Pleasanton city fathers spent this week in conniption fits after a Superior Court judge ruled that the city can't cap its number of housing units at 29,000. Pleasanton now faces a choice of halting all commercial development in the city — and thus alleviating the demand for places new workers might live — or scratching the 29,000-unit limit from the city's code book.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch based his decision on a California law that requires cities to
make land available to accommodate their share of regional housing
needs, a standard that most communities, including San Francisco, don't meet. According to Pleasanton Weekly, city council members have planned closed session meetings where they will decide whether to appeal the decision, change the city's residential zoning laws, or ban new commercial development.
But there's a completely legal way to accomplish the not-in-my-backyard goal that Pleasanton had in mind when it created its de-facto ban against new neighbors. That city, and others such as Atherton — whose overt anti-housing laws may be affected by the ruling — can follow San Francisco's lead and ban new housing construction in subtler, yet just as effective, ways.