The election date is set, the ballots are in, and soon Alameda voters will be asked to make one of the most important decisions they will ever make regarding the future of our Alameda community.
The former Alameda Naval Station has been closed for 12 years. The Navy still owns the property, but the City is responsible for its upkeep. Since its closure, the Point has steadily deteriorated and costs the City millions of dollars each year in maintenance and security. Although we do have some wonderful businesses out there and several hundred people call the Point home, these businesses and residents are largely isolated from the rest of Alameda. Many amenities, such as a grocery store or library, do not exist. Much of the area, with its beautiful views and enormous potential, is unusable for most Alamedans.
Over the sixteen years since the Base was decommissioned, there have been hundreds of community meetings to gather input as to the future of the Point. There have also been several failed plans that have never made it to the ballot box. With the Revitalize Alameda Point initiative, Alamedans finally have an opportunity to decide whether to turn the Point into a functioning asset for our entire community or to continue the status quo. It’s up to you.
HOMES is doubling up our efforts to provide you with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision on February 2, 2010 election. It is complicated. It is confusing. Yet, it is so important.
Revitalize Alameda Point Initiative Is Now Measure B
To avoid voter confusion the Alameda County Registrar of Voters has agreed to change the name of the Revitalize Alameda Point initiative from Measure A to Measure B.
Ballot Arguments, For and Against
- The argument in favor of the initiative largely focuses on the benefits of the Plan
– nothing new or controversial there.
- The argument against the Plan focuses on this initiative being a “bad deal” for the City.
Lauren Do consecutively addresses anti-initiative claims on her blog: http://www.laurendo.com/. We think you will find her arguments compelling.
Don’t Deny Me
With all the discussions these days about Mayor/Council flip-flopping and city secret plan B’s, sometimes what gets forgotten in all the hoopla is who actually created the plan for Alameda Point.
We did. That’s right, us – the citizens of Alameda.
There have been hundreds of meetings involving Alameda citizens since the Base was decommissioned in 1993.
Between 1993 and 1996, the Base Reuse Advisory Group (BRAG) collected community input about the future of the site. The result of the input was a Community Reuse Plan created in 1996, one year before the Base closed. The Community Reuse plan created a vision for the site and included seven community goals for guiding future development:
- Foster a Vibrant New Neighborhood
- Maximize Waterfront Accessibility
- Ensure Economic Development
- Create a Mixed-Use Environment’
- Establish Neighborhood Centers
- Seamless Integration of Alameda Point with the rest of the City
- De-emphasize the Automobile and Make New Development Compatible with Transportation Capacity
Alameda Point Community Partners (APCP) was selected as the Master Developer, but after five years, APCP dropped out after not being able to develop a Measure A compliant plan that was fiscally feasible.
In 2007, the City selected SunCal as the Master Developer and signed a three-year Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA).
Between 2007 and 2008 SunCal held over 20 community workshops and presentations to gather public input and consider alternatives. All the City Boards and Commissions were also included to help shape the direction of our new neighborhood..
The result of these sixteen years of input is the Specific Plan in the Revitalize Alameda Point initiative. The Plan is based on these principles:
- One Island Character
- Job Creation and Economic Development
- Small Town Feeling
- Respect for History
- De-Emphasis of the Automobile
- Transit Orientation
- Mixed-Use Development
- Neighborhood Centers
- Open Space Network
- Sustainable Development and Design
The SunCal plan incorporates the vision developed by the community from sixteen years of public input involving hundreds of Alamedans! Now we have members of our city management and leadership changing their minds about supporting the plan and attempting to torpedo the entire initiative. What happened to our plan? Is the input of hundreds of Alamedans about to go down the drain?
The Interim City Manager (ICM) has stated that the City has an alternative plan should the initiative fail. HOMES wrote a letter to both the ICM and SunCal asking for transparency and for them to divulge what their contingency plans are, if any, should the Initiative not pass on February 2, 2010.
Here are their responses:
Taken at their word, there is no alternative plan for Alameda Point. This initiative may be our last best hope to get something done at the Point for the foreseeable future. While having no alternative is not a reason to vote for the plan, it is an important consideration in the decision-making process – while we all may have our own specific preferences for the project, we do have to consider that not being able to come together to make this plan work may mean years and years of continued deterioration at the Point.
It is important to remember that a key component of the Initiative is the requirement that the Alameda Point development will be “fiscally neutral.” This means that no funds will be used from the General Fund or from current Alameda taxpayers in building out the Plan. Currently, maintenance and security costs of the Point, which the City is required to provide, cost the City millions of dollars per year. Passage of this plan will mean the Point will transform the Point into a vibrant new neighborhood with amenities for all Alamedans. Failure of this plan, with no alternative on the horizon, means this blighted, unusable area will remain that way for years to come and will continue to drain millions of our tax dollars year after year.
HOMES Needs Your Help
Just a few short years ago, people said we would never be able to talk about the many possibilities now present for the future of Alameda Point, that the backdrop of Measure A would prevent the community from even being able to consider an environmentally sustainable, walkable, transit-oriented development. But we are! And HOMES has been at the forefront of promoting this open, inclusive and often exciting discussion.
Our expenses are minimal, but there are costs to maintain a web site and produce our newsletters and other materials. Please help us keep this discussion moving forward. We rely solely on the donations of individuals for support.
Donations may be sent to:
HOMES 816 Grand St. Alameda, CA 94501
All donations are tax-deductible.