Blogging Bayport Alameda

July 16, 2013

Opposition party

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Landing, Alameda Neighbors, Business, Development — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am

Despite the legions of die hard In-N-Out fans that exist out there, there is always someone somewhere out there that isn’t going to like the exact spot that any proposal wants to locate to.   For development projects the issues are always: (1) traffic, (2) noise, (3) crime.   I think crime and noise possibly could be swapped around, but in general those are the big three.   Sometimes opposition works to take down a potential business.   In Alameda, Inkies was forced to pull their permit application because of opposition and some general nastiness from a few in the tattooing community.   I’ll point out that the space that Inkies was to occupy on Webster Street is still vacant a year and a half later.  Opposition — and the ability to play a long game — forced Target out of South Shore.  I’m not sure the replacement shop, Ross Dress for Less, is necessarily an improvement, but whatevs.

But in general, opposition to a particular business relocating to a certain place tends to be a lot of sword rattling and in the end the business goes in anyway.   Personally, working with a business and a developer to improve the plan is a much more fruitful exercise than simply saying “no way!” Anyway, I did a quickie search of the Google to see how much opposition has faced In-N-Out when they have tried to open in new stores,  let’s just say that the arguments in Alameda against In-N-Out are nothing that In-N-Out hasn’t heard before.

And you know that whole thing about people saying that they don’t dislike In-N-Out in general, but it’s not right for *this* location (whatever *this* is?)  Yeah, In-N-Out gets that all the time too.

Santa Rosa:

In 2009 In-N-Out was looking to open a store in Santa Rosa.  Naturally, opposition:

Jenny Bard, the regional air quality director for the American Lung Association, said exhaust from cars waiting in a drive-through would be harmful to the environment.

She said she’s not opposed to In-N-Out per se, saying her son got his first high school job at one in part because it paid well — $9.25 an hour back in 2003. But she can’t stomach the fumes.

But despite the opposition, it won approval anyway:

In a surprise unanimous vote, Santa Rosa’s Planning Commission Thursday agreed to let the popular fast-food burger chain locate a restaurant on Steele Lane Drive, despite worries that it would add to traffic congestion, would contribute to greenhouse gas emissions from idling cars, and promote obesity in neighborhood children.

Clean air advocates had marshalled forces to oppose the 232-store chain’s use of drive-through windows, arguing it was a major producer of greenhouse gases because of the lines of motorists waiting for their orders.

Others said Steele Lane and County Center Drive, which feeds vehicles into the county’s administrative complex to the north and Highway 101 to the west, already are congested.

And it opened anyway.

San Carlos:

Same deal, same concerns:

But not all of the buzz about In-N-Out coming to San Carlos has been positive.   Residents in close proximity to the proposed site are worried about the effects of increased traffic to an already overloaded intersection at Holly and Industrial.  Others have publicly questions whether selling the land outright to In-N-Out as opposed to leasing it was the best choice for a cash-strapped city.  Regardless of where you stand on these issues, the point is clear — not everyone is on board with this plan.

And here’s what happens when folks don’t pay attention to signage and things during the design review process because when you are so bent on just not letting the business come in, you miss the details:

The new restaurant was built in June, and residents knew that there would surely be a large sign to identify it…but they had no idea it would stand 65-feet tall, and visible from more than a half-mile away.

In-N-Out said it is trying to be a good neighbor. The San Carlos location is the first in the country to have air scrubbers installed to control the smell of fried food.

And when neighbors said the speakers were too loud, they stopped using them.

The company said the city of San Carlos approved their plans with virtually no complaints. They told CBS 5 they’ll listen, but any changes now are completely up to In-N-Out.

“It would be exceedingly difficult and not likely that we would be able to lower that sign and still make our business work there,” said Carl Van Fleet, In-N-Out Vice President of Planning and Development.


Same same same:

At least half the questions centered on traffic. Kuo and Kennedy repeated themselves several times when they said a traffic study done by an independent firm and paid for by In-N-Out is near completion and will include a list of expected impacts from the restaurant being built. Kennedy said In-N-Out would work with the city engineers to figure out what sound and traffic mitigation efforts would be necessary.

Another man who said he owned a condominium nearby was upset about the expected concentration of people and traffic on the now-dormant property and possibly lawbreakers mingling late at night. Kennedy said security officers could be hired to monitor the property 24 hours a day if it proves necessary.

Without waiting for the traffic study, several neighbors guaranteed that traffic would increase in the Rafael Village and Pointe Marin areas just west of the restaurant’s proposed location and create problems getting back onto Highway 101 south of the site.

In Novato though, the confluence of neighborhood opposition, soil challenges and availability of other parcels got In-N-Out to pull out of one location and pop their restaurant into another.   The Novato In-N-Out will be open sometime this summer.

San Leandro:

This site cryptically says that the opposition to the San Leandro In-N-Out was “trashed” but nothing specific about the opposition.   The store, of course, opened.

I will point out that opponents have been successful in stopping In-N-Out in some locations.   Walnut Creek residents were able to stymie a second Pleasant Hill location by having the City add so many limiting measures that it became impossible for In-N-Out to operate how they like, so they just pulled out:

To appease opponents, In-N-Out reduced the size of the restaurant and removed eight of the proposed outdoor seats. The revised development plan also moved the building, drive-thru lane, menu board and speaker farther from the houses directly behind the site. But In-N-Out balked at a long list of conditions the city proposed in fall 2011, including steps the company would have to take to prevent customers from parking on residential side streets.



    The new restaurant was built in June, and residents knew that there would surely be a large sign to identify it…but they had no idea it would stand 65-feet tall, and visible from more than a half-mile away. Toms said he believes the value of his $500,000 house has gone down at least 10 percent because of the structure.

    Comment by alameda — July 16, 2013 @ 6:50 am

  2. Yeah, if you look above I had already excerpted (and linked to the exact same article) the part about the huge sign except left out the “truthiness” of the unsubstantiated “belief” of lower home values.

    Comment by Lauren Do — July 16, 2013 @ 6:58 am

  3. I admit I’m not a realtor, but I don’t see how having that neon sign visible from your backyard is going to increase property values.

    Comment by alameda — July 16, 2013 @ 7:42 am

  4. Protect Alameda first, before any more developer gift’s are granted by city hall!
    All of you who think they have a monopoly on ” truthfulness”. Have shown many times to to be nothing more than bully,s and special interest fools.

    Comment by Cher — July 16, 2013 @ 7:46 am

  5. I got $100.00 I’m willing to bet that in two years the property values at Bayport will have gone up not down. However some one will have to remind me of the bet because I’m old and my mind is starting to fail me. As for you Cher I’m glad you finally quit singing.

    Comment by John P. (L) — July 16, 2013 @ 8:31 am

  6. John P. thanks for that useless bit of corn

    Comment by Cher — July 16, 2013 @ 9:01 am

  7. The opposition in Alameda has more to do with the location of the fast food restaurant. Most of us support it — we just don’t want it located at the Webster Street Gateway.

    Comment by Karen Bey — July 16, 2013 @ 9:05 am

  8. If you throw out the crime concern, which is nothing more than an inherent xenophobia with no basis in facts or supporting data, traffic and “curb appeal” are the only discussions worth having, and I believe that some redesign work would address those concerns, resulting in a far better outcome than an empty weed filled lot. To those claiming to speak on behalf of the West End of Alameda in opposing the development, I would encourage you to consider how important the larger development is in creating employment opportunities for the poorest in our community, and that includes a large number of jobs, typically entry level that will be made available at In and Out.

    Comment by Doug Biggs — July 16, 2013 @ 9:05 am

  9. Lauren, I wouldn’t mind working with the developer to find an alternative site for this restaurant. South Shore has an empty burger place where Pearl’s was — and there are probably other sites to consider, but I strongly believe we should preserve our entry way for an exciting West End Gateway.

    I repeat, most if not all of the opposition has to do with the location of this In an Out Burger. I believe we can and should do better to preserve the gateway to the West End!

    Comment by Karen Bey — July 16, 2013 @ 9:15 am

  10. The location of the Pacific Commons In an Out Burger (a Catellus Development in Fremont) is located off the freeway. My recollection was that there was no opposition from the residents or the city council to this restaurant because of it’s location off the freeway.

    It’s good planning to consider the impacts on both property values for Bayport residents who pay millions in property and CFD taxes annually, and the traffic impacts from the tube.

    Finally, its good planning to consider the impacts of a fast food restaurant at the entry of a very important gateway to the West End.

    Comment by Karen Bey — July 16, 2013 @ 9:33 am

  11. Karen, I believe that another commenter made this comment a while ago, but In N Out is called In N Out because, well, it has a drive-thru. Unless the management at South Shore is going to create a drive-thru cut out through Petco or Chiptole, it’s not going to work there.

    As a Bayport resident who pays a lot in both property and CFD taxes, I’m okay with In N Out siting at the remnant parcel because, for me, it’s no different than where Taco Bell is or Jack in the Box. From what it appears the biggest tangible concern is traffic, there is a traffic study that was done. Has anyone that has a concern about traffic actually read it?

    Other things like “gateway attractiveness” are subjective and difficult to quantify.

    Comment by Lauren Do — July 16, 2013 @ 9:54 am

  12. If that site doesn’t work, lets look at sites that will work. I want to see In an Out Burger in Alameda — let’s take the time to find a better suited site and keep our Bayport residents happy.

    Lauren, I realize that you’re happy, but many residents from Bayport have come out against this location. I think they have earned a right to have their voices heard as well.

    Comment by Karen Bey — July 16, 2013 @ 10:02 am

  13. all fast food joints and places like Wallgreen’s have drive through which I personally don’t use. It occurred to me that in a place like Berkeley which is unabashedly front and center on concerns like climate change, that some municipality could have banned drive through. When you think about it, maybe they should be prohibited if the climate issue is considered credible, which is in fact one reason I don’t do drive through.

    Over sized signage ten feet from an off ramp is pretty awful. Prime examples would be just south on 880, particularly the west side. I’m so tunnel visioned on break lights as I drive south connector from 80 to 880 that I seldom even glance over to the estuary, but I guess these signs will be for people on that roadway. With a ban on billboards it’s sort of a shame it doesn’t extend to this stuff.

    Lauren it’s not about whether Ross better serves shoppers (an “improvement”) , it’s about a single store like Ross NOT triggering the need for multi-level auto lagoon, which to me was a red flag that traffic impact of Target at South Shore was calculated to be substantially different. People can argue that the load capacity of the surface streets are adequate to mitigate that which is another discussion. I’m just making the preliminary point that the impact of Target at South Shore would have been a departure from what we’ve been having with other stores and the fact that introduction of roof top parking substantiates that. Traffic back up down Park Street through San Jose light is still just mildly annoying, but this is one frog who thinks Target would have boiled the traffic water.

    Comment by M.I. — July 16, 2013 @ 10:07 am

  14. Enough referring to this as the “Gateway to Alameda”. I can’t think of an uglier entrance than a filthy dirty tunnel.

    Comment by B Johnson — July 16, 2013 @ 10:19 am

  15. post#8, Doug Biggs, Dougs points I believe are extremely important to the West End, there are many people who live here in the West End that would benefit tremendously from the jobs this project would bring. It would mean they could live and work in the same area, witch means a walk to work rather than a bus ride into another city for a low paying job. To me and I know this is just my opinion it is nimby-ism to say we want it but just not it our back yard. It amazes me to now hear how important this “gateway” to the West End has suddenly become.

    Comment by John P. (L) — July 16, 2013 @ 10:44 am

  16. Comments like this (referring to the opposition against In-N-Out) are not the least bit helpful to the discussion and are insulting.

    @medablog: squeak, squeak, squeak…they just want to be oiled coughtcough
    @laurendo: free Double Doubles?
    @medablog:let’s start with that

    Comment by alameda — July 16, 2013 @ 10:52 am

  17. For many residents, visitors, employees, etc, the Posey Tube is the main entrance to Alameda. Ask the many residents who commute to SF by car, or owners of the many businesses at Marina Village and Webster Street. Ask Wind River, and ask the owners of Hampton Suites on Webster Street. Yes, Webster Street is in fact one of the main entrances to Alameda. Not only that — it will be the main entrance for most of the future developments in Alameda like Encinal Terminals, Marina Cove 11, Del Monte, and Alameda Point.

    Regarding the tube — Cal Trans has a plan in the works to do some major improvements to the tunnel called the “Posey Tube Retrofit” – and we should be working in conjunction with them to beautify the West End Gateway to Alameda.

    Comment by Karen Bey — July 16, 2013 @ 10:59 am

  18. I don’t get it, you seem to have a major problem with In-N-Out being at the Gateway but you don’t seem to have any problem with a gas station and mini mart which would be taller and have more lighting issues than the In-N-Out.

    Comment by John P. (L) — July 16, 2013 @ 11:10 am

  19. I would argue people saying that homeless people in the tent cities in Oakland will be drawn to the clean bathrooms of In-N-Out, spend their panhandled money at In-N-Out and then go burglarize Bayport homes is much less helpful to any discussion about the pros and cons of In-N-Out than joking about Double Doubles. But that’s just me.

    Comment by Lauren Do — July 16, 2013 @ 11:14 am

  20. If I had my druthers — the gas station would not be on the gateway site either, but I wanted to see a grocer at Alameda Landing, and Catellus said ithe gas station was part of the package deal with Safeway. But In and Out was not part of the deal.

    Comment by Karen Bey — July 16, 2013 @ 11:17 am

  21. Karen, you do realize that Catellus was marketing this site as a fast food drive-thru site from the very beginning?

    Comment by Lauren Do — July 16, 2013 @ 11:21 am

  22. They aught to stick In-N-out near the Mcmansions at bayport. It’ll fit right in along with the new strip mall.

    Comment by beany — July 16, 2013 @ 11:26 am

  23. It was unfortunate that those comments were made. They over shadowed the real concern that Bayport residents have of increased crime in the neighborhood due to the 24 hour Safeway and the proposed In an Out Burger.

    Just recently, the Bon Fare market on High Street was robbed at gun point. Two weeks ago two employees at a fast food restaurant in Oakland called Wing Stop were robbed and killed at gun point.

    I think it’s entirely appropriate to raise concerns and ask what will be done to protect nearby residents.

    Comment by Karen Bey — July 16, 2013 @ 11:32 am

  24. Not to nitpick but the Wing Stop murders were not a robbery gone wrong, it was — as one legal expert called it — a possible “imperfect self-defense.”

    The solution to concerns about crime is to take steps to mitigate like limit late night operating hours or have security on site, not to make assumptions that the opening of a In-N-Out is going to start a crime spree involving panhandlers from Oakland.

    Comment by Lauren Do — July 16, 2013 @ 11:49 am

  25. I live in Alameda and guess what? I live not only near a number of fast food eateries, but a Safeway along with a lot of other large retail stores too. Do we have additional crime? Nope. So its not at all “Unfortunate” that those comments were made. Its just that this is yet another NIMBY issue in Alameda ( surprise surprise)

    Comment by beany — July 16, 2013 @ 11:51 am

  26. Beany, just because you haven’t experienced crime doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Just ask the folks who have expereinced it. The City of Piedmont is adding cameras to protect their residents. It’s something we need to be aware of.

    Comment by Karen Bey — July 16, 2013 @ 12:05 pm

  27. Maybe we should build it by the Hospital. That way all the homeless panhandler druggie burglars could stop by for free health care (after being shot while robbing houses). Hope I didn’t miss anything. Really connecting the various threads.

    On a serious note hopefully there will not be a 65′ sign. I can’t think of anyone who would want one anywhere near their property.

    Comment by nickie — July 16, 2013 @ 12:12 pm

  28. So now we’re talking in two totally different directions. In order for an argument against building an In-n-out based on a perceived notion that it will somehow lead to more crime to work, you would need to present evidence. Since none has been presented ( because frankly there is none) the argument here is baseless.

    Oh- and I have actually experienced crime. Guess where it was? Out in the STICKS. As in where I grew up was extremely rural and the closest neighbor was about a mile away. No fast food eateries or frankly much of anything else was around. So what was that again about fast food and crime? Our house got broken into. Twice. But in the 13 years of living in Alameda, with Safeway and several fast food eateries nearby I’ve experienced exactly zero crime. Who woudla’ thunk?

    Sure- its a safe attitude to be “Aware” of crime. But I fail to see what In-and-out and Safeway have to do with any of it.

    Comment by beany — July 16, 2013 @ 1:20 pm

  29. Beany,,,,,,,,, basically nothing…..straw man…..

    Comment by John P. (L) — July 16, 2013 @ 2:59 pm

  30. Oh, Beany, you just don’t get it. These places, in the minds of many, attract “undesireable elements” (read those people from Oakland) who are single minded in their desire to add a burglary/rape/pillage/car theft to their burger or Safeway experience. They were supposed to create mayhem around the theater(did not happen), and they, coupled with increased traffic, are held up as the reason not to do many things in Alameda. However, our crime statistics have never actually shown a correlation to an amenity and increased crime. But we worry about it. A lot.
    We can argue until the cows come home about the economics of the proposal, or about the esthetics of the plan – that sort of conversation is worthy and necessary, but let us leave the “undesireable elements” causing increased crime, an unproven assertion, out of the dialogue.

    Comment by Kate Quick,. — July 16, 2013 @ 3:25 pm

  31. Well then Beany, since you haven’t experienced crime while living in Alameda — that’s all that matters. I guess case closed!

    Comment by Karen Bey — July 16, 2013 @ 3:35 pm

  32. John P. — April 8, 2011 @ 9:46 am

    That drive-in looks wonderful,what a great place to eat, totally surrounded by a sea of traffic (buses, trucks, cars) you will be able to get a mask with any eat in order.

    John P. — April 8, 2011 @ 10:54 am

    Karen, Your right about the entrance to Alameda. The present plan looks fine for any freeway off ramp in the Valley, but it just doesn’t make it for our entrance. I hope WABA gets involved in this process, it certainly needs to be.

    david burton — April 8, 2011 @ 10:22 am

    So the “gateway” to Alameda will be a parking lot along Webster and along Stargell a drive thru lane, trash dumpsters, and the loading docks for the multi-tenant building? I think you’d be hard pressed to come up with a more pathetic site plan than this.

    John Knox White — April 8, 2011 @ 7:43 am

    Remember when this project was pitched as a mixed-use project, not just another suburban yawn? It was never mixed-use, but wow, could it get any worse? So much for a new, more attractive gateway to Alameda’s west end.

    Comment by alameda — July 16, 2013 @ 4:06 pm

  33. 8 and 15. Don’t mean to aid and abet a racist crank, but I’m sure you guys are aware of the irony that previously a certain “agent provocateur” here in comments objected to the commercial kitchen at APC and said that more “efficient” means for transitional homeless to find employment would be minimum wage fast food jobs. Well serendipity, I guess there is room for both.

    Crime? 24 would do but I’ll be more long winded. I refer regularly to living on footpath to South Shore and having people, including bank robbers and shop lifters flee down our street. When we bought this place it didn’t dawn on us, but yeah the mall was there twenty years ago and it comes with the territory. I empathize with people like “Alameda” not having the foresight to imagine ALL the possibilities for Bayport and I’m certain the realtors didn’t make a point of talking up potential development. Periodically there have been burglaries and car break ins on our block as well. Some cases may be crimes of opportunity related to foot path through to Otis, but in general there are lots of similar crimes in other neighborhoods which are not adjacent to commercial development like South Shore. Good locks, alarms, eyes on the street, etc. What else ya gonna do folks? If you have means, you can simply move as some Bayport people threatened at Planning Board. Good luck with that.

    I want to posit one question to Bayport residents in earnest. In the older neighborhoods like mine, where people have not all moved in within a relatively short period and paid prices which insure most of them are in a similar tax bracket, the occupancy is random. Many older folks have moved on and been replaced by young folks with kids, but there are still the retired and other elders, stay at home moms, etc. Along the lines of comments about Bayport appearing to many random visitors to be a veritable ghost town, do you think you are any more vulnerable to burglary on week days due to predictability in the demographic being in some ways homogenous in work habits, etc? Maybe you don’t want to answer that because of potential burglars monitoring this discussion.

    Comment by M.I. — July 16, 2013 @ 6:53 pm

  34. So why is there a McD’s ad at the end of today’s blog post? When we get the In-N-Out, can we lose one of the McD’s? In-N-Out still has only 281 locations compared to McD’s which has 34,000 worldwide. It won’t be missed.

    I still think its cool that In-N-OUt is a private company run & owned by the youngest female billionaire in the USA:
    The more I learn about In-N-Out, the more I like it. There will be a net decrease in Auto emissions, because people won’t have to drive so far to get their in-N-Out fix.

    We should rethink this “Gateway” concept. When people outside Alameda say “downtown Alameda”, they invariably mean Park Street. When they see a sign saying Gateway on Webster, they’ll think we labeled the wrong end…

    Comment by vigi — July 16, 2013 @ 7:10 pm

  35. Isn’t that Zimmerman guy now free? We could hire him to walk around. You know, kind of like a neighborhood watch. All kidding aside, the comments here are mostly inane. The “people” against it are the OTHER fast food places (just like the tattoo example Lauren gave). Which part of Webster Street actually looks the best? Is it that tasteful Jack in the Box? The beautifully integrated design of McD’s? The subtle lines of the BK? Do you like the understated simplicity of the Starbucks signage? Do any of you actually go to an In-n-out? Very popular, except among older people. Here’s an objection- people will snap their heads to the right as they enter “the gateway to Alameda” and miss the turn. Maybe that sign should be higher than 65 feet.

    Comment by commonsense — July 16, 2013 @ 7:34 pm

  36. 27. Maybe the city should pull eminent domain on that empty building at the foot of High Street. And if they’re going to allow a sign anything over 10′, they’d better also authorize our own cell tower. I’m tired of having to put my nose against my back patio door when I’m on my cell to keep the call going … and that’s IF the weather allows good transmission from Oakland.

    Comment by Linda on Otis St. — July 16, 2013 @ 8:31 pm

  37. It seems to me that most people when coming out of the tube by car are focusing on the various lane choices up ahead and the proposed In n Out is somewhat over their right shoulder. The lovely landscaping in the median on the left is a good start on an attractive “gateway”. I would advocate for signage restrictions, attractive landscaping, etc, on this “remnant” site, not stopping the project altogether. Personally, I think this is an excellent location for In n Out because of the customers they can have from COA, the nearby office park, and even the senior housing. All of these people could walk there and don’t have to use the drive thru. Most important to me is to maximize safety for bikes and pedestrians– the traffic inside this area is going to be bad because of the gas station already (as it is in South Shore), but outside on the street is where creativity needs to happen to make it safe.

    Comment by Kevis Brownson — July 16, 2013 @ 10:18 pm

  38. I can’t wait until In-N-Out comes to Alameda! I will bring my Bible so that I can read aloud the Bible verses that appear on all of the In-N-Out packaging! Too bad we’re stuck with Target, which supports same-sex marriage. 😦

    Comment by Silent no more — July 16, 2013 @ 11:36 pm

  39. “Beany,,,,,,,,, basically nothing…..straw man…..”

    Uh… no… its… not.
    Look- I spent my first 12 years as a renter in Alameda. I have now owned for about a year and a half. In both cases my opinion has stayed about the same. What is clear with this area and many other either semi-wealthy or straight up wealthy areas throughout the Bay Area and perhaps universally is that even a tiny whisper of ANYTHING NEW is met with an overly-dramatic , chicken little reaction:

    “Oh no! They’re gonna’ put a stop light on main street! You know what that means? People will clog up the roads! ”

    Then the stop light or whatever gets put in and nothing actually happens. Its just silly in many cases because all cities and towns change and grow. That’s a matter of fact.

    Comment by beany — July 17, 2013 @ 8:39 am

  40. Interesting posting on Facebook today from an Alameda resident about an incident at the wine shop next to the theater. An African-American person came in to panhandle while she and friends were there. The owner, according to her, not only screamed at him to leave, but used racial epithets and lots of bad language. When confronted about “no need to do that” she said that we didn’t need any Trav-Con’s here and that Black kids kill. They all left and say they won’t go back there and will ask for a boycott. Sad stuff.

    Comment by Kate Quick,. — July 17, 2013 @ 11:25 am

  41. Responding to line item 40. Isn’t it true Lauren Do, you’re sucking John Russo’s (City Manager of Alameda), dick. It must be true if I read it scribbled in the restroom of my local gym. Good enough for the gym, credentialed enough for Facebook. Line item 40 and this response will be made in very public view of a very public business.

    Comment by Vilma Flamm — July 25, 2013 @ 3:00 pm

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