The Planning Board on Monday night has lots of neat renderings to look at, so I’m breaking this up into two posts to get the full graphic goodness. The first set of plans are for Alameda Landing’s affordable housing development which was handed off to veteran non-profit housing developer RCD to take the lead on.
If you have not visited the Alameda Landing side of the island recently, you will not have noticed the construction going on at both the residential housing site and the retail side. Close to the Target, Tri Pointe homes is chugging along and has the frames of one of its larger buildings erected. Safeway’s exterior metal shell has been built up giving you a clear idea of the massing of the eventual building. The smaller units fronting Fifth Street have also started going up as well. At the remnant parcel, the underground storage containers have gone in for the gas station.
So, I’m going to tell you a little bedtime story about how sausage sometimes gets made. This particular sausage never got out of the conceptual stage but here’s a peek into process. This story was confirmed by three separate independent sources, all of whom are very trustworthy, but the details were just a tad different in the three different stories, so I’m just going to give you the gist of the story and not delve too much into detail. I will point out that no one I mention in the story below is a source.
In a very special land, across the narrow sea, there was the nation of, let’s just call it Alamedaos. In Alamedaos there is an important, um, tournament that occurs every November where the Alamedaosi select two members of the Small Council of education. Sometimes external forces attempt to affect the selection ahead of time. In Alamedaos, the Iron Bank of Braeavos approached one of the current Small Council members to see if that member would be interested in horse trading.
Interesting that a discussion arose around the permit department in yesterday’s post. I had been meaning to write this post for a while but got distracted by other things going on. Recently I had a project that required pulling permits for, so I guess my advice for anyone who doesn’t know anything about the permit process in Alameda is: hire an architect. Seriously, just do it.
However, if you are a cheapskate like me and rationalize that my hourly rate is probably way lower than that of a professional architect, read on. So, like a dumbass, I decided that I would pull all the permits myself, because see cheapskate above. Now, I read everything that I could get my hands on about the permitting process and honestly I still was rather puzzled about what I was supposed to do. I knew that I had to pull permits, but honestly that was all that I knew. So I tried calling in to understand if I needed to bring in drawings or something like that and I was given kind of a cagey answer. I think the person on the line wasn’t officially supposed to give out information in case he gave out the wrong information so he was vague at best. I figured it would be best to make a trip down there just to talk to someone in person.
The first time I went I attempted to squeeze in a visit about an hour before school was to let out so around 1:30 ish. I thought that it wouldn’t take more than an hour to wait, right? Wrong. I left empty handed without talking to anyone at my first visit because the wait was that long and I had to pick up my kid at school. I did, however, take home a bunch of the printouts they had, determined to, at least, fill out the application prior to the next visit.
So while building permit fees did not triple on July 15, 2014, there is a proposal slated for the next City Council meeting to raise some of the fees on the City’s Master Fee Schedule. That link is to last year’s Master Fee Schedule and the newest one is proposed in this agenda item for next week, from the staff report:
On January 22, 1992, the City Council adopted Resolution Number 12191, codifying all fees for services and linking the rate at which the City’s fee schedule may be increased to the Consumer Price Index for the San Francisco Bay Area. Subsequently each year, via resolution, the fee structure is revised and updated to streamline fee collection. This year the City has incorporated a new Development Impact Fees (DIF), introduced by City Council at the July 1, 2014 City Council meeting. If the new DIF are passed at tonight’s City Council meeting, future increases to the DIF will be based on the Engineering News Record Construction Price Index for the San Francisco Bay Area.
On October 3, 2006, the City Council approved Resolution 14027, Amending Master Fee Resolution No. 12191 to Revise and Streamline the Planning & Building, Public Works, and Fire Department Fee Schedules, to allow for 100% cost recovery.
Under a post last week someone posted this:
Might want to check with planning……But I think all building permits in Alameda were going to be tripled July 15,2014…..So landlords wanting to do upgrades will pass on these costs…..Wholesale Lumber Costs are up almost triple since Jan 2008….Plus any new bond issues and new taxes just get passed onto to Renters…..
When other folks pushed back and said that the information didn’t sound quite right, crickets.
This, people, is how rumors get started.
What the City Council did a few weeks ago was to increase the Development Impact Fee for new construction. Now, arguably, you can say that the notice given about this development impact fee increase was pretty miserable and that the only real group outside of the city staff to have input on the increased fees was the Chamber of Commerce. But framing this as “all building permits” that will affect landlord upgrades is not exactly precise.
I know I’ve mentioned how much I love the City Clerk’s office. Well, the City Clerk sends out a list of all the people who pull papers for City Council and for Mayor every single day. You can get on the list if you like by emailing the City Clerk, it’s really quite a treat at the end of the day.
Of course, much like any surprise sometimes it ends up to be a really awesome treat, sometimes it ends in disappointment.
Unsurprisingly Mayor Marie Gilmore has come right out of the gate and pulled her papers on the first day they were available to pull. This should make any possible contenders a little more wary about challenging a sitting incumbent who hasn’t done that much to upset a large number of people. The resident cranky people who like to bitch in general aren’t indicative of the large silent majority. Only a really high profile candidate or a really big scandal would be enough to unseat her.
As to the list of potential City Council candidates, it’s been pretty underwhelming thus far.
Last night the City Council went ahead and created that Housing Cost Task Force aka understanding why rents are so high in Alameda even though they decided to remove it from the Housing Element. Apparently staff will come back with a recommendation so I imagine that the affordable housing folks in Alameda will watchdog this promise to make sure that it actually happens.
It feels like almost every day there is yet another article about how high rents are in the Bay Area. Yesterday SF Gate had another article talking about the rise in rents even as supply in some cities is growing. Excerpt:
The average asking rent in the nine-county Bay Area hit $2,158 a month in the second quarter — an increase of 5.6 percent from the first quarter and 10.3 percent from the second quarter of last year, according to a survey by RealFacts.
Not Alameda related at all but, holy crap, have you all been following the ridiculous “Six States” proposal that is slated for the ballot in 2016? I mean, I don’t even know what the point of this is other than to create rampant poverty in the Central Valley, I mean “Central California.”
Here’s a good map to see how much per capita income tax revenue and welfare spending per capita is spent per the proposed regions.
Here’s a good synopsis of the history and challenges if this ballot measure actually receives any traction at all:
As a reminder tonight Alameda United Commercial will be on the agenda for the City Council. Should be an interesting agenda item or perhaps one that we learn absolutely nothing about.
Also on the agenda tonight is Housing Element which has a weird reference in the Staff Report here regarding the creation of a Housing Cost and Rents Task Force:
Although all members of the Planning Board were in support of the idea of a Council-appointed task force to study the issue, three of the seven members did not agree that the program calling for a Housing Costs and Rents Task Force should be in the Housing Element.
The one big thing on the Planning Board’s agenda tonight (other than voting in new officers) is the Estuary Park conceptual design. Estuary Park for those that may not be familiar with it can be found here:
It’s parcel 1A in yellow. Yes I realize that Rosenblum is moving and Island High no longer exists at Miller School but this was a map I created in 2008.