DUBLIN -- After 10 years of planning, modified proposals and governmental red tape, plans to build a multistory county courthouse in Dublin are in the final stages of approval.
Alameda County officials say they're optimistic work could start as early as June.
The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a site development review permit for construction of the East County Hall of Justice. It will be built near the intersection of Hacienda and Gleason drives, near Santa Rita Jail. Their vote also covered an agreement with the county outlining the conditions of approval for the project.
The city previously approved two other site development review permits for the project, which would replace the current courthouse in Pleasanton. The first was approved in 2004 and another in 2009. County officials say the project plan has gone through an atypical number of changes because of the many government approvals required -- the project for a county courthouse in Dublin that will be operated by the state needs approval from city, county and state governments.
"It seems as though we've just had numerous roadblocks that have come up, but it hasn't stopped the resolve of all of the parties to stay at the table in order to bring this project forward," said Donna Linton, deputy county administrator.
The new Dublin courthouse will be five stories tall and have 13 courtrooms, a cafeteria, and office space for judges, district attorneys and public defenders. The main entrance will be along the intersection of Gleason and Hacienda.
No members of the public commented on the project, and none of the council commented immediately before holding a vote, though they did ask questions of Linton and Jim Kachik, the county's deputy director of technical services, who were there to give the council an overview.
Councilman Abe Gupta asked county officials if there was a risk of the courthouse causing increased traffic congestion. He was told there would be plenty of parking. According to a city report, the current plan includes 257 spaces more than required by law.
The total cost of the project is approximately $147 million. About half of the money is expected to come from bonds to be sold by the county, said county officials.
Although the measure was approved unanimously without much debate, a frustrated Councilman Kevin Hart demanded to know whether this approval would lead to a new courthouse.
"What assurances do we have that it's going to happen this time? We've had two extensions in 2004, two extensions in 2009," Hart said. "We're certainly a very tolerant city, but when do we say, 'Come on, let's get this thing going'?"
Linton said she agreed with Hart and she is confident the project would get approval from the county, and then the state, which are the two next necessary steps. Linton said she's already made an appointment with the state public works board for next week and added that the county could enter into contract with a developer as soon as June. If that happens, Kachik said he estimated that completion of the project would happen within two years of the start date.
"If we, for the sake of discussion tonight, assume we were able to award the contract in June, you should see activity on the site within a couple months of that point," Kachik said.