Published December 16, 2003
Volume 11, Number 12

Pleasanton’s Economic Vitality Strategic Plan 
Pamela Ott
Pamela Ott, the City of Pleasanton’s Economic Development manager,
knows that a thriving downtown is an important part of the lives of area residents.

A strong community economic plan can have a powerful impact on the success of business, the local economy, and the services and opportunities available in a region. Such a plan for success is mirrored in the mission of Pleasanton’s Economic Vitality Strategic Plan: to provide a positive business climate and a stable economic base for business growth and prosperity, along with the provision of goods, services, and facilities the community expects.

Pleasanton’s Plan starts with the Economic Vitality Committee and its Economic Development Manager. The Pleasanton Economic Vitality Committee assesses the City’s business climate, reviews issues that may impact it, and offers suggestions and recommendations to the City Council in order to maintain a strong local economy. “The Economic Vitality Committee is the group that synthesizes and brings together the collective thoughts of a number of different market segments,” says Pamela Ott, Economic Development Manager for the City of Pleasanton. “Collectively, they create these goals on behalf of the business community and the City to go forth and create economic opportunities for businesses and residents.” The Economic Vitality Committee is about 10 years old. Periodically, as with the City’s other plans, this version of the Economic Vitality Strategic Plan is officially reviewed prior to adoption. This version of the Plan was adopted in June of 2003 and covers the years 2003 to 2005. The Economic Vitality Committee constantly reviews the plan while it is in effect to make sure that it is germane and appropriate to the community between official adoptions and makes to changes to it to reflect factors such as alterations in the economic and business climate or the needs of the community. The following is an overview of the recently adopted plan.

PeopleSoft Campus
PeopleSoft’s expansive campus is a prime example
of economic development in Pleasanton over the last decade. 

Purpose and Mission
Economic development, in terms of increasing goods, services, and transactions, is not an end unto itself, but is a means to an end. The fundamental purpose of economic development is to enhance the quality of life in the community. To that end, economic development cannot be separated from other programs, services, and projects that impact the community. However, an increase in production contributes to quality of life in several important ways: it increases the number of jobs, it leads to growth in the amount of goods and services available to residents and employees, and it provides the necessary resources for local government to meet its responsibilities.

Pleasanton, the “City of Planned Progress,” is committed to being one of the most prosperous and livable places in Northern California. Pleasanton plans for the future by addressing potential constraints before they become community issues. All of Pleasanton’s community members are welcomed into a cooperative planning process, including residents, businesses, employees, and even to Pleasanton’s neighbors. This has contributed Tri-Valley cities enjoying a positive relationship that has unified the region to achieve common goals.

Pleasanton is a city that draws people because it is a safe and attractive place to live, work, visit, and do business. The City is distinguished by its commitment to foster a positive business environment, nurture its neighborhoods, actively participate with local schools and colleges, and maintain its high quality of life. Pleasanton is committed to being a viable, self-sustaining community that provides full-life opportunities in the areas of business, education, career, recreation, housing, and retirement.

The City is the quintessential “work place of the future” with quality business parks and a state-of-the-art infrastructure. Jobs have been created to match the skills and educational levels of the local workforce. The City has carefully planned to have the amenities and services that business needs to be successful and which drive business location decisions. With its strong city management, customer orientation, and distinguished public safety service, the City is positioned as the economic heart of the East Bay. The Pleasanton City staff and Economic Vitality Committee are joined by local stake-holder organizations to help attain the vision for Pleasanton and the Tri-Valley.

Pleasanton’s Economic Position
Pleasanton has many strengths in the economic development market. To remain competitive, it is important to build upon those strengths while realistically addressing challenges that can be directly controlled or influenced. As a background for developing the current Economic Vitality Strategic Plan, an employer survey was conducted. The survey was mailed to 110 businesses selected from target markets and key industry groups.  A total of 61 businesses responded to the survey, which contributed to the development of the following list of strengths and challenges:

  • Central Bay Area location; close to San Francisco and the Silicon Valley
  • Variety and quality of housing
  • Transportation access
  • Highly educated/skilled workforce
  • Attractive and diverse mix of businesses
  • Part of a strong regional economy in the East Bay and greater Bay Area
  • Excellent schools with youth-focused programs and lifetime learning
  • Good access to higher education
  • Highly desirable address and image
  • Local businesses prefer to expand in Pleasanton
  • Safe community
  • Highly involved community
  • Excellent quality of life including shopping and recreational opportunities and an active, vital, and friendly Historic Downtown
  • Publicly accessible open space and parkland
  • Strong/secure medical base and social service support agencies
  • Good year-round climate

  • Insufficient amount of moderate, affordable, and senior housing
  • Decreased development potential due to less available raw land
  • Traffic congestion on freeways and local streets
  • Additional streamlining needed within City’s development services
  • Decrease in business-to-business commerce
  • Limited venues for conventions, meetings, and arts and culture
  • Pleasanton’s political voice needs to be strengthened within Alameda County
  • Community understanding of business’ role and contributions to Pleasanton need to be addressed

Pleasanton remains a highly desirable business location with many assets that make it competitive within the state and regional markets. Target markets for future growth include corporate headquarters, professional services, software, telecommunications, light manufacturing, and R & D, as well as sales offices for scientific/medical devices, computer equipment, and biomedical research.

Goals, Objectives, and Strategies
Pleasanton has a number of strategies in place to attain its goals and objectives that are scheduled for implementation over a 2 ½ year period. These strategies are intended to augment those that are already a part of the City’s economic development practices designed to lead Pleasanton to a more prosperous, vital community.

Goal 1: The first goal is to maintain and promote Pleasanton’s diversified economic base while increasing revenue generated to the City. This is intended to be addressed by two objectives. The first is to develop a business retention and expansion program. The following strategies will be used to achieve that objective:
  1. Conduct a cluster analysis and survey of local businesses to determine needs and identify programs and services that would benefit business retention and expansion
  2. Anticipate and prepare to respond to issues of importance to key industries using the 2002 Business Survey results. To that end, a workforce profile needs to be developed (educational level, unemployment statistics, current pay ranges, etc.) to relate pay ranges to housing costs
  3. Continue to work with the Cities of Livermore, Dublin, and San Ramon to support and promote the TriValleyJobs.com website
  4. Develop a “Special Topics” series for businesses to help them learn about the City’s requirements and codes

The second objective in maintaining and promoting Pleasanton’s diversified economic base is to attract businesses and industries that are compatible with the General Plan. The following strategies will be used to reach that goal:

1.    Develop and implement an attraction and marketing program for targeted industries that would provide jobs to match Pleasanton’s workforce profile
2.    Continue to upgrade the City’s web site, especially the economic development page’s functions
3.    Improve the service delivery of the development services departments

Goal 2: The second goal of the Strategic Plan is to increase business-to-business transactions within Pleasanton. The first objective to meet this goal will be to encourage local businesses to partner/purchase together by developing methods for businesses to connect with one another through an identification of needs, constraints, and desires for businesses-to-business transactions. The second objective to stimulate business-to-business transactions is to increase local businesses awareness of opportunities to do business with the City. This will be done through the coordination with the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce to build a plan to increase business understanding of opportunities and procedures to compete for City business.

Goal 3: The third goal is to increase the public’s awareness of the value of business to the community. The first objective in achieving this goal is to develop a public awareness plan that focuses on the benefits afforded the community by local business. This will be achieved by partnering with the Chamber of Commerce and the Pleasanton Downtown Association to promote the understanding of the value of business to the community and by continuing to sponsor and participate in the Chamber of Commerce’s Business Marketplace.

Goal 4: The fourth goal is an effort to reduce traffic congestion on city streets. The first objective is to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of the total transportation network. This will be done by:
  1. Determining the potential effectiveness of the Trip Reduction & Mobility Enhancement Task Force’s recommendations based on the random sample survey of the citywide commutes of residents and employees that has been conducted
  2. Continuing to strengthen and expand the Rides to School Program as it supports General Plan Program 10.2, which is an effort to encourage limited elementary school enrollment size (up to 650 students) to maintain neighborhood character and promote more personalized education
  3. Cooperating with local cities and transit agencies to expand subregional transit services

Being a large concern to Pleasanton businesses and residents, traffic must be addressed by two more objectives. The first is to increase employer participation in the Commendable Commutes Program. It is hoped that this will be attained by developing and implementing an aggressive marketing plan to increase membership. The third objective in reducing traffic congestion is to increase ACE ridership to Pleasanton by determining the optimum location for a permanent ACE station. In addition, coordinating a marketing plan with ACE that targets Pleasanton employees is a necessity.

Goal 5: The fifth goal is intended ensure sufficient affordable and moderately priced housing for the local workforce, and the first objective in attaining that goal is to implement the General Plan Housing Element. The second objective is for the Economic Vitality Committee to work with the Housing Commission to cooperatively address housing issues that impact employer decisions to locate or expand within Pleasanton. The strategy used to achieve this objective is to have the Economic Vitality Committee meet with the Housing Commission to identify and develop methods to resolve issues that negatively impact job attraction, retention, and growth.

The third objective in ensuring sufficient affordable and moderately priced housing is to expand the Below Market Rental Program by using the affordable housing fund to proactively renegotiate as many of the rental agreements as possible that are scheduled to expire over the next five years. The final objective in the housing category is to endeavor to provide a fair share of the regional market rate housing need in conformance with the City’s Housing Element by accommodating a the housing need in downtown Pleasanton through “new urbanist” concepts and actively informing and educating downtown residents about the impacts and value of living in a vital downtown that includes night clubs, restaurants, hotels, and theaters.

The Future
Looking to the future, the Economic Vitality Committee and Economic Development Manager will continue to strive to keep the Strategic Plan up to date and keep the city on track to grow and prosper. For more information on how your business can get involved in the economic development of Pleasanton or to discuss the current Economic Plan, contact Pamela Ott, Economic Development Manager for the City of Pleasanton at (925) 931-5040.


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