Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 15, 2021

Resource high

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

One of the things that I both like and dislike about Planning Director Andrew Thomas is that he always couches difficult topics in an optimistic way. For example, in the Planning Board’s discussion about the General Plan and the deluge of letters they received about the Harbor Bay Club he never closes the door on any possibility while actually laying out the difficulty of continuing to prop that door open.

I’m pretty sure I’ve talked out this before but the Harbor Bay HOAs have mobilized lots of folks who go around asking cryptic questions all over social media or getting them to send letters asking for the nearly impossible of the City. Specifically right now they want the City to rezone the Harbor Bay Fitness Club so that housing cannot be built there. Now, if you weren’t aware of this the Harbor Bay Club is privately owned. This is not City land. Someone owns this. Also the owners of Harbor Bay Club have publicly said that they need to do something else with this land. Yes, they did have plans to move the club and build housing at the site but from the sounds of it they might be interested in redeveloping the site with a club but with housing.

Now city staff is saying that the discussion is wide open regarding the Harbor Bay Club site and nothing is precluded, even if the Planning Board wants to recommend rezoning to exclude zoning, however they made it very clear that moving in that direction would be very problematic for the City being able to certify its Housing Element. But we really can’t put it past Alameda to opt to keep something illegal on the books even if it means we can’t certify our Housing Element.

The three places where Alameda may run afoul if it elects to go the route of no housing. First is the problem with the owners actually wanting housing there. As you can imagine if the ability to build housing gets removed from the site (because it’s technically allowed under the current zoning) there could be a cause of action by the owners of the property.

The second is that state law says that you cannot reduce the intensity of a site, particularly around housing, without adding the same amount of intensity you removed somewhere else. So you can’t just downzone a bunch a sites you want to protect and say “oh well, we just don’t have the space” and you can’t just add it all to Alameda Point because it’s the catch all for everything no one else wants in their neighborhood because of the last tripping hazard.

AFFH or affirmatively furthering fair housing which is going to be a big thing in this Housing Element. The City will have to show that it’s attempting to correct the issues of the past and not having any Bay Farm sites considering that Bay Farm is a “high resource” area will definitely not pass the smell test for the department of Housing and Community Development.

So, essentially, Bay Farmers will need to come to a happy consensus on whether to allow some housing on the Harbor Bay site, be okay with the Shopping Center getting an overlay or expose Alameda to an uncertified Housing Element.

1 Comment »

  1. Bay Farm is about 18 percent of the city’s population so if we don’t get, I dunno, at least 12% of the RHNA allocation sited over there I’m gonna write a letter to HCD to not certify the housing element.

    Comment by Josh Hawn — September 16, 2021 @ 9:58 am

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