August, 2006 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
- Buy/Sell Alameda Point?
- League of Women Voters to Sponsor Panel Discussion on Transportation/ Traffic Issues.
- Planning Board Plans Discussion of Measure A’s Impact on Alameda Point
- City Council Completely Avoids Discussion
- Our Vision (It’s not Manhattan)
- Support our Vision – Attend Candidate Forums - And Tell a Friend
Buy/Sell Alameda Point?
Recent news articles about the transfer (sale!) of Alameda Point by the Navy to the City and the conditional acceptance of the deal by APCP (Alameda Point Community Partners, the master developer) raise alarm bells!
Originally planned to be a transfer of land from the Navy back to Alameda, the Navy has suddenly added $100 million to the price tag. One must question how an extra $100 million can be absorbed by APCP, especially considering the increasingly fragile housing market.
There is no need to rush into a deal that may not serve Alameda well. Alameda Point is one of the most attractive sites in the Bay Area. The City of Alameda is in a strong position and does not need to accept a questionable deal that may not be in our best interest. Discussions have been going on for over 10 years and a few more months to allow time for due diligence is reasonable and prudent.
The Alameda Reuse and Redevelopment Agency (ARRA) is at the controls of this deal. Please slow up ARRA! Let’s have thoughtful evaluation by the City’s experts, the City’s Economic Development Commission and the Planning Board, and include public consideration of what gets cut out, swapped, loaded onto future financing, etc. No matter what the outcome, there is a Redevelopment Plan that enables the City to control the development, design and future controls.
If you have similar concerns, please let the decision-makers know what they are. Letters can be addressed and sent to the Mayor and City Council members.
LWV Panel Discussion on Transportation/Traffic Issues on the Island:
Alameda Point to Park Street- Traffic Challenges and Opportunities
On Thursday, September 28 from 7:00 – 9:00 pm at the Al DeWitt “O” Club, the League of Women Voters will sponsor a discussion on transportation and traffic issues resulting from the proposed new developments at Alameda Point and Oak to 9th Street in Oakland. This is a complimentary program meant to inform the community of possible impacts of increased population in and near Alameda.
Presenters will be Andrew Thomas, City of Alameda Planning Services Manager; Sherry Hirota, Chair, Oakland Alameda Chinatown. Committee; Stuart Cohen, Executive Director of the Transportation and Land use Coalition; and Michael Ghielmetti, Develop, Oak to 9th Street development.
The Al DeWitt “O” Club is located at 341 Redline on Alameda Point. Call Linda Hudson for more information at 864-0370.
Planning Board Plans Discussion of Measure A’s Impact on Alameda Point
After a productive and civil discourse on the subject of modifying Measure A for Alameda Point at its July 10th meeting, the Planning Board on July 24th focused its discussion on Alameda Landing and did not continue discussions related to Measure A at Alameda Point. Unfortunately, the PB did not ask the Council to put this issue before the voters in time for the November 2006 election. However, the PB is contemplating addressing this land use issue by conducting a public forum on the impact of Measure A.
City Council Completely Avoids Discussion
The City Council failed to step up to its role as leaders of our community by completely refusing to even discuss the issue of allowing the citizens a say in whether or not to modify Measure A for Alameda Point. In spite of a crucial time element – August 11th was the deadline for the Council to put this issue on the ballot for the November General Election and there is not another regular election planned in time to affect Phase I of development, which is two-thirds of the housing – and in spite of precedent – the 1991 modification of Measure A was put on the ballot by Council resolution – this Council decided to avoid the issue by not allowing it to be discussed in a public arena at all. By missing this opportunity of a general election, in all likelihood a special election will have to be called, at a great cost to the City, if the issue is put on the ballot by a petition drive in the near future.
HOMES urges all those who care about the future development plans of our City and about how the citizens of Alameda are or are not involved in the process to attend upcoming candidate forums and help determine the future leadership of our community. These are the leaders who will determine whether Alameda Point resembles Bayport or Central Alameda.
Our vision for Alameda Point mirrors what the community has called for which is reflected in the Alameda Point Reuse Plan and incorporated in Alameda’s General Plan. To reiterate, the General Plan consists of seven Policy Points reflecting community desires:
- Seamless integration of Alameda Point with the rest of the city. The development should be community oriented and in keeping with Alameda’s traditional character and scale.
- Foster vibrant new neighborhoods that will not impact on our existing ones.
- Maximize waterfront accessibility to the public.
- De-emphasize the automobile and emphasize public transportation, such as buses, ferries, shuttles and water taxis as well as bicycles.
- Ensure economic development. Replace jobs lost by the closure of the Naval Air Station by fostering economic growth and development.
- Create a mixed-use environment. Develop transit friendly neighborhoods with strong pedestrian character to keep the sense of Alameda’s small town.
- Establish neighborhood commercial, civic, cultural, community and recreational services within a 5 minute walk from home. Local business and transportation modes will be important aspects of our community oriented and small town feeling.
These principles are not made up by HOMES. It is from input given by the citizens of Alameda over the course of ten years and numerous community workshops. Not developing Alameda Point is not an option. It will be developed and will include housing and retail. The question is how to ensure that the development meets the guiding principles developed by the community in the General Plan which offers an opportunity to achieve a new neighborhood reflecting the best of the past and the future.
HOMES has been hesitant to be specific in terms of development parameters because we do not feel one group should propose those constraints – rather the City should develop guidelines based on existing codes, careful analysis and community input. However, having Alameda Point covered with high rises or resembling Manhattan, as we have been accused of seeking, is clearly not in keeping with the above points. So we’ll be bold here and try to articulate just what a neighborhood that implemented the community’s input might look like.
First of all, the waterfront would be a center point of the development. The amazing views afforded by the Point’s location would be made the most of by having easy accessibility to the waterfront for the public. It would be a launch point for ferry service to San Francisco and Oakland. Shops would welcome commuters when they arrived back home to provide the quick pick up dinner, laundry or sundries. Workers and residents could relax in parks, and cultural events could occur in plazas. Because of the focus of the area as a transportation and vital retail hub, people would be out and about, making the waterfront safe, friendly and economically thriving.
Throughout Alameda Point, there would be bus or trolley stops where people could take public transportation to other parts of Alameda or to major work destinations like San Francisco or Oakland. These would be commonly used because they would be just a short walk from people’s homes as condominiums and apartments would be built around these transit nodes. No building would be higher than four or five stories – the usual height of the historic apartment buildings found in Central Alameda. Density would be higher here than in outer lying parts of the Point, but no denser than necessary to support effective transportation opportunities, including walking. Studies continue to indicate that with transportation-oriented higher density, there is not a corresponding increase in automobiles.
Small stores and businesses would be interspersed among residences, making shopping easy for residents and promoting economic vitality of the neighborhood similar to the “stations” in central Alameda. Parks would make the area visually pleasing and provide open and recreational space for the homes.
Then, fanning out from here would be larger homes, such as town homes and smaller single family homes. These would have less height and density than the homes around the ferry, bus or trolley shops, yet would still be interspersed with shops and remain a short walk from public transportation.
Further out still would be the larger single family homes with varied lot sizes. Although there would be more density in certain parts of the development, the land saved by not having every single dwelling have to be single family or duplex with a 2000 square foot minimum lot size per unit (the Measure A compliant version) more open space for parks, plazas, fields and paths can be included. The ability to have retail mixed with residences (not allowed under Measure A) would encourage local shopping and a vibrant street life.
Would there be more homes under this vision? Most likely, yes. Yet we feel the advantages listed above would greatly outweigh any disadvantages. And importantly, a variety of home styles would provide a middle tier of housing for the middle income, not just those who can afford large single family homes or qualify for required subsidized housing. The advantage of ensuring successful public transportation via appropriate density would offset the use off the automobile and keep our streets from becoming clogged.
Support our Vision – Participate in Candidate Forums - And Tell a Friend
It looks like we will have many more months of work to do, including educational efforts, continued communication strategies, and likely a petition drive. We ask all supporters of optimum development at Alameda Point to help out by:
- Participate in upcoming candidate forums and ask the questions that pertain to Alameda Point development.
- Write letters sharing your thoughts about optimum development of Alameda Point to local media and City leaders.
- Inform your friends and HOMES would be pleased to join house parties to discuss the issues.
Inform your friends and HOMES would be pleased to join house parties to discuss the issues.
Helpful Contact Info
Honorable Mayor Beverly Johnson (747-4701, fax 747-4704)
Vice Mayor Marie Gilmore (747-4729, fax 747-4805)
Council Member Tony Daysog (747-4722, fax 747-4805)
Council Member Doug DeHaan (747-4728, fax 747-4805)
Council Member Frank Matarrese (747-4726, fax 747-4805)
2253 Santa Clara Avenue
Alameda, CA 94501
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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, Daniel Hoy, Joan Konrad, Tom Matthews, Bill Smith