By Katie Nielsen

PLEASANTON (CBS SF) – The City of Pleasanton could soon open the door to new housing developments in the downtown area.

On Tuesday, August 20, the City Council will talk about a proposal to raise height restrictions that could allow four-story buildings near Main Street.

The picturesque shops and restaurants along Main Street pay homage to the city’s name. Originally designated in honor of Alfred Pleasonton, a Civil War general, a postal service clerk’s apparent typographical error was pleasing enough to make the change stick.

“We came here because of the charm of the downtown,” says Xiaowei Wu who loves Pleasanton.

But the fight over new development there area has been anything but pleasant.

“We’ve gotten some letters from residents that are very angry, that the city council is even considering changing building heights downtown,” says Karla Brown, one of five City Council members and the Vice Mayor.

She says a lot of residents are concerned about the “Downtown Specific Plan,” which would allow for three- and four-story buildings downtown and open the door for high density housing on Main St.

“The community would change forever, so there are a lot of concerns, and as I said, we had 250 letters saying they are not supporting dramatic changes like that downtown,” says Brown.

“We’re new to Pleasanton, and the reason that we moved, one of the reasons we moved here was because of the downtown area,” said Carol Brazil as she was sitting at Starbucks with her dog, Hailey.

Carol moved to Pleasanton three years ago with her family, and says she understands the need for more housing, but questions whether downtown is the right area to develop.

“I think there’s a lot of areas it can be done, and I don’t think it should disrupt a quaint area that should be preserved,” says Brazil.

It was a sentiment echoed by many people who were out and about on Main Street today.

“It changes the atmosphere. It’s less like Main St and more like New Orleans or NYC,” says Rebecca Halaska who was shopping in downtown Pleasanton.

“We need more affordable housing, but I’m not sure high rises is the answer to it in downtown Pleasanton, and I’m not sure I want to Dublin-ize Pleasanton,” said Andy Smith, a longtime Pleasanton resident.

Others say the need for housing is just too great to hold back any potential development.

“Housing has been an issue probably for a lot of my friends and people my age, they are having a harder and harder time finding housing,” said Eric Hemstad who was walking around downtown.

A task force has been working on the plan for downtown since January of 2017.

The city council could take action on the plan during the meeting Tuedsay night.

The council will do the first reading of the proposal and listen to public comment during the meeting that starts at city hall at 7:00 p.m.

 

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