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By Tim Hunt

Planning the "Pleasanton way"

Uploaded: Apr 17, 2014

The government approval process in Pleasanton has been notorious as "the Pleasanton way."
Sometimes, that results in good projects—other times the seemingly interminable approval process amounts to lost opportunity.
The Staples Ranch property is a prime example (located at El Charro Road, I-580 and Stoneridge Drive).
The Stoneridge Creek senior housing project that offers a continuum of care opened last year and is thriving. I know a number of people who are living there and are delighted. Unfortunately, other people died (personally, I knew two) while awaiting city approval and the construction process that lagged for years.
That same many-year process coupled with the 2008-2009 recession, led the Hendricks Auto Group to halt plans to relocate its luxury dealerships at the Pleasanton Auto Mall there and instead expand them on Rosewood Drive. In that case, the city is going to come out very well.
Earlier this month, the Planning Commission unanimously approved CarMax Inc.'s plans to build a used car "superstore" on 20 acres that the Hendricks stores were originally planning to occupy. CarMax is the largest seller of used cars in the country and will add nicely to the city's sales tax revenue.
There still will be room for two more dealerships in the 37 acres zoned for automotive sales.
The news, of course, is not so good about the rest of the parcel where plans have been cancelled. Given the land values in Pleasanton, its likely new development proposals will emerge eventually, but that will not include the San Jose Sharks' four-arena complex. The deal, which looked so promising, is apparently dead.

A quick update: The agenda item on the Pleasanton Parks and Recreation Commission agenda this month to name the sports park for the late Mayor Ken Mercer was postponed until May because of an error in the staff report. I'm sure commissioners would welcome thoughts from residents before that meeting.

Flying to Las Vegas on business last month, twice I was able to go through the screening line that did not require any of the disrobing that goes with the typical line. We were at Oakland so absurdly early on the Sunday that daylight savings changed (0:600) that there were only a handful of people going through security.
It was much different coming back from Las Vegas at a slightly more civilized 7 a.m. Friday. There were already plenty of people at the airport and my boarding pass sent me to the "speed line."
Unfortunately, people in that line could not read and went through the normal routine. That irritated the bureaucratic woman working the line who insisted they put everything back on before running their luggage through the scanner. The result—my partner, who was enduring the regular line—got through almost as quickly as I did in the speed lane.
It's great to see that the TSA is finally re-evaluating the effectiveness and inconvenience of the system that was put in place after the 9-11 attacks. Clearly, they've done a good job of communicating that what they thought is necessary for safe travel and people have adjusted well to it.