Blogging Bayport Alameda

July 23, 2015

Grow old with me

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Development, Northern Waterfront, Public Resources — Lauren Do @ 6:03 am

On Tuesday night the City Council voted to move forward with the senior affordable housing at the Del Monte site.  The big vote for that project was to transfer City owned land to the Housing Authority, which — as someone pointed out on Twitter — could have been a place where the “no development anywhere ever” crowd could have made their stand to stop this development by not voting for the transfer.  The project needed four votes to move forward.

Of course voting against anything that is for seniors is pretty much a non starter in this town much like being anti-park.  The unanimous vote is a surprise (but not really because of the senior aspect) for the Councilpeople who were supposed to put the brakes on development.  Yet more units to add to the list of approved housing units.


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.


January 12, 2015

New sensation

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Development, Northern Waterfront — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

One of the big questions that kept cropping up at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting was “why are we doing this.”  Because of the lack of a staff report and lack of really any explanation, folks were genuinely puzzled about Mayor Trish Spencer electing to use the mechanism of a repeal.   The first glimpse of a rationale as to why was in an interview with The Alamedan when Trish Spencer said this:

“This is the way to give the new council an opportunity – if they want an opportunity – to revisit this project. I think this is procedurally the only way to do it,” Spencer said Monday.

When she clarified that she wanted this council to get involved with the design, it really sounded like she was committed to the repeal in order to get a second bite at the apple.

At the actual City Council meeting this is how she introduced the agenda item:


December 19, 2014

In your Transportation Element

During the second reading of Tuesday’s night’s meeting, Tony Daysog had, yet another, head scratching comment:

I can’t wait for our community to have this traffic/transit discussion because now we’re doing these TDMs as these projects here and there arise.  Alameda Point has its TDM, Alameda Landing has its TDM.  Northern Waterfront, Del Monte project has its TDM. And I do think that we have to be a lot more strategic in terms of planning.

Tony Daysog makes it sound as though Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plans are some bandage solution that is done in lieu of long term strategic planning.   It’s not.  Two years after Tony Daysog departed the City Council, the City started the process of updating the Transportation Element of the General Plan to talk about long term strategies, there’s a good overview about the Transportation Element EIR here.   The Transportation Element is the roadmap of sorts on how we tackle dealing with the inevitability of traffic in our City.  Maybe this is a part of the “discussion” that Tony Daysog wants to have, maybe it’s not, but it’s not clear that he understands the distinction.


December 17, 2014

When you say nothing at all

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Development, Northern Waterfront — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

Someone reminded me that I totally forgot to talk about Trish Spencer’s comments at the City Council meeting about a week ago.  I got so caught up in the strangeness of Tony Daysog’s performance and the lack of clarity of his response to a question about how eliminating the affordable housing piece of the Del Monte puzzle would work toward his “goals” that I neglected to write about some of the other public commenters.  Oh, I also tried to get Tony Daysog to explain what deficiencies were in the TDM report, the only response I received was “It’s flawed.”  So much for kitchen heat standing.

Mayor (at that time) -elect Trish Spencer launched into a lengthy speech about the consultant’s report and its assessment of unbundling parking which made it sort of sound as though she was against the bundling of one parking space per unit that the Del Monte neighbors had been seeking.  But for those of us that are School Board meeting watchers, you’ll recognize her performance as typically Trish Spencer.  She essentially throws a whole bunch of “staff report verbatim reading” in her comments to sound as though she understands the larger issue but in truth she’s really made no point at all.


December 8, 2014

Grandstand and deliver

Filed under: Alameda, Development, Northern Waterfront — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

So, on Tuesday night, there was some weirdness at the City Council with regard to the Del Monte discussions.  Mostly it came from Tony Daysog right out of the gate after the developer presentation.  He started down this convoluted road of traffic impacts and essentially said that the traffic impact analysis in the Mitigated Negative Declaration is all wrong because he thinks that the only measure of traffic impacts should be traffic that occurs from residential development.

Let put aside the fact that measuring only residential development is not how these things work.  When you measure the impacts of a project you measure it for all of the uses and not just the residential.  Because just measuring residential would be sort of silly since that wouldn’t cover the complete impact of traffic from the project.


September 25, 2014

Blame Canada

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Development, Northern Waterfront, Transportation — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

I think that the idea that providing parking for residential developments somehow decrease the affordability of housing is difficult for a lot of people to wrap their heads around.  After all we’ve been so conditioned to believe that parking is free because it’s always come subsidized by housing developers, the city or businesses we frequent.   I’ve been tracking discussion about the Del Monte project because the whole thing is really interesting to me.  The vitriol that was misdirected at proponents of the project was simply breathtaking and a long admired community member was ripped to pieces for speaking out in favor of the project.

It’s that reason why most people simply don’t even want to bother to be “in support” of anything that could be remotely controversial, since they might end up being on the receiving end of some nasty comments.

But anyway, back to why parking requirements affect affordability.  Even though some opponents believe that these developers and supporters are experimenting untried and untested programs on Alameda, everything proposed for the Transportation Demand Management plan has proven results.   Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute released a paper in June of this year on this very topic.


September 23, 2014

In demand management

Filed under: Alameda, Development, Northern Waterfront, Transportation — Lauren Do @ 6:03 am

As I mentioned in the comment section yesterday, the Transportation Demand Management plan for the Del Monte project is available for comment and the Transportation Commission is going to get a crack at it on Wednesday night after the Planning Board naturally.   Since the PB is bogged down with lots of other stuff regarding the Del Monte project, the TC is an excellent place to get solid comments from the board about the viability of the TDM.

One thing I will note is that while the project itself will be providing enough parking for the units itself, enough to have — from the staff report —

every household in a one bedroom or studio unit owns one car (126 cars), every household in a three bedroom unit owns two cars (40 cars), and about half the households in the two bedroom units own one car (81 cars) and the other half own two cars (162 cars), there will be a need for 409 parking spaces for the 308 units. The project is providing 415 spaces.

The project, because it will be forced to make infrastructure improvements to Buena Vista and Clement, will also be introducing 80 new parking spaces into the neighborhood.  While — as noted by Planning Board president David Burton — these are not to be counted toward the parking requirements for the project, it is additional supply that is up for grabs, even for the existing residents of the neighborhood.

See here:


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.


June 23, 2014

This warehouse frightens me has me tied up in knots

Filed under: Alameda, Development, Northern Waterfront — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:03 am

Tonight at the Planning Board the Del Monte project is up on the agenda again — no vote tonight, it’s just a public workshop so don’t get mad if the Planning Board doesn’t vote against it, there’s no scheduled vote tonight — here are some highlights from the staff report with regard to open space.   One of the more substantive critiques of the project that I have heard is the lack of open space/park space for the site itself.   However it appears that the developer has agreed to commit $2 million to develop the Beltline parcel which is a huge source of funding for a project that had no identifiable funding source previously.  Total cost to construct the design is apparently in the neighborhood of $8 million.   Additionally, it appears that porches and patios will be constructed for the units and there is an addition of a shared rooftop garden which I hadn’t heard of before mentioned in connection to this project.

Regarding the Clement Street extension:

The project will construct the Clement Avenue extension from Atlantic Avenue to Entrance Road. The Marina Cove II project is constructing the Clement extension from Entrance Road to Marina Cove I. Marina Cove I has completed its segment from Marina Cove II to Pennzoil.  With the completion of this improvement, traffic to and from the site from the west (Posey Webster Tubes) will be able to access Atlantic Avenue directly and avoid Sherman Street. Once the extension is completed through the Pennzoil site, access from the east (Park Street Bridge) will be provided by Clement Avenue and allow the existing Buena Vista Avenue truck route, and much of the existing Buena Vista Avenue traffic, to be relocated to Clement Avenue, thus reducing traffic volumes on Sherman Street and Buena Vista Avenue.


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