Tomorrow night at the City Council meeting, the City Council will be doing a final reading of the 2007-2014 Housing Element. It’s on the Consent Calendar, but it will be pulled. I’ve written about this subject extensively and the City has had extensive meetings on the topic including the various components that have led up to this point.
But as what happens in all cases of things having to do with housing in Alameda, if someone feels as though they weren’t properly engaged regardless of the number of meetings about the subject they will attempt to say that there wasn’t enough notice or public process about the process. Between the last City Council meeting and this City Council meeting, Councilmember Doug deHaan has been making huge waves amongst his peeps to try to build a level of outrage over the Housing Element. Recall, the City started this process in December 2011 to revise the Housing Element and it’s no surprise that Alameda’s Housing Element has been out of compliance for a long long long time.
Based on a few items I’ve received in my inbox, it appears that someone has been marshalling the troops to come out to Tuesday’s City Council meeting to talk about how there needs to be more input into the process to apparently derail the Housing Element, even though Doug deHaan acknowledged at the City Council meeting last week that Alameda opens itself up to litigation if the Housing Element is not approved.
Even worse, Alameda opens itself up to penalization by regional authorities in the form of grant money, if it does not decide to play ball.
So back to rallying the troops, one of the allies that Doug deHaan was hoping to bring to his side was the folks in the Wedge neighborhood. This is the neighborhood around the old Island High School site that was the place where Warmington Homes wanted to build their inclusionary housing units. Apparently Doug deHaan is suggesting that the new Housing Element rezoning and plan would allow for even more units than Warmington Homes was proposing for the site. As a reminder, Warmington was initially proposing 36 units.
According to the Housing Element and all other documents, the Island High site, rezoned, will have a “realistic capacity” of 17 units, it’s Site number 2 on the chart below:
That chart is the land availability chart detailing out what parcels are available to meet Alameda’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment number.
But in case you thought that was a fluke, here’s a list of all the sites that are to be rezoned under in this Housing Element:
The site will be going from M-1 to R-4-PD.
It is clear that Doug deHaan is confusing the zoning for the old Island High site with the new multi-family housing overlay that was discussed at the Planning Board level a while ago, according to the staff report way back when:
This new zoning district is designed as an overlay zone that can be combined with the existing underlying zoning for a property. The new zone would permit 30 units per acre and a variety of housing types including multi-family rental housing. If a future proposed residential development project on a MF-30 zoned site qualified for full State Density Bonus, the project may be eligible for a density up to 40.5 units per acre.
The chart I posted above shows which sites get the MF overlay treatment. Never fear though, the majority of those parcels are on the West End or the Northern Waterfront:
The Bay Citizen wrote an okay story about the subject managing to do what Measure A proponents hate. Connect Measure A to Alameda’s xenophobic history, but this reporter actually connected it to racism. I was being polite about the xenophobic thing.
Anyway, this is on the agenda for Tuesday night, it will be pulled. There will be angry people complaining about not being engaged in the process. There probably will be people taking about the sanctity of Measure A. I’m hoping that some prospective City Council candidate comes out to use this agenda item to do a little bit of posturing, probably someone with a strong yay-Measure A position. This actually may be an issue that gets me to the Council chambers, we’ll see if the kiddos behave enough to allow me a free night.
The point of all this is, Alameda is in a very precarious position with regard to its Housing Element. Alameda has not had an approved Housing Element for the last cycle and the lack of a Housing Element exposes the City to litigation. While Measure A supporters may be fearful of how the new multifamily housing overlay may be chipping away at Measure A, the fact is, that has already happened via the approval of the Density Bonus ordinance some years ago, which, ironically, was supported and pushed by one of Measure A’s biggest fans.