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By Tim Hunt

Sen. Wiener heeds feedback from mayors

Uploaded: Apr 17, 2018

Speaking to the Pleasanton Men’s Club earlier this month, Mayor Jerry Thorne expressed his concern about state Sen. Scott Wiener’s bill (SB 827) concerning high-density housing. The bill would over-ride local zoning and allow eight story structures near transit hubs.
Noting that Wiener was an easy guy to talk with and willingly engaged with mayors and other elected officials, Jerry said that he was confident the bill would be amended when it comes to height limits.
Wiener’s initial draft would have required high-density housing up to 85 feet tall within one-half mile of major transit hubs (think the BART stations) as well as within a quarter-mile of major bus lines. Given that the Wheels service run throughout Pleasanton, that would have made many of the single-family neighborhoods eligible for the apartments or condos. They also could have been clustered around the ACE train stop next to the fairgrounds.
The day after the meeting, Wiener amended his bill to lower the height limits and modify the bus provisions. Thorne noted that one of the goals is affordable housing and wood-frame construction cannot be used for buildings eight stories tall.
Clearly, the mayors were heard.
Incidentally, Jerry also noted that Wiener’s frame of reference is years of living in San Francisco. A San Francisco Business Times article earlier this year related that Wiener’s first apartment was 500 square feet.
Thorne also discussed BART and its impending decision about extending tracks to Livermore. The Livermore Valley’s representative, John McPartland, is not effective. That said, even if he were politically skilled, he faces an uphill battle getting to five votes for a full extension to Livermore. The BART board has options ranging from express bus services to a diesel-powered light rail to the full BART trains.
The discussion will be around getting service to land BART owns at Isabel Avenue (Highway 84) and I-580. That extension, as expensive as it will be (I-580 must be relocated to accommodate trains in the median), will not take care of the real need—connecting BART with the ACE trains around Greenville Road in east Livermore.
That and finishing widening Highway 84 to I-680 in Sunol are both necessary to significantly alleviate traffic on I-580. Of course, doing some truly innovative to move containers to and from the port of Oakland also would make a huge difference.