Blogging Bayport Alameda

November 16, 2021

“Over there”

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am

Will the City Council hear any of the Council Referrals tonight? Probably not.

There are a few big items on tonight’s agenda which should eat up the majority of time. At this point the City Council should just add another meeting to just get through all the Council Referrals. The first big item is the approval to execute an MOU regarding the bottle parcel (that piece of vacant land next to the College of Alameda) for a short yet long term homeless housing project. From the staff report:

The approval of staff recommendations in this report would allow the City to pursue development of interim housing on the Bottle Parcel, a parcel of land that is difficult to develop due to its footprint and size. The development would use prefabricated modular structures constructed to building code standards and designed to be durable with a minimum lifetime design of 15 years (20 years if County Home funds are used).  Each room in the project would offer private accommodations including a bathroom.  The project would offer on-site laundry, staff offices, common areas for the community and space for pet relief.  It is anticipated that this development could shelter between 46 and 61 individuals and couple within 46 units (see example site plan in Exhibit 1). 

Staff recommends DignityMoves and Five Keys as partners to develop and operate the interim housing on the Bottle Parcel.  DignityMoves is a nonprofit real estate development organization dedicated to building interim supportive housing solutions.  It is led by a team of experienced professionals in the areas of real estate and land use, affordable housing impact investment and fund developers for homelessness causes.  DignityMoves has developed similar projects in Mountain View, San Francisco and the County of Santa Barbara.  DignityMoves would take the lead role in project development.

Five Keys would take a lead role in providing operational services.  Five Keys is a nonprofit organization with the following mission: “Through the use of social and restorative justice principles, Five Keys provides traditionally underserved communities the opportunity to improve their lives through a focus on the Five Keys: Education, Employment, Recovery, Family, Community.”  Five Keys was founded in 2003 by the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department as the first accredited charter high school in the nation to provide diploma programs for adults in county jails.  Today, Five Keys offers high school education, vocational skills, life skills classes and access to college and workforce programs.  Five Keys has operated nine transitional housing and permanent supportive housing programs and has developed housing for formerly incarcerated women, located on Treasure Island in San Francisco. 

If Five Keys rang some bells of familiarity the ED of Five Keys applied for one of the vacated School Board seats a while ago. This project should be an easy approval for the City Council, it’s close to services and public transportation and will serve an immediate need.

The Draft Housing Element is also on the agenda and this is a big one because the NIMBYs are out in force with their bad faith arguments. They even have a petition which is ridiculous in light of the RHNA allocation and the lack of certainty around some of the biggest projects that require a super majority vote which would lop a substantial portion of the RHNA allocation but would rely on unreliable actors who have expressed their lack of support in the past:

This is part of a Q & A that the staff put together for the Planning Board BEFORE these NIMBYs put up their petition so they already know that (1) the City has already started the process of discussion the cap with the Navy and (2) even if that were to happen they can’t “provide the majority of housing over there”.

“Over there” is, of course, an interesting term because for those of us that live on the West End, Alameda Point is not “over there” it’s just there. Because were not so far removed from Alameda Point that it’s some vague piece of land, it’s here and it’s the place where people on the East End and on Bay Farm want to dump everything that they think is undesirable.

But, as staff pointed out, the State of California has put checks on this type of bullshit because they know that NIMBYs are going to try this bullshit everywhere, from the PB and City Council 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?

While physically possible, HCD would most likely not certify the Housing Element.  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 wealthier 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.  To affirmatively further fair housing, the Staff and HCD recommends distributing the City’s RHNA across all neighborhoods in Alameda and not place its entire RHNA in West Alameda. [emphasis added]


  1. First, I think it’s an important step to maximize housing at Alameda Point by working with the Navy to remove the cap. Alameda Point is transit rich, has plenty land, and we have developers ready to start development once given the green light.

    Second, I would like the Council to consider removing the 500 units from the R2-R6 residential districts – and allocate those units to our Main Streets (Park Street and Webster Street). This would create some exciting opportunities to develop vacant and underused lots, which would revitalize our main streets and support our struggling main street business districts.

    To accomplish this, we need to increase density to 200-300 units per acre, and increase building heights to accommodate the smaller lot sizes on Park Street and Webster Street. It’s important to be flexible here – so we don’t box ourselves in and find ourselves unable to approve any projects on Park Street and Webster Street — a situation we currently find ourselves in.

    Comment by Karen Bey — November 16, 2021 @ 7:32 am

    • I disagree with removing 500 units from R2-R6 residential units. All neighborhoods need to do their part, no area is off limits. I agree with adding units to the main streets, however.

      Comment by JRB — November 16, 2021 @ 9:38 am

      • I believe there are already plenty of multi-family units in the R2-R6 residential zone — I live in one. Including my triplex, there are several other multifamily units on my street (I would say it’s about 50/50). I like the current mix and balance of single family and multi-family housing units on my street. I get to live with families with children living in SF homes, singles and couples renting apartments and homes, couples and singles who own their homes, and people of all ages, races, and sexual orientation — in all income brackets. It is a melting pot!

        If you drive down other similar R2-R6 residential zones, you will see the same mix of housing types. For example, Clinton Ave or San Jose Ave or San Antonio Ave (near Park Street). I used to live on Clinton Ave in a duplex – and right across the street there was a 5-plex. On the corner was a tri-plex, and spread throughout there were several multi-family units and single family homes.

        My point, is that these residential zones (R2-R6) have already accomplished what HCD is requiring for the Housing Element. And if we want to add additional units, the State ADU ordinance allows us to add one or more ADU’s by right.

        I agree with the 1,000 units of housing at the shopping centers, and Encinal Terminals, etc. but WHAT IS LACKING is housing on our main streets — and there are VACANT and UNDERUSED LOTS that can be used to build housing, and at the same time revitalize our main street business districts.

        Comment by Karen Bey — November 16, 2021 @ 11:00 am

  2. We need to….Blah blah blah

    $25 M to purchase and $1.2 M a year to maintain and house 40 unhoused meth heads, criminals, and mentally unstable in shipping containers near a daycare center and schools.

    Hard no.

    Comment by Greta T — November 16, 2021 @ 10:52 am

    • Are you lost? Is there someone we can call for you?

      Comment by Lost & Found — November 16, 2021 @ 2:11 pm

      • Call the Paul Foreman and the Citizens Taskforce. They’ll want to run this person for mayor next year.

        Comment by Rod — November 16, 2021 @ 6:17 pm

    • You miss the point entirely, Greta.

      30 grand per bum per year is a steal, San Francisco spends double that. At such a bargain price, the village will be a profit center.

      And the location is perfect. It’s away from nice neighborhoods and walkable to the best shoplifting in town. Win-win!

      Comment by Interesting times — November 17, 2021 @ 7:00 am

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