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PLEASANTON

Neighborhoods 2008

Profiles, maps and vital facts of featured neighborhoods in the community

A p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h e P l e a s a n t o n W e e k l y • w w w . P l e a s a n t o n W e e k l y. c o m


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Walnut Creek 1700 N. Main St. Walnut Creek, CA 94596 925.280.8500

Orinda Danville 89 Davis Rd., Ste.100 15 Railroad Ave. Orinda, CA 94563 Danville, CA 94526 925.253.7000 925.855.4000

Blackhawk 4105 Blackhawk Plaza Cir. Danville, CA 94506 925.648.5300

Pleasanton Livermore 5075 Hopyard Rd., #110 1983 Second St. Pleasanton, CA 94588 Livermore, CA 94550 925.251.2500 925.667.2100

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The real estate office of Tri-Valley Realtors offers the highest quality service and exclusive professional representation for buyers and sellers. We are in the business to help our clients purchase and sell their real estate property with honest service and straightforward answers. for Buyers We offer a complete “one-stop” shopping experience, from pre-qualification for a new home loan to presenting you the keys to your new home - and everything in between. for Sellers We offer the option of a complete “one-stop” selling experience or an A-LA-CART system. The complete experience includes marketing your home to making sure that all required documents are recorded for the sale - and everything in between.

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NEIGHBORHOODS 2008

The A-LA-CART system offers the “sell-it-yourself” savings without loosing the quality service and professional representation you need.

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S & B Construction and Consulting is a licensed and bonded full service construction and consulting company focused on quality and professionalism. s+ITCHENS s"ATHROOMS s#ONCRETE s2OOM!DDITIONS 7EAREDEVOTEDTOCUSTOMERSATISFACTIONANDALWAYSSTRIVINGTOlNDNEW WAYSTOBUILDRELATIONSHIPSANDMAINTAINOURCURRENTANDFUTURECLIENTS Comments, questions and suggestions are not only appreciated, they are encouraged. Please take the time to contact us. “We love what we do and our work and attitude proves it.� Todd Swalley, President

NEIGHBORHOODS 2008

S & B Construction and Consulting

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A p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h e P l e a s a n t o n W e e k l y • w w w . P l e a s a n t o n W e e k l y. c o m

PLEASANTON

Neighborhoods 2008

Welcome to the neighborhoods...

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SHANNON COREY

leasanton has so much to offer in the way of fine homes, award-winning schools, a quaint downtown and commercial districts that headquarter national and international companies. Perhaps the greatest asset of the community is the neighborhoods and the people who reside there. Pleasanton Neighborhoods 2008 provides the statistics and location maps for the selected neighborhoods. You will learn about where to shop, where to play, and which schools serve the neighborhood children. With this publication of Pleasanton Neighborhoods, our first in a series of annual collections which will expand over time, we will take you to nine neighborhoods through the eyes of the people who know it best, the residents. The stories will give you a feeling for how it is to live there, from bits of history and recent anecdotes, to views of the neighborhood from the residents themselves.

INDEX Pleasanton Area Map..................................................... 7 Birdland .......................................................................... 9 Foothill Knolls/Laguna Oaks ........................................ 11 Ruby Hill........................................................................ 13 Pleasanton Meadows ................................................... 17 Castlewood ................................................................... 19 Country Fair .................................................................. 21 Mission Park.................................................................. 23

Jeb Bing Publisher/Editor

Gina Channell-Allen President

Vintage Hills ................................................................. 25 Valley Trails ................................................................... 26

S TA F F WRITERS

Emily Atwood Tyler Bierbower NEIGHBORHOODS EDITOR Jeb Bing Janet Pelletier Dolores Fox Ciardelli Deborah Grossman ART DIRECTOR/ Rebecca Guyon MAP DESIGNER/ Cathy Jetter PHOTOGRAPHER Janet Pelletier Shannon Corey Gina Channell-Allen

SALES MANAGER

PLEASANTON WEEKLY

Esmeralda Escovedo-Flores

5506 Sunol Blvd., Suite 100 Pleasanton, CA 94566 (925) 600-0840 www.PleasantonWeekly.com

REAL ESTATE AD COORDINATOR Tracey Fordahl

ON THE COVER Laguna Oaks neighborhood. Photo by Shannon Corey

Additional copies of Pleasanton Neighborhoods 2008 are available at the Pleasanton Weekly office for $5 each. Copyright © 2008 by Embarcadero Publishing Co. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

NEIGHBORHOODS 2008

PRESIDENT

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NEIGHBORHOODS 2008


Pleasanton Featured Pleasanton Neighborhoods

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Ruby Hill Castlewood FA C T S 2008-09 CITY OPERATING BUDGET $156.7 million

POPULATION (2007) 68,755

MEDIAN HOME SELLING PRICE (MAY 2007) $830,000

MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME (2006) $101,122

NEIGHBORHOODS 2008

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leasanton was once a stop for gold seekers in the early 19th century. Its rural atmosphere and tight-knit community made it the quintessential small town in the early 20th century. This characteristic was known even to filmmakers, as Pleasanton was made the backdrop for the movie, “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.” With a population of 68,755, Pleasanton still maintains that small-town feeling. The historic downtown filled with boutique shops and first-class restaurants, award-winning school district and largest sports park in Northern California lend itself to making Pleasanton “family friendly.” Being at the crossroads of I-680 and I-580 makes it a haven for commercial and retail businesses that reach across the nation and around the world. A part of the Tri-Valley, Pleasanton now offers a treasure trove of opportunities for just about every taste and stage of life.

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Birdland Centralized neighborhood has ranching past

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hey don’t call it Birdland for nothing. The suburban neighborhood, bordered by Valley Avenue to the south, Santa Rita Road to the east, Hopyard Road to the West and the Pleasanton Sports Park to the north, features hundreds of homes on streets all named after birds. But if you delved into the community’s past, all of it was farmland, except for 1.5 acres that belonged to the Casterson family, where two homesteads were put in the 1930s. “A big part of Birdland was our ranch, which went from Greenwood down to Crestline and back to Mohr Avenue and there was a canal there,” said Shirley Oxsen Casterson Butler.

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SHANNON COREY

L O C AT I O N

The Birdland neighborhood gets its name from all of the streets, which are named after bird species. Homes here are one-story ranches and two-story colonials.

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children and grandchildren. Birdland is in the most centralized part of the city and is close to Walnut Grove Elementary School, Harvest Park Middle School and Amador Valley High School. —Janet Pelletier

FA C T S FIRE STATION: Station No. 3, 3200 Santa Rita Road

LIBRARY: Downtown branch, 400 Old Bernal Ave.

PARKS: Woodthrush Park, Sports Park

POST OFFICE: 4300 Black Ave.

PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Walnut Grove Elementary School, Harvest Park Middle School, Amador Valley High School

SHOPPING: Hopyard Village Shopping Center, Amador Center, Mission Plaza/Valley Plaza

MEDIAN 2006 HOME PRICE: $926,131 ($775,000-$1,125,000)

# HOMES SOLD IN 2006: 20

NEIGHBORHOODS 2008

Butler, 82, remembers when her father-in-law Al Casterson sold the land, except for about an acre where the two homes that face Valley Avenue and Harvest Park Middle School stood, to Morrison Homes in 1963. The first few homes in Birdland sprung up behind Butler’s house in 1968. It wasn’t an easy transition; however Butler lives by the saying “if you can’t beat them, join them.” “I still feel that we’re a bit of the country in the middle of the city,” she said. Nearly four decades later, the one acre that wasn’t part of Birdland, still has two houses on it. About one-quarter of the acre is Butler’s home that she shares with her husband Robert and three-quarters belongs to the Halle family, which purchased that portion from Butler in 1999. Birdland is mostly made of single-story ranch homes and two-story colonials. “Mainly, the big attraction to Birdland is its consistency,” said Fred Hempy of Valley Brokers. “People have gone above and beyond updating 35-to-40-year-old homes in there—that combined with the schools being close and top-notch is what makes it a big draw.” Hempy said mostly young families are moving into the mature, tree-lined neighborhood while empty-nesters are moving out, venturing to the foothills or to live near their

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NEIGHBORHOODS 2008

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Foothill Knolls & Laguna Oaks Finding the country in the suburbs

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SHANNON COREY

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ake a cruise down Foothill Drive and you’re surrounded by trees, farms, large custom homes and master-planned communities. It’s a slice of the country in the city. Along Foothill, north of Bernal Avenue, a number of communities reside, separated from the rest of Pleasanton by Interstate 680, but just a short drive away to local schools and shopping centers. Sharing Meadowlark Park are the neighborhoods of Foothill Knolls (north) and Laguna Oak (south). Laguna Oaks is a neighborhood of 161 houses, designed as the ultimate family-friendly neighborhood. “We loved it!” says Mary Lou Stuart, mother of three daughters, who moved to Laguna Oaks four years ago. “We could see the neighborhood was full of children and we knew there were children on our court.” The first homes went on sale in 1995 offering a choice of five models—each L O C AT I O N with four to six bedrooms, large Ct i family rooms, r Pu rk wla bonus rooms, o d a Me Park home offices and Milleford Ct Racoon Ct big yards—all Hallow llion Ashton Ct Meda Ct constructed on e Deverea eder Belv t large lots around C a series of cul-deTaken s Ct sacs. The neighr Ct Tudo borhood includes Ln a central recren e s gen Jor ation area with clubhouse and pool, tennis and ve basketball courts, A l rna two playgrounds Be and open space. The neighbors are bound together by the homeowner’s association, governed by a board of directors that is elected by the residents. Mandatory monthly association dues maintain the landscaping, pool and public areas. Cindy Gee, who is co-head of the Laguna Oaks social committee, plans lots of occasions for socialization, including holiday parties, summer potlucks, women’s luncheons and end-of-school-year celebrations at the pool. When Kim Sanchez and her husband Jerry, a local dentist, were looking to buy a home in Pleasanton, they didn’t look any further than Foothill Knolls. The small community of 89 homes just north of Laguna Oaks was better than perfect with its annual Easter egg

Foothill Knolls and Laguna Oaks make up a slice of custom-built homes along scenic Foothill Road, sharing Meadowlark Park.

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hunts, a luminaria on Christmas Eve, holiday party and block parties at Meadowlark Park. The homes are an affluent mix of one-story ranches and two-story homes, valued in the $1-million range. They are built on roughly 1/4- to 1/3-acre lots. The community was built in 1984 and all residents are members of the Foothill Knolls Homeowner’s Association. Fees are $25 per month. Not much has changed in the quaint neighborhood, but the one main change has been the ownership of a northern piece of Meadowlark Park. The entire 5-acre park spans through Foothill Knolls and the Laguna Oaks neighborhood to the south. A small northern piece used to be owned and maintained by the Foothill Knolls HOA, but about 10 years ago, the city took over maintenance and ownership of it when it decided to expand the parkland farther south into Laguna Oaks. FA C T S FIRE STATION: Station No. 4, 1600 Oak Vista Parkway LIBRARY: Downtown branch, 400 Old Bernal Ave. NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Foothill Knolls Homeowners Association, Laguna Oaks Homeowners Association

PARKS: Meadowlark Park POST OFFICE: 4300 Black Ave.

SHOPPING: Bernal Plaza, Val Vista Shopping Center, Hopyard Village Shopping Center

MEDIAN 2006 HOME PRICE: $1,490,000 ($1,248,000-1,900,000)

# HOMES SOLD IN 2006: 10

NEIGHBORHOODS 2008

PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Lydiksen Elementary School, Hart Middle School, Foothill High School

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Ruby Hill East Pleasanton gated community offers upscale housing, renowned golfing

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Ruby Hill is an exclusive, gated community of new, large homes on Pleasanton’s east side. Residents are surrounded by lush vineyards and the Ruby Hill Golf Course, designed by famed golfer Jack Nicklaus.

Although a private community, an agreement with the Ruby Hill Homeowners Association and the Pleasanton Police Department allows regular patrols and police and fire services. The community also has its own 24-hour private security guards who patrol Ruby Hill and staff entrance gates at West and East Ruby Hill Boulevard. The Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department has a station off Vineyard Avenue just west of Ruby Hill. —Tyler Bierbower

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SHANNON COREY

uilt in 1992, Ruby Hill has grown to become one of Pleasanton’s most exclusive communities. Developed by Signature Properties, Ruby Hill is comprised of 850 residential lots. All but 50 now have homes. There are many different types of upscale homes in the gated community. The first 200 homes—2,200- to 4,000square-foot models—sold originally in the $400,000-plus range. Prices of these homes today on the resale market range from $1.2 million to $1.6 million. Townhouses are up to 4,000 square feet and sell for $1.7 million. The rest of the homes in Ruby Hill are custom built, with prices now ranging from $1.7- to $7 million. Architecture ranges from Italian, Mediterranean, Craftsman to Country French and all of the homes have three-car garages. Most lot sizes are 1/2 acre to 2/3 acre and some of the premium ones are 1 acre. The homL O C AT I O N eowner’s Vineyard Ave association fee of $195 per month Rub yH ill R d provides such Ruby amenities as Hill Park a 24-hour te Dr on m Pie privately Pineto Pl guarded gated ni Vanti Wy Ru entrance, a Ruby Golf Club by Ru Hi r Clubhouse by ll R ale Hi community Di S d y Via in W d ala P center, tennis Antonini courts, sports fields, a basWy ano ketball court Germ Kalthoff Com and open space with parks and hikd Hill R Ruby ing trails. Winding through the center of the community is the private Ruby Hill Golf Club, designed by golf legend Jack Nicklaus. Memberships range from $55,000 for individuals to $70,000 for families, with monthly fees of $450. All but 15 percent of Ruby Hill is in the Pleasanton Unified School District. Although homeowners in the far eastern section are in the Livermore school district, an agreement between the two districts allows all school-age children in Ruby Hill to attend Pleasanton schools. A proposed 10th elementary school designed to serve the Ruby Hill and Vineyard Corridor communities—Neal Elementary—has not yet been built, with most elementary school students attending nearby Vintage Hills and Valley View schools. ll R

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FA C T S FIRE STATION: Station No. 5, 1200 Machado Place LIBRARY: Downtown branch, 400 Old Bernal Ave. NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Ruby Hill Homeowners Association

PARKS: Ruby Hill Community Park, Shadow Cliffs Regional Park

POST OFFICE: 4300 Black Ave. Vintage Hills Elementary, Valley View Elementary, Pleasanton Middle School, Amador Valley High School

SHOPPING: Rubino Center, Oak Hills Shopping Center

MEDIAN 2006 HOME PRICE: $2,175,000 ($1,135,000-5,900,000)

# HOMES SOLD IN 2006: 49

NEIGHBORHOODS 2008

PUBLIC SCHOOLS:

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Windermere East B Faran CEO/Broker

Jahan Honardoost President

Rosa Sierra REALTOR/ASP

Will Doerlich GRI, Broker, Notary

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Nima Nouri Real Estate Agent

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Barbara Davis-Gayles Real Estate Agent Ciyavash Moazzami Land Specialist

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NEIGHBORHOODS 2008

Elaine Thompson-Perez REALTOR, ePro

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7765 Dublin Green Court, Dublin $679,950 A Westside Dublin Green Beauty, Views! 4 Br, 2.5 Baths, Approx. 1,855 sq. ft. + Pool.

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1332 Safreno Way, Pleasanton $1,815,289 5 Bedrooms, 4.5 Baths, Approximately 3,892 sq. ft. Over 1/2 acre premium lot.

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11862 Dublin Green Dr Dublin $705,000 231 Stetson Drive, Danville $895,000 A Westside Dublin Green Beauty! 4 Bed- Views! Views! Views! 5 Bedroom+ Master rooms, 2.5 Baths, Approx. 1,855 sq. ft. Retreat, 3 Baths, Approx. 2,425 sq. ft.

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Views! Views! Views! Pleasanton Fabulous Ct. Location. One Story, 3200 sq. ft., 4 BR, 2.5 Baths 1/3 Acre Flat Lot, Price TBD

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3234 Silverland Drive $799,950 Gorgeous Interior, 4 Bedrooms, 3 Full Baths, Approx. 1878 sq.ft., 2 Car Garage

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612 Paradise Valley Ct Danville $859,000 4 Bedrooms 2.5 Baths, Approx. 2,137 sq. ft. - Excellent Location. Premium Lot.

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1918 Highridge Ct. Walnut Creek $739,000 Excellent Court Location - Beautiful Interior, 3 Bedrooms, 2.5 Baths, Approx. 1820 sq.ft.

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Pleasanton Meadows Neighborhood consistently attracts families in the northeast

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Pleasanton Meadows has a unique quality—a large greenbelt that leads to Fairlands Elementary School. It’s also close to Interstate 580 and shopping centers.

also a condo unit by Santa Rita with its own pool. In the ‘90s the residents erected a “Pleasanton Meadows” sign at Santa Rita and West Las Positas. Yet, if you ask Campisi where she lives, she’ll say Fairlands. “It depends on how closely the family is tied to the school,” said resident Gloria Fredette. “Those who never had kids in Fairlands (Elementary School) or live farther from Fairlands Drive more frequently call the neighborhood ‘Pleasanton Meadows.’” Neighborhood residents keep their eyes on the future of the Staples Ranch development and the possible extension of Stoneridge Drive to El Charro. They helped block the extension of West Las Positas to Livermore and expansion of Livermore Airport. But Pleasanton Meadows remains a place where neighbors phone when you inadvertently leave the garage door open at night and babysit your kids in a pinch. —Deborah Grossman

FA C T S FIRE STATION: Station No. 3, 3200 Santa Rita Road LIBRARY: Downtown branch, 400 Old Bernal Ave. PARKS: Fairlands Park, Meadows Park POST OFFICE: 4300 Black Ave. PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Fairlands Elementary School, Hart Middle School, Amador Valley High School, Foothill High School

SHOPPING: Rose Pavilion Shopping Center, Meadow Plaza/Santa Rita Square, Cort Furniture Rental Plaza

MEDIAN 2006 HOME PRICE: $800,000 ($688,000-900,000)

# HOMES SOLD IN 2006: 19

NEIGHBORHOODS 2008

Over the years, Pleasanton Meadows, with its unique greenbelt that connects to Fairlands Elementary School and community pool, has consistently attracted families. Bordered by I-580 to the north, Staples Ranch to the east, Santa Rita Road to the west and West Las Positas Boulevard to the south, the area inhabits Pleasanton’s northeast corner. Development began by Rouseau Development in 1968. The homes are anywhere from 1,300 square feet to 2,500 square feet. The Pleasant Meadows Cabana Club (PMCC) remains the communal heart of the community. The club holds an annual Easter egg hunt, grand opening BBQ, and fall adult wine and food party. The summer PMCC swim team competes with local teams. Another 300 houses and townhomes, not part of the original subdivision with its cabana club, were built after the mid-’80s. At the northeastern end, residents in newer homes enjoy the compact but picturesque Meadows Park. There is

SHANNON COREY

retchen Clatworthy did not see her Pleasanton Meadows home on Landsdown Court until the day she moved in. Her husband had scrutinized the house and phoned with the news that daughter Alycia could ride her bike to Fairlands Elementary without crossing a street. This, thought Clatworthy in 1974, is my kind of neighborhood. When Andrea Campisi house-hunted in Pleasanton Meadows in 1993, she imagined strolling daughter Samantha to the park and watching her play with other toddlers on the cul-de-sac. She noticed convenient shops and easy access to I-580. She was sold.

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NEIGHBORHOODS 2008


Castlewood Hillside neighborhood full of history, trees, views—and golf

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SHANNON COREY

Castlewood, southwest of Pleasanton city limits, is known for its Mediterranean and California mission-style architecture. The sprawling homes are located in the hills on the west side of Interstate 680.

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another wave of building in the late ‘80s to early ‘90s, and there are now 167 homes in Castlewood. Since Castlewood lies outside the city limits, it receives police services from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department, although the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department provides fire protection. Estelle Newcomb, a resident since 1971, said her neighbors are an important part of her life. “We’re a very caring neighborhood,” she said. “Recently when our daughter was very ill, every neighbor offered to help us shop or do whatever.” Newcomb, who was a community relations consultant and is known for her efforts to rebuild the Amador Theater and other work in the Tri-Valley, was also instrumental in getting the tennis courts installed at the club. —Dolores Fox Ciardelli

FA C T S FIRE STATION: Station No. 4, 1600 Oak Vista Parkway LIBRARY: Downtown branch, 400 Old Bernal Ave. PARKS: Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park POST OFFICE: 4300 Black Ave. PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Hearst Elementary School, Pleasanton Middle School, Foothill High School SHOPPING: Koll Shopping Center, Oak Hills Shopping Center

MEDIAN 2006 HOME PRICE: $1,527,333 ($1,200,000-$2,290,000)

# HOMES SOLD IN 2006: 9

NEIGHBORHOODS 2008

t’s all about the views. The views, the heavily wooded lots and the country club. Castlewood, just south of Pleasanton city limits, covers some 500 acres, which were purchased by George Hearst in 1886 to use for hunting. After his death in 1891, his widow Phoebe Apperson Hearst had architect Julia Morgan design a palatial home for the site. “People like the history of the area,” said Marty Sborov, a Realtor who specializes in Castlewood homes and also lives there. “You can’t find the same type of architecture or horticultural selections any place else in Pleasanton and we owe that to Phoebe Hearst. She set the standard for the Mediterranean and California mission architecture with all of these palm trees.” Castlewood also enjoys 90 million gallons each year of free water provided by San Francisco in perpetuity per a deal negotiated by L O C AT I O N Phoebe Hearst. Castlewood Country Club (private) She died in 1919, and the estate was Ca od stle lewo do sold in 1924 Cast d wn R R d Clubhouse to a group of businessmen. The acreage Ca stl ew became known oo dD r as Castlewood, Ca stl in deference to ew Oak oo Ln dD the impressive r appearance of Ln Castlewood Country ntry Cou Club (private) the Hacienda and to its wooded hills. “That’s when we started seeing some of these larger type estates being built, around 1920-1935,” said Sborov. “These were mostly second homes for wealthy residents of San Francisco or Oakland, including those who made their fortunes from Weber pencils and Ghirardelli chocolate.” The businessmen formed a country club and hired architect William P. Bell to design the Hill golf course, known for its views and its challenge, according to club literature. In 1954 a more traditional course was added, known as the Valley course. The lots in Castlewood are at least a half acre, said Sborov, and many houses are totally hidden. Most of the homes are 50 years or older. The next building phase came in the 1950s, when ranchstyle homes were built on the golf course. Then there was

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NEIGHBORHOODS 2008


Country Fair Casual elegance at its finest

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The Country Fair neighborhood was built in the 1980s and residents like it for its close proximity to everything in the city.

Nature is a focal point for the neighborhood as it is close to parks, surrounded by trees and provides views of the Pleasanton Ridge. While Pleasanton is known to deal with winds and traffic noise, the trees seem to act as a buffer and keep both of these problems at bay. Country Fair’s central location adds to the neighborhood’s appeal as it’s close to downtown and shopping centers such as Hopyard Village and even Stoneridge Shopping Center. Commuters find it convenient as BART and the ACE train station aren’t too far away. For those looking to stay active, doing things besides walking to nearby restaurants and stores, there’s also a nearby volleyball court on Valley Avenue, the popular tennis park and the Sports Park. —Emily Atwood

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SHANNON COREY

athi Vermont was drawn to the Country Fair neighborhood 23 years ago when she relocated from Texas. Situated like a small pocket just south of Valley Avenue and Hopyard Road, she defines the neighborhood’s style as “casual elegance.” The contemporary style homes in Country Fair and nearby Del Prado were built in phases between 1983 and 1993. It’s a small neighborhood and the older homes feature larger lots with 2,200- to 3,000 square-foot homes. Vermont loves her single-story, three bedroom home and counts the three-car garage as “a big plus.”

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FIRE STATION: Station No. 3, 3200 Santa Rita Road

LIBRARY: Downtown branch, 400 Old Bernal Ave. PARKS: Pleasanton Tennis and Community Park, Pleasanton Sports Park, Hansen Park

POST OFFICE: 4300 Black Ave. PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Walnut Grove Elementary School, Harvest Park Middle School, Amador Valley High School

SHOPPING: Hopyard Village Shopping Center, Val Vista Shopping Center, Main Street

MEDIAN 2006 HOME PRICE: $986,135 ($800,000-1,265,000)

# HOMES SOLD IN 2006: 9

NEIGHBORHOODS 2008

“A one-story is always appealing,” she said. “[Our house] has a great flow. When you have people over and for entertaining there’s a great flow that goes in a circle—the family room, dining room and kitchen.” There are five different models in the development, most of which have been updated at least on the inside. The neighborhood is made up of families. Vermont said there used to be big block parties throughout the year, but now neighbors often get together for potlucks and other activities. She adds that there doesn’t seem to be many neighbors looking to move. “I feel like it’s clean in the center of town and it’s a quiet neighborhood,” Vermont said. “We love it here.”

FA C T S

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NEIGHBORHOODS 2008

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Mission Park Close to everything at reasonable prices

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Homes such as this one in Mission Park generally have 2,000-square-feet of floor space on spacious lots. Priced starting at under $20,000 in the 1960s, the average sales price today is $750,000.

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SHANNON COREY

lose to freeway access, good shopping, Hearst Elementary and Pleasanton Middle schools and one of the best community parks in Pleasanton, Mission Park is nestled between Sunol Boulevard on its western boundary and Mission Hills Park off Independence Drive to the east. A 237-home neighborhood with another 100 apartments and townhomes, Mission Park is not as well known as others in Pleasanton since only one main street— Junipero—passes through it.

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FA C T S FIRE STATION: Station No. 4, 1600 Oak Vista Way LIBRARY: Downtown branch, 400 Old Bernal Ave. PARKS: Mission Hills Park POST OFFICE: 4300 Black Ave. PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Hearst Elementary School, Pleasanton Middle School, Foothill High School SHOPPING: Oak Hills Shopping Center, Main Street MEDIAN 2006 HOME PRICE: $750,000 ($615,000-885,000)

# HOMES SOLD IN 2006: 7

NEIGHBORHOODS 2008

Twelve homes were first built in Mission Park in the mid1960s, but they were hard to sell because the neighborhood at the time was downwind of the city’s sewage processing plant, where the Pleasanton Senior Center is now located. The rest of the lots making up Mission Park were sold by that disappointed investor to the Louis Costanzo and Dee Wilson Development Company, which built 200 homes over the next decade. Dee Wilson, whose Wilson Property Management Company is located at the office building he built at the western edge of Mission Park at 5506 Sunol Blvd., said the first homes sold for $19,500. By the time of buildout, the 2,000-square-foot houses on 6,500square-foot lots were selling in the mid-$30,000s. Fortunately for Wilson, the city closed its sewer plant shortly after construction started and his sales quickly picked up. Homes today sell for $700,000 and up, although there are few for sale. Many homeowners have stayed even though their children have grown and moved away. Still, there are plenty of youngsters in the neighborhood. A drive along Junipero, San Jose, Sonoma and other streets shows toys and tricycles in many driveways, with the sidewalks filled in morning and afternoon with students walking to school. Although there’s no homeowners association in Mission

Park, and no neighborhood land for homeowners to take care of, it’s a closely-knit neighborhood where many residents know each other. Rob Comito moved to his home on Junipero Street 13 years ago, paying less than $300,000, and probably could double the price today if he chose to move. He doesn’t plan to. In the late 1980s, the Oak Hills Shopping Center was built on one of the last remaining commercial parcels in Mission Park, a 14-acre site that now includes a Raley’s Supermarket, several restaurants and other retail and service-oriented amenities. Then the city of Pleasanton built Mission Hills Park at the corner of Independence and Junipero, a park that is considered among the best in the community. By the time the last homes were built—small garden court homes behind Raley’s—Mission Park was completed. As small, cohesive neighborhoods go, this may be the closest to everything residents need and still at a reasonable price for homes, if you can find one for sale.

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NEIGHBORHOODS 2008

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Vintage Hills Small town ambiance in a growing city

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Vintage Hills, located in the eastern Pleasanton hills, is described by Realtors as one of the most desirable neighborhoods in town because it has a lot of charm.

hills on which the homes are built mean wonderful views from many of the neighborhood windows “And”, he added “Vintage Hills doesn’t have any freeway noise. With two freeways running through the city, that is pretty rare.” Homes in Vintage Hills are between 1,400 square feet and 4,000 square feet and range in price from $700,000 to well over $1 million. As community-focused as Vintage Hills is, it lacks the onceconvenient retail center at Bernal and Tawny Drive. Formerly fully occupied with stores such as Romley’s Supermarket, Baskin-Robbins and a Chinese restaurant, only the Vintage Hills Cleaners and the Cutt Company hair salon remain. Although they do a brisk neighborhood business, efforts by the new shopping center owner have yet to attract new tenants. —Cathy Jetter

FA C T S FIRE STATION: Station No. 1, 3560 Nevada St. LIBRARY: 400 Old Bernal Ave. PARKS: Tawny Park, Vintage Hills Park, Kottinger Park, Shadow Cliffs Regional Park

POST OFFICE: 4300 Black Ave. PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Vintage Hills Elementary, Pleasanton Middle School, Amador Valley High School SHOPPING: Main Street, Oak Hills Shopping Center

MEDIAN 2006 HOME PRICE: $910,000 ($651,000-1,550,000)

# HOMES SOLD IN 2006: 36

NEIGHBORHOODS 2008

oes it matter where one neighborhood begins and another ends? Not in the eastern hills of Pleasanton where the Vintage Hills neighborhood has been growing and changing since the late 1960’s. Planted in the rolling terrain where John Kottinger once tended the grapes of Alameda County’s first commercial vineyards, the streets of the original Vintage Hills aptly reflect the area’s history. Tannet, Malbec, Claret, Gamay and Merlot set the trend, quickly followed by Concord, Riesling, Sirah, Grillo and others. As new developers continued expanding the popular area, many continued the xenophile tradition adding L O C AT I O N Zinfandel, Vineyard Ave Malaga, Rhine Chardonnay Wy and Tokay to Sy lva Vineyard n the varieties. Dr er D Victoria y Ave r Ridge Ct und B g r u You can age Chablis Ct a good barrel o Made M ira W of cabernet y Cr B lan esta t faster than you dS Dr cia Crellin Rd Pal om can untangle ino Dr Vintner Wy the boundaries t Pino Ct Vintage Hills Park of the original Arbor Dr divisions of Chian ti Rd Vintage Hills: Vintage Hills I, Vintage Hills I and a Half, Vintage Hills II and Vintage Heights I and II, where most residents think they live in Vintage Hills anyhow. Neighborhood involvement is a long-standing practice at Vintage Hills. John Reding, retired after many years of teaching auto shop at Amador Valley High School, recalled Vintage Hills Elementary School’s first principal, Phyllis Clark, welcoming his family as the Redings settled into their home at the end of Concord Street. “The elementary school was just opening when we moved in across the street in 1974,” Reding said. “Phyllis lived just two doors down from us and she was there helping the day we moved in. Not long after, Phyllis asked if I could see about building a playground for the school. I got a bunch of guys together and we built the first Vintage Hills playground.” Local Realtors report that Vintage Hills is still one of the city’s most desirable locations. “There’s just so much charm there,” explained Gina Piper of Prudential Realty. “Homes in newer developments can have a cookie-cutter feel, but in Vintage Hills there is a lot of character. Every home is different from the rest.” Alain Pinel Realtor Blaise Lofland agreed, adding that the

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Valley Trails

Friendly neighbors, active homeowners make ‘the trail’ a great place to live

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NEIGHBORHOODS 2008

“We have a lot of young families with children and a lot of original owners,” said Connie Cox, Realtor and president of the Valley Trails Homeowners Association. Nancy Johnston is one of the neighborhood’s original homeowners who still lives in Valley Trails today. When she and her husband moved to Valley Trails in 1971 from Oakland with their 2-year-old son, they felt like they were moving into the country—an understandable feeling considering Johnston remembers cattle grazing on Hopyard. “We’ve seen our street change many times,” Johnston said. “When we first moved here it was all relatively young families with small children and as they grew up, we’ve seen people move away and then it came back to where it began with a lot of families with young children moving in. We like to see the kids out playing.” Part of the draw to Valley Trails is its active homeowner’s association. Membership in the association is voluntary, but most residents join because it offers a way to stay involved 26 with the community and address neighborhood issues.

SHANNON COREY

ot far from the hustle and bustle of Hopyard Road, Pleasanton residents will find the quiet courts of the Valley Trails neighborhood. The neighborhood starts at Hopyard and follows the U-shape of North and South Valley Trails roads with West Las Positas Boulevard marking the dividing line between Valley Trails and Val Vista. This configuration means there are only two entrances in and out of the neighborhood, making it a quiet and safe place despite its close proximity to I-680. Founded 35 years ago, Valley Trails is mostly comprised of courts that jut off of North and South Valley Trails and open on to Valley Trails Park, which runs through the center of the neighborhood. Paved walkways and open green space lend to the serene feel and a playground at the end shows the familyfocus of the neighborhood.

Valley Trails is known for its close proximity to the Sports Park and residents are active members of the local homeowner’s association.

“It’s very much an owner-oriented homeowner’s association relative to, say, places where you have a mandated association,” said Valley Trails resident Milan Tomic, who lived in Valley Trails for 10 years before moving in 2003 and is now returning to the community this year. “Our association is very different because it is a voice for the neighborhood.” The association formed 17 years ago originally to address the need for new playground equipment in the park, Cox said. Since then, it has lobbied for many neighborhood issues, such as getting Valley Trails out of the flood zone, restricting the development of low-income homes on non-residential property, street repaving and planting trees by the freeway, just to name a few. “People at the city have told us we’re the most active homeowners association in the city,” Cox said. —Rebecca Guyon

FA C T S FIRE STATION: Station No. 2, 6300 Stoneridge Mall Road

LIBRARY: 400 Old Bernal Ave. NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Valley Trails Homeowners Association

PARKS: Valley Trails Park, Pleasanton Tennis and Community Park, Pleasanton Sports Park

POST OFFICE: 4682 Chabot Drive PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Donlon Elementary School, Hart Middle School, Amador Valley High School SHOPPING: Val Vista Shopping Center, Hopyard Village Shopping Center

MEDIAN 2006 HOME PRICE: $722,500 ($620,000-923,000)

# HOMES SOLD IN 2006: 16


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Neighborhoods 2008 - Section 1