SAVE HISTORIC DOWNTOWN PLEASANTON FROM SUPERSIZING

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Next Downtown Specific Plan Task Force on Tuesday, May 28...

Show Up, Write in, Make Your Voice Heard!

The Downtown Specific Plan Task Force meets again on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 to discuss its recommendations for the future of downtown Pleasanton. You care whether we have multi-story buildings and high-density housing downtown, where parking is already scarce. Please plan to attend the meeting at the City Council Chambers, 200 Old Bernal Avenue, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
 
Here is the agenda link for your review:
http://www.cityofpleasantonca.gov/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?BlobID=33758

Send your comments and concerns to your elected officials at 
CityCouncil@CityofPleasantonCA.gov and the DSPTF at sananthan@CityofPleasantonCA.gov
 
Remember, your input is the only thing that may change a Councilmember’s vote to forever change or preserve downtown Pleasanton. Please stay in touch with your elected officials and give us your feedback.

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September 20, 2019

FUTURE OF DOWNTOWN PLEASANTON GOES TO COUNCIL ON AUGUST 20
​Residents Input on Building Heights and Zoning Contributed to a Solid Plan

3 COUNCIL VOTES CHANGE DOWNTOWN FOREVER

YOU Made a Difference….But We’re Not Finished Yet!

We extend our many thanks to all of the PleasantonVoters.com supporters who sent emails and letters in opposition to the Downtown Specific Plan Task Force (DSPTF) recommendations. We were told that the Council was inundated with emails encouraging them to maintain the small-town charm of our historic downtown. Your letters asked for a BAN on supersizing downtown with four-story buildings plus medium density housing. Most of the Council listened! Your overwhelming input showed the City Council that yes, we ARE passionate about the future of our downtown!

 Please note that the next DSPTF meeting originally scheduled for April 23 has been deferred until a tentative date of Tuesday, May 28. Watch your PleasantonVoters.com emails for a confirmation on the actual date, time, and location. 

We also thank the City Council for prohibiting newly constructed housing to be tucked-in behind shallow business sites on Main Street, which would eliminate our scarce parking spaces.

Councilmembers Karla Brown and Julie Testa made a motion to limit all new construction in the civic center area to two stories and were disappointed that the motion did not gain the third vote needed for passage.

Coming soon will be a decision whether to allow two downtown property owners to use a residential “overlay” to up-zone their land from only commercial uses, to residential and/or commercial uses. This change offers the potential of adding large amounts of housing in key retail/restaurant locations and sets an important precedent for downtown. The two sites requesting preferential treatment are the Shell station on First Street and Barone’s Restaurant on St. John Street.

This KEY change will skirt some of the environmental studies normally completed and paid by landowners for housing developments. The Council will take a second look at the impacts, then vote on this issue at their May 7 meeting. What do you think?

Remember, your input is the only thing that may change a Councilmember’s vote to preserve and improve the vitality of downtown Pleasanton. Please stay in touch with your elected officials.

More to come……..

We All Have A Stake in Pleasanton's Downtown!
Attend the Tuesday, January 23 Meeting
of the Downtown Plan Task Force

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January 21, 2017


Future of Downtown Pleasanton:

What will our downtown look like going forward: housing, parking, retail, city offices, etc.? Come to Pleasanton's Downtown Specific Plan Task Force Meeting on Tuesday, January 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the Operations Service Center, 3333 Busch Road, Pleasanton.  The Task Forces' history and goals will be discussed as they start the planning process for the future look of the downtown core.  Community input is key to a successful plan, so come and participate.  See www.ptowndtown.org for more information

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January 22, 2018


The City is advancing a concept plan that would situate up to 124 housing units plus retail, a hotel, and/or entertainment uses (which may require public funding) on the existing civic center site. The proposal suggests moving the entire civic center office complex, including the library, to the Bernal property.
 

Almost 20 years ago, Pleasanton residents collaborated by petition for the City to purchase the Bernal property. Since its purchase, the City has invested substantial resources toward a phased approach to developing the property, primarily for parkland.
 
The current concept plan would require Pleasanton resident input because:
 

  • New development on the Bernal property must be approved by Pleasanton voters first 

  • The current concept plan has a price tag of approximately $200 million. While the City would recoup a fraction of that sum through the sale of the existing site, the balance could require a bond that would be paid by Pleasanton citizens for years to come.


To see the meeting agenda go to:http://www.cityofpleasantonca.gov/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?BlobID=31566


If you are unable to attend please send your comments to:
Shweta Bonn, Senior Planner, Community Development Department
sbonn@cityofpleasantonca.gov and citycouncil@cityofpleasantonca.gov 


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: 

http://weblink.cityofpleasantonca.gov/WebLink/DocView.aspx?dbid=0&id=283706&page=1&cr=1

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  

KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOING ON PRESERVING
DOWNTOWN PLEASANTON!

News from Pleasanton Voters

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August 18, 2019

ROUND TWO AT THE CITY COUNCIL

Downtown Pleasanton - Council to review plan calling for taller buildings
https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2019/08/18/council-to-review-plan-calling-for-taller-buildings-in-downtown-pleasanton/

KPIX Interview August 18, 2018


Here is the link to Vice Mayor, Karla Brown's interview on KPIX about the Downtown Specific Plan and the August 20 City Council Meeting https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2019/08/18/pleasanton-considers-allowing-taller-buildings-near-main-street/?fbclid=IwAR03-3wV9jJ8UPQ4zBZw_Lt42DhOJScfPQQRsmsK5thXcHlNv1SIe_GQE9o

     Working to:

  • Protect our Urban Growth Boundary
  • Preserve Ridgelines and Open spaces
  • Retain the best qualities of ourcity for future generations.  

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April 21, 2019

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October 24, 2017

The City staff is seeking more input from the community about changes to our Downtown and the property called the Civic Center (Library,  Council Chambers, Planning and Staff Offices).  You can provide input by doing the following:

Survey:

Complete the following short survey and also forward it to your friends and neighbors to complete.   You are invited to rank 3 alternatives proposed for Downtown or make your own suggestions that may be different from the options provided by the survey in a separate comment section under "Contact Us".
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DowntownSpecificPlanOptions


Attend the November 1 Community Workshop:
The Downtown Specific Plan Task Force will be holding a Community Workshop on November 1, at 6:30 p.m. in the large room of the Pleasanton Library, 400 Old Bernal Avenue, and invites your feedback on the future design of the downtown and the Civic Center site.  This will be your opportunity to speak or hear the comments from other community members.  
In addition you may send your thoughts to Shweta Bonn, Senior Planner, 
sbonn@cityofpleasantonca.gov


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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:


  • We support a 2-story height limit for ALL new residential buildings in the entire Downtown Specific Area.  We do not like loopholes that can come with a customized Planned Unit Development (PUD).  We want a firm two story residential maximum-period.


  • We prefer a 2-story limit on downtown commercial and mixed-use (residential with commercial) buildings, but we would support a 3-story height maximum on a very limited case-by-case basis.  One example of a quality 3-story building is the Rose Hotel. In addition, if the voters approve the $200 million price tag with Bernal Park modifications, for a new Civic Center in the Bernal Park, then any new construction on the current Civic Center site should also be limited to 2 stories with 3 stories on a very limited case-by-case basis.


  • We agree with the PDA, the Chamber of Commerce and most of our residents about the need for increased downtown parking.  Any new parking should be for our downtown businesses and clientele. New parking should not be used to expand residential housing downtown!  Any new housing units must require on-site parking for residents and their guests.


 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

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Downtown Specific Plan Update Task Force Meeting
Tuesday, January 23, 2018  -  6:30 to 9:00 p.m.
City Council Chambers,  200 Old Bernal Avenue

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​EAST BAY TIMES REPORT, Local News, August 19, 2019 by Angela Ruggiero

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May 26, 2019.

Sample of 3 new houses currently under construction in the downtown area:

  • 377 Peters Avenue, Pleasanton
  • 110% Floor to Area Ratio
  • 34ft. 8 inches high.

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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.
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·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.

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May 5, 2019.

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March 30, 2017


Subject:  Can We Improve Downtown Pleasanton?

Consider taking a short survey to give City leaders your thoughts on updating Pleasanton's downtown specific plan which is intended to guide the preservation and development of land within downtown Pleasanton.


Our historic and well-loved downtown is treasured by our residents.   In an effort to reinvigorate the downtown, City Leaders want to hear from you.  Please take a moment to provide feedback to your City Council by suggesting ideas to improve our downtown and preserve the best qualities of the hub of our City.

Here is a link to the survey and additional information about the planned area:  https://ptowndtown.org/     The survey should take about 10 minutes.

Respond soon, because the survey will end Tuesday, April 4th at midnight.


 For more information about the City's Downtown Specific Task Force, consider attending their next public meeting on April 25, 6:30 pm, City Council Chambers, 200 Old Bernal Avenue, Pleasanton

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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
More restaurants
Add a theater
More places open later
To slow down traffic on Main Street
No new banks, we have too many
.....and more!

 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!

Share your thoughts on the proposed Pleasanton Downtown Specific Plan by writing an email, a letter to the newspaper or speak at a City Council meeting or a Task Force meeting. Here are the details:

City Council email:
CityCouncil@CityofPleasantonCA.gov
OR Attend the City Council meeting on April 16 at 7PM located at 200 Old Bernal Ave.

DSP Task Force and Planning Commission email:  
Sananthan@CityofPleasantonCA.gov
OR Attend the Downtown Specific Meeting on April 23 at 6:30PM 
located at 200 Old Bernal Ave.

Newspaper Letter to the Editor: 
Editor@PleasantonWeekly.com