It appears that many Dubliners feel the city is bursting at the seams. And recent stats add more fuel to the fire.
In recently released population statistics that surprised virtually no one in Dublin, the state proclaimed Alameda as the second-fastest-growing county in the state, while our beloved Dublin was the third-fastest-growing city. And, as the Times previously reported, when you consider that the two fastest growing cities in the state's report -- McFarland (Kern County) and Chowchilla (Madera County) both have large state prisons that experienced increases in the number of inmates, which is included in the population stats, Dublin could very well be No. 1.
"The numbers themselves were not a surprise, we all recognize that Dublin is growing," says City Council Member Abe Gupta. "We are situated in a very optimal area with easy access to BART and a thriving business climate. Our schools are well funded, and as a city we're a very popular destination for families, young professionals and seniors -- a rare statement for a Bay Area community."
While no one would argue with Gupta on the attractiveness of Dublin, there continues to be -- as I've previously reported -- a growing drumbeat of people who say this bedroom community does not need many more bedrooms.
"Dublin is definitely growing too fast, says Dublin resident Danielle Cooper.
"The freeways are a mess. On weekends, the stores and what few restaurants we have are crowded. The schools are bursting at the seams. This city is not ready for the houses we have."
The state says Dublin's population jumped from 49,932 in 2012 to 53,462 in 2013, an increase of 7.1 percent. And you can count on 2014 numbers to keep climbing higher as additional new housing comes on line. In fact, the 2013 population is already ahead of what the city projected for 2014 (50,254), and it looks very likely that the 2014 number may actually break through projections for the year 2019 (55,169).
"I love Dublin, but the explosive growth is negatively effecting our quality of life," adds resident Dan Scannell. "The resulting traffic is already horrible, and there are over 4,000 housing units that have been approved and not yet built that will further worsen the situation."
Many of these residents say the city is just too focused on housing, while not doing enough to bring in more commercial and quality retail tenants for a more balanced approach.
Councilman Gupta agrees it is "shortsighted" to place more emphasis on housing versus commercial and retail, but says the council is working to find a balance.
"A hot, hot housing market doesn't necessarily help the city. We need balanced smart growth," says Gupta, who emphasized that getting lost in the debate are the city's efforts to continue and attract high tech and high quality retail.
"We don't want to merely be a residential city, we want smart growth. I think we can achieve that."
Dublin Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Hanke says that while growth over the past five years has been a "significant positive" to help the district through the economic downturn, DUSD now faces major challenges from the fast-increasing student population and continuing questions about state funding.
"We are challenged by the pace of growth and our ability to house the students. This is more of an issue with state funding and the lack of a state bond measure than any local growth initiative," says Hanke, noting that in the meantime, expect to see temporary portable classrooms brought on line to make room for the all the new young residents.
"We anticipate the potential of a state bond measure in 2014 or 2016 and are confident a new measure will mitigate the challenges we have in Dublin," Hanke added.
Developers have plans drawn up to add hundreds of new single-family homes and some higher density housing, primarily in central Dublin (e.g. Camp Parks and next to BART) and in east Dublin, where bulldozers and other construction vehicles are just an everyday part of the landscape.
"It's becoming embarrassing," said Cooper. "When I look toward my home I see a sea of homes. This is not how I envisioned my neighborhood when I bought here 14 years ago."
Contact Alan Elias at firstname.lastname@example.org.