Blogging Bayport Alameda

January 4, 2021

Upping the difficulty level

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

It looks like Tony Daysog is doubling down on the pronouncement he made in December about where he will consider multi family overlays in preparation for Alameda trying to meet its RHNA numbers. Just in case anyone thought it was a fluke or misstatement or any excuse you want to make. A reminder:

So people are concerned about a multi-family overlay on Harbor Bay Landing, well there’s not going to be a multi-family overlay on Harbor Bay Landing. There’s not going to be a multi-family overlay on the Harbor Bay sports facility and there’s not going to be — there might be a multi-family — there’s not going to be a multi-family overlay on South Shore Center. Those areas just are not strategic as they do not, they are not conducive to transit planning. [emphasis added]

At the first City Council meeting of 2021, Tony Daysog has decided to downzone shopping centers in preparation for the RHNA and Housing Element discussion. His Council Referral entitled: “Consider Establishing a New Methodology by which the Number of Housing Units are Calculated for Parcels Zoned C-2-PD.”

Now you might be asking, “well, Lauren, what shopping centers are C-2-PD?” I’m glad you asked that. The answer is: every shopping center in Alameda with the exception of the west of Grand Street Marina Villa Shopping Center and Alameda Landing Shopping Center. West End resident Tony Daysog caping, as usual, for his Bay Farm and East End base.

So what’s in Tony Daysog’s referral? Well, it’s convoluted but the TL;dr is downzoning by limiting the calculation of the density/intensity of the project to only the acreage in which the housing will occur rather than the whole project site. We saw a little of this tortured logic during the discussion about the Harbor Bay hotel project and Tony Daysog’s insistence that they shouldn’t be able to combine three smaller parcels to their larger parcel. Tony Daysog’s rationale for forbidding this combining of parcels would have made the hotel project smaller. And that’s the same sort of logic he’s working with here.

The referral also seeks to:

2. Limit height of residential building structures on C-2-PD parcels to three stories (four stories if ground-floor is commercial).

Which would immediately drop the intensity of the by-right zoning in the municipal code (30-4.9) which says about building height in the C-2 zone:

Building Height Limit: Eight (8) stories, but not to exceed one hundred (100′) feet.

Which would then immediately run afoul of SB330:

This bill […] with respect to land where housing is an allowable use […] would prohibit a county or city, including the electorate exercising its local initiative or referendum power […] from enacting a development policy, standard, or condition, as defined, that would have the effect of (A) changing the land use designation or zoning of a parcel or parcels of property to a less intensive use or reducing the intensity of land use within an existing zoning district below what was allowed under the general plan or specific plan land use designation and zoning ordinances of the county or city as in effect on January 1, 2018

Just so we’re clear, C-2 zoning allows for residential with a use permit as long as it’s not on the ground floor. So there’s that little roadblock in Tony Daysog’s referral which he does not address. By the way, the only way Tony Daysog’s little C-2 referral can be done is if the intensity is increased somewhere else so that there is “no net loss.”

The funniest part of the referral is this portion though:

Parcels zoned C-2-PD on January 1, 2021 that subsequently are re-zoned to any other zoning will still be subject to the above requirements in “1” and “2”.

As though this Council is going to (1) decide to take up this nonsense and run afoul of SB330 and try to quickly rezone C-2-PD parcels MX or something to avoid this referral. He probably thought he was super clever by throwing that in the mix but just because you write something up in a referral doesn’t mean you can will it into existence.

What should be asked, but won’t be, is how Tony Daysog expects to meet the increased RHNA allocation now that he’s suggesting further limiting capacity at nearly all of the sites which would accommodate those RHNA units. Because if Tony Daysog were able to wave a magic wand and make his referral actually happen, we’d be facing an even bigger problem of how do we meet this RHNA to ensure a certified Housing Element.

33 Comments »

  1. Hmmm…maybe Tony knows the process isn’t exactly fair….

    Between 2013 and 2021, the state of California allocated the city of Newport Beach a total of two units of affordable housing, defined by the state as low- or very low-income. The state gave Lake Forest, a city of similar size and population, 1,097 units.

    The state allocated the city of Beverly Hills three units. It allocated Coachella, in the Inland Empire, 2,614.

    https://calmatters.org/california-divide/2020/12/how-newport-beach-ended-up-with-2-affordable-housing-units-in-8-years/?

    Comment by Nowyouknow — January 4, 2021 @ 6:42 am

  2. Tony pretty obviously doesn’t consider meeting RHNA number a priority. Trish doesn’t consider anything but Trish to be a priority.

    But you know who does think it’s a VERY high priority? The pro-density majority on council. There’s much they can do to forward this agenda, but so far all they’ve done is whine that their flawed plan was rejected handily by voters (ya know, the people they purport to represent).

    Maybe, just maybe, instead of insisting that the lower density minority somehow is bound to execute the majority’s plan, they could start behaving like an elected majority and do what an elected majority is supposed to do: govern and lead.

    What good is a majority if it’s not used effectively?

    If it’s so damned critical, then do it.

    Comment by dave — January 4, 2021 @ 7:47 am

    • Comment by MP — January 4, 2021 @ 8:04 am

    • So what is the purpose of having a Tony Daysog or a Trish Spencer on the City Council if they’re not expected to do anything?

      Tony Daysog is telling us this — via this referral — that THIS is what he would do if he had a majority. How does this help the City of Alameda meet its RHNA obligations?

      Comment by Lauren Do — January 4, 2021 @ 8:16 am

    • dave – walk with me on this. Article 26 is a city charter, so it cannot be amended by anything other than a vote of the voting population. So that’s why the council majority governed and led by voting for and campaigning for the Measure Z ballot measure. That failed – and probably would have passed had Tony and Trish put their support behind it. So yes, the burden of fixing this mess is on those who caused it – Tony and Trish. I hope you can understand this. Lauren did a very good job demonstrating how Tony Daysog is offering NO feasible solution to this, just continuing to box the city into an impossible situation.

      Comment by DavesNotAllThereMan — January 4, 2021 @ 1:41 pm

  3. This may come as a shock to you, hopefully you are sitting down, but voters who are not your Facebook buddies, who actually like their city, and who don’t give a damn what the filing cabinet known as ABAG demands, also get a vote. Those votes count exactly as much as the votes of The Woke Elect, pari passu.

    Those voters elected Tony and Trish, who have the same standing as their Moral Superiors on the other side of the aisle. That’s what they’re good for.

    But again, when one side has a majority AND a burning need to act, that side can and should act, instead of whine.

    Step 1 for that side: look in the mirror and ask itself why their Sure-to-win-because-everybody-I-know-likes-it Measure Z got shellacked.

    Step 2: come up with a better plan that citizens can support.

    Step 2A: have the guts to push back on RHNA while working on Step 2 (this may well be the hardest part, zealots struggle to dissent from scripture).

    Step 3: Do it now, while they still have a majority.

    Or, keep whining that 2 votes are more than 3.

    Comment by dave — January 4, 2021 @ 8:39 am

    • And that’s why any attempts to overturn A/26 will never work because “voters who are not your Facebook buddies, who actually like their city, and who don’t give a damn what the filing cabinet known as ABAG demands.”

      Because, fun fact, ABAG demands are actually HCD demands. And HCD demands turn into big trouble for the City of Alameda if the “voters who are not your Facebook buddies, who actually like their city, and who don’t give a damn what the filing cabinet known as ABAG demands” don’t care if Alameda has a certified Housing Element.

      Seriously, is this hard to understand?

      Comment by Lauren Do — January 4, 2021 @ 9:07 am

      • And that’s why any attempts to overturn A/26 will never work
        ——

        Your deep shock at its failure indicates that you were convinced it would work. Why did it fail?

        Comment by dave — January 4, 2021 @ 9:16 am

        • Unlike you, I don’t enjoy having the same conversations over and over again. I’m pretty sure I’ve discussed it ad nauseum in many other posts. Go read it there.

          Comment by Lauren Do — January 4, 2021 @ 9:19 am

        • Well it’s progress, if a sort, that you now at least recognize that it was never going to pass.

          But as a lesser being, I don’t have your eidetic recall of all these posts. If you do get a minute to come down from Mount Woke, I’d be interested in reading your answer.

          Comment by dave — January 4, 2021 @ 9:23 am

        • This should be helpful to you moving forward as you start engaging more in discussions around social justice issues (of which housing is one). How the word ‘woke’ was hijacked to silence people of colour. (https://metro.co.uk/2020/03/27/word-woke-became-tool-silence-people-colour-12426214/):

          Now, rather than signifying an awareness of social injustice, it is used to suggest that someone is being pretentious and insincere about how much they care about an issue. It is often followed by the similarly negative term ‘snowflake’ – a word that has divisive connotations in the UK – and is frequently used in arguments online and debates in the media to belittle people with left leaning viewpoints. Frequently people of colour.

          The subversion of ‘woke’ is political and means the word can now be used to perpetuate the very injustices it sought to eradicate in the first place.

          This word has power, and the people who use it as a weapon are all too aware of the underlying connotations of racial and social ideologies. It is used to undermine and disparage the voices committed to fighting for social justice and the rights of minorities – and to silence these views without engaging with them.

          It may be that the word ‘woke’ is irrecoverable, that it has fallen too far into the hands of people who want to use it to stoke division, rather than illuminate injustice.

          But this fight is much bigger than than the lexicon used to describe it. There will be a new word, but the effort to achieve social equality remains the same.

          I realize it may be hard to understand why people who are, largely, comfortable may agitate for things they don’t need. But attempting to dismissively chalk people’s viewpoints as simply window dressing because you don’t understand why people may feel strongly about positions you don’t understand should be beneath you.

          Also, as a pointed out before. I’m not here to do free labor for people because they ask. Go read past posts. I literally wrote a whole thing about it and had a back and forth in the comments section with you on the very topic of how difficult the lift was for proponents of Measure Z.

          Comment by Lauren Do — January 4, 2021 @ 2:09 pm

        • Please do suggest a better word to mock performative (and frequently hypocritical) self righteousness. I’m open to suggestions.

          Comment by dave — January 4, 2021 @ 2:31 pm

        • And if Z was such a difficult task from the beginning, why wasn’t there a Plan B in case of defeat? Or why wasn’t the measure scaled back to one voters would support, such as a measure preserving A/26 in established area not under redevelopment? That would have easily passed.

          Or , just keep blaming the 60% of people who voted (in a high turnout year, no less) to preserve their neighborhoods. And keep complaining that 3 is less than 2.

          Comment by dave — January 4, 2021 @ 2:54 pm

    • A reminder of what happens if Alameda doesn’t have a certified Housing Element (a certified Housing Element includes showing that it has met the RHNA allocation) which means Alameda doesn’t have a valid General Plan:

      Just to give you a flavor of what that means when you don’t have a valid General Plan. Over the years with the strengthening of the RHNA process has also come a strengthening of the penalty process and the incentive process so many State grants for open space like the major $2 million grant we got for Jean Sweeney Park for the original construction. We only got that grant because we had a certified Housing Element. If we didn’t have a certified Housing Element we would not even been eligible to apply. More and more transportation funding, open space funding, affordable housing funding is preconditioned. If you don’t have a certified Housing Element don’t even bother applying.

      The other issue is if you don’t have a valid General Plan you don’t have the basis for your local land-use decision making because, as you know, every decision the Council makes and the Planning Board makes you have to make a finding is consistent with your General Plan. Well, if you don’t have a valid General Plan you can’t make that finding which makes us very vulnerable to lawsuits. And in those cases if we have that problem and go down and find ourselves in that situation where we are out of compliance and somebody challenges our decision-making ability the State and the Courts can take over that local decision-making authority from us.

      Comment by Lauren Do — January 4, 2021 @ 9:13 am

  4. Tony Daysog is good at being the mouthpiece for people who want to pretend Alameda doesn’t have a responsibility to zone the city like a good and responsible neighbor. It is very reasonable to expect him to figure out how to solve the problem this city has housing, given his strong win opposing the removal of our exclusionary housing article in the city charter. And this is what he comes up with? So good at being a mouthpiece, and not so good at workable policy. Got it.

    Comment by Gaylon — January 4, 2021 @ 9:44 am

    • The majority with an agenda should act on its agenda. Why worry about two when you already have 3?

      Comment by dave — January 4, 2021 @ 9:58 am

      • dave, your math is funny and clearly wrong. Who says you need 2/5 votes to have the City Council majority and and to control and shape policy? It also works when it’s 1 versus 4. Recall the recent discussion (during the summer of 2020 and the renewed and intensified public discussion of policing reform/defunding/unbundling/the Watkins incident, etc.) of a past police oversight board proposal by Trish Spencer three years prior (2017) and how it had to basically go nowhere because it was motivated by the bad/retaliatory intentions behind Trish Spencer’s one controlling vote (out of five).

        Comment by MP — January 4, 2021 @ 10:30 am

      • Why do you want to give Tony Daysog and Trish Spencer a pass, Dave? Why not ask him to lead rather than simply saying no? Are your standards so low? I’d like to see what Tony’s got to offer. Maybe it’s great, and I want to give him and Trish a majority in two short years.

        Comment by Gaylon — January 4, 2021 @ 10:41 am

        • Tony is well known to oppose significantly increased density. It is fanciful to expect that leopard to change its spots.

          That said, he is open to an MF overlay. Are you (and others) willing to listen to that? Not that the majority NNEDS to listen, though, they have the 3 votes already.

          Trish? Who the hell knows? She is on record opposing, similar to Tony, but she’s also a wild card. Always best to keep expectations low with her.

          Comment by dave — January 4, 2021 @ 10:57 am

      • “Why worry about two when you already have 3?”

        Because the problem is awful enough that we need everything we’ve got to turn the ship around on housing. These two make the problem even more difficult to solve. We need the feds, the state AND cities to do their parts… what Trish and Tony don’t realize is that if we don’t commit to housing along with every other Californian municipality, Alameda will see more of their parks and sidestreets overrun with homeless people. We’re already seeing it in Oakland. The opposition only makes development even more expensive. Folks fight for housing because they know that the lack of housing is the real threat to Alameda’s way of life, not traffic, and not development.

        With any luck, the feds will recommit to building public housing.

        We need city council members who can set up our city to make the most of those opportunities when they arise. For now, they’re stopping development to reassure the most secure among us. Lucky them.

        Comment by Angela — January 4, 2021 @ 10:43 am

  5. If Alameda had representation that considered all residents in a fair manner, Alameda would not have to lie down take what the legislature wants. Wake up.

    Comment by Tawney — January 4, 2021 @ 1:56 pm

    • What would “representation that considered all residents in a fair manner” look like?

      Comment by Lauren Do — January 4, 2021 @ 1:59 pm

  6. Here’s a suggested plan:

    Taken from the Alameda Point Town Center and Waterfront Precise Plan:

    In July 2013, the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) adopted Plan Bay Area. Plan Bay Area is an integrated, long range mobility and land-use plan to reduce transportation related pollution from cars and light trucks in the San Francisco Bay Area, as required by the California Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008 – California Senate Bill 375 (Steinberg). A key component of Plan Bay Area is the designation of regional Priority Development Area (PDAs). These sites are intended to provide lands for regional employment and housing growth in proximity to regional transportation systems in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change.

    Taken from the Visions for Priority Developments, as part of the Bay Area Plan:

    Per ABAG, one of the main visions for the Priority Development areas is the Jobs-Housing Connection Land Use Strategy. While PDAs were originally established to address housing needs in urban settings, they were later broadened to address employment centers.

    In Alameda, both the Alameda Naval Air Station and the Northern Waterfront were designated as PDAs as follows:

    Alameda – Alameda Naval Air Station
    This area includes substantial acres of underutilized land. The overall vision for the redevelopment of the Alameda’s former Naval Air Station lands and Fleet Industrial Supply Center is to create a transit-oriented, mixed use, sustainable development that provides homes for a variety of family sizes and income levels, jobs for the region to replace those lost by the closure of the base, as well as parks and open spaces for conservation and regional recreation.

    Alameda – Northern Waterfront
    The City of Alameda envisions this area being redeveloped as a series of mixed use, waterfront and transit oriented neighborhoods that will provide a mix of jobs and transit oriented housing types to serve the next generation of Alameda residents. The plans propose that a mix of uses are developed on former industrial and auto-oriented lands and preserve former railroad right of way for future bus rapid transit or light rail improvements. The Clement Avenue corridor through the Northern Waterfront is a designated transit priority right of way. The plans emphasize the importance of a mix of uses and a diversity of housing types for all income and household types.

    As a result, millions of dollars including tax payer dollars have been spent on planning, and transportation planning for these PDAs, and they have been approved for the MF overlay. To date, both PDAs have proceeded with their first phases of development – and have other phases left to complete, and plenty of undeveloped land available for mixed use housing.

    Proposed Plan:
    In my opinion, the ABAG PDAs are where we should focus most of the housing units, with Alameda Point Site A getting a significant number of the allocation. They have completed
    or is in the process of completing their Phases 1 community benefits and the site has transit (the newly constructed Seaplane Lagoon Ferry Terminal), and they have shovel ready completed infrastructure ready to move forward with their next phases of development.

    The next allocations in my opinion should be the Alameda Point Main Street site and the Encinal Terminals site. Both sites are part of the approved ABAG PDAs, and have been approved for the MF overlay, and both sites have undeveloped land available for MX housing.

    Next, we should look at the two shopping centers – South Shore and Marina Village. There is available land for development and both shopping centers are due for an upgrade. While neither site has been approved for the MF overlay, and they are not included in the ABAG PDAs – for planning purposes we should consider these sites for future MX housing.

    I think the major concern that needs to be addressed for the shopping centers, is where will we shop if we turn them into housing developments? This question was raised by one of the PB members recently in one of their meetings. This question can be addressed with a well thought out community plan similar to what we did with the Alameda Point Site A Waterfront Precise Plan.

    Comment by Karen Bey — January 4, 2021 @ 2:11 pm

    • Encinal Terminals is an ideal place to take a lot of the units, but the main sticking point is the Tidelands swap. Without it, any project is infeasible. That takes a vote of four on the City Council. As it stands I don’t think there is a four votes to make that swap. But we’ll know soon enough because, according to Andrew Thomas, the issue is coming back to the City Council.

      The issue with AP has been and will always be with (1) the 1400 housing unit cap of which not a lot of units are left and even if Alameda had the full 1400 remaining it would only put a dent in the now 5000+ allocation, we have no signal that the per unit cost over the 1400 units wouldn’t be perceived as a barrier to housing by HCD and (2) the high cost of backbone infrastructure.

      Comment by Lauren Do — January 4, 2021 @ 2:39 pm

      • I would think the developers at Alameda Point would have been anticipating these issues and working on a plan to address them. Regarding Encinal Terminals, hope the Swap gets approved.

        Removing the barriers to development on the approved ABAG PDAs should be low hanging fruit.

        Comment by Karen Bey — January 4, 2021 @ 2:53 pm

        • Technical question: to what extent do the previously identified PDAs in Alameda – you mention AP Northern WF – figure in, if at all, to Alameda’s (tentative) 5,400 unit allocation as land/area generally available for housing development?

          According to ABAG’s FAQ https://abag.ca.gov/sites/default/files/abag_2023-2031_rhna_faq_-_july_2020.pdf, land availability, generally, is a RHNA factor.

          Summary of RHNA factors [from Government Code §65584.04(d)]:

          * * *
          3. The availability of land suitable for urban development

          * * *

          Assuming Alameda Point boosted Alameda’s “availability of land” for purposes of the RHNA, was it also discounted in some way by the fees applicable to units over the cap?

          Comment by MP — January 4, 2021 @ 3:36 pm

  7. “Alameda – Alameda Naval Air Station
    This area includes substantial acres of underutilized land. The overall vision for the redevelopment of the Alameda’s former Naval Air Station lands and Fleet Industrial Supply Center is to create a transit-oriented, mixed use, sustainable development that provides homes for a variety of family sizes and income levels, jobs for the region to replace those lost by the closure of the base, as well as parks and open spaces for conservation and regional recreation. ”

    I can tell you that personally, there is no way in hell I would ever consider building family housing anywhere near that area. Just as Covid was getting started and we started WFH I would take little bike rides out there as there was less people. At the time there was some work being done in some of the parking lots of of the abandoned buildings: There were vast areas covered with plastic, with barriers, with radioactive warning signs. For decades the base was used for servicing aircraft as well as serving instruments. A lot of those instruments were painted with radium and at the end of the day what happened to the leftover paint and brushes? They got dumped down the drain. I would imagine Alameda is no different than all of the other Navy bases in the Bay Area: Sites of a verifiable cocktail of toxic chemicals. They used a LOT of nasty things back then: Jet fuel, radium, asbestos, PCBs, Dioxins, radioactive elements… you name it. Sure- the area has spent years being remediated and the EPA has signed off on most of the site. OTOH it wasn’t that long ago that they closed down a block of housing on Treasure Island because they found out that radioactive material had been buried and said housing had been built on top of it. My opinion is that the area should probably be better served if it were made into mainly commercial sites versus residential housing,. But if they do build houses…. I would probably not recommend putting a sand box for the kiddies in the back yard

    Comment by john doe — January 4, 2021 @ 2:53 pm

  8. Is this supposed to be upsetting? I don’t know Tony, but he just won my vote!! I’m fine with limited housing in Alameda? Ask any reasonable person living here, liberal or conservative, and you’ll find out that the same answer. The only people who want to overbuild in Alameda seem to be developers and a small number of people they convinced into thinking that being YIMBY is liberal. Sorry, over building, creating congestion, crushing local resources is something conservatives would be for, not progressives. BTW, I just moved her from SF last year and building housing in SF didn’t help with rent prices so that’s a terrible argument for housing as well.

    Comment by Hayden Roth — January 4, 2021 @ 3:09 pm

  9. Both Alameda Point Site A and the Alameda Main Street project were determined by the Navy to be cleaned and available for housing. Not all of Alameda Point is entitled for housing. Much of the land is entitled for commercial.

    The Alameda FISC site now called “Bayport Alameda” had a similar problem (it too was part of the Navy land) and the Navy took years to clean up the site before it was conveyed to developers. Now it’s a flourishing mixed use development in their final Phase 4 of development that was developed by Catellus – the same developers approved for the Alameda Main Street project. Pulte Homes is currently developing their final phase of housing at Bayport.

    Comment by Karen Bey — January 4, 2021 @ 3:15 pm

  10. Andrew Thomas in his original suggested allocation included Alameda Point as one of the sites that should get a large allocation of housing since there is available land. If there are barriers that can be removed on the original PDAs to create more housing, (like fees, or a cap, or a land SWAP, etc.) I think we should work to remove them. I’m calling these low hanging fruit because they already have the MF overlay and these properties have additional sites for new housing.

    However, since the original PDA sites do not provide enough land to reach our 5400 number, we should look at the shopping centers where there is plenty of land.

    Comment by Karen Bey — January 4, 2021 @ 4:26 pm

  11. “Both Alameda Point Site A and the Alameda M”ain Street project were determined by the Navy to be cleaned and available for housing. Not all of Alameda Point is entitled for housing. Much of the land is entitled for commercial.

    Yes- “determined to be cleaned by the Navy”. Do you realize the Navy has had a rather colorful history of making statements like that when later it turns out… whatdyaknow…. not really.
    https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Report-Navy-altered-Hunters-Point-cleanup-to-14302320.php

    Like I had previously said: Huge chunks of the base were used for aircraft maintenance as well as servicing the various carriers and ships that were in port there. The fact that just months ago I literally saw radioactive warning signs tape to barriers around some of the buildings tells you that 20+ years later they are still finding crap both in the ground an in those buildings. I mean- to me personally it doesn’t affect me. We already bought our house inland in Alameda. But if people want to go build houses on a former superfund site then go for it. I still wouldn’t do that myself

    Comment by john doe — January 5, 2021 @ 12:53 pm

    • For similar reasons I wouldn’t live there either. A bit unfortunate, as I prefer the cooler weather of the West End but c’est la vie. But if your house is on landfill, such as South Shore and much of Bay Farm, your soil is probably thick with mercury and other contaminants from mining waste.

      Comment by dave — January 5, 2021 @ 1:03 pm


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