Chris Stewart of Stewart Planning gave an update on the progress of the Master Plan, at the Jan. 17 Pleasanton council meeting. He explained they have been meeting with the Planning and Zoning Commission. Three different scenarios, representing three possible futures for Pleasanton were presented.
“Some of those scenarios involve more modest growth projections, while some are more aggressive. We just laid them out to see how they will look,” said Stewart.
The consulting firm took each of these to a community meeting before the holidays and received input from the public, which he was pleased with.
Scenario A. is a very modest, more well-rounded opportunity. He described this as the starting place based on the original utility map that was developed.
Scenario B. is what he called an “exploring process.” In other words, what could Pleasanton become?
“If we target our growth to reach Highway 97, what would that look like? We got a little bit crazy here and probably looked at more growth than would be realistic.”
Four different areas described on the map are work, live, care and play. The shaded areas represent flood plains. It is important to know where they are so they do not necessarily encourage growth in those areas, as they are a risky area. They can also be overlapped with recreational opportunities, he added. The yellow represents live, red represents work, blue represents care and green represents play. Dots represent where the citizens came back in and noted areas they wanted refined. For example, they said they needed more institutional landuse like that for schools.
Gallegos asked if Stewart was referring to Highway 97 East, out toward IH-37. Stewart responded yes.
Scenario C. looks at increasing the area, and not focusing so much on Highway 97. It is more balanced and considers Highway 281 and the 476 corridor. Gallegos asked how far south it went. He responded 281 South all the way to 37.
Input and Comments
Stewart took the committee input and comments from the public and worked through it by hand. He thought it was a good thing to push out to this intersection with IH-37 and 97.
“I think this could be a tremendous retail, economic engine for the city and also an opportunity to really identify to the hundreds of thousands of regional travelers here, ‘Hey, Pleasanton is here!’ This area is what I see as a gateway,” Stewart said.
Another important item he included is a by-pass route, from 97 towards Jourdanton, over to 281. This is a route that the Department of Transportation asked the Texas Transportation Institute to do a basic study on, which indicates a route that is probably necessary at some point. Stewart spoke about congestion management and maintenance on the streets going through town. He also talked about other roadway improvements like the bypass continuing up to 476 at some point. However, Stewart said he saw that as something for beyond 2025.
“What we’ve attempted to do is preserve the area’s industrial growth. Where they are located is fairly well-distributed, but they are always located adjacent to major arterial roadways to ease the truck access,” said Stewart.
Another important area is with the airport. Stewart talked about the land around the airport at the edge of the runway. The plan includes providing some open space there and integrate it so that it becomes an area for a regional park or sports complex, for example. Stewart is looking at open space there as opposed to other types of land uses, which might not work well, within the flight path. They tried to do that on both sides.
Said Stewart, “The plan tries to provide a good balance of retail and spread it out into various nodes, where you have intersections of major arterials and minor arterials. We need to keep those retail areas concentrated there where they get the most visibility, because that is what they need to survive.”
He suggested not necessarily following a strict, retail pattern, but offering smaller neighborhood services in the middle and projecting that into the future.
He also made an effort to include several sites in all areas of the city to plan for future schools. Those are integral to neighborhoods with immediate access to the major arterial network. Those are some of the highlights.
“I’ve made a bunch of assumptions. I think they are pretty good, but this map does need an opportunity for comments from the planning and zoning commissions and council,” Stewart said.
Mayor Clinton J. Powell asked what Stewart’s assumptions were based on. He answered that they were based on what the existing land use is and where Stewart thinks certain roadways are going to be and typically what is the best pattern.
Said Stewart, “It is more professional judgement, as opposed to strict numbers or math.”
Councilman J.R. Gallegos asked if annexation would be part of the plan. Stewart said he would encourage the city to annex, particularly those areas that are already being provided those services.
“A growing city needs to grow its tax base, as well. This is not an annexation plan, this is not saying, we’re going to annex this area,” said Stewart.
So what is next?
Stewart wishes to meet with the Planning and Zoning Commission more and also review the text components that go with the plans. He also wants to meet with the police and fire departments and EMS and identify appropriate additional sites to be able to provide better services. Stewart also wants to meet with Pleasanton ISD Superintendent Dr. Clinesmith and incorporate their more recent demographics. Stewart said he expects some changes, but you have to start somewhere.
“How can we make this the best future land use representation for Pleasanton?” Stewart asked.
Israel asked him for a timeline to get to the end of this. Stewart said they have held back a little, to allow time for the work being done with the water system mapping. He wants to get to a point where they know where the existing water system is, before they start proposing future water plans. He expects this to be done within the next several weeks. In the next weeks he plans to meet with the Planning and Zoning Commission, as the water system model comes along. Then he is looking at six weeks on the implementation phase. So he is looking at eight weeks out until finish line.
Councilman Jimmy Magel then asked, “We’re not jumping over 37 with the development we have on the other side out there, are we?”
Stewart explained that on the other side of IH-37, he was representing a retail center and secondly as a gateway. He suggested some architectural treatments that show up to visitors and people traveling through, that really marks Pleasanton.
Councilwoman Kathy Coronado expressed her appreciation to Stewart. She said a master plan has not been done since 1980 and that having anything on paper will be useful.
No action was taken, as it was not an action item.