So I’m a little bit overly excited — and not in a good way — about this topic so this will probably span over multiple posts because, well, it’s that big of an issue and it’s pretty important.
On Monday, the Planning Board will be hearing sort of the first step in the Environmental Impact Report for Alameda Point. Now, unlike some people, I’m not pissy about whether or not I think the City is trying to “hide” the fact that they are doing the EIR as though they don’t want people to chime in, no I’m pissy because I don’t understand the point of this.
Okay, strike that, I do understand the point of this, it’s because the City Manager John Russo thinks that we must put in place all entitlements to remove barriers for developers and businesses who want to develop at Alameda Point. Remember when the City staff was recommending that the City take out bonds to take Alameda Point through the whole entitlement process? So, that part didn’t happen, the bond thing, but the EIR is moving forward.
So here’s the part that is sort of obnoxious about the plans thus far, the “Vision” for Alameda Point is just weird. First, the Vision document is this 12 page thing with a bunch of photos and huge font but very little substance.
First of all, I think the visionmakers need to step back and define what “mixed-use” means, because when I read the document and then look at the proposed land uses, I don’t think mixed-use means to the visioneers what mixed-used means to me.
Huge swaths of single use zoning right next to each other does not equal “mixed-use.” The only section that could be considered mixed-use is the “Town Center” portion and that part is tiny.
Interestingly enough, despite the biggest – notwithstanding the Open Space set aside — zoning as being for “Employment” none of the photos in the “Vision” document is of anything employment related. No huge office parks or gleaming corporate buildings. I guess those aren’t as appealing as sidewalk cafes.
Here’s one of the Guiding Design Principles that really had me puzzled, particularly when referenced with the proposed zoning map:
Something will be “distinct” but yet “cohesive” in this mixed used but not really mixed use development. Awesome. I’m not quite sure how the “small town feeling” will be extended into the massive “employment” zoned area since — if we’re being honest here — will probably end up looking like Harbor Bay Business park, but there it is.