April, 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

  1. What If We Do Nothing?
  2. What Do YOU Want?
  3. Important Upcoming Meetings

What If We Do Nothing?

With all the controversy surrounding development of Alameda Point, there’s a temptation to do nothing at all. But what actually would happen if we (the City) did nothing – if we didn’t choose a master developer or if we didn’t establish goals and parameters for development.

If the City does not sign an agreement with a master development team to develop Alameda Point, then the Navy can auction the land directly to developers. There is a price tag of $108 million for the land. The City cannot afford that nor the cost of the amenities that the public has requested, including the playing fields the Recreation and Parks Department has their heart set on. That’s why the City needs to work with a master developer who can pay the purchase price and for the upfront clean-up costs and amenities we would all like to see.

If the City does not have a master developer team, then the Navy can auction off the land. The argument has been made that no matter who develops the land they will have to comply with City codes. This is true. But they will not have to comply with City or community goals, hopes and dreams.

The community has met many times over the last several years developing community goals which are now part of the City General Plan. Specifically, the goals are:

  • Seamless integration of Alameda Point with the rest of the City,
  • Vibrant new neighborhoods
  • Maximized waterfront accessibility,
  • Deemphasized use of the automobile and Emphasis on public transportation
  • Economic vitality and replaced jobs lost by Base closure,
  • Mixed use environment. And
  • Neighborhood commercial, civic, cultural, community and recreational services within a 5 minute walk from home.

There have also been repeated requests for variety of housing types, both for sale and rental, to meet the needs of Alamedans

Do we want to ignore these goals the community has worked so hard to develop? Do we want developers to build only what makes the biggest, quickest profit for them? Or do we want to direct the development and ensure that what is built will benefit the people of Alameda?

What Do YOU Want?

While the community of Alameda has established the above goals, there is a need to determine what limits we need to place on Alameda Point that will achieve these goals formed through our vision and values. Specifically, Alamedans deserve to be assured in terms of density, heights, design guidelines, adequate provision for transportation systems, usable open space and other limits.

That’s why HOMES is advocating for a professional, independent survey that will poll a representative cross-section of Alameda. This survey would not be about changing or not changing Measure A, but about what type of parameters Alamedans want established to direct development at Alameda Point.

Some of the questions to ponder are:

What development of neighborhood do you see as a model for Alameda Point?
What building heights would you like to see around transit stops?
Would a height no higher than the existing hangars be acceptable?
Would you live in a condo or apartment at Alameda Point if they were available?
Do you think 3 car garages encourage people to take public transit?
Would you consider an apartment at Alameda Point a good place for your leaving-the-nest youngsters? Your grandmother?

These questions are to start your mind motors to thinking about the comments made at the WRT/Solomon presentation at the meeting at Mastick on March 29, 2007 and exactly what you would want. We hope to have a survey that more scientifically quizzes you on what development goals you have for Alameda Point.

Important Upcoming Meetings

ARRA – May 8th: Acceptance of the term sheet worked out between Lennar Urban and Catellus to form a Master Development Team. At its April 4th meeting, the ARRA asked these two candidates to work out an agreement to work together as Alameda Point’s master development team. The deadline for ARRA’s consideration of that agreement is May 8th. Please attend this ARRA meeting and continue to advocate for the community goals. This is the crux of the matter whether there is one developer or two

WRT/Solomon Study: The first community meeting on Alameda Point Land Use and Transportation was held on March 29th. The consultants presented photos of “what we all like about Alameda” and noted that these developments are currently illegal. Then they went through the density of housing to support public transportation and the need for proximity to homes. There were many questions about these issues and alternatives on transportation choices and how those related to varying density levels were presented.

The next meeting, which will focus on parking, will be in May. Stay tuned for the date.

The March 29th presentation clearly shows that Alameda has a choice to make: establish enough density in key areas next to transportation hubs to enable effective use of public transit and encourage walking, or maintain low density which will result in dependence on the automobile and increased traffic in the West End and around the tube.

Compromises were suggested by members of the audience at the presentation, such as maintaining currently allowed density overall, but allowing a mix of densities, higher near transit nodes and lower in outlying areas. This is the type of discussion and sharing of ideas that is needed. A civil discourse on issues is a healthy way to work out compromises of differences.


Alameda Cottage

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;
Diane Lichtenstein, Co-Chair – 510-523-1115;
Susan Decker, Secretary
Michael Krueger, Treasurer
Doug Biggs, Nancy Heastings, Daniel Hoy, Joan Konrad, Tom Matthews, Bill Smith