EMAIL FROM PLEASANTONVOTERS.COM
SEPTEMBER 20, 2019
3 COUNCIL VOTES CHANGE DOWNTOWN FOREVER
Council Majority of Thorne, Narum and Pentin Vote YES for 3-story maximum with zoning for additional housing downtown. Brown votes NO. Testa recused.
The majority of the Pleasanton City Council voted to add zoning for new housing and increase building heights in many parts of the Downtown Specific Plan (DSP) during the August 20 meeting. This was despite thousands of survey results, hundreds of emails and appearances at meetings over the past several years by residents asking for strict limits on` new housing, 2-story building limits, and a ban on all 3-story buildings like those on Peters and Spring Streets. Both residents and businesses agreed, we need more parking downtown.
Ultimately, the Council majority direction was not aligned with the residents’ feedback.
Here are a few examples of the concerns we have:
By a 3:1 vote, Plans to relocate City government offices, the Library and more to the Bernal Park, took a giant leap forward by the Council majority. Also included in the plan is a rezoning on this site to “Mixed-Use Downtown” (commercial under 2-story residential). The building heights will be raised to a 46 feet limit with a 3-story maximum, with an option for 124 housing units. It is likely the city will attempt to gain maximum profit from the sale of the current Civic Center property land, to fund part of the down payment on an a lavish $200 million-plus government complex. While this entire project above is subject to voter approval, we feel this is a boondoggle for developers and a huge expense to the Pleasanton residents.
By a 3:1 vote, the Barone’s Restaurant owners received approval for BOTH commercial and residential zoning. Condos or apartments on this site will be a disappointment for most residents looking for increased vibrancy downtown.
By a 3:1 vote, the Shell gas station on First Street and Vineyard received approval for residential with commercial zoning. The Council majority approved the potential for 3-story houses (2-story living space over 1-story garage) up to 30 feet in height. The developer is currently requesting 10 units that are 3-stories tall on a 0.6-acre site.
All 4 Council members agreed, we need more parking downtown. The Downtown Association and Chamber were tasked to find options.
EMAIL FROM PLEASANTONVOTERS.COM
AUGUST 18, 2019
FUTURE OF DOWNTOWN PLEASANTON GOES TO COUNCIL ON AUGUST 20 - Residents Input on Building Heights and Zoning Contributed to a Solid Plan
The Pleasanton City Council will consider the final Downtown Specific Plan (DSP) Update at its Tuesday, August 20 meeting. The meeting gets underway at 7:00 p.m. at the City Council chambers located at 200 Old Bernal Avenue.
We appreciate the large numbers of PleasantonVoters.com supporters and others that have weighed-in during the DSP process. Through letters, emails and appearances at meetings since the taskforce began in January 2017, you have made a significant difference.
The Planning Commission met in June 2019 to consider the task force recommendations, review your input and make their recommendations to the City Council. We think the Commission did a good job and provided a balanced plan that will both preserve the charm of downtown Pleasanton and sustain its economic viability going forward.
We like most of the plan, but we would like to tighten up the specification on 3 items as follows:
Here is the link to Item #22 of the City Staff report for more details and background: http://www.cityofpleasantonca.gov/gov/depts/clerk/meetings/current_council_agenda_.asp
Send your comments about the report to the Pleasanton City Council no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, August 19, 2019. The Council email address is: CityCouncil@CityOfPleasantonCA.gov
EMAIL FROM PLEASANTONVOTERS.COM
MAY 5, 2019
At the next City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 at 7pm at 200 Old Bernal Avenue, expect a continued discussion on key policies for the Downtown Specific Plan (DSP).
Pleasanton residents support the preservation of our historic and friendly small town. You said that you want to keep the scale of 2-story buildings on Main Street. You don’t want 3-story townhouses in or beside our Downtown Commercially-zoned areas like the newly constructed residential units in the downtown commercial core. We agree and we will never support city approval of residential units where active retail and restaurants should be!
If the Council is left unchecked, without the benefit of your input, their decisions could lead to the dramatic supersizing of downtown. This is not the time to be silent.
On Agenda item #14 (weblink below), the Council will continue to discuss:
1) Active Ground Floor Overlay: Businesses on Main Street and into the current Civic Center site would be encouraged to have active first floor uses such as retail and restaurants. This is a positive strategy that should help increase Main Street vibrancy. We encourage the Council to ensure there is a rigorous process for any exceptions to the new rules.
2) Height and Density standards are expected to be discussed again. At the April 16 meeting, any new commercial buildings in the current civic center site could be constructed up to a staggering 46-feet with a 3-story limit! This is pending voter approval to fund a new $200 million civic center and move it to the Bernal Park property, which was secured as city parkland by 82% of Pleasanton voters in 2006.
3) Two downtown properties request a preferential residential “overlay” zoning added to their property. This special treatment not available to other downtown property owners would ease the transition to building new residential units, plus it would cut developer costs. It could also set a dangerous precedent! Popular Barone’s restaurant with its huge parking lot, and the Shell gas station on First Street want to be first in line to gain a residential “overlay” zone. According to the city report (link below) staff estimates this could add 28 new houses on the Barone’s site PLUS another 10 houses at the gas station. We want a vibrant downtown, with more commercial retail and restaurants, not housing!
For more information, here is the May 7, 2019 Council Agenda item #14:
Pleasanton’s vibrant and unique downtown is a key feature of our community, and its value is priceless. Can you make the time to write a brief message to your City Council or forward this email to a friend? The Council email address is: CityCouncil@CityOfPleasantonCA.gov
EMAIL FROM PLEASANTONVOTERS.COM
APRIL 11, 2019
Task Force Votes to 'Supersize' Downtown Pleasanton
Task Force recommends 4-story buildings and hundreds of new housing units in the core of our historic downtown. We at www.PleasantonVoters.com say NO.
Major growth changes are being proposed for Pleasanton’s historic downtown. For 125 years Main Street has been a source of pride as it draws tourism, hosts holiday parades and offers shopping and dining options, which are important tax resources. We love our restored Veterans Hall, great restaurants, Concerts in the Park and the Museum on Main.
Two years ago, a task force was formed with the goal of improving the “vitality of the downtown while preserving the traditions of its small-town character and scale.” Sadly, the task force results are instead recommending over-sized buildings, major housing developments and increased building density.
Pleasanton Voters believes the changes downtown are massive and will negatively affect the scale and desirability of our community.
The task force suggests three major changes to allow greater height and density for any new construction. The next step is a review by the Planning Commission and City Council. We need your emails, letters and speakers to block these changes as follows:
Raising the building heights downtown up to 46 ft. high (4 stories). The limit is 3 stories now, which seems out of scale. For example, three houses on Peters Ave. behind the Salt Craft restaurant are 3-stories and about 35 feet in height. Today no 4-story buildings are allowed in the downtown. Where will everyone park? We vote NO to all 4-story buildings downtown.
Increasing the density of the buildings on each lot to 300% Floor to Area Ratio (FAR). This is equal a to 3-story building occupying 100% of the ground space. There will be no room for a tree, a patio or outside dining. A 300% FAR does not exist now and will create too much building density in the downtown area. We value sidewalk café dining, trees, coffee plazas and space around our buildings. We vote NO.
The new plan will add 370 new housing units (1000 new people) in our downtown. More people living in the downtown core will increase demand for parking and will not improve our town. Instead we prefer more restaurants, a theater and more retail shopping. We vote NO to hundreds of new stacked-housing units in the downtown core area.
Two years ago the City sponsored a survey of Pleasanton residents. You said you want:
To maintain the small town charm of the district
No high-rise residential, limit heights to two stories
No more housing, apartments or condos in the downtown core
Add a theater
More places open later
To slow down traffic on Main Street
No new banks, we have too many
We agree! Pleasanton doesn't need a super-sized downtown. Danville is an example of a local, successful and vibrant downtown. Danville's zoning laws block ALL residential housing in their "historic core" downtown area because its core focus is to attract successful restaurants and retail businesses.
As a result, Danville's landowners know they can't sell-out to high-density housing to increase land profits. The management of the Town of Danville carefully controls the scale of their downtown, limiting commercial buildings to 35 feet in height and 80% FAR, a dramatic difference from Pleasanton's proposed supersized 46 feet and 300% FAR!