Blogging Bayport Alameda

January 24, 2022

Death by a thousand cuts

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

I’m honestly shocked to see there is no public correspondence for tonight’s Planning Board agenda item. Maybe the resident A/26 boosters have just tuckered themselves out fighting all of the battles which have come before. Maybe A/26 boosters are saving their energy for bigger and more significant fights like battling all state housing laws via Livable Cities and the like because tonight’s PB meeting is pretty significant in Alameda’s journey to Housing Element compliance. There’s no vote tonight just a workshop but it will be discussion around which housing types should be allowed in certain zones.

Specifically per the staff report:

As described in the Draft Housing Element update, staff anticipates the need to process amendments to the R-2 through R-6 zoning districts and the mixed-use zoning districts (C-1, C-2, and CC) to accommodate the RHNA and address fair housing requirements in state law.  Staff is also working on multi-family overlay districts that may be used in specific areas to accommodate the RHNA, such as the shopping center sites.   These amendments will accomplish two objectives:

•                     Remove or lessen governmental constraints on housing development to increase production of housing in each district to help accommodate the RHNA.

•                     Bring the AMC into compliance with state law, including fair housing law.

This workshop focuses on the second objective, ensuring that Alameda’s zoning regulations do not discriminate or exclude certain types of housing that are needed to address the housing needs of all segments of the community as required by Government Code Section 65583.  

I figure that whenever Alameda’s A/26 boosters see the term “fair housing law” they immediately tense because there’s always going to be a discussion of A/26 when it comes to fair housing.

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January 14, 2022

Paid for by

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

For ACT and AAPS out there trying to sell their SunCal plus plan for the City to meet its Housing Element RHNA numbers, I offer this:

If we know it’s going to be rejected, we shouldn’t even think about putting it in to the housing element if we want to retain local control over development in Alameda (and get those sweet grant dollars).

But I wanted to point to this article in the East Bay Times whatever the iteration it is right now which scoured the Bay Area to try to find the hoards of evil developers (aka property owners) who were knocking down the doors of their local City Halls to start enforcing their SB 9 rights and start subdividing land to ruin all that is special and good about their cities. Turns out, the first place they found was….Palo Alto.

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January 3, 2022

Change my mind

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:11 am

Happy new year everyone, may your 2022 be vastly better than your 2021.

Anyway, 2022 is starting off with the first real test to Tony Daysog and Trish Spencer’s commitment to keep extra housing units from being zoned into the East End and Bay Farm. That’s right people, it’s time for the Tidelands Exchange for the Encinal Terminals project! Remember this is the exact same project that Trish Spencer voted against when she was Mayor and Tony Daysog spoke out against during public comment at that same meeting. The tidelands exchange takes four votes to make happen so, honestly, if there’s no signal that either will vote for it at the beginning of the agenda item it will just be a waste of everyone’s time to allow discussion and questioning and answering of staff.

To back up for people who don’t understand what is being voted on the tidelands land on the Encinal Terminals parcel is in the middle of the project site, as it was years ago. The only reason to vote against the swap, which would move the tidelands parcels to the actual touching the water part of the property was to tank the project altogether, which was what happened during Trish Spencer’s Mayorship on the City Council.

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December 16, 2021

New overlay who dis?

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

Someone decided to open a PRA on South Shore Shopping Center and any correspondence about between the City and the owners. I guess this was to try to sort out if there are any active plans or possibly active collusion between the City and the owners. In case you’re wondering if there’s any juicy gossip in there, I’ll save you the time of scrolling through 600 pages worth of responsive records. There’s very little in there except for huge sections of people trying to schedule a meeting. I hope the PRA requestor didn’t sprain a finger scrolling through all 600 pages.

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November 29, 2021

Bonus meeting

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:23 am

Because the City Council can’t seem to complete agenda items in a reasonable amount of time we get an extra bonus City Council meeting this week in order to get through some truly important agenda items which would have been left languishing behind the insistence of some City Councilmembers to ask one million questions on a consent calendar item.

The meeting tomorrow starts at 5:00 PM and I fully anticipate this meeting to run long. There are only two agenda items but both are bound to bring out the most disingenuous actors Alameda which you can already view in the attached correspondence for both agenda items.

The first item is the draft Housing Element which contains the City’s proposed strategy on how to meet Alameda’s RHNA numbers. If you read through the public correspondence there is a concerted effort to not up zone R-2 through R-6 zones, which will be problematic if two key projects (Encinal Terminals and Alameda Point entitlement) do not get approved early next year. Those folks asking for no up-zoning of largely single family unit areas are asking, instead, for the City to concentrate on Alameda Point, shopping centers, and the business districts. Interestingly enough we have a business district (Webster Street) asking for no up-zoning there which is a huge mistake on the part of Webster Street to ask because if any area needs some built in density to keep its businesses afloat, it’s Webster Street.

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October 26, 2021

AAPS says yes in South Shore’s backyard

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:17 am

Pack it up, I think I’ve seen it all now. At last night’s Planning Board meeting, a prominent representative of the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society actually pushed for the City to direct its attention toward the shopping centers in Alameda in order to protect the “historic” sections of Alameda. And not only that the words “90 du/ac” were uttered in relationship to those shopping centers.

So, Bay Farm, if you thought you might have had an ally in your fight to prevent new housing from being allocated on the Harbor Bay Club site or the Shopping Center (if the owners are interested) think again. AAPS is going to “save the Victorians” before they “save Bay Farm.”

Last night Planning Director Andrew Thomas confirmed that South Shore’s owners are very interested in residential on their parcel and believe they can accommodate 800 units as long as the City can pave the way for them with the correct entitlements. This is a huge portion of the allocation estimated by City staff as needing to be scattered amongst Alameda’s shopping centers:

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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:

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September 15, 2021

Resource high

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

One of the things that I both like and dislike about Planning Director Andrew Thomas is that he always couches difficult topics in an optimistic way. For example, in the Planning Board’s discussion about the General Plan and the deluge of letters they received about the Harbor Bay Club he never closes the door on any possibility while actually laying out the difficulty of continuing to prop that door open.

I’m pretty sure I’ve talked out this before but the Harbor Bay HOAs have mobilized lots of folks who go around asking cryptic questions all over social media or getting them to send letters asking for the nearly impossible of the City. Specifically right now they want the City to rezone the Harbor Bay Fitness Club so that housing cannot be built there. Now, if you weren’t aware of this the Harbor Bay Club is privately owned. This is not City land. Someone owns this. Also the owners of Harbor Bay Club have publicly said that they need to do something else with this land. Yes, they did have plans to move the club and build housing at the site but from the sounds of it they might be interested in redeveloping the site with a club but with housing.

Now city staff is saying that the discussion is wide open regarding the Harbor Bay Club site and nothing is precluded, even if the Planning Board wants to recommend rezoning to exclude zoning, however they made it very clear that moving in that direction would be very problematic for the City being able to certify its Housing Element. But we really can’t put it past Alameda to opt to keep something illegal on the books even if it means we can’t certify our Housing Element.

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July 8, 2021

Road to non compliance

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

With Alameda on the track toward a non compliant Housing Element I thought I would review, again, what will happen to Alameda if we don’t meet the deadline for filing a Housing Element and what happens if we don’t have a certified Housing Element.

Unlike the first time Tony Daysog was on City Council and HCD had no enforcement mechanism to force recalcitrant jurisdictions into complying with the Housing Element requirement the focus on the housing shortage today is real, sustained, and has funding to back up threats in the face of non compliance.

If we can’t get our act together to even submit the Housing Element by the deadline the immediate trigger is to cut off the spigot of state funding for anything we may want. You want some park grant money? Too bad. You want some money to repave roads? Nope.

Then if we are deemed not in compliance, which, if you don’t turn in a Housing Element that’s sort of a gimme, a whole lot of bad stuff is put into motion. Now maybe we won’t be the only city who had a hard time getting our ducks in a row and maybe the bad stuff is delayed while HCD handles much worse offenders but eventually the eye of HCD will turn our way.

This report from UCLA has a great part about state law empowering these Housing Elements:

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July 2, 2021

“Preempted and unenforceable”

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

Tuesday’s City Council meeting is shaping up to be a doozy of a meeting but, on the plus side, it is starting at 5:00 PM so hopefully they will get through items which were continued at the last City Council meeting. Specifically (1) the issue of adopting a mental health response to issues which have previous fallen under the police department and (2) Trish Spencer and Tony Daysog’s Call for Review of the HAB decision which would pave the way for the Wellness Center project to proceed.

But the big thing for Tuesday night will be the issue of the Housing Element because, as I pointed out in a previous post, the deadline for appealing the RHNA allocation is quickly approaching and this is the last public meeting to take the vote on whether to appeal Alameda’s RHNA allocation. Staff placed a very helpful bullet point list as to the likelihood that Alameda would be successful in getting a reduction in its RHNA allocation. Essentially they say it’s probably not going to happen but it seems like staff all over the Bay Area have said the exact same thing to its councils and yet there is a fair number of people willing to expend the money and staff time to just try.

Here are the highlights as to why Alameda is probably not special enough to get a reduction:

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