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David Gould <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Monday, October 26, 2015 6:54 PM
Text from Matt Sullivan's post on the Facebook Page
Good to talk this evening. The Matt Sullivan Facebook contribution to
Pleasanton Citizens for Responsible Growth is below and on the link:
My suggestion is to not concede the “optics” to the naysayers. You control the
forum and you have the staff talent to provide fact based information to the
community. The community and the City Council need to see and hear a
I will have some comments and ideas to you tomorrow for the next community
David Gould and Associates
Corporate Real Estate
Matt Sullivan to Pleasanton Citizens for Responsible Growth
October 23 at 11:51am · Pleasanton, CA ·
Thank you to all that came to the Neighborhood Meeting last night about Costco/Johnson Drive EDZ. For
those of you that could not make it, the city staff presentation of this project left something to be
desired. They tried to downplay the project, did not want to focus on a potential Costco or other big box
store, were not forthcoming about the approval process, and tried to dodge several questions asked by
the public. The Planning Staff that ran this meeting are all new to Pleasanton, and while I had
disagreements over the almost 20 years of working with the “old guard” staff (now mostly retired) as a
citizen activist, Planning Commissioner, and City Councilmember, the were always respectful and largely
honest with the public. Not this bunch.
It’s clear that this project is being driven by staff and the developer Nearon. The goal for staff is to reap
the sales tax revenue from a big box store and the occupancy taxes from a hotel, which would indeed be
substantial. So much so that they are willing to provide “incentives” to the developer and new
businesses that will occupy the EDZ – such as relief from the costs for roadway and freeway
improvements necessary to mitigate traffic, or a discount property tax rate. As I pointed out last night,
this is a public subsidy for developers and private businesses which will be paid for by you and me. The
city says they have done a fiscal study that demonstrates that even with subsidies the net revenue to
the city would be beneficial. So even if that’s true, it seems that they are willing to sacrifice northwest
Pleasanton and our quality of life to get a few extra bucks in the city’s coffers.
Approximately 30-40 people attended the meeting, which was more than I expected based on the poor
notification by the city, a 49’er game, and a DSRSD meeting that many Val Vista folks attended.
However, all in attendance were adamantly opposed to the project. Many people spoke and raised
concerns about traffic, noise, air quality, impacts on neighborhood quality of life, and the inappropriate
use for that location. No one was chanting “I want a Costco!” Surprisingly, several business owners who
already are located along Johnson Drive attended and spoke out against the project and questioned how
the EDZ would impact their existing businesses. Some were not even notified by the city that this was
Beyond the direct impacts this project will have, the process the city is using to approve this is very
troubling. They continue to downplay this as a simple “rezoning” and are assuring that Costco or no
other business has submitted a formal application. What they didn’t explain last night – until I asked
about it – is that once the rezoning is approved, which will contain a list of “permitted uses”, the city
staff can unilaterally approve anything that comes forward on the list, whether a Costco or SuperWalmart – without City Council OR public notification or review. In addition, this process would prohibit
the public from overturning these approvals by voter referendum. The only way anyone would know
this would be if you read a once per month published list from the so-called “Zoning Administrator” (a
city planner). This is buried in the Planning Commission agenda packet and you would truly have to be
eternally vigilant to find out that a project is approved. The city is using a very sneaky process designed
to limit transparency and avoid public oversight of city and developer actions.
The good news is that the city has agreed to hold another neighborhood meeting (date and location not
yet determined) and to extend the EIR comment period to Nov. 16th. Please send your concerns about
this project to the City Council at email@example.com and the lead Planner, Eric Luchini,
at ELuchini@cityofpleasantonca.gov. And please come to the next neighborhood meeting – I will send a
note when it is announced. We can’t win against the legalized bribery known as campaign contributions
to City Councilmembers from the developers, big box store owners, and the Chamber of Commerce. THE
ONLY WAY TO STOP THIS PROJECT IS IF ENOUGH PEOPLE SHOW UP TO THESE MEETINGS TO PUT THE
FEAR OF GOD IN THE CITY COUNCIL THAT THEY MIGHT LOSE THEIR JOBS!
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