Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 17, 2016

Unintended consequences

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

On the City Council agenda there is a Council Referral by Frank Matarrese to request that the Planning Board work on the inclusionary housing ordinance to up the percentage of affordable housing units required for new construction.  Specifically:

Increase the overall percentage of required affordable units within residential developments; affordable units as defined by the current Housing Element of Alameda’s General Plan and State housing laws.

Currently in Alameda outside of Alameda Point that inclusionary housing number is set at 15%.  At Alameda Point it’s 25%.  The cynical side of me believes that the impetus for this is less to provide a variety of housing options for Alamedans, but rather to throw up extra barriers to building housing without being outwardly against housing.  It’s much prettier to dress up your opposition to all housing development by saying, “well developers aren’t building enough affordable housing units” when you know that an increase in government regulations, makes it less likely for a development project to go through.

When this topic came up once before I believe the justification for setting the inclusionary housing number at 15% outside of Alameda Point was so that the inclusionary housing ordinance would not automatically trigger a Density Bonus award, specifically in built out Alameda.

But now, even with that rationale, Frank Matarrese wants to try, again, to make it harder to build housing, I mean, provide more affordable housing.

Interestingly enough, if this is supported by the other City Council members what this will do is actually pave the way for any development in Alameda, particularly in built out Alameda, to immediately qualify under the proposed By-Right Housing Approvals being considered by Governor Brown.  A project not within 1/2 mile of a planned or existing transit stop would require 20% affordable housing units.  The existing 15% would require the developer to actively seek out the additional units to apply for the Density Bonus and for the By-Right Housing Approval, but if Frank Matarrese wants to go up to the Alameda Point levels he’ll be doing all the work for the developer at that point.



  1. I’m a little confused by the last paragraph re built out Alameda. To be eligible under Gov. Brown’s proposal, a project still has to be consistent with local zoning. Here is pretty good article about the Density Bonus Law from the California Real Property Journal

    Comment by MP — June 17, 2016 @ 7:47 am

  2. No Lauren, you have Frank’s intention all wrong. Under the current 15%, developers would have to build a little more than 3000 market rate housing units for that 15% to translate into the 500 more affordable units that we need to just satisfy the housing element by 2023, at which time we will be required another assigned amount to meet the region’s needs, The city has already approved or built all the market rate housing it needs to satisfy the state requirements for now but we are behind 500 of affordable. If the percentage were raised to 25%, it would require 2000 market rate units. The project on Webster Street will have 22% and Frank’s thinking is that if that developer can make money with 22% affordable, then other developers should be able to do more than 15% and still make enough profit to do the development projects.

    Comment by Nancy Hird — June 17, 2016 @ 10:08 am

  3. Congratulations to Marie Gilmore for selling her home for $2 million, well above asking price. Livermore, here she comes!

    Comment by vigi — June 17, 2016 @ 11:36 am

  4. Whose computer did you use to look up that bit of information, vigi?

    Comment by notadave — June 17, 2016 @ 12:43 pm

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