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City preparing to restart East Pleasanton Specific Plan process

Original post made on Nov 18, 2019

Council members will hold initial deliberations on Tuesday about their preferred project scope when work restarts next year on the East Pleasanton Specific Plan, which would lay the groundwork for future development of the east side.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, November 15, 2019, 2:40 PM

Comments (41)

22 people like this
Posted by Matt Sullivan
a resident of Stoneridge
on Nov 18, 2019 at 1:24 pm

Matt Sullivan is a registered user.

Email sent to City Council:

As someone who has participated in the civic planning processes in Pleasanton for almost 25 years, including as a Planning Commissioner, City Councilmember, and as a member of several planning committees, I strenuously object to the proposed process for the revived East Pleasanton Specific Plan. My objections, outlined below, are premised on the concept that community planning should be a public process and managed by city government on behalf of the larger community, and not for corporate interests.

1. The concept that a private developer, Ponderosa Homes, who has a speculative financial interest in the development of the east side, is proposed to “lead” and “fund” the specific planning process leaves me a loss for words. Putting a developer in charge of planning an area they want to develop is like putting a fox in charge of the henhouse. This is nothing short of our elected representative and the staff that works for them abdicating their responsibility for community planning to a private corporation intent only on profit, not doing what is in the best interest of the community at large. If the Council agrees to this strategy, why not skip the charade of a “public” process and just let Ponderosa do whatever it wants. It will be a done deal. Of course, isn’t that that intent?

2. Based on the level of controversy surrounding the area, the revised planning process should not be conducted under the auspices of the Planning Commission. A new citizens task force should be established to take a fresh look at this area and consideration should be given to community needs, the effects of continued growth on greenhouse gas emissions and other infrastructure such as water and traffic circulation, how this integrates into our aging and at this point inadequate General Plan, and the upcoming RHNA allocations coming in 2021. While Planning Commission meetings are open to the public, the quality of public input afforded by a 3-minute comment does not provide the contribution of what should be a public-driven process. As we all know, community input at Planning Commission and City Council meetings can be easily ignored. The importance of planning this area requires a comprehensive approach so public desires and concerns can be built into the plan.

To summarize, this proposal reeks of an end-around of the process, turning the keys to the city over to a developer with approval in the hands of pro-development officials, and freezing out the public. It would seem that this is the goal. While back-room deals are commonplace in city government, they are usually “back room”. What’s amazing about this proposal is how transparently undemocratic it is.


18 people like this
Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Nov 18, 2019 at 2:01 pm

James Michael is a registered user.

Mr. Sullivan "strenuously objects...". What a surprise, this is big news for the Pleasanton community.


12 people like this
Posted by Activate the Attorneys
a resident of Birdland
on Nov 18, 2019 at 3:39 pm

Mr Sullivan -

Getting your plans together for your next lawsuit?

Sounds like you are building a foundation to sue - making many assumptions without actually giving the proposed process a chance.

It's a shame all your "crying wolf" moments have caused you to lose all credibility with the citizens of the city. It's clear you are an intelligent man who truly cares about this town.

It there anything you can do in a positive way to influence the outcome? More than complaining about corrupt city employees and government?

With all the negative going on these days, it really would be nice to seem someone with some passion to work in a positive fashion, providing some leadership to the citizens of this city, to gain a good result from the development planning process.

Why don't you give it a try?


13 people like this
Posted by TA
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 18, 2019 at 6:12 pm

TA is a registered user.

I agree with Mr. Sullivan. Why are developers paying for the planning process? How can city officials maintain objectivity and do what's best for the community when the developer is footing the bill?


10 people like this
Posted by just an opinion
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 18, 2019 at 6:43 pm

Mr. Sullivan brings up fair points about insuring this is a community driven process. This is too important a project to not have strong resident input. Although I dod not always agree with Mr. Sullivan, he makes some fair points for consideration I think.
There are, however, different ways to manange this process and they all have pros and cons. Have seen excellent community driven task force efforts and agree this makes sense if done right. As to developers footing bills, developers almost ALWAYS have to foot bill in our city and other cities. But the city has 100% discretion to hire the best people with no agenda. I think this should continue.


8 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Nov 18, 2019 at 8:53 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

I think Matt is a complete jerk, but I tend to agree with him on this issue.

How can the city talk about building the east side (more homes, more stress on infrastructure, more tax revenue) when we haven’t seen any investment in current to support the existing growth. Can’t tell me the money hasn’t materialized with housing adds and turnover.

It’s a giant Ponzi scheme. Time to stop the madness. Show us some existing infrastructure investment and then maybe we can talk East side


10 people like this
Posted by TA
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 18, 2019 at 8:55 pm

TA is a registered user.

Hey just an opinion (or anyone, for that matter). If the developers have to foot the bills for these projects, what exactly are we paying city staff/planners to do? I don't to be/sound flip, I would really like to know! Isn't it their job? And if the city deems this an important enough project, can't the city allocate the resources necessary to do it well?


12 people like this
Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Nov 18, 2019 at 9:30 pm

Grumpy is a registered user.

Just please no Dublin style development of 3000 sq ft houses on 3000 sq ft lots with two car garages for four car families. This isn’t infill, so it can be planned with preserving some of the character of suburban life,

I don’t like letting the developer have much of a say, since they’d rather pack them in like sardines and make more money. It’s the city’s job to preserve the scale and density of the community and not look for personal rewards from the developers for delivering the higher densities. Developers are foxes.


10 people like this
Posted by Just asking
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2019 at 5:16 am

Remember Matt voted to reduce Owen's
Sorry but anyone who thought that was a good idea is a couple cards shy or made money off that deal. I question anyone who was for that. What they were and are thinking. Gotta be one of the dumbest decisions made. That says alot
Sorry Matt not interested in your opinion anymore. Here's a box of crayons why dont you sit in the corner of Owen's drive and if we need any ideas we will come get you. One lane in front of bart really.


6 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Nov 19, 2019 at 7:19 am

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

Just asking,
I agree that Owens and Costco, Matt was completely wrong about. I don't necessarily think that makes him wrong on this though. My $0.02.

Maybe a better question - what is Matt's or Matt's hidden supporters benefit by not developing the east side?


13 people like this
Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Nov 19, 2019 at 9:04 am

James Michael is a registered user.

So basically Mr. Sullivan believes that the Planning Commission and the City Council can't be trusted and that "A new citizen task force should be established...." (of which I'm sure he would want to head).

"What's amazing about this proposal is how transparently undemocratic is is." So to make it truly democratic we would probably need a new measure proposed and brought forward to the people to vote on. But wait, we did that with JDEDZ and Costco and YOU didn't like the outcome of a democratic vote so you and your backers threatened to file suit. You're the last person that should be talking about what is or is not democratic.


6 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 19, 2019 at 9:55 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

The problem with citizen task forces is they always include staff who drive the discussion and the outcomes.


2 people like this
Posted by Just an opinion
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Nov 19, 2019 at 10:10 am

Just an opinion is a registered user.

Kathleen, you say the problem with citizen tadk forces is that staff drives the discussion and outcome. I agree this can happen if the task force does not challenge the process. But, How will that differ if planning commission used instead of a tadk force? Most important, how do we insure the process is community driven and not hijacked by developers?


3 people like this
Posted by Steven 3
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Nov 19, 2019 at 10:10 am

Steven 3 is a registered user.

Kathleen, you say the problem with citizen tadk forces is that staff drives the discussion and outcome. I agree this can happen if the task force does not challenge the process. But, How will that differ if planning commission used instead of a task force? Most important, how do we insure the process is community driven and not hijacked by developers?


4 people like this
Posted by justwondering
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2019 at 11:23 am

I find it ironic Matt Sullivan would coomplain about transperancy when he has yet to answer the question who funded the Costco lawsuit against the City.

Don't Planning Commissioners understand planning and what all that encompasses so that the staff is going to be less able to drive the discussion and the outcomes? Would seem to make sense to me to have them lead the discussion providing ample time/opportunities for citizens to voice their thoughts/desires, etc.


3 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 19, 2019 at 12:35 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

I believe commissioners are people appointed by the mayor; not sure they have to have planning experience. I suppose if there are several opportunities for the community to come and speak (not just at regular planning meetings), it could work. Otherwise, to respond to Steve/Just an Opinion, I think staff cannot sit on any task force; they can’t have a vote (I don’t know that they have had a vote). They should only present facts in response to questions from the task force. Developers should only present their plans, but not have a seat or vote. Ultimately, I’m not necessarily opposed to developing this area of town; we are going to grow—the state will force it if nothing else. My concern will be much more about students generated and having a school there.


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Posted by justwondering
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2019 at 1:55 pm

Kathleen, the Mayor interviews commission applicants and makes a recommendation for appointment which is ratified by the City Council. My observation is that Planning Commissioners have either sat on another Commission or been involved in the community.

I am not aware of any time where a staff member has sat on a task force or had a vote. They clearly have preferences which is why I think its good to have Planning Commissioners involved because they will stand up to staff where appropriate. Afterall, we expect they do that with the various applications they hear at their meetings.


19 people like this
Posted by John
a resident of Valley Trails
on Nov 19, 2019 at 1:56 pm

On this issue Matt Sullivan is completely right. It is too large of a project and has too great of an impact on our city to not have citizen input. I also agree that a new Task Force should be appointed. However, this time, lets not include a certain Planning Commissioner that happens to live extremely close to the EPSP boundary, which is why no high density housing was included in the last round.

The Council simply kicked the can down the road at the last go-around. It was easy to do at the time because we were in the middle of a drought. The EPSP plan had a fatal flaw, in that the water supply slated for this area was created from credits from the recycled pipes project. Unfortunately this is in direct conflict with the city's General Plan, where you cannot "create" water from credits, it has to be an actual and tangible supply.

We need a new task force and we don't need Ponderosa or any other developer presenting a ready-made plan to us. Keep in mind this project is larger than Ruby Hills It will have huge impacts on this city.

I will be contacting the Mayor to volunteer for the Taskforce if assembled.


1 person likes this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Nov 19, 2019 at 9:24 pm

It will be a large development; however, it pales in comparison to the developments along I-5 in Tracy, Lathrop and Manteca.

Ideally, a development would have within walking distance, worship, neighborhood restaurants, similar to Chicago's Umpire, Porky's.

Development should have culture, with parks like Muirwood Drive Park, where hundreds of children along with their parents gather for succor.


4 people like this
Posted by Bill Brasky
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 20, 2019 at 3:56 pm

Bill Brasky is a registered user.

With almost a blank canvass in this area I hope the council and task force give Pleasantonians something to be proud of; with thoughtful planning, transparency, open dialougue with residents and a vision it can be done.

Hopefully, council is up to the task and has a list of demands for the residents from day one. If they are ill prepared they will not be pushed around be develpers who are licking their chops to get this started...



8 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 20, 2019 at 5:50 pm

No way do we put Ponderosa Homes in charge of anything, we will end up with multi-million dollar homes on zero lot lines, 3 stories tall with no on street parking and a minimum of 3 vehicles per residence. Big need for affordable SINGLE family homes with parks and a new elementary and high school!! I’m betting there are builders/developers that will give us what we want versus the ones that are running this city and planning department now. This is the last chance for ptown to get something right before heading up to the hillsides with the bulldozers.
On the flip side if we let MS and his team of lawyers have their way we will end up with a Shell Oil refinery on that property. IMO !


6 people like this
Posted by Miss Vic
a resident of Mission Park
on Nov 21, 2019 at 11:39 am

Hey Matt Sullivan - let's not get carried away like you usually do....
and please stop spreading information meant to incite fear and irrational concerns. No one believes you anymore anyway.

From Tuesday's council meeting...

City officials also attempted to address public criticisms made over the past several days by email and on social media that Ponderosa would be controlling the public process or that the city would be working for the developer in the process.

"I want to assure the council and everyone that that is not the case. This specific plan will be prepared in collaboration with staff, the Planning Commission, the community, with regular check-ins with City Council," assistant city manager Brian Dolan said. "But this idea that it's applicant-driven is just not correct."


6 people like this
Posted by Pete
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 21, 2019 at 3:51 pm

That is quite an assumption...the last post. Considering applicant came forward a week before Thanksgiving and direction for Staff, from Council, is being dealt the first week of December is a well played hand by the developer. Anyway, no criticism, just an assumption...Developer, please drag the pot.


2 people like this
Posted by Bill Brasky
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 22, 2019 at 7:47 am

Bill Brasky is a registered user.

Is there any newly developed neighborhood or area in Pleasanton or in the Tri-valley that council should try to mimic?


2 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Nov 22, 2019 at 8:55 am

David is a registered user.

I’m so sick and tired of Matt Sullivan making trouble by his accusations, lawsuits, and dividing this community. And he has cost us all a lot of taxpayer money in needless consultant reports and staff work. It is his no growth stance that put Pleasanton in the position of now having to construct higher density per State mandates in order to provide mandatory housing supply. The big task force approach has shown does not work. Planning Commission hearings IS the public community input process as well as City Council hearings. That is more transparent than task force meetings not well attended by the public. Time to build consensus Mr Sullivan and quit tearing things apart.


1 person likes this
Posted by David
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Nov 22, 2019 at 10:03 am

David is a registered user.

Ironwood next to the East Pleasanton area is my vote to pattern in terms of housing. It has senior apartments, 55+ housing, different kinds of home sizes from 1,400 to 4,200 sf and including single family attached houses called duets as well as a Montessori school within the neighborhood. It’s a good balance throughout the neighborhood and the high density senior apts blend well.
Btw, this neighborhood of approx 500 homes was ultimately approved by a joint Planning Commission and City Council process after a 2-3 year task force debaucle


1 person likes this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 22, 2019 at 10:32 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

David, the city had a housing cap of 26,000 units (I think that is the right number, but there was a cap regardless) for many years, so you cannot blame Matt Sullivan. It took all the council members to decide to fight the state, and we lost. You can be upset with Matt for other things if you wish, but not that one.

I wouldn’t pick any neighborhood in Pleasanton as a model for the East Side. I’ve spent time in Spain recently and loved the small neighborhoods with many public squares and tree lined parks. Soothing, comfortable places to gather and rest and commune with a bit of nature. And that was just in Barcelona, a very large city. We could learn a lot from very old developments that have stood the test of time.


5 people like this
Posted by Steven
a resident of Mission Park
on Nov 22, 2019 at 5:30 pm

Ms Vic, it is time to stop your hatred on the these posts. I have stopped reading the Pleasanton Weekly online for months now because of your vitriol and hate. Yes, it is very obvious that you are posting on many devices. Who do you think you are kidding?

I was on the street corner a few years ago when Mr. Sullivan called the Pleasanton Police on you because you refused to allow his First Amendment Right to Free Speech. I came to shop at the Farmer's Market, and was distracting by your shill voice. You were yelling at him and others in an effort to block his right to have a political discussion. Now you are doing it again.

In Pleasanton we live and show our best for the Community of Character. Please step up or be quiet. I would ask that you also stop posting on Next Door too. I am a neighbor a few streets away, and I am embarrassed by your actions.


3 people like this
Posted by MsVic
a resident of Mission Park
on Nov 22, 2019 at 7:12 pm

MsVic is a registered user.

@Steven - I don’t know who you think I am. I don’t post on next door, except to look for recommendations or calling out really bad drivers., ha maybe that’s you. Also I have never had the police called on me by Matt or anyone else. I have, however, called the police when harassed by paid signature gatherers. I don’t hate anyone, I dislike people that cost US, the taxpayers, ridiculous amounts of money for nothing. Sorry you don’t like me but I like Rhett Butler, I really don’t give a damn. And nope I have the right of first amendment and will not stop posting for you or anyone else. Hope you have a nice life.


2 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 22, 2019 at 7:45 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Ms Vic thinks no one knows who she is.


Like this comment
Posted by MsVic
a resident of Mission Park
on Nov 22, 2019 at 7:55 pm

MsVic is a registered user.

Kathleen I don’t care if people know who I am. I don’t hide behind multiple screen names. Seems that Steven thinks I post under many different names - which I don’t. I call em like I see em just like everyone posting here.

Getting to the point of the east side plan. It needs to be well thought out, do we need a cast of many to come up with a plan? I personally don’t think so as long as the residents have a voice and our voice heard. But that is simply my opinion.


1 person likes this
Posted by Sexist Much?
a resident of Mission Park
on Nov 22, 2019 at 8:10 pm

So Ms Vic quotes the city council meeting and you immediately describe her as a hysterical woman with a shrill voice. Sexist much?

Also you’ve obviously never met her. She has a low voice that nobody would ever describe as shrill.

Also anyone who knows her also knows she isn’t trying to hide her opinions or her identify, doesn’t even use a fake name as her screen name, and definitely doesn’t need multiple accounts.

I have known her personally for 10+ years. She is the sweetest and most caring person, but she (like everyone here) also has opinions about what is going on in Pleasanton. She is entitled to give her opinions here too.


9 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Nov 22, 2019 at 8:46 pm

David is a registered user.

Lets not make this about who Miss Vic is. It’s about EPSP. Kathleen, nice thought about Barcelona but let’s get real. This is suburban America and the European housing/life style albeit charming and superior in many ways simply is not what people want here. And MS voted no on housing even when the housing cap was not in danger of being exceeded. You are kidding yourself to claim that’s why he did not support new homes. He is the ultimate NIMBY and a reason we now have to build more homes to meet our mandate. The lawsuit against the State was stupid and a total waste of taxpayer money, plus it put a big target on our back.


4 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Nov 22, 2019 at 9:23 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Multiple no growth communities were targeted. Again, MS wasn’t the only council member to vote to fight the stare. Not even the only community I think. Yes, a European model is a pipe dream. Unfortunate. Ms Vic entitled to her opinion.


1 person likes this
Posted by Matt Sullivan
a resident of Stoneridge
on Dec 3, 2019 at 11:14 am

Matt Sullivan is a registered user.

This is on the agenda tonight for a final decision on the EPSP process. Not publicized by the PW. Here's my email to the Council:

Dear Mayor and City Council,

As you may have noticed, things are a mess. We are feeling the effects of Climate Change more every day, and it’s only going to get worse. Thirty years of unhindered growth in the Tri Valley has stretched our infrastructure to the limit – roadway capacity, freeways, public transportation, and schools are being overwhelmed with no real solutions in sight. We’ve always had difficulty securing adequate potable water supplies, especially in time of drought, but now chemical contamination is making a significant part of our supply undrinkable and putting the public health at risk. And what will happen when the new RHNA numbers come out next year? The magical solutions offered up by staff to date won’t solve our problems.

In a sane society we would stop, take a step back, and work together to plan a truly sustainable community (and world) to leave our decedents. Instead, the city has decided to take a housing developer, Ponderosa Homes, by the hand and deliver them to the Promised Land: the chance to be an equal partner with the city, build whatever they want on the East Side, and eliminate the pesky and messy public (i.e. democracy) from the process.

The people who elected you to be their representatives in government are your true constituents, not housing developers. After you take this irresponsible step as you most certainly will, you should honor the voters who put you in office by placing Ponderosa’s plan on the ballot for voter approval. Only in this way can you salvage any legitimacy as a public representative.

Thank you.



9 people like this
Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Dec 3, 2019 at 5:31 pm

James Michael is a registered user.

That's a big bunch of hyperbole, Mr. Dullivan (and that's no typo)


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Posted by Matt Sullivan
a resident of Stoneridge
on Dec 3, 2019 at 7:08 pm

Matt Sullivan is a registered user.

James

If you think this is hyperbole you’re not paying attention. Or maybe its too difficult to do so. Maybe I’m dull my head is not buried in the sand.


9 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Dec 3, 2019 at 7:58 pm

Matt:
You are B-- S------ again!
There are approximately 1100 acres in this development.
Approximately 500 acres are privately owned.
Approximately 600 hundred acres are owned by zone 7 as of recent check.
November 15, 2019, Ponderosa development inked an agreement with the city of Pleasanton to fund planning process, with services retained by and managed by the city of Pleasanton.


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Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Dec 4, 2019 at 8:37 am

James Michael is a registered user.

Looks like the City Council kicked the can to Jan. 21. So on the same night they will take up the East Pleasanton and the JDEDZ issues. That should be a fun night.


Like this comment
Posted by Bill Brasky
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Dec 5, 2019 at 2:58 pm

Bill Brasky is a registered user.

David,

I'll have to check out Ironwood, I've never had a reason to drive through there. I like the two parks near me, Mission hills and Tawny. Enough open space to have one maybe 2 kids practices, play structures that are not massive, shade and walking path.


Like this comment
Posted by Karl Aitken
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 5, 2019 at 3:36 pm

The area is eventually going to be developed. It's unrealistic to think it won't be.

I say maximize the space for parks, hiking paths and other community spaces and limit the number of homes.

Let the developers add all the cost onto the prices of the new homes. The present demographic of people moving to Pleasanton is high income - nobody else can afford the move here.

The the new rich people "pay" for the privilege of being allowed to move here. LKet those rich Silicon Valley people pay us for moving here.

Let get as much "community space" as we possibly to allow anything to be built on that land. Let it be developed and make sure we get lot's of good stuff for the current city residents.


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