Blogging Bayport Alameda

July 23, 2012

Thirty days has September

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

This is what you missed because you didn’t watch last week’s City Council meeting: epic John Russo meltdown.

So here’s the thing, it was totally enjoyable from a spectator sport stance, perhaps it was not the most professional moment of John Russo’s career as a City Manager and he probably should mind his p’s and q’s moving forward, but I’ll admit it, I’ve watched this clip at least five times and it just gets more epic every time I watch it.

Yes, I am easily entertained.

With that introduction, here it goes, I’ll be transcribing some of it, but really, it should be watched in its entire to get the full range of the comments.  This statement comes after Councilmember Doug deHaan has spoken and does that Doug deHaan thing that he does where he insinuates that there is something nefarious going down.


July 20, 2012

We r who we r

Filed under: Alameda, City Council — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:00 am

As part of Tuesday’s epic City Council meeting — believe me I haven’t even touched the good stuff yet — there were lots of public input during this meeting.   Some would have you believe that it was an overwhelming majority against the Housing Element and the Multifamily Housing overlay, but there were exactly 19 opponents who spoke and 16 proponents who spoke, including former Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker.

As an aside, Alice Lai-Bitker has to be one of the nicest elected officials ever.   She has this humble way about her, I remember meeting her once at a open house for Alternatives in Action — this was a while ago when we were considering preschool options and Home Sweet Home was on our short list — and she has this sort of attitude where she never assumes that someone would immediately know she was an elected official, but I digress.

Anyway, despite this even split of people for and against, Doug deHaan had this to say about the representation of the folks who bothered to pay attention before Tuesday night:


July 19, 2012

How long has this been going on

Filed under: Alameda, City Council — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

Ooh, Tuesday night’s meeting was an expected doozy of one, full of aggressive questions directed at City Staff and Measure A reverence.    I particularly enjoyed the comments from the guy who asked of the people who looked at Measure A as though it was “some holy scripture” where people are supposed to live if proponents of Measure A don’t want any new housing in Alameda.

Anyway, I haven’t gotten through it all yet, but wanted to touch on something that came up multiple times in the public comment after the very long, but very thorough staff report by Andrew Thomas, worth watching if you are at all interested in how Housing Elements are crafted and what Alameda’s process has been.    So comments…quite a few people questioned whether or not Alameda needed to be part of ABAG (the Association for Bay Area Governments)  I guess they are none too happy with the distribution of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) numbers that ABAG passed on to Alameda.   I am assuming, based on the question, that these comments think that to not belong to ABAG means that Alameda need not produce a Housing Element or be doled out RHNA numbers.


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.


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.


March 12, 2012

Basic housing element

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

Tonight, at the Planning Board meeting there will be on the agenda two really important topics: the Housing Element and the Alameda Point Rezoning Public Workshop.   No action will be taken for any of these agenda items, but the subject matters themselves are really important ones.

The first agenda item is the Housing Element which is always a controversial one because it has to be done, but it is about housing which is always a major hot button topic in Alameda.  One of the newer passages in the Housing Element will be about the unaccomodated need based on the Regional Housing Needs Allocation from ABAG.  The unaccomodated need identification is important to track now because for every unit unaccomodated in previous cycles the balance will be carried over to the next seven year cycle.

Here’s where Alameda stands so far, from the draft Housing Element:


December 9, 2011

Compliance check

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

A commenter in yesterday’s post asked why Alameda’s Housing Element was out of compliance with the state.   In 2009, the State Department of Housing and Community Development — the agency that certifies the Housing Element — transmitted  a letter to the City of Alameda indicating which portions of the Housing Element were not in compliance.

Some of the issues are small and easily correctable, like stating whether or nor a parcel is vacant or not.   Some of the issues are more complex, such as the failure to rezone the identified parcels to residential which would be a barrier to construction of the actual units.   Another issue was that carryover number of units that were assigned to Alameda in a previous cycle that it simply did not take care of during that seven year cycle.


December 8, 2011

In your Housing Element

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Development, Measure A — Tags: , — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

As mentioned in the comments section under yesterday’s post, the City is going to be rebooting the Housing Element process to bring Alameda’s Housing Element into compliance with the state.  The Housing Element is part of Alameda’s larger General Plan and the State requires that the Housing Element identify sites in Alameda to fulfill Alameda’s allocated Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA).

Previously, it appeared that simply identifying sites was sufficient and that there was no real penalties for jurisdictions that failed to actually build the RHNA identified units.   Now, for every unit unbuilt from each seven year cycle, the balance will “carryover” into the next seven year cycle.  Did I mention the part about how jurisdictions can be sued if they don’t have an approved Housing Element?   And given Alameda’s Measure A elephant in the room, Alameda really doesn’t want to give the State any other reasons to get pissy at Alameda on the subject of housing.


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