A Costco, slated for Johnson Drive in Pleasanton as part of the economic development zone there, now appears headed for the ballot even though the City Council has taken no action on the specific project. It is permitted under the zoning established in the special area.
Opponents, led by Black Tie Transportation owner Bill Wheeler, apparently have qualified an initiative for the Nov. 8 ballot that would prohibit any retail store larger than 50,000 square feet on that site. The Costco, with 24 gasoline pumps planned, could range in size from 160,000 square feet to 200,000.
The traffic studies done for the rezoning indicate weekday vehicle trips of 12,000 with 15,000 or more on a Saturday. Other than the holiday season, with lots of shopper traffic generated by Stoneridge mall across I-680, the weekend traffic will be the lesser factor—it’s the weekday traffic that will be more of an issue at the Stoneridge/I-680 interchange. City traffic studies indicate that, after a full range of improvements, the traffic congestion will not be appreciably worst.
So that will be the issue come November when you can expect a high-spending campaign from both sides. It also adds a potential wedge issue to the City Council and mayoral race. Currently, Mayor Jerry Thorne has no announced opposition, while Councilman Jerry Pentin is running for re-election and Planning Commissioner Herb Ritter has announced he is running.
Incumbent Councilwoman Carla Brown has yet to announce her intentions.
The dynamics in November will be fascinating with the presidential race—barring surprises-- coming down to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, a load of statewide propositions (many involving money) and then the local council election, initiative plus the school board and the school bond issue that is expected. Just what percentage of local voters will get past the national and statewide races to the local contests will be interesting.
That will contrast with Dublin where IKEA is moving ahead with the planning process on its 390,000-square-foot store at the corner of Hacienda Drive and Interstate 580. An IKEA project was approved in 2004, but IKEA officials are holding a series of community meetings to solicit input on a revised proposal. At a city-sponsored meeting this month, there was no objections raised although there has been a web site opposing IKEA for months.
One of the goals of this process is to get public input to refine plans for a six-acre parcel that could be used for a hotel, restaurants or retailers.
The good news for both Dublin and Pleasanton is once a plan is submitted, there will be an updated traffic study. IKEA, which only has Bay Area locations in Emeryville and East Palo Alto, is a regional shoppers’ magnet way beyond a Costco store (there are at least 10 Costco locations in the Bay Area). It’s weekend impact will be much closer to that of the factory outlet center in Livermore.