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Long awaited Pleasanton development moves toward construction

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 10/13/2010 - 11:18am
PLEASANTON -- The city council took action on three items Tuesday whose outcomes could affect the future landscape of the city.

Council members voted to approve development on the Staples Ranch site, ending years of delays and moving forward with the city's biggest development project since the Hacienda Business Park back in the early 1980s.

The council also took action on two different lawsuits. The council voted unanimously during closed session to defend the city against landowners Frederic and Jennifer Lin, who filed suit against the city after their bid to build 51 luxury homes, known as Oak Grove, in the south east hills during a June election was struck down by voters.

Later, in open session, council members voted 5-0 to hire Baird + Driskell Community Planning and establish an 11-person task force to help it with updating its housing element, a condition agreed to in a settlement with Urban Habitat, an environmental social justice group that sued the city over its now defunct voter-approved limit on housing in the city.

In its Staples Ranch decision, the council voted 5-0 to approve development plans for Continuing Life Communities 46-acre retirement community for those 62-and-older and for the Hendrick Automotive 37-acre auto mall. Plans for a 4.8-acre neighborhood park on the site was also approved.

Staples Ranch is a 124-acre development on the east end of town south of Interstate 580 and west of El Charro Road in unincorporated Alameda County between Pleasanton and Livermore.

The approvals ended a three-year wait for seniors hoping to move into the 637-unit community. The plan also calls for a 114-unit independent, assisted living and skilled nursing facility.

"We are thrilled," said Troy Bourne, vice president of Continuing Life Communities. "We can't wait to get started."

Bourne said his company plans to start construction by early 2011.

However, Staples Ranch still needs final approval from the Alameda County's Local Agency Formation Commission,which is responsible for annexing the land to the city.

In the council's decision to defend itself against the Lins' lawsuit, the city hired the firm Meyers Nave. The Lins claim the referendum that passed by 54 percent of the vote for the Oak Grove project only applied to development plans and not the development agreement. The Lins filed the suit June 8, the day of the election.

The hiring of a consultant to help with updating the city's housing element is a result of a suit filed by Urban Habitat against the city. The settlement of that suit required the city to pay out nearly $2 million in attorney fees and to wipe any references of the 29,000-unit housing cap from all city records. The city also agreed to conditions that include an update to its housing plan that would include planning for an aadditional 3,277 housing units, including 2,524 affordable homes, by 2014.

Contact Robert Jordan at 925-847-2184.