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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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The president and the governor are right about housing crisis

Uploaded: Sep 29, 2016
It’s not often that I agree with either Gov. Brown or President Obama, but they are both right when they point out the need to build more housing closer to jobs and for communities to start welcoming new housing.
Pleasanton, because of its intransigence in defending its housing cap that violated state law, now is in building boom of high density apartments mandated by the court settlement. Given that no major apartment complex has been built in 15 years, it’s overdue, but what would have been much better was if the units were constructed over a period of years to meet demand as it grew.
I moderated a campaign forum at Pleasanton Gardens last week and it was striking to hear mayoral candidate Julie Testa imply she would not approve any housing units beyond the state’s mandated numbers. She spoke against the unique project approved on Stanley Boulevard that included both a different type of single-family product plus a site for a Sunflower Hill residential facility for adults with special needs.
Many years ago, I told an aide to a local assemblyman that the only way for the state to get cities and counties to take residential growth seriously was to ensure there were both carrots and sticks. The best example of a stick was the $10,000 per day fine the state would impose if the volume of garbage was not reduced—cities raised rates and established recycling programs regardless of public comment.
Pleasanton, the Tri-Valley and the entire Bay Area are facing prosperity challenges with job growth outstripping the growth in housing units. That means crowded freeways, particularly here in the valley with the crossroads of Interstate 580/680. As one who lives near I-680, I can remember the downturns when traffic southbound was quite a bit lighter.
Incidentally, now we routinely see the luxury tech buses plying area streets and freeways. That private transportation is carrying about 34,000 commuters a day, according to a report that was covered by the San Francisco Business Times. Those are a perfect example of companies that value employees coming up with solutions to allow them to be productive and not fight freeways for a couple of hours each day.
Projects need to be considered on their merits, as the council members and commissioners did on the Stanley Boulevard parcel.
Local Journalism.
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Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Sep 29, 2016 at 10:34 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.


The point regarding building homes closer to jobs is that there is no more space (at least in Silicon Valley proper) to build more housing. I don't know how long its been since you've been through Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, but there is no more land.

The only thing I can think of doing there is to start filling in the bay, but that will never happen thanks to the greens.

It is inevitable that housing has to be built where there is land, hence the explosion of housing in Dublin, Livermore and San Ramon, and to a far lesser extent in Pleasanton.

Unless and until there are more business parks being built out here, that is, business parks for larger employers, our roads will continue to get congested and our quality of life will be adversely affected.

There needs to be balance.

Posted by SHale, a resident of another community,
on Sep 30, 2016 at 11:43 am

SHale is a registered user.

What housing crisis? None here in San Ramon; specifically Dougherty Valley. Surrounded by new housing developments. Perhaps a dozen of them. Selling like hotcakes the moment they are released. Too bad other cities (very near) that do have land are NIMBYies and resist (at all costs) any new housing development.
As noted, ain't much or any land on the 'other' side of the bay, so the house hunters all come here and then commute. Count me as one, but because of schools not a job change. Would love if my company moved over here. However, until the TriValley cities actually try to get companies to move via incentives (which will tick the NIMBYies off) it ain't going to happen.

Posted by res1, a resident of Vineyard Hills,
on Oct 5, 2016 at 11:13 am

res1 is a registered user.

Great for Julie Testa and saying we should not be going over the RHNA numbers for housing. Somebody in office that respects the community. We had a housing cap that was supported by a wide margin in Pleasanton. The council 'negotiated' to remove it so that we can make our RHNA numbers. Now that we have met the RHNA numbers, the council continues to approve more houses. The housing cap should have been changed to make sure it is in compliance with RHNA and should not have been removed completely. This was an opportunistic grab by the pro-growth council and staff (Planning staff needs more houses so they can protect their jobs).

As for "Stanley Boulevard that included both a different type of single-family product plus a site for a Sunflower Hill residential facility for adults with special needs." Been there, done that. Fooled once, shame on you. Fooled again, shame on me. Ti, you were part of the drive to get the Ponderosa development approves so that we could get a church at that location. Guess what, the church is going away so the developer can make more money developing more houses there. Same thing on Stanley, the project for adults for special needs will never be built. I could be in favor of it if the developer is required to build that before their market housing and has a plan to make sure that project has enough financing for 10+ years.

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