Blogging Bayport Alameda

October 25, 2021

Premature evaluation

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

The Planning Board’s agenda looks deceptively simple, only two items but both are biggies. The first is to recommend that the City Council adopt the Alameda General Plan 2040.

The second is to provide comments on the Housing Element in preparation for the newest RHNA allocation. For those that didn’t necessarily pay attention Alameda did, in fact, appeal its RHNA allocation but that — along with many other cities and jurisdictions — was denied by ABAG.

General Plan 2040 has been largely discussed already with City Staff removing some of the more aggressively honest statements about A/26 from the text at the behest of the preservation community. Note, I didn’t say “historic” because folks with any real belief in preserving and sharing history wouldn’t be so reluctant to be honest about the realties of A/26.

But what the Housing Element has is some fun Q & As for the NIMBY set in Alameda who will, assuredly, have the use of Trish Spencer and Tony Daysog as their mouthpieces when the Housing Element end up at the City Council for final approval. The Q & A is answering some key questions that those NIMBYs have including “put it all at Alameda Point” and “Bay Farm shouldn’t have to take on any more housing.” Surprisingly staff also included an answer to whether this vote needs to be unanimous as well because, I guess, that question has come up.

From the staff report:

If the U.S. Navy were to waive the fee on additional market rate housing at Alameda Point, could the Housing Element place all 5,353 units at Alameda Point?

No.  Fair housing requirements provide that the City affirmatively further fair housing by taking meaningful actions that overcome patterns of segregation and foster inclusive communities free from barriers that restrict access to opportunity.  Historically, the more wealthy people in Alameda have lived on the east side of Alameda, and the less wealthy people live on the west side.  In addition, the better schools, parks, and services (access to “opportunities”) are located on the east side of Alameda.  This pattern of economic segregation continues today in Alameda.  Therefore, to affirmatively further fair housing, the City must distribute its RHNA across all neighborhoods in Alameda and not place its entire RHNA in West Alameda. 

Is Harbor Bay included in this Housing Element? 

Yes, as described in Chapter 2 of the draft Housing Element, City staff proposes changes to the R-1, R-2, and C-2 zoning provisions to encourage and facilitate infill housing in existing neighborhoods and centers.  Harbor Bay neighborhoods are zoned R-1 and R-2 and the Harbor Bay shopping center is zoned C-2. The October draft Housing Element does not rely on new housing at the Harbor Bay Club; however, the site zoning currently conditionally permits residential use above ground floor commercial uses.   

Can the City Council adopt the Housing Element on a 3-2 vote?

Yes, the City Council can adopt the Housing Element update with a 3-2 vote, however, the Housing Element update (Exhibit 1) relies on the City Council’s approval of entitlements for housing at Alameda Point (1,282 residential units) and Encinal Terminals (589 residential units).  Both of these projects require a supermajority, or at least 4 votes, to be approved.  If one or both of these projects is not approved, the next draft of the Housing Element will need to move up to 1,871 of the required 5,353 residential units into existing developed areas of the City.  Therefore, City staff intends to bring the Encinal Terminals and Alameda Point entitlements for consideration by the City Council in the near future.

By the way, I think I mentioned this really early on in this process but the Encinal Terminals and Alameda Point entitlements will be super interesting in light of this process. Either Tony Daysog and/or Trish Spencer are not going to be able to sit back and force the other three council members to be the adults in the room on these two projects because if those are not entitled then they will immediately not be available for staff to identify as filling some of those RHNA buckets. The owners and developers of those sites have already said, publicly, that those sites are not feasible under their existing entitlements. Making them financially infeasible means that they can’t be identified for the RHNA which would shift the burden of finding vacant land for more than 1800 units.

Honestly, I don’t know why the PB is wasting their time on this version of the Housing Element until they know if the City Council will approve those entitlements. If the City Council can’t scrape up four votes it’s back to the drawing board.

1 Comment »

  1. “Honestly, I don’t know why the PB is wasting their time on this version of the Housing Element ….” Honestly, do you know any other way of getting the word out to people of what the consequences would be of denying the entitlements to our Housing Element, other than scheduling the Housing Element for Planning Board vote and having the official staff report and Q & A section? I am very glad that they are explaining that denying the entitlements would mean putting an additional 1800 units somewhere else in town, so that those two anti-housing votes on CC will have to think about what a no vote on the entitlements means for the neighborhoods.

    Comment by kevisb2001 — October 25, 2021 @ 11:54 am

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