Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 9, 2016

Somewhere that’s green

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

The project that has been forever in the planning process is (finally?) moving ahead.  Boatworks is having a study session at the Planning Board tonight which is sort of the pre cursor to actual plan approvals.

From the Staff Report, here’s a super nutshell version of how we got to here:

In September 2010, the City Council rezoned the 9.48-acre subject property to include 1.8 acres of waterfront open space and 7.6 acres of residentially zoned land. In September 2011, the City Council approved a Tentative Map for a 182-unit residential project with a 1.8-acre waterfront open space. In September 2015, the City Council approved a one-year extension for the 2011 Tentative Map until July 2016.   On December 3, 2015, the applicant submitted an application for Development Plan approval for the property, which is different from the 2011 Tentative Map.  (Exhibit 1)

On March 7, 2016, staff transmitted a letter to the applicant (Exhibit 2) that raises a number of issues that would need to be resolved to bring the Development Plan and Density Bonus applications into compliance with the Alameda Municipal Code (AMC).

The purpose of the May 9th, 2016 Planning Board study session is to provide an opportunity for the Planning Board to review and comment on the current Development Plan and Density Bonus applications.

An EIR has already been done for the site, but the project will need a development plan approved and, more importantly, a density bonus application approved.  Now, before even getting to that I predict that this project will not end at the Planning Board level but will end up in some sort of review at the City Council.  I hope the developers have budgeted for that.

Here’s the proposed market rate housing:

Staff is currently evaluating the Development Plan’s proposed distribution of housing unit types and sizes, which includes:

* 30 single family homes (16%),
* 68 units in duplex buildings (38%),
* 54 units in townhomes (30%), and
* 30 units in a single multifamily building of stacked flats (16%).

In terms of unit size, all of the single family homes, duplex units, and most of the townhome units are between 2,873 square feet in size (four or five bedrooms) and 2,101 square feet in size (two to three bedrooms).   The 40 townhomes facing Clement Street and Oak Street are 1,422 square feet (two to three bedrooms), and the multifamily building’s units vary in size from 420 square feet to two units that are approximately 1,900 square feet.

As for the affordable housing portion:

* 13 very low-income units (9% of 140 units to qualify for a 30% bonus and meet the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance requirement)
* Six low-income units (4% to meet the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance requirement), and
* 10 moderate-income units (7% to meet the inclusionary ordinance requirement).

The applicant it proposing to place all of the affordable units in a single multifamily building on the corner of the property.  Staff believes that the affordable units can be provided in a single building on the site; however, under the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance, the inclusionary units should be “comparable” to the market rate units.  All but two of the 13 very low-income units are less than 800 square feet in size.  The eight moderate-income units are all less than 1,150 square feet in size.

And staff is recommending for traffic mitigation purposes:

* Join the Northern Waterfront Transportation Management Association.
* Fund commute hour bus service with 20-minute headways and provide a minimum of one AC Transit pass to each household.
* To fund the bus service and passes, the project shall provide annual funding in the following amounts (amounts shown in 2015 dollars with annual CPI increase):

– Single family detached: $550/year
– Attached row houses: $450/year
– Multifamily flats: $350/year

The annual transportation fees are set to match the rates for Marina Shores, 2100 Clement, and the Del Monte Building.

And here are some renderings of the proposed waterfront green, which looks really nice, and a phasing plan:






  1. The traffic measures are a small part of this, but I was curious about how it would work in practice. Once the developer bows out here and at similar new projects and units are sold, I assume that responsibility for the traffic measures (annual fees) would shift to the new building owners. Does the City collect this and distribute the bus passes and arrange for the additional bus line or does that belong to the county tax collector? Also, if the City is involved do preferential rates for bus passes and the additional line apply? Even the highest $ 550 fee on the most expensive units seems like a good deal for a single bus pass plus funding for a new bus line. Also, CPI may be optimistic for future fare increase

    Comment by MP — May 9, 2016 @ 7:27 am

    • I believe the Northern Waterfront Transportation Management Association (sort of like an HOA but for the transportation portion) would be responsible for collecting the annual fee and coordinating bus passes or whatever other transportation mitigation is on tap.

      Comment by Lauren Do — May 9, 2016 @ 8:03 am

    • Looking at the AC Transit website, the reference to bus passes in the Planning Comm materials must be a reference to AC Transit EasyPass which appears to be available to residents of new developments. Simplified, it looks like AC offers annual passes at $121 per year for developments of this size (and that meet other requirements, perhaps involving the number of built parking spaces). If it is some other (regular) type of bus pass, it would seem to be a plan to load up Clipper Cards with with a set amount each month/year. The AC Transit website notes “An adult transbay pass provides the same access as EasyPass – on all AC Transit lines, local and transbay – but costs $151.20 per month.” If applicable, that is a good sized subsidy for residents of new developments drawn from existing sources.

      Comment by MP — May 9, 2016 @ 8:36 am

    • The cost of the AC Transit passes when bought in these numbers for a development is hugely discounted. I think like $30-40/month.

      Comment by BMac — May 9, 2016 @ 8:54 am

  2. Looking forward to the discussion tonight. Something about this project just doesn’t quite seem to be there just yet. I don’t remember the details of the previous lawsuit(s) over this site, but this application seems to be missing something. Perhaps I have just become spoiled by the standard set by Alameda Point Partners.

    Comment by BMac — May 9, 2016 @ 8:49 am

  3. I’m also curious about the transportation element. If they have to buy all those AC Transit bus passes, does that guaruntee that ACTransit will provide all those buses with a 20 minute headway? Does that guaruntee the residents won’t still drive? Where exactly will all those ACTransit buses go? To Bart? To SF? To Silicon Valley? Any curb space set aside for Google buses there? And how much parking is being required?

    Comment by Not. A. Alamedan — May 9, 2016 @ 8:57 am

    • My apologies to MP, who covered dome of the info I was looking for.

      Comment by Not. A. Alamedan — May 9, 2016 @ 9:00 am

  4. If we received bus passes were we live, we would most likely use them and possibly get rid of a car. We have soon to be 3 – 4 drivers and 2 cars although we do have a 3 car garage. I believe if more people rode the bus on the Island they would have more bus routes. The 51A, O & W are usually fairly full during commute times and sometimes throughout the day.

    Comment by joelsf — May 9, 2016 @ 9:23 am

  5. The plan looks a little bland. With it’s proximity to Park Street, a very popular commercial district, I would love to see some commercial in this pan (even if its only 30,000 sq ft). Clement Street has the potential to be similar to the Gilman Street District in Berkeley. The Gilman District has cafes, restaurants, breweries, coffee shops, and a variety of shops. These type of amenities are very important for the Northern Waterfront.

    I am also disappointed that there is not more multi-family units in this plan. Again with it’s proximity to Park Street, what a missed opportunity to bring more young professionals and hipsters to Park Street.

    Finally, the name Boatworks invokes the possibility of marina uses, but that’s not what we’re getting with this development. Accordingly, I would love to see a dock for water transit since that’s the long term goal for the Northern Waterfront. A water taxi at Boatworks would create opportunities for people living on the West End to taxi to Park Street by water and vica versa.

    Comment by Karen Bey — May 9, 2016 @ 10:26 am

  6. Here are some interesting articles about the Gilman District in Berkeley:

    Comment by Karen Bey — May 9, 2016 @ 10:31 am

  7. Just to be clear, not trying to remake Park Street, but enhance it with more cafes, coffee shops and restaurants.

    Comment by Karen Bey — May 9, 2016 @ 10:37 am

    • Park St. has plenty of cafes, coffee shops and restaurants. In fact, we are losing boutique retailers to would be restaurateurs that can elbow out retail spaces. This creates an oversaturation of eateries, turning Park St. into little more than Alameda’s food court and losing the interesting small businesses that gave the district its charm in the first place. I’m guessing the city never would have guessed a decade ago how dramatic the upswing of Park St. would be and wishes they had laid some stricter guidelines down for the amount of space that could be devoted to food and nail salons.

      Comment by BMac — May 9, 2016 @ 10:57 am

      • Some number of eating places have closed their doors too, it’s difficult to say if the trend you allege is really a trend at all. In any case, both retail & restaurants are notoriously low margin businesses with high failure rates. It’s safe to say the frequent turnover will continue and the trend toward one or another will shift back & forth over time.

        But what does it really matter? A business’s continued survival means it’s adding value for its customers. If the people want and support a given business or industry, that’s what will make it on park St. If nail salons and restaurants you don’t like are what thrive, so be it.

        Comment by dave — May 9, 2016 @ 11:17 am

        • ” If the people want and support a given business or industry, that’s what will make it on park St.” Well Dave, you haven’t been following what’s happening to Monkey Bars currently. They are loved and being kicked out in favor of another restaurant on Park St. Remember Croll’s Pizza? Their legion of fans couldn’t stop the eviction, either.

          Comment by Not. A. Alamedan — May 9, 2016 @ 11:40 am

        • Perhaps their fans were merely a cohort, not a legion?

          Comment by dave — May 9, 2016 @ 11:49 am

      • Boatworks will bring the much needed foot traffic to Park Street to help make it even more successful. The fact is that people who live in walking distance of a Main Street look for restaurants, cafes, and bars within walking distance of their homes. It helps with the “walk score”, which is a very important score for urban areas. But I agree we need more shops and stores on Park Street.

        Oakland’s Visit Oakland campaign has brought in over 300 new restaurants to their city — which has helped them earn their new branding as the Brooklyn of San Francisco. Of course the restaurants are spread out all over the city, but I see them complimenting the surrounding businesses not hurting them. It is helping them attract major businesses to Oakland. We need both.

        Comment by Karen Bey — May 9, 2016 @ 12:18 pm

        • If Oakland is the Brooklyn of San Francisco, then sadly that makes Alameda the Staten Island of San Francisco 😦

          Comment by Jason — May 9, 2016 @ 1:13 pm

  8. One restaurant replacing another is the same industry, is it not?

    Comment by dave — May 9, 2016 @ 11:51 am

    • Monkey Bars is a childrens store not a restaurant.

      Comment by frank — May 9, 2016 @ 12:00 pm

  9. Ooops, confused it w/ Monkey King down the street

    Comment by dave — May 9, 2016 @ 12:04 pm

  10. A bigger threat than any hole in commercial zoning to a lot of boutique retailing (i.e. not food or services) on Park St is probably that you people spend too much time on the internet, dangerously close to the Amazon, etc.

    Comment by MP — May 9, 2016 @ 12:12 pm

  11. Monkey King brewery is opening soon in the North Park Street District.

    Comment by Karen Bey — May 9, 2016 @ 12:19 pm

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