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Parkside residents push back on plan to build recycled water fill station in neighborhood | News - Energy And Water Development Corp

Parkside residents push back on plan to build recycled water fill station in neighborhood | News

With Pleasanton and the rest of the Tri-Valley heading into what is looking like a long drought season, many residents are once again seeing mandatory limitations on outdoor irrigation.

Pleasanton is currently under a Local Drought Emergency and Stage 2 Water Shortage plan, with a 15% water use reduction. That means if you have grass, plants or trees in your yard, you can only water them three times per week, which goes for the rest of the Tri-Valley cities.

In order to help residents, the city of Pleasanton, Dublin San Ramon Services District, Zone 7 Water Agency and the city of Livermore proposed to construct a recycled water fill station near the corner of Parkside and Hopyard where the old Zone 7 district headquarters is located.

But a growing number of Parkside neighborhood residents said they are not happy with the 5997 Parkside Drive location and that it will congest their streets with unnecessary traffic.

“This would be a line of cars right next to our windows,” Parkside resident Rick Schussel said during the July 19 city council meeting. “Parkside is a residential street. We’d be living right next to a truck line.”

Schussel was one of many Parkside residents who spoke during the open to the public section that day to voice their concerns about a lack of transparency with residents not knowing about the project and overall traffic safety issues.

Several of those residents said they were also never informed about the project and did not have a chance to address their concerns.

“There has not been enough transparency or visibility given to all the residents of Parkside, not just those in the immediate vicinity of (the Zone Seven Water building),” Parkside resident Laura Charteris said. “I would like to ask for more discussion and consultation and I’m very much opposed to the site in a quiet residential area.”

According to a frequently asked question page on the Pleasanton Operation Services website, the city sent a notification out on June 21 and notice postcards were issued to neighbors within 1,000 feet.

Apart from the transparency issue, Charteris and others said they are worried about the long line of cars the station could cause and how that would affect those living in the area and children coming home from school.

“Another safety concern also for the site would be its operation during school times with children commuting home from school on bikes,” she said.

According to the city website, if approved and constructed the fill station operational hours are proposed for Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

To address traffic, the website states it will use a traffic control system involving cones and signage. The system will separate fill station users from other traffic using queuing areas and lane closures during fill station operating hours.

A couple of days after the meeting Charteris started a petition on to ask the council not move forward with the project, which as of publication date has almost 300 signatures.

Now the council must once again decide during its Aug. 16 meeting, whether or not it should approve the multi-city agreement to construct the fill station — the council has discussed this item four times and had originally approved the agreement on June 21.

City Manager Gerry Beaudin told the Weekly that city staff will bring the item back for reconsideration and if the council decides to rescind from the agreement, the next question will be if the council wants to continue pursuing a new location or not.

“I know that all of the cities that have been involved in the discussion so far are interested in providing recycled water filled stations in the Tri-Valley and so whether we can get it done this year remains to be seen,” Beaudin said. “It is something that as the drought continues, I think there will be interest in finding a viable site.”

But the Parkside location was not the original site that was proposed to be used for the fill station.

Dan McIntyre, DSRSD’s general manager, told the Weekly that the previous plan was to use a property owned by the district in Dublin on Gleason Drive.

It is a large parcel of undeveloped land near a recycled water pipeline, which is what feeds the pumps at a fill station — the reason the Parkside location was viable is because of the recycled water line across the street that supplies the Ken Mercer park.

The site construction was first projected to cost about $970,000 but as the district began the bidding process, it saw numbers between $1.46 and $1.74 million, causing Pleasanton to back out from the agreement.

According to the frequently asked question page website, the Tri-Valley agencies did consider other locations before choosing Parkside including the Livermore and DSRSD Wastewater Treatment Plant, the Livermore Wastewater Treatment Plant and other city-owned properties.

These sites were not deemed viable based on a variety of factors including the high cost of construction to install a fill station, according to the website.

McIntyre said that in the interest of wanting to provide that amenity to residents, the Parkside location seemed like the most convenient choice. Construction was, for the most part, ready to go with the contractor already lined up.

But because the city of Pleasanton had not issued a temporary use permit and now with residents speaking out, the project has been stalled until Pleasanton decides to continue with the project.

“If not passed then it’s probably real late in the year for another site, so we probably would not have a fill station this summer,” McIntyre said.

Pleasanton City Councilmember Jack Balch, who originally had issues with the cost of the project, told the Weekly that there are several nuances to the fill station such as how the 17 proposed filling stations will compare to the 40 at the Dublin San Ramon Water Recycling plant that closed in 2017.

He said that so far, the $160,000 that Pleasanton would share in operation and construction costs would be covered by the $100 per resident that the fill station would charge as a season pass.

But that’s contingent on seeing the same numbers as the old fill station at the plant, which were as high as 3,600 in 2015, according to a June 21 staff report.

He also said that he understands it’s not an optimal location and thinks residents do bring up good points about traffic issues as well as ideas to help mitigate traffic congestion such as an appointment system so people don’t wait in line for hours just to find out there’s no more water left. Which is why he said it’s important to bring in the residents to be a part of the discussion.

“If we’re going to ask this neighborhood to carry the load of this for our community, we need to understand that it’s the appropriate location for that and that the community is asking the Parkside neighborhood to do that,” Balch said.

Balch said that with the drought only getting worse, the council needs to work with residents to get the fill station project done right so people can continue taking care of their yards.

“I think it will be important that the residents get to add their feedback to the record and we make sure we ask further and more detailed questions,” Balch said. “I’m not sure where the council will go . . . I think that we should be trying to still see if there’s a possibility for this year because I don’t think I don’t think our drought will be abating on Oct. 31.”

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