Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 24, 2021

The incredible hulk

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

File this under, “why is housing so expensive?”

Property owner has a old timey garage that they want to tear down and build a single family housing unit on. The Zoning Administrator approved the plan with the request for a variance (involved reducing setbacks). The project is called for review by a Planning Board member. Planning Board received 23 pages worth of comments from neighbors (some duplicated) and your usual community group suspects saying that the owner of the property should not be allowed to do what they would like on their property because parking, light, shade, etc and so forth.

I imagine that even if this makes it through the Planning Board it will be Called for Review at the City Council and the property owner will have to sink even more money into the project even though it’s just probably some dude and not ye old “greedy developer.” In fact, it’s probably some mom n’ pop style operation which won’t even move the needle for someone like Tony Daysog who is all about the mom n’ pops only after they’ve started collecting rent and not when they’re creating a building to collect rent.

The interesting thing about this lot is that it has an address and a garage but no actual residential building attached.

Here are some of the reasons why people are opposing this:


June 23, 2021

Affordable housing cost per unit

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:03 am

That Housing Authority proposal is really the gift that keeps on giving because not only will it force Alameda’s NIMBY chorus into a corner and force them to support the project or tell on themselves but also because it has budgets for the last few affordable housing projects developed in Alameda. This is something that has been quite painful to find sometimes and so this will be my placeholder for future discussions about housing and how affordable housing gets built and funded.

First up, Littlejohn Commons, aka that building near the old Del Monte building. It’s senior housing only and there are 31 units. The budget to build:

Cost per unit at Littlejohn Commons: $640,264.


June 22, 2021

Thank you for your support

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

If you were wondering to yourself, “self, I wonder what the East End is going to be big mad about today” you’re in luck, because I’m gonna let you know what they are going to be big mad at and if you guessed it has something to do with housing you nailed it.

See what happened is that School District decided that they didn’t need this property at Eagle and Tilden any longer and so started the process of disposing it.


June 21, 2021

Exclude me

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

It’s not often that Alameda is directly addressed by the White House but it was sure nice of them to do it on a subject that we’re actively talking about given our focus on the Housing Element and meeting our RHNA numbers. While the Planning Board tip toed around definitely saying that A/26 is “in direct conflict” with state law and “is preempted and unenforceable” the White House just blew the whole game off of the “A/26 isn’t exclusionary” or “A/26 is not racist.”

A reminder of what A/26 is:

Article XXVI. Multiple Dwelling Units.
“Sec. 26-1. There shall be no multiple dwelling units built in the City of Alameda.
“Sec. 26-2. Exception being the Alameda Housing Authority replacement of existing low cost housing and the proposed Senior Citizens low cost housing complex, pursuant to Article XXV Charter of the City of Alameda.”
Section 26-3: “The maximum density for any residential development within the City of Alameda shall be one housing unit per 2,000 square feet of land.”

How the Council of Economic Advisors defines exclusionary housing:

Exclusionary zoning laws place restrictions on the types of homes that can be built in a particular neighborhood. Common examples include minimum lot size requirements, minimum square footage requirements, prohibitions on multi-family homes, and limits on the height of buildings. [emphasis added]


June 18, 2021


Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

HCD has some great maps with overlays that are designed to help cities like our understand our demographics better so when it’s time to start planning those Housing Element and affirmatively furthering fair housing we know what metrics to use. Here’s the map for you to play around with but I also screen grabbed a few that I found interesting and notable.

Majority White and Asian tracts, there are no tracts in Alameda with a majority of Black or Latino families:


June 17, 2021

Delay of services

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

If you follow me on Twitter you will know by now that the City Council meeting was a failure of time management all around. First there were too many things on the agenda in the first place. The budget discussion took a solid hour or longer to get through and that was on a special agenda, not even the regular agenda. By 10:00 PM the Council had just finished getting through the consent calendar, but that wasn’t the case either because there were some procedural hiccups which necessitated revisiting an agenda item. All in all, it was a mess and no substantive agenda items were completed for the regular agenda.

Reader, I clocked out at 10:30 PM because I’ve seen enough meeting to know they’re going to end poorly and it would be not worth it to try to see it out to the end. When I picked up the meeting the next day I thought I had made the wrong decision because it looked like a good hour and a half of discussion after I went to bed but turns out the Council did not get through the agenda item because a a supermajority of the Council didn’t want to add extra time after midnight to try to finish off the agenda item.

The agenda item that they abruptly left off at was the police reform and mental health services options.


June 16, 2021

Preempted strike

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am

Okay even though I’m super underwhelmed about the Planning Board punting on the issue of the resolution:

I am always impressed with some of the members of the Planning Board, particularly the newer members who have just been a breath of fresh air after some of the tedious Planning Board meetings of the past.

Essentially this Board recommended the resolution to the City Council but they didn’t feel comfortable making this particular declaration because they’re not lawyers and felt as though this was not within their wheelhouse of decisions to make. I disagree since the Housing and Community Development (HCD) department already made that determination for Alameda but this was an easy way to get out from the firefight that would be folks like ACT and AAPS insisting that A/26 is only “partially” preempted rather than the clearly, on its face violation of state law but agree to disagree.

The partial preemption is a strange tack because it doesn’t really do much other allow people who don’t want A/26 to be labeled as exclusionary have some sort of wobbly leg to continue to balance on. They can “feel” all the want that A/26 is not exclusionary in the face of all the descriptions and definitions of what is exclusionary housing but it won’t change the fact that A/26 falls squarely into those definitions of exclusionary housing.


June 15, 2021

This agenda has everything

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

This City Council agenda is massive tonight, has a bit of everything including a conflict with the League of Women Voters AD18 candidate forum which seems like a huge misstep on the part of the League of Women Voters which should be attuned to important government meetings like, oh, say a City Council meeting and maybe schedule around that meeting.

What’s on deck:

  • Two performance evaluations
  • 2021 -22 and 2022 – 23 Budgets
  • Bike Ped Estuary Crossing project planning funding
  • Continuing COVID state of emergency (requires 4 votes)
  • Update on police reform including evaluation of mental health response program
  • Uses for homelessness grant monies
  • Call for review of HAB’s decision on the Wellness Center
  • And not one, not two, not three but four Council Referrals which could have been an email from Trish Spencer.

June 14, 2021

Dispersed throughout the community

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

Yes I know I’ve written about affirmatively furthering fair housing and how that’s going to shape how Alameda plans to meet the RHNA numbers and getting our Housing Element certified but I’ve found that it typically takes repetition and reminding before people “get” a complex topic. Particularly a topic that they really, really don’t want to understand.

The passage of AB 686 created some new rules for Housing Elements moving forward, specifically it’s relevant for this upcoming cycle so if someone wants to complain that we haven’t had to do that in the past, yes it’s true. But now these are the rules we are now working with.

Now what does “affirmatively furthering fair housing” mean? According to the state:

Under state law, affirmatively further fair housing means “taking meaningful actions, in addition to combatting discrimination, that overcome patterns of segregation and foster inclusive communities free from barriers that restrict access to opportunity based on protected characteristics.”

And to ensure that jurisdictions don’t just say “yes, we are affirmatively furthering fair housing” and then turn around and do nothing they actually need to create a full program on how they are actually going to manage this:

Beginning January 1, 2019, all housing elements must now include a program that promotes and affirmatively furthers fair housing opportunities throughout the community for all persons regardless of race, religion, sex, marital status, ancestry, national origin, color, familial status, or disability, and other characteristics protected by the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Government Code Section 65008, and any other state and federal fair housing and planning law.

Additionally, all housing elements due on or after January 1, 2021, must contain an Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) consistent with the core elements of the analysis required by the federal Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Final Rule of July 16, 2015. [emphasis added]


June 11, 2021

At odds with equity

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

Just a few excerpts from the staff report from the joint Planning Board and HAB meeting on the General Plan. So many emails on this from Bay Farm residents all asking for something to not be in their backyard yet not providing any alternatives other saying “not here.”


The draft General Plan Land Use Element includes policy LU-1 Inclusive and Equitable Land Use and City Design and policy LU-2 Complete Neighborhoods. (Shown below.) These two policies articulate the principle that all Alameda land use plans and regulations should be inclusive and non-discriminatory and that all neighborhoods should be treated and considered equal.

These policies also implement State Fair Housing law, which requires that Alameda identify housing sites throughout the community, in a manner that is consistent with its duty to affirmatively further fair housing (Gov. Code §  65583(c)(10)(A)).  To comply with fair housing requirements, Alameda must ensure that sites zoned to accommodate housing for lower-income households are not concentrated in lower resource areas and segregated concentrated areas of poverty, but rather dispersed throughout the community, including in areas with access to greater resources, amenities, and opportunity, such as Harbor Bay and East Alameda.   Historically, affordable and lower income housing has been concentrated in West Alameda, and the better school, parks, and amenities have been concentrated in East Alameda.

Resolution from the Harbor Bay Community and many emails received in the last month from Harbor Bay residents specifically request that their entire community of approximately 3,000 Alameda residents be “permanently removed” from consideration for providing any additional housing of any kind to assist the City of Alameda and the State of California in the effort to accommodate its regional housing need. Staff finds the Harbor Bay Association resolution at odds with the General Plan’s equity theme and a wide variety of policies in the General Plan that articulate the premise that all neighborhoods are equal, and that all neighborhoods should provide for a variety of housing types and needs, including affordable housing.  [emphasis added]

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