Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 26, 2015

Go on and take it, take it all

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Development — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am

Hat tip to vigi about this one, back to the saga of Neptune Point aka Crab Cove aka the land that EBRPD wants. Last year-ish the Feds filed a claim with the US District Court to condemn McKay Avenue which, ostensibly was under the control of the EBRPD, and so was holding up any sale of the Neptune Pointe land.

Well the decision is in from the US District Court and it is not good news for EBRPD. Of course all lower court decisions can be appealed, so it’s not clear if this is a legal battle that EBRPD and the State of California want to fight with the considerably deeper pockets of the Federal Government, but, stranger things have happened. The file is attached here and I have excerpted portions below:

The judge meticulously breaks down the EBRPD/State of CA arguments to support his judgement for the Feds.

Nevertheless, the Court remains of the view that the government is entitled to clear up this thicket of problems one at a time and, right now, it is trying to clear up the problem of access to the parcel via McKay Avenue. It does not have to clear up the problems in the order desired by the opposition, namely it does not have to first solve the problem of finding a buyer.

The fact that GSA has not yet designated Neptune Pointe “surplus” within the meaning of its disposal authority is also of no moment. Defendants point to no authority requiring that such a designation must precede actions taken in preparation for a disposal.

Essentially the argument from the Feds (and which the judge agrees) getting the most money for a piece of land owned by the Federal government that they want to get rid of is in the public interest. And there is precedence and statutory regulations that support that contention:

This order finds that the condemnation of McKay Avenue is rationally related to the conceivable public purpose of the advantageous liquidation of Neptune Pointe.

GSA’s authority to dispose of surplus property includes the condemnation of property necessary or proper to secure marketable title in the property to be disposed. United States v. 1.33 Acres, Situated in County of San Luis Obispo, 9 F.3d 70, 73 (9th Cir. 1993). In United States v. 1.33 Acres, GSA relied on its disposal authority in 40 U.S.C. 484(c) (1988). That provision was re-codified as Section 543 in 2002, and contained nearly identical “necessary or proper” language. Defendants offer no meaningful distinctions between the sources of authority considered in that decision and those cited by the United States in its amended declaration of taking. Accordingly, GSA has the statutory authority necessary to condemn McKay Avenue.

What does this mean for the GSA? Well now, they can try selling the land again but of course whoever purchases it will need to defeat the whole “open space” zoning with a ballot measure of their own. Or the federal government could choose to develop it, I wonder if there are any cases of the federal government doing that and then selling the units on their own.



  1. Why couldn’t the Feds just build low and moderate income senior housing on the site? Wouldn’t that make ACT happy and also contribute to the housing element?

    Comment by Al P — June 26, 2015 @ 6:38 am

  2. Why not turn it back into Neptune Beach? It could remain under the ownership of the federal government, but they could turn it back into a resort — which would create a renaissance for Webster Street. I see some great possibilities!

    There must be some way we can turn this lemon into lemonade.

    Comment by Karen Bey — June 26, 2015 @ 7:24 am

  3. I think there is precedence where the federal government ground leases public land they own for resort development.

    For example : “The Federal Bureau of Land Management often enters into ground leases with concessions to develop resort areas”.

    Comment by Karen Bey — June 26, 2015 @ 7:38 am

  4. I think it’s clear that the “highest and best use” for this GSA property is to add to Crown Beach/Crab Cove’s ability to serve the public. I hope the Feds realize this despite the fact that they are throwing their weight around in court instead of working with local jurisdictions to resolve this land use conflict.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — June 26, 2015 @ 7:49 am

  5. Jon — it doesn’t have to be either or. This either or attitude is what got us here. The Federal Government can just as well create a development that serves the public – in fact they often partner with the National Parks and Rec on their projects.

    Comment by Karen Bey — June 26, 2015 @ 7:58 am

  6. None of this comment is new, but if you consider the federal government budget as one big pot of money and the amount they would have originally gotten from housing, it seems pretty stupid that they should even bother with this. Then consider the deduction in sale price due to zoning and their legal costs and it’s even worse. The feds waste billions daily. Isn’t the price tag for Bush’s wars 7 trillion ? Regardless of what anybody wants to see on the land this is wrong on so many levels it boggles the mind. Is it correct that our local federal legislators have been approached and don’t seem to care? I think a renewed campaign to shame feds is warranted, but it would take somebody who is great at P.R. and sure isn’t the EBRPD. These stories do pop up on the national network news occasionally. Even though expanded parking is legit in terms of increased public access, it’s too bad for P.R. purposes that the use isn’t a bird sanctuary or expanded education center. O.K. Friends Of Crown Beach, ready to picket the federal offices in down town Oakland ? (Insert a joke about broken glass here)

    Comment by MI — June 26, 2015 @ 8:38 am

  7. #1, as I am beginning to understand, ACT is concerned for seniors universally, so a dedicated low to moderate income project might not in fact make them happy.

    Comment by gaylon — June 26, 2015 @ 9:02 am

  8. Yes. Low to moderate senior housing. No traffic or parking problems. Seniors don’t drive. We can teach them how to fish, they won’t need Meals on Wheels, and Foster’s is just up the street. And if they chose dignified end of life, they can walk out into the sacred waters off Alameda’s shore (don’t call the Fireboat). If they return, they were meant to be with us. If not? Well, they were never ours anyway.

    Comment by Gabrielle Dolphin — June 26, 2015 @ 9:04 am

  9. We could spend the remainder of the year and possibly more fighting this and continue to waste tax payer money, or we can focus on possible solutions that are a win win for everyone.

    Comment by Karen Bey — June 26, 2015 @ 9:19 am

  10. My concern is that if Parks and Rec chooses the war path and they lose again, they may lose any chance of ever expanding Crab Cove.

    Comment by Karen Bey — June 26, 2015 @ 9:44 am

  11. And now for all those who’ve tried to hold back their feelings for so long…

    Comment by jack — June 26, 2015 @ 9:54 am

  12. LOVE IT!

    Comment by Gabrielle Dolphin — June 26, 2015 @ 10:04 am

  13. 8. best comment in a while.

    I thought Gretchin Lipow’s letter in the Sun about making all housing at the Point for seniors was a little absurd. Rossmoor by the bay is quaint notion, and yeah they don’t commute, but do we really want segregated mini-city of elderly? Seniors should be part of the mix, but young folks need access to that 25% affordable also.

    Comment by MI — June 26, 2015 @ 11:13 am

  14. MI – they have senior communities such as the Del Webb Communities. If we were going to do something like a Del Webb community for seniors — it makes better since to put it close to the golf course at Harbor Bay. But they don’t want anymore housing in Harbor Bay.

    Comment by Karen Bey — June 26, 2015 @ 12:51 pm

  15. “Close to the golf course”? But Gabrielle said “seniors don’t drive” [pun intended]

    Comment by vigi — June 26, 2015 @ 4:20 pm

  16. 10. Karen, you should know that Parks and Rec has nothing to do with Crab Cove, other than using the facilities with permission for summer day camp. Crab Cove is EBRP. I’m sure that was just a senior moment on your part.

    Comment by Not A. Alamedan — June 26, 2015 @ 9:07 pm

  17. #16 – Thanks, I meant to say EBRP not Parks and Rec.

    Comment by Karen Bey — June 27, 2015 @ 7:15 am

  18. 5: Karen, it certainly looks like the Feds (GSA) are demanding their way or the highway and not trying to reduce the animosity here–just like EBRPD and the City of Alameda went after each other in a nasty way. As a federal taxpayer, I resent that and think it is bad public policy.

    As to your statement that “it doesn’t have to be either or,” what did you mean? I don’t think you can build residential housing that will be successful next to a parks maintenance facility or a busy parking lot, and I doubt that there is enough room to both build housing AND expand the Crown Beach support facilities adequately on the “Neptune Pointe” parcel anyway.

    Alameda’s housing plans do not require that we use the Neptune Pointe parcel for housing, anyway: we can build far better multifamily housing units in other locations–especially for seniors like me–that are less prone to sea level rise and closer to transit lines.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — June 30, 2015 @ 7:56 am

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