Blogging Bayport Alameda

January 22, 2020

A/26: the alternatives, part 1

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

This is an excellent comment/question about what ordinances currently exist on the books to do what A/26 has been credited with doing.   So here is my attempt at trying to piece that information together, but I’m relying on this document from the City’s evaluation of A/26 to inform the research.  This will probably extend over multiple posts.

From that document:

The adoption of Measure A in the early 1970’s was just one of many changes in City and State regulations during the 1970s and 1980s related to development review, including, but not limited to:

  • Historic Preservation. The Alameda Historic Preservation Ordinance established new processes and requirements for the public review of changes to historic buildings in Alameda;
  • Design Review. The Alameda Design Review Ordinance established new processes and requirements for the public review of any design changes to an existing building in Alameda or the proposed design of a new building in Alameda;
  • CEQA. The California Environmental Quality Act established new processes and requirements for the public review of the potential environmental impacts, including traffic, from any new development; and
  • BCDC. The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) established new public processes and regulations for the filling of the San Francisco Bay.

Because we’ve been told over and over again that A/26 was to “save Victorians” I’ll start with the historic preservation part.  As noted above Alameda created a Historic Preservation Ordinance, from the City’s website:

In order to preserve and document Alameda’s rich heritage, the City adopted the Historic Preservation Ordinance in 1975.

This ordinance had the added effect of creating the Historical Advisory Board (HAB) as well.  The ordinance is the firewall for buildings which have been designated a Historic Monument:

No building, structure, group of structures, or site, including trees or plantings, that has been designated a Historical Monument shall be demolished, removed or altered without first referring the matter to the Historical Advisory Board for a certificate of approval, except where the Building Official or his/her designee determines that demolition, removal or alteration of any such building, structure or site is immediately necessary in the interest of the public health, safety or general welfare.

It’s also the firewall for any building constructed prior to 1942:

Any building that was constructed prior to 1942 shall not be demolished or removed without the approval of a certificate of approval issued by the Historical Advisory Board. The age of the building shall be determined by a review of the City records.

So post 1975 if any historic buildings were demolished, it was done with the approval of the HAB and City Council.  There was nothing in A/26 that prevented the bulldozers from coming for the Victorians.


  1. Ah yes. Try removing a detached garage from a West End property that was built before 1942. Truly historic building.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — January 22, 2020 @ 7:34 am

  2. Thanks for doing this. Thank you for this, very helpful. Does anyone know what ordinances cap density on new build? I was told that it was A26, the minimum 2,000 sqft rule. I was also told that it was irrelevant, because it’s being overridden by state law. Shensei Gardens and the senior place at Sherman and Buena Vista are recent builds that seem to defy A26, or so I was also told.

    Comment by JRB — January 22, 2020 @ 9:27 am

    • Shinsei Gardens was built using the Guyton exemption. Sherman/Buena Vista was built using multifamily overlay which Alameda was required to have in order for the state to approve the Housing Element.

      Comment by Lauren Do — January 22, 2020 @ 9:34 am

  3. And of course you know that traffic is no longer considered to be an environmental impact under CEQA.

    Comment by vigi — January 24, 2020 @ 9:50 am

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