Blogging Bayport Alameda

July 19, 2011

Consenting adults

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Development, Measure A, Northern Waterfront — Tags: , — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

Tonight, the City Council — in addition to reviewing the two Police contracts — will also be considering the Boatworks density bonus application and approving (or not) the tentative map for the property.    As I mentioned last week, there was no opposition at the Planning Board meeting when the Planning Board voted to recommend approval of the application and tentative map.

To recap, there will be 182 units on site and the developer has put in a density bonus application to waive Measure A for certain units on the site.   And unlike other projects, the City will have to tread carefully because of the ruling in the lawsuit filed against the City.

So, hypothetically, one Council person could make a stand against the waiver of Measure A and vote against approving the project, but it would be symbolic more than actually practical, because if the City Council didn’t vote, it could open itself up to a lot more trouble and the spectre of a blanket approval for anything the developer wanted to put at Boatworks.

Additionally, the City Council will be considering an amendment to the current contract between the City of Alameda and the County to provide EMS service.    The contract amendment is part of the consent calendar but more likely than not it will get pulled.   The uninteresting part is the actual amendment which just extends the contract period until a new contract can be negotiated.   The interesting part is what got left out of the contract that was executed earlier this year and negotiated last year:

The enactment of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Act in 1980 included important language under the California Health and Safety Code (CHSC) Section 1797.201. This section of the CHSC granted fire agencies that provided or contracted for EMS services on or before June 1 , 1980 , the right to continue those services in perpetuity unti such time as they voluntarily entered into an agreement with the Local Emergency Medical Services Agency (LEMSA).

The original Ambulance and Paramedic Provider Agreement between the City and County executed on December 14, 1999 , contained important language regarding the retention of the City s Section 1797.201 rights. This language protected the City exclusive right to continue to provide basic life support, advanced life support, and ambulance transport services without a competitive bid process. It also provided the City with state action immunity under federal anti-trust laws as described in CHSC Section 1797.6. This language was continued in the subsequent agreement that expired on October 31 , 2005. When this agreement expired , no replacement was executed until January 2011 , for the fiscal year that commenced July 1 , 2010. The current agreement contains language that was significantly altered from the previous versions and could present a challenge to the City for exclusive rights to deliver basic life support, advanced life support, and ambulance transport services as discussed.


It’s unclear if the omission of the clause was intentional or accidental.  I’m going to go with accidental since during the discussions around the topic late last year the subject of waiving the City’s exclusive right to provide EMS service was never discussed by the Council and therefore never given as direction.    Fortunately, someone (kudos to the sharp eyed staff person who noticed) realized the possibly serious error and staff has noted that the language will be included in the new agreement.

As an aside, I will say that I totally agree with Nancy Hird that the employment contracts should probably not be on the consent calendar.   I realize that someone will probably pull it for discussion, but the consent calendar is one of those things that is easy to overlook because the important stuff is usually on the agenda.


  1. After studying the pictures of the current structures and renditions of the proposed buildings in your link, I stand in favor of saving the current buildings and placing them on the historical register with the stipulation they can only be used as an artist colony.

    If there’s one thing this city doesn’t need it’s more ugly cookie cutter boxes arranged in neat little rows with neat little people living neat little cookie cutter lives.

    Comment by Jack Richard — July 19, 2011 @ 8:45 am

  2. Jack: Just curious what you consider “neat little cookie cutter lives”.

    Comment by Lauren Do — July 19, 2011 @ 10:03 am

  3. O I just could’t resist


    Comment by frank — July 19, 2011 @ 11:19 am

  4. Jack I know your probably busy on the video..LOL

    A female adolescent, usually between the age of 15 and 25 (but most notorious in High Schools), whom bears an almost uniformic exterior appearance consisting of a basic fashion formula designed to include high visual contrast:
    -artificially tan skin (usually orange-y)
    -streaked or bleach blonde hair, or very dark hair
    -possesses blue or light-colored eyes, indicating a recessive gene or colored contacts; can also be very dark-colored eyes
    -bleached teeth
    -wears light-colored clothes to pronounce contrast
    -is of white ethnicity (in most cases)
    -wears thick makeup
    -wears form-fitting pants that show detailed form of lower body
    -is able to make the f__king annoying “click-clack” sound with chewing gum

    Marked by sameness and a lack of originality; mass-produced. Often used to describe suburban housing developments where all of the houses are based on the same blueprints and are differentiated only by their color.

    Comment by John — July 19, 2011 @ 11:31 am

  5. “The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to down dissent and originality. … Their purpose, in brief, is to make docile and patriotic citizens, to pile up majorities, and to make John Doe and Richard Doe as nearly alike, in their everyday reactions and ways of thinking, as possible.” —H.L. Mencken

    Comment by Jack Richard — July 19, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

  6. Wearing my Alameda Architectural Preservation Society President hat, I am very sad to say that I think Measure A has gone the way of the dinasour with Density Bonus. With regards ti Boatworks, I hope they deconstruct rather than demolish. I hear there are some awesome old redwood beams that should be recycled into a new structure. I sure hope some speakers will address this at the meeting tonight.

    Comment by Nancy Hird — July 19, 2011 @ 12:27 pm

  7. the proposal looks god awful. I hope Collins can’t sell them. It doesn’t look like he gives a damn about the impact on this town or anything but his bottom line. I know he has spent a lot on legal fees, but that is separate issue from architectural and city planning aspects of the project and really no excuse . And to think previous proposals were worse! But this is where Alameda has screwed itself. I actually think the new warehouse style loft buildings across the estuary, from where Pier 29 was, down to the East would be a huge improvement over these rows of little boxes Collins has come up with. If the density bonus is used to override Measure A why can’t it be used to thwart the anti-multiple unit thing altogether and give us some decent condos?

    I get how Measure A stopped towers at Bay Farm and stopped decimation of Victorians for the hideous apartments which are twenty units deep on old single family unit lots, and that is all very good, but time has caught up with us and so has draconian nature of Measure A. Measure A won’t even allow return of apartments over retail in historic buildings which were built to house apartments but have seen them go to offices. We need to “reform” Measure A before we get more of this garbage rammed down our throats.

    Comment by M.I. — July 19, 2011 @ 12:27 pm

  8. The city’s decision to opt into the state’s new “pay to play” redevelopment scheme is also on the agenda tonight. The city has to promise to fork over its $5.2 share of the $1.2B in redirected RDA money that the state is seeking for this year, and a much smaller amount in coming years, to “permit the continued existence” of its redevelopment agency. According to the memo, the city is prepared to take the money out of redevelopment, by some means. If it failed to do so, it would have to abandon projects already in the pipeline.

    The memo is a good summary of the issues. I haven’t seen much discussion otherwise.

    Also note that the CRA filed suit in the Cal Supreme Court yesterday, seeking an injunction against the state until ABX 26 and ABX 27 can be litigated. Other cities are in worse shape than Alameda: Oakland owes $40M, Emeryville owes $13M, and Richmond owes $10M.

    6.B. Urgency Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Alameda, California, Determining It Will Comply with the Alternative Voluntary Redevelopment Program Pursuant to Part 1.9 of Division 24 of the California Health and Safety Code in Order to Permit the Continued Existence and Operation of the Community Improvement Commission of the City of Alameda. [Requires four affirmative votes] (Housing Department)

    “On June 29, 2011 , as part of adopting the State of California Fiscal Year (FY) 2011-
    budget, the Governor signed two trailer bils , AS Xi 26 and AS Xi 27, into law. The
    legislation was effective on June 29, 2011. AS Xi 26 eliminates redevelopment
    agencies as of October 1 , 2011. AS Xi 27 provides an opportunity for redevelopment
    agencies to “opt- ” and continue to operate and function if the sponsoring jurisdiction
    (the City of Alameda) adopts an ordinance by October 1, 2011.

    Due to a number of Community Improvement Commission of the City of Alameda (CI
    commitments and obligations, in particular, a bond debt service payment due
    September 1 , 2011 , and the need to meet certain deadlines to implement the Islander
    Motel acquisition and rehabiltation project, it is recommended that the City Council
    adopt an urgency ordinance to permit the continued existence and operation of the CIC.”

    Comment by dlm — July 19, 2011 @ 12:38 pm

  9. On the density bonus — I don’t think anyone on the Council would object to it. They’ve already discussed it at great length, and city staff has relied on the density bonus thruout their lengthy negotiations on the Boatworks project, at the city’s direction.

    Measure A is crucial to the application of the density bonus because it establishes the base number of units to be built on the site — that’s the number allowable under local zoning. Then the density bonus is calculated as a percentage of the base number, depending on how many affordable units the developer offers to build.

    So it makes a big difference whether the site is originally zoned for 125 units or 250 units or whatever, because that limits the overall number of units and the number of units added via the density bonus.

    Once the total number of allowable units is established, then the city has to relax other zoning requirements so the lot will accommodate all the units — which could mean smaller setbacks, less parkintg, or multi-story buildings. That’s how they arrived at the Boatworks plan, which has a mix of building types.

    Comment by dlm — July 19, 2011 @ 12:57 pm

  10. 9. thanks for that. I just don’t have patience to wade through the minutia, but the devil is in the details and it is very helpful to have a basic explanation. Is the plan a mix of building types? at quick glance it all looked like all the same little duplexy things.

    Comment by M.I. — July 19, 2011 @ 1:27 pm

  11. # 2
    Those that begat these…

    Comment by Jack Richard — July 19, 2011 @ 1:49 pm

  12. #10, yes, most people hate dealing w/ the density bonus. On the Boatworks site, I think they’re planning single family homes on tiny plots, townhomes, and a multi-story building for apartments, something like 3 or 4 stories.

    Comment by dlm — July 19, 2011 @ 2:11 pm

  13. Glad you finally woke up to the consent calendar, LDo! FYI, the “someone” who can pull items for discussion is not limited to those sitting on the dais. It can be anyone in the audience who submits a speaker’s slip in advance of the consent calendar. If a topic interests you, i recommend you don’t wait for a councilmember to pull it–do it yourself!

    “cookie-cutter” effect was sung about by Malvina Reynolds in “Little Boxes” re:Daly City

    “& they’re all made out of ticky-tacky & they all look just the same….”

    Comment by alameda vigilante — July 19, 2011 @ 7:29 pm

  14. 7, 9, 10: The final mix of housing types is still under negotiation with Collins, the potential buyers, and our Planning folks. Last night, though, I believe that Andrew Thomas mentioned townhouses, condos, apartments, duplexes, and single-family homes as being in the mix. One big advantage of this development: residents will automatically get transit passes and memberships in City Car Share with a waiver of the usual 2-plus parking spaces per dwelling unit rule. This will encourage residents to walk, use transit, bike,and otherwise have an option to rent or buy housing units without paying for two parking spaces if they so choose. I like this part of the proposal a lot, although I have always opposed Collins’ plans because they never included open space, estuary access, or green designs. (The 2 acres now included is still inadequate, IMHO.)

    Comment by Jon Spangler — July 20, 2011 @ 6:57 pm

  15. 14
    You can wrap a pig in fine silk but but it’ll still end up as shit.

    Comment by Jack Richard — July 20, 2011 @ 7:17 pm

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