Blogging Bayport Alameda

July 6, 2015

Pro or anti or could not care less

There was a comment a few days ago about Trish Spencer not being elected for her political abilities, speech making abilities, or her financial acumen.  But rather she was elected to “slow down development.”

The ironic thing is if that is the case then she has done nothing of the sort.  As someone pointed out after the Alameda Point Site A vote, Trish Spencer has approved more housing units in her first six months in office than Marie Gilmore did her entire four years as Mayor.

As another commenter pointed out, it’s puzzling how she has gotten such a pass from her constituency if that was, in fact, why she was elected.

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March 10, 2015

99% of the time, you’re hard work

Super huge agenda tonight for the City Council, I’m feeling super behind because I haven’t even written everything that I wanted to write about last week’s City Council meeting and now we’re already having another City Council meeting, I guess it could be worse and I would have nothing to write about but still…City Council, stop being so amusing and entertaining, I need to catch up!

So tonight’s City Council meeting has two meaty items in “workshop” format.  The last time we had anything close to a workshop was the Special Meeting about how to run meetings and it was chaos.  This time around, hopefully, after being reprimanded by John Russo to get control of the meeting, Trish Spencer will have a firmer grip over the meeting.  Or she’ll continue to let people speak way over the allotted public comment time and then complain about how there is an “agenda writing” problem and place the blame all on staff.  Well tonight there’s only two real agenda items, so we’ll see how long this meeting goes on for and whether we have another “agenda writing” problem tonight.

The first (well the second agenda item) is the whole uber Transportation plan thing that was before the Transportation Commission and Planning Board the other night.  Tonight the City Council will vote to put their money where their rhetoric is regarding transportation issues and they can choose to issue a RFP for creation of this uber Transportation plan (approximate costs are $250 – 400K for this strategy alone and could take up to a whole year to actually produce given the levels of community input that are expected).  There is no funding identified for this yet so best case the city staff can go out for grants.  Some of the City Staff has been very successful at securing grants in the past.  But worse case it will come out of the general fund.

The second (but really first) agenda item is around the super hot topic of density bonus.  Recall that during the Del Monte discussion some of the people who opposed the project did so on the basis that some how the density bonus was improperly applied and asked that there be a moratorium on any future density bonus approvals until such time that the density bonus application process was all sorted out.  Frank Matarrese took up this mantle and here we are.

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September 22, 2014

Two car Del Monte

Filed under: Alameda, Development, Measure A, Northern Waterfront, Transportation — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

Tonight the Del Monte project will come before the Planning Board and the Planning Board will vote to adopt five distinct parts crucial to the Del Monte project moving forward:

A.) Adopt the draft Resolution recommending that the City Council adopt the Subsequent Mitigated Negative Declaration.
B.) Adopt the draft Resolution recommending that the City Council approve the Del Monte Master Plan and Density Bonus Application.
C.) Approve by motion a recommendation that the City Council approve the Development Agreement.
D.) Adopt the Draft Resolution approving the Del Monte Transportation Demand Management Program.
E.) Adopt the draft Resolution approving Del Monte Development Plan and Design Review for the Del Monte Plan.

Right now the developer still hasn’t decided on whether they want to put up the units for sale or for rent, but they will be subdividing the building in anticipation that they condos will be for sale.   Given the state of the current housing market, if everything still holds the way it is now, they can probably sell for a nice chunk of change given the low supply of housing for sale in Alameda.  The affordable units will not be for sale and will be for rent.  The affordable housing units will be spread within the Del Monte building and another site will house the remainder of the units in a Shinsei Garden and Breakers at Bayport model.   This allows for a skilled non profit developer to come in who has an understanding of cobbling together tax credits to successfully build affordable housing in the most cost effective way with necessary supportive services on-site.

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May 29, 2014

Round and around and around and around we go

Filed under: Alameda, Measure A — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

Short post for today, mostly because I’m pretty sad and disenchanted right now.   I imagine I’ll get over it by tomorrow, but still…

In my everlasting optimism, I thought that folks in Alameda would be able to grasp the concept of what I call the “Fact of Life theme song concept.”   As in you take the good, you take the bad, you take them all and there you have the facts of life.   It was interesting to see how quickly the discussion yesterday devolved and how exactly what Ta-Nehisi Coates challenged us all to do was summarily dismissed.   That policies that may have been handed down at a federal level, but were enacted at a local level should be discussed nationally, but that we should never examine ourselves in our own communities because we are somehow beyond reproach.

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May 28, 2014

Little bit of history repeating

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Neighbors, Measure A — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

A few quotes:

From yesterday’s post about redlining in Alameda:

Redlining is history. It’s over.

Also from yesterday’s post about redlining in Alameda:

It may be history but I’m sure you are aware that the effects of history are still being felt today

From Ta-Nehisi Coates‘ Atlantic piece:

We invoke the words of Jefferson and Lincoln because they say something about our legacy and our traditions. We do this because we recognize our links to the past—at least when they flatter us.

In Alameda it’s much the same.  We preserve the past for the future, but only want to preserve and discuss that which we are proud of.   Everything else gets swept away into the dustbin of Alameda’s past, left to stay there as though it no longer affects Alameda because it’s history and we should be looking toward the future.  Just because the dirty bits of Alameda’s history makes us squirm and feel uncomfortable to recall and retell does not mean that it still isn’t a part of Alameda’s history.

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September 13, 2012

Brother gotta work it out

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Landing, Development, Measure A — Tags: , , , — Lauren Do @ 6:03 am

On Monday night the Planning Board (and public) got a first look at the Alameda Landing residential project.   The good thing about Monday night’s meeting was the Powerpoint from Tri Point — the developer — gave folks a better idea of what they had envisioned, the bad thing about Monday night’s meeting was the awful realization that the residential portion needs a lot more work, and perhaps a complete reworking of the entire plan.

Here is a much better site plan (including the retail portion) that was available on Monday night:

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August 2, 2012

Can you release memo

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Development, Measure A — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

At Tuesday night City Council meeting, I had expected some more discussion around the release of the Housing Element memo from December, but alas, it was pretty ho hum.   But the end result is a released memo so that is always a good thing.   I don’t know if I mentioned it, but this memo was actually produced for a closed agenda item that indicated that the City was at significant exposure to litigation and in the memo it’s clear that if the City had not rebooted serious efforts to get the Housing Element certified by the State, it would have faced a lawsuit.  But I’ll get to that in a minute.

When the agenda item first comes up, Doug deHaan right out the gate announces that he had tried to get the memo released previously and mentioned that he had contacted the City Attorney about releasing the memo.   Which is all well and good, except that the City Attorney did not have the authority to waive the attorney-client privilege, the City Council did, which is what Mayor Marie Gilmore says:

Just so that we can be clear, the attorney-client privilege is the Council’s as a body and so the appropriate procedure is to ask to have the document brought for a vote before the Council as to whether or not the Council wants to release that privilege or not which is what we’re doing here tonight.

One would think that after eight years on the City Council, Doug deHaan would have been aware of that by now.

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July 17, 2012

Out of your Housing Element

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Development, Measure A — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

A little more on the Housing Element discussion from a few weeks ago, this time from Planning Services Manager Andrew Thomas, who explains a brief history of Alameda and Housing Elements, why the overlay is important, and why staff thinks it’s important to get this Housing Element certified.

This is the second time we’ve tried to do a Housing Element.  The first one was never fully certified, but it was for about 2000 housing units, the reason it wasn’t certified is the state said, “look, you’re only providing for one kind of housing type, single family residential, you are not providing for the other kinds of housing types that we require at the State level.”

So all we did here was to say, okay we hear you, we got it, so here is this zoning overlay we’re proposing to assure you — as well as those changes to the definition in the zoning ordinance about Transitional Housing, SROs, so we could really show that we’ve got the full range of housing types including the multi-family rental covered.

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July 16, 2012

It’s Housing Element, my dear Watson

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Development, Measure A — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am

Tomorrow night at the City Council meeting, the City Council will be doing a final reading of the 2007-2014 Housing Element.  It’s on the Consent Calendar, but it will be pulled.   I’ve written about this subject extensively and the City has had extensive meetings on the topic including the various components that have led up to this point.

But as what happens in all cases of things having to do with housing in Alameda, if someone feels as though they weren’t properly engaged regardless of the number of meetings about the subject they will attempt to say that there wasn’t enough notice or public process about the process.   Between the last City Council meeting and this City Council meeting, Councilmember Doug deHaan has been making huge waves amongst his peeps to try to build a level of outrage over the Housing Element.   Recall, the City started this process in December 2011 to revise the Housing Element and it’s no surprise that Alameda’s Housing Element has been out of compliance for a long long long time.

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June 19, 2012

Subdivide and conquer

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Landing, Business, Development, Measure A — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

In a surprising switch up, all the interesting stuff is happening in under the consent calendar of the City Council agenda. Expect to see some items pulled for discussion or public comment tonight.

The first big item is the parcel map for Alameda Landing. The Planning Board has already recommended approving the parcel map, but very few things get through the City Council without someone wanting to make some sort of comment on the issue. This subdivision of the parcel will allow the actual building of the property to start. According to the staff report Parcels 2, 3, and 4 will be residential development and Parcel 1 will be Target and other retail, see Parcel Maps here. A 10.2 acre pad in Parcel 1 will be sold to Target — because that’s how they like to develop their stores, by first purchasing the land — and it’s unclear if Catellus will be developing the remaining of the retail vertically itself or farming that out to a different developer. Probably the former since they do vertical commercial development.

The Staff report also indicates that — as I tweeted earlier —

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