Blogging Bayport Alameda

March 25, 2016

Open forum

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

No seriously folks, I’m totally doing it.  So because it’s Spring Break next week for those of us with kids in the Alameda Unified school system, I’m not actually going to have any content for next week.

Instead I’ll just be posting open forum threads and folks can comment or veer off topic if they like.   If you haven’t already noticed I have enabled nested comments.  I tried doing that a while back but folks seemed resistant, but now, I’m bring them back for the open forum posts because then people can reply directly to a comment as opposed to referencing the person or the comment number.

I’m not going to be doing much moderating so please play as nicely as you possibly can.

But before that, one thing about the recent op-ed in the Alameda Journal which I’ve seen quoted around.

First sets up the scenario with big numbers about the housing element and potential projects in the pipeline:

The city should also charge developers huge sums of money to build in Alameda. Oakland is planning to charge developers between $20,000 and $34,000 for every market-priced unit they build. San Francisco is doing the same — and both cities will dedicate that money to pay for more affordable housing.

Then the writer asks:

What has Alameda gotten per unit from the developers who are building market-priced units on the Island, and how much of whatever money they got is going to fund affordable housing? There’s an election in less than eight months, everyone should be paying attention.

Well, with a bit more research the writer would have learned that the plan that Oakland is proposing is for development impact fees. From an Oakland Tribune columnist:

The idea is that by requiring developers to pay a certain amount for every new unit of residential construction, the city can raise funds to build more affordable housing, in addition to helping mitigate the impacts more residents bring to traffic, transit and parks, libraries, and police and fire services.

Some 30 Bay Area cities already have impact fees. Oakland, which has emerged as one of the most expensive rental markets in the country, has been preparing to adopt its own fee for more than two years.

And with even more basic research the writer would have learned that Alameda has had development impact fees on the books since 2001 and as recently as 2014 performed a nexus study to increase the development impact fees.

Additionally, Alameda has had inclusionary housing requirements on the books for many years. Alameda’s inclusionary housing requirement mandates that new developments over a certain number must provide 15% of the units as affordable housing. At Alameda Point it’s 25%.

While Oakland is asking for an additional impact fee for affordable housing alone in addition to a more general development impact fee, it is waived if the developer builds on-site affordable housing (much like an inclusionary housing requirement):

An applicant would not be subject to the Affordable Housing Impact Fee if they provide a certain level of affordable housing within the development project.

So to answer the writer’s question:

What has Alameda gotten per unit from the developers who are building market-priced units on the Island, and how much of whatever money they got is going to fund affordable housing?

Alameda has gotten about $20K per single family market rate unit from developers in addition to public art requirements, inclusionary housing requirements, TDM programs, municipal service district agreements, etc and so forth.

But I supposed it’s more politically expedient to pose a rhetorical question that would have been easily answered with a phone call to City Hall or just a few Google searches.

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12 Comments »

  1. Somehow I missed that op-ed, but guessed it was by Alameda’s wonder-fount of misinformation mark greenside. There papers do the community a disservice by promoting his stuff, given its so uniformed that it confuses rather than adds to any community discussion.

    Comment by jkw — March 25, 2016 @ 6:34 am

    • we’re up and at it early this a.m. John. You beat me to it, so ditto from me. I just spotted it. Since we hadn’t heard from Master Greenside in months I thought he may have taken up permanent residence at his other home is south of France. The papers compound his authority as well by printing that he is retired professor of political science and English at Merrit. He taught just English for all of one year, and I think it was creative writing which is reflected in his whimsy in making up facts from fiction. If somebody else up there taught rhetoric at the same time he should have at least audited their class. He has a autobiographical book about being an ugly American ( i.e. speaker of English only), who somehow manged to befriend his French neighbors in his inept attempts to remodel his home there. Lucky he didn’t try that with those rude Parisians.

      Comment by MI — March 25, 2016 @ 8:04 am

      • Wow- small town isn’t it? Spoken as someone with a modest education who puts lots of opinions out there himself.

        Comment by Captain Obvious — March 25, 2016 @ 8:38 am

        • typo- it should read that he taught English only for all BUT one year of the approximately twenty he spent up there. One year of poly sci, but he leads his resume with that credit.

          Capt. Anonymous, I may be a chronic commenter but I don’t believe my opinions are generally misinformed and I tend to keep them as comments on this blog as opposed to taking that vast amount of ink afforded to Greenside by the local papers, as self appointed expert on development.

          Comment by MI — March 25, 2016 @ 2:12 pm

        • Misplaced “Reply” due to social progressive revision (1) of Ongoing Blogging
          Bullshit: “…typo that vast amount of ink afforded to Greenside by the local papers…,”

          Comment by jack — March 27, 2016 @ 10:11 am

        • Typo 27- misplaced “Reply” due to social progressive revision (1) of Ongoing Blogging
          Bullshit: “…typo- that vast amount of ink afforded to GreenIrons myth by the local papers…,”

          Comment by jack — March 27, 2016 @ 10:14 am

        • Typo 101- wrong name on misplaced “Reply” due to social progressive revision (1) of Ongoing Blogging
          Bullshit: “…typo- that vast amount of ink afforded to MarkGreenIronsside myth by the local papers…,”

          Comment by jack — March 27, 2016 @ 10:18 am

  2. If Alameda has had developmental impact fees since 2001, they don’t seem to be doing much for affordable housing, or anything else Mark Greenside is complaining about, so I would say his points are still well taken.

    Comment by vigi — March 25, 2016 @ 9:31 am

    • Development fees that Oakland and I guess Mark Greenside wants would not be applicable if the development provides inclusionary housing. Which Alameda already has. So his points come from a place of not understanding the specifics of the Oakland plan and not understanding what Alameda already does.

      Comment by Lauren Do — March 25, 2016 @ 10:06 am

  3. Mr. Greenside is definatly a creative writer with a strong leaning towards fiction. He just makes up what is in his world and hopes that someone will buy his story.

    Comment by John P. — March 25, 2016 @ 10:47 am

  4. typo- it should read that vast amount of ink afforded to Greeniron by the local papers,

    Comment by jack — March 27, 2016 @ 9:29 am

  5. At least you don’t have to “pay to play” on Lauren’s blog, unlike the Alameda Sun, where Evanosky tells a realtor to pay for advertisement in exchange for running a story on a historic home.

    Comment by Cindy — March 28, 2016 @ 4:42 pm


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