Pleasanton Agrees to Brown's Plan for More Housing Closer to Where People Work

Wednesday, July 21, 2010
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PLEASANTON – Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. and the City of Pleasanton have reached a precedent-setting agreement ending Pleasanton’s restrictions on new housing and opening the way for jobs and new housing to be located close to each other.

“This agreement clears the way for new jobs, less congested freeways and cleaner air,” Brown said. “It requires homes to be built closer to where people work to reduce long commutes and create a more neighborly urban environment.”

Tuesday night, the Pleasanton City Council voted unanimously to accept the agreement.

In 2006, the nonprofit group Urban Habitat filed a lawsuit challenging Pleasanton’s housing cap, which placed a permanent limit of 29,000 housing units in the city. Brown intervened in the case in 2009 and argued the housing cap violated state law by promoting urban sprawl and clogging the freeways with unnecessarily long commutes.

In March 2010, the Alameda County Superior Court ruled in the Attorney General’s favor.

In the settlement approved last night, Pleasanton agreed to remove restrictions on new housing and to accommodate affordable housing adjacent to the city’s BART station. Along with creating jobs and fulfilling the city’s share of regional housing, the new development will enable workers to live within walking distance of a major transit hub.

While Pleasanton has been a magnet for new employment, housing has lagged far behind the number of new jobs, despite ample land for development, including property adjacent to the Pleasanton BART station. In the last decade, the number of new jobs nearly doubled – from 31,683 to more than 58,000. Unable to find affordable housing within the city, some workers were forced to commute two hours per day or more. One study found that 79 percent of workers lived outside of Pleasanton.

Brown has taken an active role in encouraging local governments and businesses to help the state reach its greenhouse gas reduction goals. He has commented on several dozen environmental review documents, including those created for the General Plans of cities and the regional transportation plans of counties, as well as for projects related to oil refineries, cement plants, and dairy expansions. Brown has also reached path-breaking settlements with the County of San Bernardino and the City of Stockton, which required them to develop plans to ensure sustainable growth with a reduced carbon footprint.

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