Blogging Bayport Alameda

November 9, 2015

Supply for demand

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Development — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

So much still to talk about regarding Wednesday’s events, but the Planning Board is important too in light of the rental housing crisis and housing crisis in general in Alameda.  Two housing projects are on the agenda to house populations that almost everyone will agree needs housing the most: seniors and families needing affordable housing.

This will be the second look at the old Island High property project that will bring 22 affordable housing units to the Wedge neighborhood near Park Street.  The applicant is the Housing Authority of Alameda so these should be permanently affordable housing units. If approved it will be interesting to see is this project gets appealed or called for review by the City Council.  The Planning Board will be making a determination on the design review and granting a density bonus for the project.


The second project is a bit different but definitely should be welcome considering our aging population.  A senior care facility is being proposed for Bay Farm near the ferry building.  From the staff report:

The facility would serve approximately 100 seniors with memory care needs or in assisted living facilities. The facility would be approximately 95,000 square feet in size, two stories in height, and include facilities for the care (feeding, bathing, personal hygiene, laundry, etc.) as well as social programs for the residents. Exhibit 2 includes a conceptual site and floor plan. The facility would also include a restaurant-style dining area, library, movie room, café, physical therapy and common living room for use by the residents. The facility would be fully staffed on a 24-hour, seven-day a week basis by approximately 53 full-time equivalent employees.

The facility would include a variety of living spaces for the inhabitants ranging from individual private rooms with bathroom facilities for single memory care residents to larger one- and two- bedroom units for senior couples in need of assisted living. The larger units would include private living, sleeping, and bathing areas, and a small food preparation space. The food storage and preparation area will include sink, counter, microwave, and refrigerator, but it will not include full private cooking facilities.

Because none of the living spaces include fixed cooking facilities (an oven), none of the private living areas are defined as “residential units” under the Uniform Building Code or the City of Alameda Municipal Code.


From a transportation point of view, the proposed use will generate relatively few peak hour automobile trips in Harbor Bay. Assisted living facilities generate few commute-hour or school related vehicular trips.  Most seniors in assisted living facilities do not drive, and staff shifts are spread out over a 24-hour period.   Based upon an analysis conducted for the 2013 approval of the Oakmont memory care and assisted living facility, the Harbor Bay facility is expected to generate approximately 10 AM trips and about 10 PM peak period automobile trips.   For comparison purposes, if the site were developed with 50,000 square feet of commercial office use as originally proposed, the site would generate approximately 75 to 80 AM and 75 to 80 PM peak hour trips.

It’s really the lack of fixed cooking facilities that makes the project viable and I have to say that I’m surprised — given the whole new trend of renting out bunk beds in San Francisco — that someone hasn’t snatched up the old Bachelors Enlisted Quarters at Alameda Point even as gross as it is now and turned it into one giant dorm for tech bros that are willing to drop $750 a month on a bunk bed.   A similar set up that is designed for folks in their twilight years could help house tons of single folks that may not need a whole one or two bedroom unit and could free up some much needed housing units via some sort of adult dorm.


  1. I’m not sure this is the highest and best use for that site – but it seems to me to be a great fit for the site that Cowan wants to develop as housing. The community center can remain on the site, and be a great gathering place for the senior facility that is being proposed.

    Comment by Karen Bey — November 9, 2015 @ 6:21 am

  2. I realize that alot of people don’t want to change the zoning to housing on the current club house site, but perhaps senior housing could be considered since the demand is so high, and since the impact of a senior complex is much less than most other uses.

    Comment by Karen Bey — November 9, 2015 @ 6:26 am

  3. I agree with Karen, that may be a good use for the Cowan site. The housing looks fairly similar to that which they are building at Alameda Landing so I don’t see a problem getting them approved.

    One of the reason, in my opinion that renters can’t afford to become owners is the price keeps going up. Oakland is looking to add fees to new homes “For single-family homes, fees would range from $64,009 for homes in “urban” areas up to $110,905 for a single-family home in the more expensive Oakland Hills district.”…this would pay for infrastructure and such but also to fund “affordable housing” projects. Adding these fees for those who are saving for a down payment makes it impossible and keeps them as renters…it is sort of like a dog chasing it’s tail. I think building more affordable housing projects we will always be providing housing welfare maybe our focus should be on rent to own programs. Encourage more tenant in commons or condo conversion programs. Landlords who have long time renters provided some avenue for them to eventually own their unit.

    A friend of mine was posting pictures of nice houses you can buy in Indianapolis for $45,000 although you would have to live there.

    Comment by joelsf — November 9, 2015 @ 8:24 am

  4. Let’s let Mr. Cowan fight that battle, right now we have a project that is ready to build housing for 100 seniors. Its on the shoreline and out of the way, there is transportation and it will help open up housing elsewhere in Alameda.

    Comment by John P. — November 9, 2015 @ 8:48 am

  5. I hope there is a plan to reserve some of the new Eagle Avenue units for Alameda teachers.

    Comment by Kristen — November 9, 2015 @ 8:55 am

  6. John P – I mentioned it because I believe this site would have to be rezoned for housing — similar to the Cowan site.

    Comment by Karen Bey — November 9, 2015 @ 9:11 am

  7. Staff believes that it would fall into the current zoning because it’s a “commercial memory care and assisted living facility” from the staff report:

    Section 30-4.10 b. lists the specific uses that are permitted in the C-M District. Item number 1 on the list references all of the uses permitted by right in the C-1 and C-2 commercial districts. Item number 3 on the list includes, “Other commercial-manufacturing uses, which are similar to the uses permitted in the district…”

    Both Section 30-4.8.b C-1 Neighborhood Business District, Uses Permitted and Section 30-4.9.b C-2 Central Business District, Uses Permitted list “Uses permitted in the AP District…” as uses that are permitted in the C-1 and C-2 Zoning Districts.

    Section 30-4.7 -AP Administrative Professional District, subsection b. Uses Permitted includes item number 2: “Medical facilities, including but not limited to the following: …. (e) Nursing and convalescent homes, and (g) Rest Homes.

    Nursing homes, convalescent homes, and rest homes are not defined in the Zoning Code, but Webster’s Dictionary defines a nursing home as: “a privately operated establishment providing maintenance and personal or nursing care for persons (as the aged or the chronically ill) who are unable to care for themselves properly. A rest home is defined as an “establishment that provides housing and general care for the aged or the convalescent”.

    Comment by Lauren Do — November 9, 2015 @ 9:27 am

  8. Karen, not rezoned, it just needs a zoning compliance opinion from the P.B. examples would include the operation on Webster st, and at Mariner Square.

    Comment by John P. — November 9, 2015 @ 9:28 am

  9. Thanks for the clarification.

    Comment by Karen Bey — November 9, 2015 @ 9:39 am

  10. I looked at the affordable housing item in the packet and it looks really attractive and should enhance that neighborhood nicely. It is way more architecturally interesting than the SFH units at Alameda Landing or Marina Shores.

    Comment by BMac — November 9, 2015 @ 12:30 pm

  11. Looks like Harbor Town in Memphis. Nice

    Comment by MP — November 9, 2015 @ 12:49 pm

  12. Since they are looking at Senior Housing I just saw this on Facebook…it would be great if we could incorporated it in the Beltway Park – Senior Citizen Playgrounds:

    Comment by joelsf — November 9, 2015 @ 1:44 pm

  13. #12 How terrific! Thank you for including this video Joel. You educated me.

    Comment by Hugo — November 9, 2015 @ 4:15 pm

  14. #12 The parks idea is excellent! Alameda would benefit from this (or several of them). The sooner the better!

    Comment by A Neighbor — November 9, 2015 @ 6:11 pm

  15. Mastick Advisory Board is planning on installing such equipment at the Center; right now the Buildings & Grounds committee is gathering the necessary three bids for the pieces they’ve decided to use.

    Comment by Robby Kiley — November 10, 2015 @ 8:59 am

  16. The mountain of affordable housing for low income families has to be substantially greater and must be developed expediently. Is there a will to help the working class?

    Comment by Verumaeternus — November 10, 2015 @ 10:09 am

  17. One of the speakers last night on the proposed Harbor Bay assisted living facility actually brought up the most important point to be considered by persons who would actually live there = is it too far away from the nearest hospital or Medical Center? According to Google Maps, the Harbor Bay Ferry is approximately equal driving time=17 minutes= from either Alameda Hospital or San Leandro Kaiser. If I had to choose, I would prefer to be taken to San Leandro Kaiser, because there is no unpredictable drawbridge en route. But even 17 minutes is a long time in an emergency. Given that the ambulance must depend on either Island Drive or Doolittle Drive not to be backed up with traffic, and that once committed to one route, there is no alternative, I find this location to be too remote to house such a fragile population which will be more in need of medical services than the rest of the general public.

    City Staff erred in using the Websters Dictionary definition of a nursing/rest home to gauge the appropriateness of this location for this facility. The only definitions that count are those used by the Department of Health and Human Services. A “nursing home” is a facility licensed to provide nursing care. An “assisted living” facility cannot give any such care, and there will not be a doctor or nurse on the premises. Assisted Living residents needing medical care will have to be transported by ambulance to a suitable facility


    “Skilled nursing care may only be administered within a facility that is licensed to do so. Legally, this kind of facility is licensed as a skilled nursing facility, although it may have a different business name that it markets itself as, such as an “extended care” or “long-term care” facility. Medicare and Medicaid also designate these homes as skilled nursing facilities. Because skilled nursing facilities bill Medicare and/or Medicaid for skilled nursing care, they must comply with many complex legal regulations and requirements. Assisted living facilities are regulated by the state Department of Social Services, not the Department of Health, which regulates nursing homes. Assisted living facilities do not have the same safety or administrative requirements as a skilled nursing facility, and they are prohibited from giving care they are not licensed to give.”

    Comment by carol — November 10, 2015 @ 10:23 am

  18. Kind of a dick move considering that all those houses it’s going to block pay for a million dollar view. You know they were sold on that by the real estate agents

    Comment by Anon e mouse — February 3, 2016 @ 1:14 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: