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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Two quality initiatives moving forward

Uploaded: Nov 7, 2013
In a three-hour meeting Tuesday, a unanimous Pleasanton City Council moved ahead two important plans for the city.

It continued a 10-year odyssey when it unanimously approved a task force plan to redevelop both the Kottinger Place and Pleasanton Gardens senior housing projects for
very low income folks. The new project will be unified under a single management unit.

Pleasanton Gardens was developed by a non-profit organization formed by four churches in the mid-1960s, while the city's housing authority developed Kottinger Place. Both have long waiting lists of eligible seniors.

The plans call for 185 units (more than doubling the current 90 units) and improving the housing with units that all are one-bedroom (studios currently are predominate in both projects). The new units will be energy efficient with air conditioning as well as accessible for people with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (signed by President Bush One) wasn't even on the radar screen in the 1960s when the age limit for admission was set at 62.

The project will now move through the city's standard development process, the wrinkle being that the city has the same development interest that the true developer, MidPen housing, has. It's fortunate that the decade-long process eventually yielded a project with no opposition at the City Council.

More importantly for the city as a whole, the council approved Pleasanton's first purple pipe water recycling project. For years, the city leaders had refused to tackle water recycling despite the examples set by the Dublin San Ramon Services District that treats sewage for Dublin, San Ramon and Pleasanton as well as neighboring Livermore. Both have been routinely recycling water for years to use in irrigation. Drive around Livermore north of I-580 and the purple pipes are routine as they also are in east Dublin and the Dougherty Valley portion of San Ramon.

The Dublin services district will provide, under its recycling permit, reclaimed water to irrigate the Val Vista park that is very near its treatment plant. Livermore already is providing recycling water, again under its permit, to irrigate the Staples Ranch area on the east side as well as landscaping along roadways and, soon, the Stoneridge senior living complex.

The impetus for Pleasanton to get off the bench and get into the game came from the 2009 package of water bills that, among other items, required that cities reduce per capita water use by 20 percent by 2020. Daniel Smith's staff report outlined how much more water Pleasanton residents use, per capita, than the neighboring cities?a key factor being irrigating landscaping with potable water. Once the first phase of the plan that includes much of Hacienda Business Park is completed, Smith estimates the city will have achieved more than half of that goal.

Recycled water has become a point of emphasis for the state. In signing legislation last month, Gov. Brown wrote that recycled water must become a significant portion of regional water supply. It already is in Orange County where recycling plants have supplemented ground water for a number of years.

It is great to see that Pleasanton finally has joined the party. Incidentally, Zone 7, the wholesale water agency for the Tri-Valley, built a reverse osmosis treatment plant for ground water to remove salts that could accumulate from recycled water that is treated to the tertiary level (suitable for irrigation). So, the systems are in place.

Two additional notes: The 102-acre Pleasanton Sports Park, according to Smith, likely be be converted to recycled water for irrigation in 2016, although he indicated that date could move up.

Secondly, I have served on the board of Pleasanton Gardens as one of two Centerpointe Church reps (other founding churches were St. Augustine's and Lynnewood Methodist as well as the now defunct First Baptist). I am the current president and spoke in favor of the staff recommendation Tuesday evening.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Nov 7, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.


I don't know why more residents don't capture rainwater to use for irrigation, laundry, toilets, and other uses that do not require potable water. I have 7000 gallons of water storage on my property now, which I use primarily for laundry and a drought tolerant front lawn. Grass is a water-eating monster.

I support new building codes that would incorporate rainwater capture and storage in all new developments and provide incentives for retrofitting older homes.

Rainwater capture isn't something new. It's been around since the Roman Empire. Americans are supposed to be forward thinking but saving rainwater, which drops from the sky to wherever we can contain it, is easy and practical.

A year ago I wrote a blog on Tom Spargo's Rain Saucers, which are designed to funnel rainwater into barrels placed anywhere it is convenient to put or use one. Here's a link to that blog Web Link

By the way, Spargo is a resident of San Ramon and started up his business here. I always like to support local startups, especially when they are innovative and environmentally beneficial.


Posted by Tom Spargp, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 10, 2013 at 9:10 am

I agree with Roz's comments. I will add that my reason for starting RainSaucers was to make rainwater collection clean, simple, and flexible so that more people would do it. I was also partly inspired by the Tri-Valley's lack of natural water resources and thought a simpler solution was needed.

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