Blogging Bayport Alameda

March 17, 2023

I’m taking this horse by the reins

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:13 am

Definitely not Alameda related but instructive nonetheless for monied NIMBY groups who think that suing to stop development projects are a good thing. Consider the case of a development in Layfayette from the Chronicle:

After a 12-year battle, the California Supreme Court declined this week to hear an appeal from a neighborhood group attempting to stop the development of a 315-unit apartment building in Lafayette, clearing the project’s last hurdle and allowing it to move forward.

The project, known as the Terraces of Lafayette, became the poster child of the Bay Area housing wars as it faced two lawsuits, a ballot referendum and over 100 public hearings that delayed the project for more than a decade after its initial application was approved by the city.  

I particularly liked these quotes:

“This decision is a win for housing, but the fact that this project has taken so long is exactly why we have such a catastrophic housing shortage,” said Sonja Trauss, president and founder of pro-housing group YIMBY Law, in a statement.

Matt Regan, senior vice president of public policy for the Bay Area Council, agreed, saying he hopes that the court’s decision sends a message to housing opponents — “you can’t lawyer your way to your desired outcome.”

“It’s a game changer,” he said of the decision. “It shows that these wealthy, largely suburban communities that have not been fulfilling their housing obligations for so long are now going to be held accountable.”

Trauss with YIMBY Law put it more bluntly: “The people involved with Save Lafayette should be ashamed of themselves.”

Naturally Save Lafayette used CEQA to attempt to stop the project which is currently a topic being studied by the Little Hoover Commission.

For more than fifty years, CEQA has played a critical role in promoting environmental quality and encouraging public awareness around land use decisions.

However, CEQA has also long been at the center of polarized debate and controversy. The law is subject to intense disagreement over its impact on housing, land use, economic development, and infrastructure. Some critics argue that CEQA impedes the realization of state policy priorities around housing construction, infill development, and addressing climate change. CEQA’s supporters, meanwhile, contend that this argument greatly exaggerates CEQA’s impact and instead point to the law as a vital tool for achieving state environmental goals and advancing environmental justice.

It should be interesting in light of decades of CEQA being abused to stop development projects to see what the results of the Commission will be.


    • 2 years of population decline does not make up for 30+ years of chronic under-building. We’re still short by at least 5 million homes in California and we’re currently 49th in the country for housing per capita. I’m glad the tide is turning against NIMBYs, more and more courts and judges are getting fed up with these frivolous lawsuits.

      Comment by JRB — March 17, 2023 @ 8:46 am

    • I agree with Borenstein when he says lack of housing is directly constraining the population of California…”Whether that continues will depend on disparate factors, such as: Will California build enough housing to balance supply and demand so more people can afford to live here?”

      Specific to Lafayette, here is an interesting article “Incensed by NIMBYism, an East Bay city manager quits: ‘My conscience won’t allow it'” Steven Falk had worked for the city of Lafayette for 28 years, 22 as City Manager. He quit because the city council had been taken over by NIMBY-jerks.

      Comment by YIMBY — March 17, 2023 @ 8:58 am

      • That was an article from2018…. before lockdowns, before brownouts, before mandatory water rationing, before devastating forest fires, before crushing inflation, before the diminution of public transit, before highest state taxes in the nation, before thousands were laid off by the tech sector, before the decline of Silicon Valley, before the hollowing out of our cities, and the great California exodus resulting in the loss of a congressional seat.

        Why it’s even before Newsom spent $22.3 billion to increase the homeless population and enrich his political allies.

        So things have indeed changed.

        Comment by Really — March 17, 2023 @ 10:44 am

  1. For years we have been hearing, not Alameda, the Traffic, and limited access, it will change the small-town vibe, it will increase crime, and a lot of other reasons. As everyone can see, there are those in every city who has reasons why their City should be exempt. I believe the State Mandate is good because everyone has to do their part. My biggest thing is everyone in Alameda thinks all the low-income housing should be in the West End. I think it should be spread throughout Alameda. Why not repurpose Otis School, or the hospital, or some of the Apartment buildings.

    Comment by Gage — March 17, 2023 @ 9:08 am

    • Check out the Alamedal 2023-31 Housing Element plan. You might be pleasantly surprised.

      Comment by Alameda Housing Element — March 17, 2023 @ 9:18 am

      • I’m not sure people think all the low-income housing in particular should be on the West End. The West End just has lots more space so seems most suitable to new development of all sorts. Done right, I done see why, from a lot of perspectives, the West End shouldn’t be better than the East End or Bay Farm when we’re done. The contrary view seems to implicitly embrace the notion that development is inherently a burden.

        Comment by RJS — March 17, 2023 @ 11:05 am

    • “..repurpose Otis School, or the hospital, or some of the Apartment buildings” What? Those are all well used sites with specific purposes already.. Or do you mean build on top of them or in their parking lots or?

      Comment by bjsvec — March 17, 2023 @ 12:49 pm

      • Otis has been closed for several years, I believe it is only a matter of time before the hospital closes and they are already repurposing some apartments as Affordable. Alameda is getting 132 Affordable Homes for the next 55 years. Prior to this agreement, they were at market rate. They are not new homes, in my opinion, they are better, as they don’t need to be subsidized by taxes or building additional Market Rate Housing to pay for them.

        Comment by Gage — March 17, 2023 @ 1:32 pm

        • Buddy, you’re thinking of Lum.

          Comment by Lum — March 17, 2023 @ 1:51 pm

        • You are correct, I was thinking of Lum…It is on Otis?

          Comment by Gage — March 17, 2023 @ 2:22 pm

        • The reason that Lum is closed is because the ground underneath those single story buildings is too dangerous in case of an earthquake to have a school located there. Sadly only figured out after a lot of money and effort was put into repairs of that school. That really does not augur well for some housing development on the site.

          Comment by JohnB — March 17, 2023 @ 5:35 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Say what you want

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: