PLEASANTON -- The Planning Commission has given the green light to a major housing and retail development at the corner of Stanley Boulevard and Bernal Avenue.
In a unanimous July 10 vote, E&S Ring Management got the OK to build 345 apartment units and nearly 39,000 square feet of retail space on the currently vacant 16 acres of land.
"I'm thrilled we're at this point," said commission chair Jennifer Pearce. "This is a great use for this site. The architect has stepped up, and it looks great."
The site is one of nine rezoned in January 2012 for high-density multifamily development in order to meet Pleasanton's share of the regional housing need.
City staff and commissioners have worked with E&S Ring Management for about a year to enhance the developer's original plans and adjust some architectural elements.
"The project has evolved into what we think is a terrific plan that will be great for the community," said John Pringle of E&S.
Shweta Bonn, associate planner for the city, outlined the improvements since the commission's last hearing on the project in December.
"In the residential area, there is more craftsman style and architectural elements," said Bonn. "There is an additional tot lot and bus stop."
More seating, paving and trees were also added to the entrance on Bernal Avenue. She said there were minor changes to the commercial area, including more traditional lighting and reduced overhang on the eaves. The development, which Pringle, of E&S, described as "a sustainable mixed-use village," will consist of three clusters of housing of varying heights with one, two and three-bedroom apartments. Retail space will be contained in four buildings and include anchor stores as well as smaller retailers. The retail space will include a plaza with outdoor seating, dining and a fountain.
"The development is organized as a series of three villages for variety and to knit together with open spaces such as the common green and tot lots," said Rob Steinberg. of E&S. "Current plans include more detailing and a variety of building materials. I think the use of brick and wood trim capture the character of Pleasanton and make it a very compatible part of the community."
Commissioner Herb Ritter had a concern about the interior corridor entryways to the apartments.
"Is the safety of women and children going to be an issue?" he inquired.
Pringle responded that the majority of the 8,000 units his company has built have interior corridor entries and that there has been virtually no crime.
Commissioner Nancy Allen noted that the development is located next to two major bike trails and questioned whether the increased traffic might affect bike safety.
"There are plans for wider sidewalks and bike lanes on Bernal so that people can walk or bike," said Mike Tassano, the city's traffic engineer.
Commissioner Ritter also asked if there was sufficient parking in the retail area. Bonn said that parking meets transportation standards of one parking space per 100 square feet of retail.
"In addition, a lot of residents might walk to the shops," she said.
The project will now go to City Council for final approval.