The city of Pleasanton had launched work on a specific plan for the 1,100 acres bounded by Stanley Boulevard and Valley Avenue back in 2012. Work was halted because of the drought in 2014 and, despite being a priority for the city staff on the council-approved work plan that ended in July, it has never resumed. Ponderosa Homes, which has the Kiewit parcel at Valley and Busch under option, had agreed to pay for a planner to work full-time on the project, but that letter of agreement sat in the city from February 2020 on and was never signed. When the current council, with its slow-growth bent, took office, it delayed any resumption of the planning process until the new housing element is approved—nearly a two-year process.
At that point, Ponderosa and Liongate Investment Group walked away from their agreement, freeing up the industrially zoned land sale to Amazon for $75 million.
The conceptual plan included affordable housing, senior housing, relocation of the transfer station east of El Charro Road and making El Charro a public road connecting Interstate 580 with Stanley Boulevard. That connection potentially would have removed hundreds of daily trips on Santa Rita Road and Valley Avenue to connect to Stanley Boulevard.
What’s been lost is doing an overall plan, such as those that were done for North Pleasanton, that can evaluate impacts and bring amenities and infrastructure improvements.
Instead, the area will be developed piecemeal. Jeff Schroder, vice-president of Ponderosa, said that the Kiewit parcel they have optioned likely will become housing. The city faces a huge housing allocation of nearly 6,000 units so it will be looking for parcels to zone all over the city.
Amazon, essentially, is land banking the parcels for future development. News reports cited an Amazon spokeswoman saying the square footage of buildings could range from 200,000 to 500,000 depending upon the eventual use the company decides to build. If it is used as a sorting center that prepares packages for final van delivery, it could employ as many as 800 people.
Amazon, once it decides what it intends to build, will require a conditional use permit from the city. What will be interesting is to see the traffic impacts. The delivery vans are one thing, but it’s the 18-wheelers that supply the site that could have more impact.
Mayor Karla Brown, in comments, to the Pleasanton Weekly low-keyed those potential impacts and noted it was a good use next to the existing gravel quarry and transfer station. Her comments demonstrate how she’s missed the opportunity in the overall plan.