PONDEROSA 25 HOME DEVELOPMENT UPDATE
On a 4:1 vote at the October 6, 2015 City Council meeting, the council majority took a giant step backwards in Pleasanton’s “planned progress” and approved an amendment to the General Plan to rezone land currently owned by Centerpointe Church and zoned for a church, to construct 25 new homes. The Montessori private school will remain and take ownership of two acres.
This marks a worrisome precedent for all Pleasanton residents. Of the 15,000+ acres that span Pleasanton, just 65 acres are zoned for Public Institutional (P&I) zoning. All of our schools, religious centers, recreation and community facilities, cemeteries, libraries, government buildings, and public safety facilities are similarly zoned.
Land in our region is much more valuable now than it was 20 or 30 years ago. Other churches may also see the opportunity to cash in while the market is high. How will we equitably respond to this? How can we allow one church to cash in and bar others from doing the same?
By eliminating even one such parcel, the four members of the City Council have eliminated all future opportunities for such sites on that parcel. Pleasanton is growing, and our population is becoming more diverse. We are slowly eliminating the opportunity for other cultures to possibly secure a site for their own place of worship. Or a site for a second library. Or a school.
Thank you to all residents that wrote dozens of letters to retain the hard fought P&I land zoning. During the council meeting, former Mayor Tom Pico recounted his long battle with Ponderosa homes in the 1990’s to preserve this site for the community or church use. His heartfelt appeal failed to convince the majority of our current city council.
And finally, we offer a “Thank You” to Vice Mayor Karla Brown for her lone vote to retain the original P&I zoning negotiated on behalf of residents in 2002, for voicing her concern about the precedent this may set for other public users wanting to move or in need of cash, and for reminding us public land is rare and valuable and should be protected and used as a part of our quality of life in Pleasanton.