Pleasanton’s Planned Rezoning to Add Costco is a Bad Idea

Currently, the Pleasanton City Council and the Planning Commission are pursuing a course of action to change the city’s carefully planned zoning to allow for major development on Johnson Drive, the city’s primary frontage road along I680, a major traffic corridor for the East Bay.

The rezoning will create an area where a “big box” retailer and gas station, now identified as Costco, will be allowed to build and operate. As a result, the existing locally based companies–and all Pleasanton drivers who use Stoneridge Drive, Johnson Drive, Owens Drive and Hopyard Road–will suffer from dramatically increased traffic congestion.

The addition of Costco to the landscape along I680 will forever identify this lovely, family-based city as a cookie-cutter retail hotspot like Dublin, causing us to lose the community image that has been carefully crafted over decades.

Costco siteIn front of us is a great opportunity to do something spectacular for the community and its local business owners. We are just not sure a Costco is the best representation of what Pleasanton needs at this site. There are a host of other great uses, including a light service hotel, a full-service hotel and event center, or a retail village highlighting locally produced arts & crafts, goods and services.

These could bring revenue and national exposure to our city and boost not only the city’s revenue but that of retail, entertainment and service industries. The opportunity to put money in the pockets of local businesses and protect what they have built over the last 20 years is here, now.

Costco could be a revenue machine for the city, but a traffic nightmare for the community. And with the way that the $16 billion company routinely asks for multi-million dollar tax incentives just to locate anywhere, even the revenue generation could be much less than anticipated.

There are other options that could be a better fit for local businesses and for the community.