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Pleasanton's rezoning for affordable housing enters final stage

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 12/14/2011 - 10:31am

PLEASANTON -- The debate over where to rezone land to accommodate nearly 2,300 affordable housing units focused Tuesday more on sites left off the city's list than those included.

The city's planning commission and City Council met Tuesday to provide input on nine of 17 sites Pleasanton submitted to the state in July as part of its housing element and to comply with a legal settlement.

Urban Habitat had sued the city and won over its complaints on Pleasanton's now-defunct 29,000-home limit for the town, saying it prevented Pleasanton from providing its share of the area's affordable housing.

Some planning commissioners and members of the public questioned the limited amount of acreage on the list and a number of suitable sites, vetted through months of task force work, that were left off the list.

"It seems we should be doing more than the required minimum," said Phil Blank, a member of the planning commission. "I think doing what is required by the settlement is absolutely required, but I feel we should be stretching and trying to accommodate as much as we can within reason in the city."

Pleasanton city staff members narrowed the list to nine sites that total just less than 73 acres. They included eight sites proposed for 30 units per acre -- that would yield 1,884 units -- and one 10-acre property that would be developed with 40 units per acre, and would yield 400 units.

The list the city submitted to the state had 17 sites totaling 105 acres that could be rezoned. As part of the settlement agreement, the city must adopt its housing element, which includes the rezoned sites for affordable housing, by Jan. 12.

"Why not zone more than you need?" said Patrick Costanzo, a representative from Kiewit, which had its site on Valley Avenue between Boulder Street and Stanley Boulevard removed.

"We are asking to leave us on, and the best thing for the city is it gives a deadline to get the specific plan going," he said. "We know in this town that having deadlines makes things happen."

Three of the four sites in east Pleasanton were left off the list because planners and council members wanted the East Pleasanton Specific Plan -- a map of how the area will be developed -- to be completed first, said Brian Dolan, the city's director of community development. The plan has been talked about for years but wasn't formally introduced until 2009 when it was included in the city's general plan.

The commission and council are expected to further vet the list of sites over the next month; the commission Dec. 14 and the council Jan. 4. The council is expected to adopt the plan at its Jan. 10 meeting.

Robert Jordan covers Pleasanton and Dublin. Contact him 925-847-2184.