Blogging Bayport Alameda

October 11, 2013

In the zoning

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Point, Development — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

On Monday the Planning Board meeting will be pretty huge meeting.  They will get first look at the proposed zoning “purpose statements” for the Alameda Point sub districts.   Of course this makes the whole closed session discussion on the City Council’s agenda really odd because we don’t have zoning yet in place but City Staff is already discussing price and terms of payment with not one but two potential developers the very next day.  Unless we are pretty much saying that the developer can put whatever they want wherever they want, shouldn’t we really have some zoning or some idea of what we want to put where first?    Or do these developers get first dibs because they were first?

So the “purpose statements” are:

Enterprise (AP-E) – This Sub-district provides lands for employment and business uses, including office, research and development, bio-technology and high tech manufacturing, light and heavy industrial, maritime, commercial, community serving and destination retail, on-line sales, and other uses. Development standards in this district are intended to ensure high quality, well designed buildings within walking distance of services, restaurants, public waterfront open spaces, and residential areas. Use standards are intended to encourage and facilitate job growth and limit intrusion of uses that would limit or constrain future use of these lands for productive and successful employment and business use. Residential uses may be conditionally permitted in areas adjacent to Main Street, Atlantic Avenue, or the Enterprise Park, if it can be found that the residential use will not impede or restrict adjacent non-residential uses within the district.

Adaptive Reuse – (AP-AR) – This Sub-district provides lands for employment and business uses, including office, research and development, bio-technology and high tech manufacturing, light and heavy industrial, maritime, commercial, community serving and destination retail, on-line sales, and other uses that support reinvestment in the existing buildings and infrastructure within the NAS Alameda Historic District. Development standards in this sub district are intended to ensure re-investment, rehabilitation, and new construction that is compatible with the character-defining features of the NAS Alameda Historic District. Use standards are intended to provide a wide range of investment opportunities within the district to encourage private reinvestment in the sub-district. Residential adaptive reuse may be conditionally permitted in former residential buildings in the Administrative Core of the NAS Historic District.

Town Center (AP-TC) – This Sub-district provides lands for a mix of uses that include waterfront and visitor-serving uses, including retail, service, entertainment, lodging, recreational, and medium to high-density residential uses. Development standards are intended to create a pedestrian, bicycle, and transit supportive urban environment designed to de-emphasize the automobile. Use standards are designed to create a mixed-use environment that supports the emergence of a transit and pedestrian-friendly mixed-use waterfront neighborhood.

Main Street Neighborhood (AP-MS) – This Sub-district provides lands for a variety of housing types with complementary small-scale neighborhood-serving retail, urban agriculture and parks uses, and a mix of residential densities. Development standards should support development of a walkable, transit friendly neighborhood with safe streets, adequate common open space areas, and site planning that compliments the NAS Historic District Residential Subarea character-defining features. Use standards should support a diversity of household types, including supportive housing, assisted living, and a mix of neighborhood compatible uses, such as community gardens, childcare centers, urban farms, and other uses.

Maritime (AP-M) – This Sub-district provides lands for Public Trust-compliant uses adjacent to the Seaplane Lagoon including maritime and visitor serving waterfront-related uses, concessions related to maritime activities, hotels, restaurants and public open spaces and trails. Development standards are intended to maximize waterfront access for the public, visitor serving, and maritime uses. Use standards are intended to ensure use of these lands and Seaplane Lagoon in a manner compatible with the Public Trust. Residential and non-maritime offices and commercial uses are not permitted in this sub-district.

Open Space (AP-OS) – This Sub-district provides lands for parks, recreation, trails, and large-scale public assembly and event areas. Development standards are intended to support maximum public access, use and enjoyment of these lands, and the protection of natural habitat and wildlife. Use standards are intended to allow for a variety of public open space and compatible uses, such as museums, concessions and parking areas necessary for public use of these lands, in a manner that ensures the protection of the natural environment. Residential, office, and commercial uses are not permitted in this sub-district.

Nature Reserve (AP-NR) -This Sub-district is owned and managed by the federal government. The goal of the Nature Reserve is to maximize the natural habitat of this area to the fullest extent possible, compatible with the protection of endangered species and other wildlife and plant life that may inhabit, make use of, or be permanently established within this area. Uses include seasonal public access, on-going management and monitoring and activities related to education and research consistent with federal requirements. Residential uses are not permitted in this sub district.

And in case you didn’t want to read that, let me summarize, Alameda style:

  • Enterprise (AP-E):  probably no residential
  • Adaptive Reuse – (AP-AR) probably no residential
  • Town Center (AP-TC):  medium to high density residential, so like condos and lofts
  • Main Street Neighborhood (AP-MS): single family homes
  • Maritime (AP-M): no residential
  • Open Space (AP-OS): no residential
  • Nature Reserve (AP-NR): no residential

But still, this isn’t zoning it’s just talking about what we sort of want to see somewhere and given how extremely vague and all encompassing the first three are, it literally says: build anything anywhere you want.

Then there is the preliminary recommendations for the Waterfront/Town Center plan which has lots of cool renderings of massing concepts etc, but again, seems premature when we DON’T HAVE ANY ZONING.  So it’s all fine and dandy to say this building should have 3 stories and this building should have retail frontage, but we have NO ZONING.

Did I mention the part about the zoning not being complete yet for Alameda Point?

I have to say it sort of feels like the point is to allow the two developers: Charles Company and Debartolo to dictate what zoning they want for a specific parcel instead of what should happen which is Alameda decides what zoning would go best where and then the developer would have to fit their vision around that.   And is no one else concerned that Charles Company builds outlet malls?   No one?   Really?

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22 Comments

  1. should anyone really be interested in developing the base , take it out from the hands of the developers , sell the parcel at auction , no one may buy more than one , owner has 2 years to built of forfeit the bid amount , House to be designed to meet the most stringent efficiency requirement , architect may select just about any design as long as they are not offensive .
    Advantage it will boost local economy at all level , something new .
    inconvenient less major political donations ……..

    Comment by Joel Rambaud — October 11, 2013 @ 7:19 am

  2. The first phase of any development is the most important phase. It jump starts and sets the tone for the entire development. We’ve got two very savvy developers making bids to jump start Alameda Point – that’s pretty cool!

    Regarding the zoning – we’ve been talking zoning from the very start of the city process. I personally think it’s a smart strategy to be on a dual tract – (working on entitlements while engaging developers). It would be a big mistake to entitle something that can’t get built or something that developers aren’t interested in developing.

    Comment by Karen Bey — October 11, 2013 @ 7:48 am

  3. 2-Karen, the whole point of the City of Alameda handling the entitlements and pre-development steps was–we were told–so the city could maintain more control over its own destiny at AP. If we start selecting developers before we are ready–before the often-controversial and disputed planning and zoning policies are settled, who is in control? Rushing the agreements with developers means that the developers are once again able to drive the bus.

    We have not finished our EIR yet, so what issues and mitigations we will face are still unfolding. And we have not settled on density and housing type issues, both major prerequisites for builders even being able to present preliminary plans.

    If builders want to propose developments at Alameda Point, their proposals should be fully and publicly disclosed in the open before any contracts are signed–and after we have finished laying out the road map that we want here in Alameda.

    Let the developers cool their heels for a few months–Alameda Point will still be there, and by then, we might be ready for the developers to move in–with zoning and a clear community vision for AP in place. Not before.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — October 11, 2013 @ 9:10 am

  4. Jon – the City is very much driving the bus. Once the entitlements are in place, the city – not the developer will be selling entitled land.

    Also Jon, I believe we were willing to do something very similar with Lawrence Berkeley Lab. Back then we were willing to build the entire development around LBL. We spent a lot of time and money courting them, and end the end we lost and had to start all over. How many times have we had to start over?

    The City Manger has said that no developer will be able to purchase the entire base – it will be sold in parcels. I think that leaves the City pretty much in control.

    Comment by Karen Bey — October 11, 2013 @ 9:28 am

  5. Good points all. Thanks.

    Comment by tony daysog — October 11, 2013 @ 9:51 am

  6. 1. I like the idea of making individual residential lots of 1/2 to 2 acres available for single family houses to single family buyers for the Main Street neighborhood at least. This would result in homes that reflect the diversity of styles and designs that make the older parts of the main island unique. It would also allow for some green space around homes instead of virtually wall-to-wall McMansions or condo ghettos. Look at the problems we’ve had to contend with by allowing Ron Cowan to control such a big chunk of Harbor Bay.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — October 11, 2013 @ 10:36 am

  7. What are the relationships between the developers, Charles Co, Debartolo– and the city council and staff?

    Ron Cowan’s email to Mayor Gilmore lifted the curtain involving Willie Brown, and his friends. Developer Cowan had his connections, what about these 2.

    What are the reasons these 2 developers were given access to Alameda Point? Does the city council have disclosures on campaign contributions from any of these developers?

    Requesting email-leaker-in-chief to get back in action…

    I’m not saying there’s any smoke or fire, but just wondering.

    Comment by LetsMakeLotsOfMoneyBillionaireBoysClub — October 11, 2013 @ 11:01 am

  8. With this plan, and the number and various sizes of lots and buildings that will be available for development, many developers will get access to Alameda Point. We’ve got two very credible and well capitalized developers at the table, with lots more land to sell to other developers interested in developing at the Point. The timing couldn’t be better!

    Comment by Karen Bey — October 11, 2013 @ 11:43 am

  9. I have to agree with Karen. Everyone has their own point of view, but if people keep trying to change the plan every few months it will be years before anything is developed.

    The problem with selling individual lots to home builders is the cost of infrastructure which the city doesn’t have…Mission Bay in SF which is smallers estimate was $450 million.

    The biggest part of the plan I don’t agree with is adaptive reuse of the hangers. Anyone who ever worked in one knows the are probably one of the least energy efficient buildings ever…it would take more money to ever make the green leed building then you would ever recover. They are good for storage. I worked in one in the Seattle area and in the winter the heat was on 24/7…and it was still uncomfortable. Keep a couple for historic purposes but get rid of the rest. Alameda will never see a profit on these buildings. The land is worth more then the buildings. Bladium works for what it is but you will never see a profit for what the land is worth unless they raise memberships to $200 or $300/month per member and can keep their membership up. Once they raise the rent just for the property taxes for that the land is worth they will not be able to pay the cost to maintain it…since there was a change of ownership they will should be reassessed to pay current value for property taxes, parcel taxes along with the maintenance and utilities…don’t make them feasible. I believe goverment buildings are exempt from property taxes, but if they are occupied by a private firm they are not be exempt, although I could be wrong.

    Comment by joe — October 11, 2013 @ 3:52 pm

  10. BTW, when I was in the Air Force and the heat was on 24/7 your tax $’s paid and still pay for it. We could have been in an office building…with a lot less overhead…I worked on navigation…

    Comment by joe — October 11, 2013 @ 4:05 pm

  11. Charles Company is owned by Arman and Mark Gabay
    While they have many holdings, one affiliation that the Gabay family seems to have is with WALMART.

    http://www.pasadenaweekly.com/cms/story/detail/updated_something_wal_mart_this_way_comes/11351/

    Should we just guess what’s going in the Enterprise zoned area that could conceivably fit a big box?

    Comment by Dave S. — October 11, 2013 @ 5:15 pm

  12. The thing is from what I see so far, is I expected the Target parking lot to be packed but it is not, I have driven by it 4 times and it is at most the parking lot is 1/3 full…althought that may change. Walmart already has a presence on the other end of the Island in Oakland…it wouldn’t make sense to put one on the base.

    What does make sense it to put on the ballot the limit of size of retail stores in Alameda. If the size was limited it like 50,000 sq ft they wouldn’t want to or be able to come here.

    Speaking of voteing I would love to change the name of Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway back to Alantic..does anyone know how to do that, can we vote to change it back? If changing a name of a street it should be voted on or they should have put it on a new street on the base not on one everyone already knows. Also the streets should be more consistant. On one side of Ralph st…it is 3rd street on on the other it is Coral Sea…it all should be 3rd St. The same with Poggi, it is Poggi on one side or Ralph st…and Mosley on the other side. It just makes it confusing since they really are the same street. Change it all to Ralph street or change it all to Alantic? Who want to put Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway on their letterhead it is too long. Very poor planning!

    Comment by joe — October 11, 2013 @ 6:51 pm

  13. 12: Joe: Limiting or putting a second set of conditional evaluations for buildings of a particular size with public input and/or local review sounds like a great idea for a zoning recommendation. I don’t think a hard cap is an answer, but there should be some extra scrutiny to determine the community impact.

    And I am with you on the street naming – keep it the same!

    Comment by Dave S. — October 11, 2013 @ 11:27 pm

  14. 12. The street was named to honor our mayor, who many felt had done great things for the city. There was controversey because he had terminal cancer and chose to end his own life. At the time, there was nothing out there and people were pretty shook up. Perhaps it would be best to just call it Appezzato Parkway for addressing purposes.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — October 12, 2013 @ 8:40 am

  15. 12.
    3rd para: They should just call Ralph’s street “RAMP” for short. After all, it ramped in most of the workers when the Point was a base.

    Comment by Jack Richard — October 12, 2013 @ 11:29 am

  16. Denise,

    I know the whole story about the former mayor and why they changed the name in front of Bayport. My point was it is Atlantic on the other side of Webster and Atlantic on the base with 10 blocks in the middle is Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway. There is no consistency here. Maybe the could change the part of Main St where it turns in front of the ferry to Ralph Appezzato Way. With GPS it is easier for people to find our house now, but if you have to give directions over the phone I have to tell them to turn right at the 2nd light where you see a Walgreens on the left or the College on the right They shouldn’t change the name of streets without input from people who live around it. Most people still call it Atlantic anyways. I don’t really know how to pronounce Appezzato correctly let alone spell it. So he was partly responsible for Bayport and died by suicide name a building after him or a park not 10 blocks..

    Supposedly Tinker St was named after someone guy in the Navy as a memorial…they changed it to (Willie) Stargell Ave…which changes to Midway on the base…again no consistancy (if they are going to change the name to Stargell Ave…it should be all the way though to the end of the street. Should we have ‘Public Servant Bervery Johnson Ave’ next? She was on City Counsel for a few terms and mayor for 2 terms. Maybe they could change the name of Webster st or the street you live on to that. I didn’t mean to make it personal…what I was saying is change the whole street and have some consistancy. People like simple names …I grew up on Cedar St….keep it simple and consistant.

    Comment by joe — October 12, 2013 @ 11:42 am

  17. LOL, Jack, i love the “RAMP” idea! I have seen so many maps spell Appezzato wrong [think pizza, it helps], that it might be better if map makers just abbreviated it R.A.M.P. I’d rather name the extensions “Ralph Street” than after something else-at least it’s memorable.
    I’ve given up reminding the Alameda SUN that Grand is a Street, not an Avenue.

    Comment by vigi — October 13, 2013 @ 3:41 pm

  18. ‘Ramp’ has special meaning in the Airdale (brown shoe) Navy as opposed to the ship (black shoe) Navy. A ramp is where aircraft are parked outside a hangar prior to taxiing to the runway for takeoff.

    It’s almost as if someone with a fine sense of humor lobbied naming former Atlantic Ave leading to the east NAS Alameda gate as an acronym memorial to mayor Ralph. Atlantic Ave. In the various times when the base was supporting military actions Atlantic Ave was a parking ramp for commuters entering the base in the morning and waiting for the tube(s) to clear in the afternoon.

    ‘Appezzato Ave’, like ‘Stargell this and that’ would logically be the default name for such an Alameda luminary as a former Mayor but no, humor reigns.

    Comment by Jack Richard — October 13, 2013 @ 7:44 pm

  19. BTW, my son and I went to Target today and the parking lot was pretty full. I had to buy an ironing board so I figured it was probably the only place in town I could find a selection. I had my choice of five. Since we live in the central part of Alameda, it really isn’t convenient for us though, and we both said this might be our first and last visit. The staff is friendly and helpful but I guess I just don’t go for this type of shopping experience. I’m at the stage of life where so much on offer just looks like something I would have to give away or throw away before long. It was kind of depressing, and yes, the store is a little hard to find if you don’t know the area.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — October 13, 2013 @ 9:34 pm

  20. Denise, if you live in the West End its easy to find I can walk there. Just like Jack I know the East Gate from the Main Gate. I know where R.A.M.P. starts and ends I know where the boat ramp is, the Hideout, where Dales was, where the PIT used to be, and on and on, I even know the area where Lauren Do lives. I’m just a very bright old West Ender.

    Comment by John P. (L) — October 14, 2013 @ 9:33 am

  21. 19
    My wife and I visited the new Target Friday. “New”? There’s nothing new there. The one in Alameda is a replica of the seventeen hundred and ninety seven others in the United States.

    We went there really to check it out but the minute I walked in I started getting a nauseating feeling of lightheaded nervousness. Perhaps the glitter of imitation everything coupled with the brightness of glaring lights tripled with those bright faced zombies in red shirts scurrying around here and there up and down the junk clad aisles wanting to know if or how they could help you…well yes, as a matter of fact, could you tell me where your squeegees are. Uh, what’s that sir, what’s a squeegee? Oh never mind as I fainted into the shopping cart (with unlocked wheel locks) and was pushed out through the exit onto the lush acres of beautiful blacktop parking ramp.

    Comment by Jack Richard — October 14, 2013 @ 9:50 am

  22. Jack you can bet we are subsidizing all Bright faced zombies for your new Store….I’m sure Target is Jumping on the Enterprise Zone Bandwagon or Alameda Has Designed their own Enterprise Incentives to subsidize Target at the Pointe.

    Tax Credits for Strip Clubs? How Enterprise Zones Are Undermining California’s Economy
    A program that provides $700 million in tax breaks for companies that set up business or move to one of 40 zones within the state needs a serious rethink.

    The program gives companies tax credits of up to $37,440 per person hired in one of the zones, which are intended to create jobs and spark investment in economically distressed areas.

    The program has been under fire for years from critics who say that it simply rewards employers for moving jobs from one location to another — and who echo the charge that several of the so-called enterprise zones aren’t really in economically distressed regions. According to sources with knowledge of the program, other businesses that have applied for enterprise zone credits include two strip clubs, Gold Club Centerfolds and Déjà Vu Showgirls.

    The two gentlemen’s clubs are located in Rancho Cordova, a largely middle-class suburb just east of the state’s capitol, Sacramento. Gold Club Centerfolds advertises itself as “Sacramento’s All Nude Adult Entertainment,” while Déjà Vu Showgirls, which is part of a national chain of clubs, offers “1000’s of Beautiful Girls and 3 Ugly Ones.”

    It isn’t known whether the applications were approved because, like so much of the program, the names of recipients aren’t public information.

    [Update, Documents received by Frying Pan News show that Gold Club Centerfolds did receive approval of its application.]

    In fact, because the program falls under the purview of tax codes, much of its day to day workings, including the names of businesses that receive the enterprise zone tax credits, aren’t publicly available. Overall, 61 percent of enterprise zone tax credits were claimed by corporations with more than $1 billion in assets. People familiar with the program say that recipients include huge retailers such as Walmart. The total amount of enterprise tax credits received by Walmart is one of those facts cloaked in the program’s tax secrecy.

    http://www.alternet.org/economy/tax-credits-strip-clubs-how-enterprise-zones-are-undermining-californias-economy

    Comment by Maybe were the Zombies — October 14, 2013 @ 11:54 am


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