February, 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
- Alameda Point – a Vision of What Could Be
- Meetings Recap
- Thoughts on the Alameda Point Developer Selection
- Planning Board Report
- Chamber of Commerce Business Expo March 13th
- March 29, 2007 Public Meeting on Alameda Point Transportation and Land Use Study
Alameda Point – a Vision of What Could Be
Right now in February 2007 Alameda has the opportunity to control the development of the 700 acres at Alameda Point. What will it look like 20, 30, or 40 years from now? That is what we must ask ourselves. The decisions being made now will determine that outcome.
The community has put forth a vision, a vision of a new neighborhood that resembles what we love about “old” Alameda: homes of different sizes and types, both for-sale and rental, yet with an integrity of architecture that preserves our lifestyle; a thriving retail center; neighborhood retail like the Island “stations” where one can walk or bike to have a cup of coffee or a scoop of ice cream; and commercial developments that provide neighborhood jobs for residents. To ensure that development at Alameda Point benefits the entire City, all this must be within a transportation system that discourages the use of the automobile and provides easy access on and off the Island as well as within all of the city.
Two public meetings have been held lately as part of the process to determine the future of Alameda Point. Below is a brief recap of the progress.
- January 23rd – Alameda Point Community meeting. The four developers proposing as master developer for Alameda Point made presentations to the public, emphasizing their experience, strengths and, in one case, uniqueness. The open house was attended by a couple hundred interested Alamedans.
- February 7th – ARRA. The Alameda Reuse and Redevelopment Agency (aka the City Council) heard more detailed presentations by the development teams. The public addressed ARRA with excellent comments and questions. The ARRA also posed a number of insightful questions and made the decision to gather more information from the four teams and delay their selection of a developer by up to a couple months.
Thoughts on the Alameda Point Developer Selection
Helen Sause, President of HOMES, shares the comments she made to the February 7th ARRA meeting…
I am delighted with the response to Alameda’s Request for Proposals for development of Alameda Point. Having teams of the quality represented by these four firms provides a great opportunity for the City. The incredible development potential represented by Alameda point makes it incumbent on the ARRA to select a Master Developer who can fulfillthis potential. Our city deserves maximum creativity in this development and, as an Island, we have some special needs:
- Transportation. This issue looms large for us, not just in getting traffic on and off the Island, but in providing transit systems that will serve our entire community.
- Design Excellence. The Preliminary Design Concept (PDC) was only intended to be a draft for development of Alameda Point. In fact, the ARRA assured the community that the PDC was only preliminary. Therefore, adherence to the PDC should not be a criteria the selection team uses to measure the developer teams. The current PDC may be a framework for the final PDC?? Which should take advantage of the incredible views and provide a creative mixture of commercial, retail and housing uses within well thought-out usable open space with the amenities that a neighborhood deserves to have (post office, school, library, churches, etc.)
- Job Generation. We need development that provides walk-to-work opportunities allowing built-in relief for the Island’s transportation needs.
- Capability. Where do these firms place Alameda on their priority list? And how do we ensure that we have an enforceable claim on that priority?
These objectives and others are ones that I believe the community needs to know. The Evaluation Team may have answers to these, but the community has not had the opportunity to find out the answers. There was no provision at the Mastic Center for the community to ask questions of all the developers with answers that could be heard by all. Tonight, we have 3 minutes to comment, not the the teams, but only to the ARRA.
In conclusion, we need assurance that the community will have an interesting new neighborhood reflecting Central Alameda, not suburbia. Please do not make a hasty selection and allow public dialogue and questions before you consider choosing a team.
Report on Planning Board
HOMES Watch. Update: Day 210.
In July 2006, the Planning Board agreed to hold a presentation on the impact Measure A has had on city-wide design, planning principles and social equity. In spite of numerous inquiries to the Planning Board, this item has yet to make the agenda, let alone be calendared for a hearing. We call on the Planning Board to uphold their duty to present us with the facts that so directly affect our city, our residents and our future.
Chamber of Commerce Expo, March 13th
The Chamber of Commerce will host a business Expo on March 13th and HOMES will be hosting a booth. The emphasis will be on why modifying Measure A affects every business and resident in Alameda. There is so much opportunity for Alameda businesses to prosper with a vibrant new neighborhood at Alameda Point, which can provide business opportunities, customers and homes.
Alameda Point Transportation and Land Use Study
The City and consultant for the study being funded by MTC for transportation and land-use study at Alameda Point, WRT/Solomon, will hold the first in a series of four public meetings on March 29, 2007. MARK YOUR CALENDARS! The transportation and land use issues are matters Alameda can control and direct. Please attend and participate and let the City know your suggestions and concerns. This is the time to weigh in and the responsibility for the outcomes can be influenced by being part of this study.
Please support HOMES’ efforts to educate the community about the issues and opportunities presented by Alameda Point 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; firstname.lastname@example.org
Diane Lichtenstein, Co-Chair – 510-523-1115; email@example.com
Susan Decker, Secretary
Michael Krueger, Treasurer
Doug Biggs, Nancy Heastings, Daniel Hoy, Joan Konrad, Tom Matthews, Bill Smith