January, 2007 Newsletter
Welcome to the HOMES e-newsletter! HOMES is a grassroots citizen’s group dedicated to preserving Alameda’s character at the Alameda Point redevelopment site. We believe that by offering a variety of homes in lively, mixed-use neighborhoods, Alameda Point will offer the historic feel, cultural richness and economic vitality that make Alameda such a wonderful place to live.
In This Issue
- Year in Review
- Meeting the Alameda Point Master Developer Teams
- Support a Planning Board Hearing on Measure A
- Alameda Point Transportation Begins – Community Participation Needed
- HOMES Web Site – Check Out the Changes
- New Alameda Information Source
- Upcoming Meeting Dates
- Support HOMES
Year in Review
The year 2006 was one of increased awareness and discussion of Measure A’s affect on Alameda Point development, a huge leap from just a year earlier when the topic was too contentious for public discourse.
In early 2006, HOMES hosted several meetings with other Alameda organizations, including representatives from housing, education, transportation, bicycle, pedestrian, environmental, historical preservation, real estate and business communities, to discuss the Measure A prohibition to optimum development at Alameda Point.
Throughout the year, many citizens attended important City meetings to advocate for open and civil discourse on the topic of Measure A. This brought this issue to the League of Women Voter’s attention as a “voters’ rights” issue. The League wrote a letter to the City Council urging them to let the voters decide if there should be a modification to Measure A for Alameda Point. While this request was not acted on by the Council, having a prominent Alameda group request that the voters be part of the decision on the future of Alameda development represented a huge step forward in the transparency of this issue.
In July, the Alameda Planning Board to agree to provide a public forum to elicit information on the effects of Measure A on the City for the public.
In 2006, the City was successful in receiving a grant from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) to provide a thorough transportation analysis for Alameda Point for land uses not limited by current city regulations. The firm that was chosen to do this work is WRT/Solomon. There will be four community meetings in 2007 as part of this study.
2006 was a time of Mayoral and City Council elections in Alameda. For the first time in 34 years (since Measure A was initially passed), Measure A was a frequent topic at candidate forums. These forums and the subject of Measure A were covered extensively in the local newspapers. Both elected Council candidates publicly said that under certain circumstances they would consider supporting changes to Measure A for Alameda Point, also a first.
HOMES was pleased in the fall of 2006 when Alameda Magazine ran an online poll on the issue of modifying Measure A at Alameda Point. The result was that 86% of respondents favored a modification.
But what has been most heartening has been hearing from the people who most need this prohibitive measure to be changed – young people, seniors, invaluable professionals such as teachers and nurses – who need a true ladder of housing in order to be able to afford to live where they work.
In 2007, HOMES will continue its advocacy and educational efforts. Through our communication offerings, presence at public meetings, presentations to groups and organizations, the once taboo topic of Measure A is appearing in the newspapers, online polls, community meetings, and government meetings. We’re confident that in 2007 our efforts will broaden the discourse and eventually enable all the voices of Alameda citizens to be heard and counted on this issue which will determine the likelihood Alameda Point will look more like Central Alameda than Bayport.
Meeting the Master Developer Teams
On Tuesday evening, January 23rd, the Mastick Center was packed by Alamedans eager to hear presentations by the Master Developer teams who responded to the request for proposals to develop Alameda Point.
Each team made a 10 minute presentation and then was available at their respective booths for informal questioning. Below is a very brief recap given in the order of the presentations.
Catellus sited their policy is “reaching out.” They spoke of their familiarity with Alameda through their work at Bayport and Alameda Landing. They outlined their experience with redevelopment of military bases, including clean-up. They consider reuse of existing materials very important and cited that at Alameda Landing reuse accounts for 95% of the materials they will use. Other related projects include Mission Bay (SF), Mueller Airport (Austin), and Victoria Bay (Hercules).
UWI (United World Infrastructure) is a developer based in Dubai. They partnered with The Coalition for a New California Infrastructure, a group that includes three UC institutes, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and BART, to present the idea of developing Alameda Point into a “Green Island Village Project.” Their stated goals are to please the citizens of Alameda while at the same time building a world class (green village) center at the former Navy Base to serve as a world-wide model. The site would include a Global Warming Institute and an elevated light rail system, CyberTran.
Lennar Urban would consider themselves to be “custodians of the City’s Reuse Plan.” They are redeveloping a number of military bases including Mare Island, Hunters Point, and Treasure Island. They believe transportation challenges need to be looked at regionally, as well as locally. Lennar is a large homebuilding firm based in Florida that has built projects across the country. Their current involvement in base redevelopment has involved mixed use development as well.
SunCal is a family owned business that has been around for over 70 years. They do not do the actual building, but buy the land, get the entitlements and sell the finished lots. They stress the importance of going through a process to develop a plan that supports public input and makes economic sense. They are currently working on the Oak Knoll project.
Presentations may be viewed or downloaded at www.alameda-point.com.
HOMES urges citizens to become in the selection process. It’s essential that we ask the important questions to the developers: what is their commitment to quality of life issues identified by Alameda residents such as providing a seamless integration with central Alameda, de-emphasizing the automobile, and fostering vibrant new neighborhoods.
The next meeting is February 7th when ARRA will officially hear the developer proposals and make a decision then or soon thereafter. Points you may wish to raise with ARRA include:
- Why isn’t there more public process? The community did not receive much information at the January 23rd meeting and no opportunity to ask questions which would have helped inform us of the comparative strengths of the teams nor advise us as to their approach to the issues to be mitigated at Alameda Point.
- What has the City done to involve or appeal to our mighty political forces in Washington to require the Administration to honor the revenue neutral transfer process.
Observation: “Developer” need not be a dirty word. Rather, they can be the producers of a community’s vision. But it is paramount that we, the community, hold our decision-makers accountable to achieve the vision and values we cherish.
Support a Planning Board Hearing on Measure A
Last July, the Alameda Planning Board agreed to hold a hearing on the impacts of Measure A on the City. HOMES advocated that having such an open discussion of the issues would be important. An unbiased presentation on how Measure A has affected design, planning principles and social equity in Alameda would be worthwhile for all of us to hear. This should not be a pro and con debate, merely a presentation of the facts. So many of us make assumptions – it is beholden of our Planning Board to help us discern the actual facts.
Some politicians seem reluctant for this to occur so our voices supporting the Planning Board are important.
Meanwhile, the MTC funded study to evaluate potential land uses at Alameda Point that will support public transit systems is underway. There will be four community meetings beginning March 3rd. There has been some discussion suggesting that a presentation on Measure A be accomplished through this Station Area Study public meeting process. HOMES strongly disagrees! This study should not be driven by any land-use restrictions and should be conducted as a completely independent process.
The Planning Board meeting scheduled for January 22nd was cancelled. They have a special meeting planned for January 31st to plan for the upcoming year so it is the perfect time to consider the date of the Community Measure A session. Please come and add your voices.
HOMES Web Site – Check Out the Changes
We encourage you to visit our web site to look for both background and new information on Alameda Point and related issues. We especially encourage you to take a look at our Gallery where we have photos of both Measure A compliant and non-compliant neighborhoods. Where would you rather live?
New Alameda Information Source
Alameda Currents is a new local TV show produced by several Alameda residents and featuring reporting on local news and events. Be sure to take a look!
Upcoming Meeting Dates
- Alameda Planning Board: Wednesday, January 31st, 7:00 pm, Alameda Free Library (1550 Oak St.)
- ARRA (Alameda Reuse and Redevelopment Authority): February 7, 7:00 pm, Council Chambers
- MTC Community Input Meeting: tentatively planned for sometime in March. Details to come as they are available.
Thanks to your support, HOMES has made great strides in the past couple of years towards having a truly open public discourse on Measure A and the development of Alameda Point. We have come so far, but we need your continued support to continue. It takes money to ensure that we have a regular newsletter, updated web site, and the organization and coordination to be active at many community events.
Please support these efforts by sending a donation to: Rose Foundation/HOMES, 816 Grand St., Alameda, CA 94501 (Rose is our fiscal partner). Donations are tax-deductible.
HOMES Executive Committee:
Helen Sause, Co-Chair – 510-521-3940; email@example.com
Diane Lichtenstein, Co-Chair – 510-523-1115; firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Decker, Secretary
Michael Krueger, Treasurer
Doug Biggs, Nancy Heastings, Daniel Hoy, Joan Konrad, Tom Matthews, Bill Smith