Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 4, 2018

Eminently domainable

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

A reminder, Mayor Trish Spencer is again bucking the “tradition” of renominating incumbents for Board and Commission positions and has decided to not nominate architect David Burton to the Planning Board even though he has provided expertise and would provide institutional knowledge on the Planning Board.

So when she complains about the “tradition” of rubber stamping previous Mayor’s picks (hopefully) the City Council will remind her that they also can buck tradition and opt to not rubber stamp her nominations.

Some other items of interest for tonight’s City Council meeting: eminent domain.

But since this is eminent domain for a park and not for a cineplex, I imagine that some folks won’t be nearly as bothered.  Quick note: if you have not seen Crazy Rich Asians at the Alameda Theater you are super missing out.

Anyway.

Here’s the first parcel the city is trying to take from Union Pacific:

Screen Shot 2018-09-03 at 1.32.43 PM

Naturally the City did try to offer to buy it first but the price was a wee bit on the high side, from the staff report:

• City Initial Offer and Union Pacific Counter. Based on a December 2016 appraisal, in February 2017 the City offered Union Pacific $870,000 for the four remnant parcels. The City did not offer to buy a remaining remnant parcel because it is not necessary for the development of Sweeney Park Project. Union Pacific countered with $8.5 million for all five parcels, including the remnant that the City does not need. Union Pacific also demanded that the property be subject to a recorded restrictive covenant (“Use Restrictions”) prohibiting any recreational or park uses, which is inconsistent with the City’s adopted plans for the Sweeney Park Project. The Use Restrictions would also prohibit any residential use even though Union Pacific’s counter offer of $8.5 million was based on valuing the land at a residential use.

• City Updated Appraisal and Offer. Subsequently, City staff obtained an updated appraisal showing a value of $1,098,284 for the highest and best use of the required remnant parcels. On May 15, 2018, City staff made a statutory offer of the appraised amount for the four remnant parcels. The City did not offer to buy the parcels that are most developable for residential use and, therefore, most valuable. These areas are not necessary for the design or access to Sweeney Park Project.

• UP Counter Offer. Union Pacific has not yet made a counter proposal, and staff anticipates that any counter will include the Use Restrictions and the requirement to acquire all five parcels instead of just the parcels needed for the Sweeney Park Project.

The second parcel is this one on the east end of town:

Screen Shot 2018-09-03 at 1.32.27 PM

And from the staff report:

• City Initial Offer and Counter. Based on a January 2017 appraisal, in February 2017 the City offered Union Pacific $958,000 and Union Pacific countered at $2.9 million. Union Pacific also demanded that the property be subject to a recorded restrictive covenant (“Use Restrictions”) prohibiting any residential, recreational or park uses. Union Pacific would agree to release the covenants only if the City performs a Phase II Environmental Assessment that shows the property to be free of contamination. If contamination is found, the City would be required to remediate the property to residential levels without any reduction in price. Subject to Union Pacific’s review and approval and payment of an additional $10,000, Union Pacific would then release the Use Restrictions. Additionally, Union Pacific refuses to provide access to the City for physical inspection or testing of the property for characterization of potential hazardous materials contamination.

• City Updated Appraisal and Offer. Subsequently, City staff obtained an updated appraisal showing a value of $1,685,000 for the highest and best use of the required parcels. On May 15, 2018, City staff made a statutory offer of the appraised amount for the parcels.

• Union Pacific Counter Offer. Union Pacific countered at $2,070,992. Despite the difference having been reduced to $385,922, Union Pacific would still impose the Use Restrictions on the property as described above.

If the City Council votes to condemn the Tilden parcel tonight, staff projects that the process could be complete within four months.

 

3 Comments

  1. very hard to believe that someone as well qualified as David Burton, and as active in Alameda as he has been would not be re nominated to the planning board. very sad .

    Comment by JohnP.TrumpisnotmyPresident. — September 4, 2018 @ 4:40 pm

  2. Wow seems like UP really has the city by the balls. Was a precident set for buying old railroad land? City shouldn’t waste money on Tilden.

    Comment by michonnekatana — September 4, 2018 @ 9:13 pm

    • Well, sorta.

      But UP also has no other counterparty either. If they don’t sell to the city, they’re stuck with a parcel they can’t use or monetize. (Tilden excepted, that piece would have some takers)

      That’s a two way street, so maybe they should meet somewhere in the middle?

      Comment by dave — September 5, 2018 @ 6:04 am


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