Blogging Bayport Alameda

April 18, 2022

Housing Element review, part 6

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

Program 13 is around tenant protections which is nothing that is new if you followed the rent stabilization discussions.

Program 14 is replacement housing which is just a monitoring program along with Program 15. Program 14 will monitor units that might be demolished to build new housing and Program 15 is for affordable housing units which might be converted to market rate.

Program 16 is the First Time Homebuyers Program which is exactly as it sound like and has a lofty goal of helping two (2) homebuyers per year with downpayments.

Program 17 is the Housing Rehabilitation Program and is an existing set of programs and grants which helps people to stay in their homes or retain their property that they may not have had money to afford fixing without intervention of the City.

Program 18 is Utility Assistance which is great because it will help people retain their housing by getting assistance for at least one bill.


April 15, 2022

Housing Element review, part 5

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

The next few programs aren’t that exciting or thrilling there’s Program 5 which is just Accessory Dwelling Units which the City thinks it can count 560 units (70 units per year) which may be possible given the relaxation of the ADU laws thanks to state intervention. Previous to state laws it was prohibitively difficult to build an ADU in Alameda. There is a bullet point about creating a financial incentive for property owners to build these units and have them income restricted which sounds like a great plan but — at this point — given the equity that most property owners have in their homes it may make more sense to use the equity to build the ADU and then be able to rent out the unit at market rate rather than be limited. So that’s something that should be under consideration for any program the City decides to implement. There should absolutely be “approved” models that homeowners can select to make the process super simple the way that the City of San Jose has. But given the increase in the number of ADUs built in Alameda I know there are companies that know exactly what to do for an Alameda specific ADU.

Program 6 is Large Sites and Multifamily Housing which is just streamlined approvals already allowed for projects that have a high percentage of low and very low income housing. Essentially this program just says they’ll push these projects to the front of the queue and not sit around and wait on these.

Program 7 is the inclusionary housing ordinance which Alameda already has and that the Housing Element just says it will be continuing. For those that don’t know this is a requirement for any new larger project to have at least 15% of the units be set aside for low and very low income families. At Alameda Point that number jumps to 20%.

Programs 8 and 9 are pretty much identical, it just says that the City will try to incentivize the building of affordable housing. There’s also bullet points that will fund housing services to those that qualify.

Program 10 will attempt to “encourage” housing developers to set aside at least 50 units for persons with developmental disabilities but there is no real plan to get another Capon Villa like development built within this cycle.

Program 11 is Resources for homeless people and families including continuing funding midway but also trying to find a site for a “service enriched shelter” in Alameda. I understand there is a need for single people in Alameda, particularly men, more than anything else and as with anything involving homeless shelters I’m here to remind you that Carnegie Library is vacant and exists in an area with many services and close to a lot of transit options.


April 14, 2022

Housing Element review, part 4

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

This is a biggie, this may be the biggie for some of our resident NIMBYs in Alameda of the Programs in the Housing Element to achieve the goals set out in the introduction of the Housing Element:

You know what those barriers to housing construction are don’t you Alameda?

If you guessed A/26 you would be 100% correct and, specifically:


April 13, 2022

Housing Element review, part 3

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:03 am

The next part of the Housing Element are the specific programs the City intends to implement to realize the lofty policy objectives from the Goals portion.

Program 1 is Alameda Point, of course. It is the largest parcel of available land in Alameda and therefore will be at the centerpiece of any future discussions about development.

These are not new units, so this has nothing to do with the recent cries to work with the Navy to remove the additional unit penalty. Those discussions would, as staff has said, would never be concluded in time to be included in this Housing Element cycle. This particular program (and the resulting units from the program) can only be included and counted if the City Council votes to for a Site A entitlement update which will require four votes. Are there four votes for the current developer currently? Hard to say but, much like the Encinal Terminals site, without that fourth vote the City will have to find 610 units somewhere else in Alameda.


April 12, 2022

Housing Element review, part 2

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

A reminder that we’re still on the goals of Alameda’s Housing Element.

For Goal 2, this is the most nebulous and the most challenging portion of the Housing Element but I feel like it’s also the most important because of Alameda’s challenges in affirmatively furthering fair housing over its history.

From the Housing Element, how “fair housing” is defined:


April 7, 2022

Housing Element review, part 1

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

I’m skipping over the introduction and such and starting off with the Goals and Policies which are very strong:

I mean, Goal 2 is required by state law, but it’s nice that the City is attempting to lay ground that they’re being mindful of this. The problem is, when we get to that part, is that the language around affirmatively furthering fair housing comes off a bit mealy mouthed.

For the first Goal, there is a list of nine policy points to achieve this goal. This is an important point:

But eventually you’ll see that even though the “higher opportunity areas” are established as being in the East End and on Bay Farm there is not as many sites identified in these areas. There’s a bit of handwaving that I referenced earlier in the AFFH portion but I’ll get to that in detail when we review the AFFH portion of the Housing Element. I mean this sounds good, but — in fact — the City hasn’t identified any East End or Harbor Bay sites that are different or in addition to the vacant-ish sites we already know about. They are proposing to lift A/26 from R-2 through R-6 zoning island-wide which is pretty huge, but still doesn’t touch or affect the majority of the East End and Bay Farm.


April 6, 2022

Required by State law

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

A few notes about the Housing Element, since the “official” version was released yesterday and will be available for public comment for about 30 days or so. After that the City will send this draft (I don’t know if they’ll make edits before they do) to the Department of Housing and Community Development for a 90 day review. The general schedule of the Housing Element is here.

This is pulled directly from the City’s Housing Plan specific website about why we do this Housing Element thing:

The Housing Element 2022 Update is Alameda’s housing plan for the years 2023-2031. It is required by State law and it must provide for Alameda’s fair share of the regional housing need, referred to as the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA). The Housing Element provides policies and programs to shape and guide decision making about the types of housing needed, the locations for new housing in Alameda, and strategies and programs to preserve housing and help people with special housing needs. [emphasis added]

I feel like this bit is important because for people who haven’t been following along (or at all) there may be confusion about this process and why we have to do it. I actually saw a comment on the City’s Facebook page where someone insisted that we should be working on “infrastructure” before discussing housing related issues because, well, “This is an island.” And by “infrastructure” it always seems to mean “more capacity for cars” despite the work that has been done and continues to be done to create safe transportation options other than single occupant vehicles.


February 2, 2022

You love to see it

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

I don’t know who went fishing for this information but the results were very interesting. Shortly after a City Council meeting, or maybe it was a Planning Board meeting I don’t remember, someone made this PRA to get information about correspondence between the owner of Neptune Plaza and city staff. Neptune Plaza is the parcel where Rang Dong and Paganos is.

This must have been part of the Shopping Center overlay discussion because I remember some pushback about Neptune Plaza being added to the list even though staff mentioned that the property owner would be interested in the overlay.

Anyway, the owner is very, very interested and is particularly interested in the kinds of intensity he’s seen in Oakland:


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.


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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