Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 12, 2017

I cover the waterfront

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

Two huge agenda items for the Planning Board tonight.  The first is the Alameda Landing  amendment to the Master Plan.  The TL;dr for this is that the existing Master Plan for the portion still undeveloped calls for a lot of commercial office space which — if you just look around — Alameda has plenty of vacant commercial office space.  Because there is already a lot of vacant supply, Catellus is asking for an amendment to the Master Plan to shift a lot of that commercial office space to something that Alameda may need more of residential and maritime commercial.  Catellus is also calling for a retail space which I don’t think is needed, but in viewing some of the concept graphics, the “retail” would mostly come in the form of a hotel and restaurants.  The restaurant industry is doing well in general as traditional retail shopping has declined overall — not just in Alameda.

Here’s how the 2006 Master Plan stacks up to the new amendment:

Screen Shot 2017-06-11 at 11.24.26 AM

A bit more detail from the staff report:

The proposed Master Plan amendment reserves approximately 17 acres for expansion of  Alameda’s maritime commercial sector by making 364,000 square feet of existing waterfront warehouses and approximately 1,555 feet of existing concrete wharf available for expansion of Bay Ship and Yacht and its tenants.

The proposed Master Plan amendment allows for approximately 15 acres of residential development and approximately seven (7) acres of open space, 4.5 acres of which would be along the waterfront in front of the residential lands.  The amendment also ensures that the waterfront park plan is approved prior to, or concurrent with, approval of any residential plan, that the park plan has a construction schedule ensuring completion of the public park improvements concurrent with the residential development, and that the park plans include a public plaza at the foot of 5th Street activated by a minimum of 5,000 square feet of ground floor or free-standing commercial uses and a public water shuttle dock and kayak launch.

The Master Plan amendment allows the future home builder to determine the appropriate mix of housing types (e.g., single family, townhomes, apartments), but the amendment ensures that the total number and mix of units does not violate the trip cap and does not include more than 30% single family detached homes.

The last part is important because the Master Plan amendment would not prescribe a specific type of housing still other than a cap on the number of single family homes.  Continuing on the housing portion:

  •  The residential project complies with the City of Alameda Inclusionary Housing Ordinance;
  • At least 10% of the market rate units will be 1,200 square feet or less to be more affordable to middle income households; and
  • At least 15% of the units will be universally designed, consistent with the conditions imposed on the most recently approved townhome and single family detached developments at Marina Shores and 2100 Clement Avenue.

The one setback may be the only 15% of the units as universally designed.  The City is moving toward a 100% universal design at least for visitors so it may be something that the Planning Board pushes back on without — at least — the 100% universal design for visitors.  Naturally the only type of housing product where it would be challenging to meet the 100% universal design are townhouses.    Depending on the housing type eventually chosen, some of the non single family home type units may be overpacked overparked if there is the expectation of 1.5 spaces per unit.  Overall, the addition of the maritime commercial makes the project a lot more useful to the Alameda Landing neighborhood and the West End as a whole then a bunch of empty office buildings.

The second big agenda item is the Alameda Marina project EIR.  Right now a lot of opponents believe the most compelling argument that they have to object to this redevelopment project is “where are people gonna park their boats?”  These are not boats that people live on, but recreational storage.  It’s really difficult for me, personally, to feel at all sympathetic about people not having a space to store a recreational vehicle when the alternative plan is to building housing to house actual people but also improve on the space that exists.  But that’s just me.

Anyway, based on the comments provided by the public and feedback from the Planning Board subcommittee the applicant made the following changes, but asked for some concession (aka more housing units) to cover the costs of the public requests:

  • Improve the maritime commercial components of the plan and preserve opportunities for a future boatyard,
  • Preserve more of the existing buildings, and
  • Preserve and rehabilitate the graving dock.

These changes have increased the infrastructure and seawall improvement costs for the project, which results in the applicant’s determination that the number of housing units would need to increase to cover the additional costs.  The revised plan calls for up to 760 housing units, an increase of 90 housing units, which may result in additional transportation impacts associated with the project.

One of the things that could be a compromise is ground floor parking for these recreational vehicles, and residential above, but that would require some height on those buildings because right now all the vehicle storage is just on miles and miles of concrete.



  1. I think the Universal Design ordinance is coming back on the next agenda. Reading the tea leaves, I think after studying the idea, they will be backing away from the 100% visitability.

    Comment by BMac — June 12, 2017 @ 8:15 am

  2. I think its important to differentiate RV/Boat storage use from Mast Up Drysail water access. Alameda Marina is the last place South of the Bay Bridge where that capability exists and there is precious little available elsewhere and they are full. Its key for affordable boating for 25-40 ft sailboats. The boats are stored on trailers with mast up and then towed to a crane adjacent the water- the graving dock. Masts on boats this size are difficult to “step” (erect) and tune (adjust all the support wires for safety and performance). Masts are 40 ft or so. Can’t put housing over them. Currently 300 spaces proposed to be 50 spaces. You can put houses anywhere. You can’t put the Alameda Marina Complex anywhere else.

    Comment by Bob Naber — June 12, 2017 @ 8:34 am

  3. What is “universal design?”

    Comment by dave — June 12, 2017 @ 8:58 am

    • Universal design is a set of design standards that allow for people of all mobility to be able to access and use a housing unit.

      Comment by Lauren Do — June 12, 2017 @ 9:10 am

  4. Actually… we need houses here. What’s more important? Building the housing that can address our state-wide housing shortage so we see fewer vulnerable folks with few resources become homeless or providing sprawling boat parking so that folks with stable housing can get out on the water?

    Comment by Angela — June 12, 2017 @ 10:44 am

  5. It’s true Bob: We can build housing anywhere except in somebody else’s neighborhood.

    Comment by Laura Thomas — June 12, 2017 @ 11:28 am

  6. Nimby or no nimby, access to Alameda is limited. It needs to be improved for safety issues, like ambulance transportation to hospitals that accept insurance. Before thousands of more units are built.

    Comment by Retiredteacher — June 12, 2017 @ 11:44 am

  7. My favorite stance is the one that says take away everyone else’s property rights and social obligation to my current and future neighbors until someone else solves all of my “quality of life” issues.

    Comment by BMac — June 12, 2017 @ 2:45 pm

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