November, 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
- Election Report
- Urge Planning Board to Hold Forum
- Change in Congress Presents Opportunity for Change in Navy Conveyance Deal
- Upcoming MTC Study Invites Community Participation
- Blog World
The reelection of Mayor Beverly Johnson and Councilmember Frank Mataresse shows that a strong majority of those who voted supported Alameda’s direction toward controlled development. Councilmember-elect Lena Tam also ran as supportive of planned growth. This controlled growth includes improvements to the Park Street and Webster Street business districts, the additions of businesses such as Starbuck and Peets, and the relocation of many corporate offices to Harbor Bay Isle.
Yet concerns remain among many devoted Alamedans about the future of our Island home. While many share concerns about such issues as retail leakage and development potential of our unique Alameda Point property, there is disagreement about the best way to address these problems and opportunities.
One thing is certain and that is that there will be further development in Alameda, particularly at Alameda Point. What is important is that the citizens of Alameda – us – direct that development to reflect the dreams of our citizens. In the case of Alameda Point that means making it a seamless part of the City which looks like the neighborhoods on the main Island.
The choice of Alameda Point Community Partners not to continue presents a chance for a fresh start in directing the development at Alameda Point. In the coming months there will be many more opportunities for the community to come together and give input and review to Alameda Point planning. It is HOMES’ sincere hope that we can all work together to move away from personalizing this issue and find a way as a community to fulfill the common goals for this amazing piece of land which constitutes one-third of our Island.
Urge Planning Board to Hold Forum
At a July meeting, the Planning Board suggested it would hold a community forum to discuss the planning restrictions imposed on Alameda Point by Measure A. HOMES will attend the Planning board meeting on December 11 to urge the Planning Board to calendar this forum. Please attend the Planning Board meeting on December 11th, 7:00 pm in the Council Chambers and join us in asking that the Planning Board conduct this discussion.
Change in Congress Presents Opportunity
For Change in Navy Conveyance Deal
In 1997 the Navy began an Economic Development Conveyance of the Naval Air Station property to the City for the sum of one dollar. When the economic climate of the Bay Area changed and building research and development facilities was no longer economically feasible, the City of Alameda added more housing to the building mix at Alameda Point. At the same time, the Navy began trying to sell other properties like the Oak Knoll facilities in Oakland. The Navy asserted that the original Economic Development Conveyance was no longer valid and in 2006, changed the price tag for conveyance of the Alameda Point property from $1.00 to $108,000,000.00!
This cost, along with the costs of land cleanup, construction of infrastructure, and preservation of buildings will have to be absorbed by a developer. It negatively affects the economic feasibility of the project and limits a developer’s flexibility in terms of responding to community input.
With a change in Congress HOMES has urged the City to appeal to our representatives to advocate for a return to the base conversion agreement originally planned.
Upcoming Metropolitan Transportation Commission Study
Invites Community Participation
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission has awarded the City of Alameda with a grant to evaluate potential land uses at Alameda Point that will support public transit systems. This study will encompass the entire Alameda Point area. It will be one that is based on what works for all forms of public transit and not be driven by the City’s land use restrictions or the need for Alameda Point to produce a certain economic criterion. The evaluation has been repeatedly requested by the community and identified in the Chinatown lawsuit. This study will provide a major opportunity for the public to advocate for the quality of life issues that make living on the Island so pleasant. Walkable distances to retail and other amenities, concentration of homes near transit, bike paths, ferry service and access to public transit will all be evaluated.
As part of this study, there will be a series of community meetings beginning early in the New Year. Stay tuned for more information!
During the recent Alameda election, blogs became a popular source of current information. In fact, they can be a helpful forum for discussion of many issues, including development in Alameda. Below are listed some blog addresses that include or focus on development issues:
If you support our vision of an Alameda Point that reflects the traditions and uniqueness of the Main Island, of a neighborhood that provides housing choices for the middle income, and of a development designed to de-emphasize the use of the automobile and provide effective transportation alternatives, please support our educational 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, Daniel Hoy, Joan Konrad, Tom Matthews, Bill Smith