Downtown Pleasanton is cherished by its residents. Often times with that passion comes controversy on what the “right” direction for future growth maybe and the mix of retailers/tenants. For years I have had citizens complain about too many banks, salons, and Mexican restaurants. Not enough of the “other stuff”. It looks like the City may agree with those folks.
Pleasanton Weekly reports that Pleasanton officials are now putting together an ordinance that will require financial and banking institutions to receive a Condition Use Permit (often refered to as a “CUP”) prior to opening. Pleasanton has lumped banks and financial institutions in with general retailers in the past, which did not require any type of Use Permit.
A CUP from a business owners standpoint is an expensive, time-consuming, bureaucratic process. You pay a fee upfront, your business and the proposed location is then scrutinized by the Planning Commission, upon a vote of the Planning Commission you are either granted the Use Permit or not. You do not get a refund if you are not approved. Residents have a chance to voice their opinions too. The process takes up to six months but most of the time is complete in three to four months. The charge for a CUP in neighboring communities ranges from a couple hundred to over ten thousand dollars.
Proponents of Condition Use Permits argue that by having control of what types of business can do business in certain areas, you keep the integrity of the neighborhood. By not allowing certain uses you can better mitigate traffic, parking, noise, or safety issues that may arise. Or in this case, keeping banks from out-weighting traditional retailers and restaurants in the downtown district. Eventually, this lopsided teeter-totter could detract from the purpose of the area which is shopping, dining, and entertaining; all of which bring much-needed tax money to the City.
Pleasanton is not the first to limit certain uses in the downtown area. During the redevelopment process, Livermore decided that “Personal Service” would not be allowed on First Street in the core area. This discarded hair and nail salons, massage, photography studios, dance and music studios, among others.
Why did Pleasanton take a sudden interest in the amount of banks and financial institutions in town? The building currently occupied by Pass Time Pool is for sale. Among the tenants looking at the building… you guessed it! An undisclosed bank which plans occupy once the building is redeveloped/remodeled.
Although the ordinance has not been officially voted on or put into effect, it will be on the April 3rd City Council agenda.