downtown!! Might as well annex to Dublin and change the towns name to Dublin South. What town destroys their Main St. with residential units???

8 people like this
Posted by sjd
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 26, 2019 at 8:42 pm

"What town destroys their Main St. with residential units???"

Uh, towns that don't want to subsidize more parking at $70k per space, towns that want less maintenance per person... Lots of towns do this.

It doesn't have to be ground floor, but residential above commercial is established practice for many good reasons.

2 people like this
Posted by sjd
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 26, 2019 at 8:43 pm

Also, when did we decide 50 foot store widths was "shallow?" It's not a full service restaurant, but plenty of comfortable, main-street shops are fine at 50 feet.

15 people like this
Posted by JS Johnson
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Mar 27, 2019 at 11:43 am

The significance of this task force assignment has not been put in front of the public in the appropriate manner including the significance of their recommendations on the Downtown Pleasanton business district, the heart of Pleasanton. The Task Force completion date should be evaluated to see if additional time is required and the public has been properly notified of the significance of the deliberations so public input can be received.
I for one don't want to see our downtown become similar to Dublin!!!!
We have Downtown area that needs to be preserved and carefully restored.
Broad brush changes and exceptions only leave Pleasanton citizens holding the bag as we see in Dublin!!

17 people like this
Posted by Grumpy 2
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Mar 27, 2019 at 11:28 pm

Let me get this. Task force was created to revitalize downtown so our citizens do not go to Dublin or Livermore to eat and shop.
Reality is task force(chaired by mayor Thorne and council member Narum) instead make things worse. We want and need more top quality restaurants and cool shops and end up with more ground floor housing on Main Street and near it.
Housing is fine but needs to be in a residential part of downtown, not displacing existing commercial.
I will write in and hopefully we can

18 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 31, 2019 at 7:19 pm

@ sjd-
Wondering which towns that are similar to pleasanton with a Main St. that has only a couple blocks of retail and commercial spaces has brought in residential units onto their Main St. and haven’t actually “killed” that town??
You want to see available parking disappear downtown then keep trying to bring in residential units where they don’t belong!

12 people like this
Posted by Flightops
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 4, 2019 at 9:08 am

Flightops is a registered user.

Who is on this task force that is trying to destroy our downtown?? How do you bring a “new vibrancy plan” to downtown Main st. by bringing in residential units?? I’m not shopping or eating at those residences and if there is any businesses left downtown besides banks, nail salons, and real estate offices good luck finding parking with mult-family units claiming all the spots, wait and see as these units on peters and spring st and now the housing being built on St. John St. start parking on the city streets. Might be time for parking enforcement and parking meters on every street downtown, goodbye to our small town!!

4 people like this
Posted by sjd
a resident of Livermore
on Apr 4, 2019 at 7:21 pm

"No one goes there anymore, it's too crowded and there's no parking"


3 people like this
Posted by sjd
a resident of Livermore
on Apr 4, 2019 at 7:34 pm

Where have cities put mixed use development in a main street commercial center and not killed their downtown?

Err, every city with a downtown developed before 1950. Also, uh, Europe?

We haven't done it in a while because that is approximately when rich people fled to the suburbs and demanded the ability to drive into city centers. More recently, the suburbs of St. Paul, San Luis Obispo CA, and others have been getting better at it in suburban settings.

9 people like this
Posted by Ann
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Apr 14, 2019 at 5:12 pm

Thanks, Jeb Bing and the Pleasanton Weekly, for helping shed light on the alarming outcome of the Downtown Specific Plans Task Force’s recent vote to allow up to 4 story buildings, a large footprint of a future building covering up to 100% of the property and 370 new residential units to the downtown section of Pleasanton. I also am grateful to Nancy Allen of the Planning Commission for helping Mr. Bing and others keep informed on this issue. Many people who were previously surveyed in the community did not want this type of development in our historic downtown area on Main St. and the surrounding areas yet the task force vote was in the opposite direction of what was most impoertant to the community members. I’m writing a letter to the City Council at before the April 16th meeting and one to the Planning Commission to let them know I don’t want this type of development to be encouraged or allowed to ruin the vitality, parking and the commercial/retail spaces that are needed to make our downtown thrive. Hopefully those who originally told the City Leaders and staff two years ago to keep Pleasanton’s historic charm and encourage design guidelines that preserve it’s small town feel without high-rise condos and homes in our downtown core, will attend the City Council meeting on April 16th and let them know in person their dissatisfaction with the direction of the recent task force decision.

2 people like this
Posted by justthefacts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2019 at 7:44 am

Ann & others,

The fact is that the CURRENT height allowed in the commercial part of downtown is 40ft. The CURRENT FAR allowed in downtown is 300%. The task force is NOT proposing to increase either of these numbers.

What's in question is what would be allowed on the property where the civic center currently is located. The task force did vote for a 46 ft height and 300% FAR on the Civic Center site. This is where its fair to discuss the proposed change by the task force.

Unfortunately, parts of Nancy Allen's email that jeb bing used are not factually correct. Her email states that the task force wants to increase building height to 46 ft and increase the FAR to 300% in the EXISTING commercial footprint. Pleasanton voter's email also contains the same factually incorrect information.

It is also disappointing that all the good things contemplated in the draft downtown specific plan are not being addressed. These include items around improved walkability including creating a pedestrian only zone on Division St between Main and Railroad, an active ground floor use requirement on Main St to promote vitality, a right to do business ordinance, and improved bicycle safety.

7 people like this
Posted by SLY
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2019 at 8:31 am

I am disappoined the Task Force has forgotten the citizen surveys taken early in the process and is encouraging housing in the core downtown area. Once they support 4 story units in the Civic Area, the "me-too" developers will push for it in the core area. This was the Task Force's opportunity to get ride of the 50 year old 300 FAR. How long will the banks with their big parking lots remain before they downsize and the "me-too" developers press for housing in their parking lots and behind their smaller footprint? As the survey shows the community wants to maintain its vintage and "old town" feel but residents up to 40" tall dwarfs smaller homes and is out of character with the historical beauty of the downtown. Parking!!!! It is easier to park on Main Street than in the behemouth constructed on Spring Street....Housing on east Peters...the one going up now eats up street parking-becaus the driveways prohibit parking there. The outcome in disappointing!

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Posted by Jeb Bing
editor of the Pleasanton Weekly
on Apr 15, 2019 at 11:35 am

Jeb Bing is a registered user.

CORRECTION: The last Downtown Specific Plan Task Force meeting was on Feb. 26, not Feb. 25 as originally stated in this column.

2 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2019 at 9:52 pm

BobB is a registered user.

Too much local control can lead to the lunacy we're seeing in Danville.

Local NIMBYS are putting out all kinds of nonsense about the "dangerous health effects" of cell towers just to stop anything from being built.

By the way, what's the deal with AT&T not being able to build cell towers in Pleasanton? Thankfully, I no longer required by my employer to use AT&T, but their coverage in Pleasanton stinks.

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