Wednesday, February 3, 2010

AAPR STATEMENT ON DEFEAT OF MEASURE B - It’s Up to Our City Leaders to Find a Way to Implement the Plan

Alameda, CA, February 2, 2010. Alamedans for Alameda Point Revitalization (AAPR) is disappointed in the defeat of Measure B, but we are hopeful that another way will be found to implement that land use plan that was the basis of the Revitalize Alameda Point initiative.

The plan to revitalize Alameda Point fulfills the community goals to create a new neighborhood at the former base that will provide valuable civic and recreational amenities, job creation and an environmentally sustainable mixed-use development that will be an asset for all of Alameda.

While we are disappointed that after 17 years of planning there currently is no viable mechanism for fulfilling the community vision for a vibrant new neighborhood at Alameda Point, we are encouraged by the statements of our elected leaders indicating support for the land use plan developed by world-renowned community planner Peter Calthorpe.

Doing nothing at Alameda Point is unacceptable. The base is deteriorating rapidly and costs Alameda millions of dollars each year in maintenance.

With Measure B’s defeat, it is now the responsibility of our elected officials to lead us in finding another way to implement this community-developed land use plan. We count on them to do this, and we offer our continued support for the realization of the community vision.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

HOMES Newsletter

The HOMES Front, the newsletter of HOMES, has an interesting edition covering everything from endorsements of Measure B to the City’s lack of good faith negotiations.

You can read it here:

Monday, January 25, 2010

“The Sum of All Fears”

Lauren Do adds up all the figures that make up the shortfall the City claims will result from the project. Only problem is, it doesn’t add up.

Read it here:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Greenbelt Alliance, "the San Francisco Bay Area's advocate for open spaces and vibrant places," has just announced its support for Measure B:

Greenbelt Alliance Endorses Measure B for a Renewed Alameda Point
Smart reuse of the land is right for Alameda and for the Bay Area

After careful consideration, Greenbelt Alliance, the Bay Area’s leading advocate of open space protection and smart growth development, has endorsed the plan to redevelop the Alameda Point Naval Air Station in the City of Alameda. Greenbelt Alliance encourages Alameda voters to support Measure B on February 2 to allow the successful reuse of Alameda Point.

"The proposed development of Alameda Point is a win for Alameda and a win for the Bay Area," said Jeremy Madsen, Executive Director of Greenbelt Alliance. "If we want a region that is climate-friendly and less auto-dependent, that safeguards our iconic landscapes and creates great neighborhoods for all Bay Area residents, this is exactly the right kind of development."

Key to Smart Growth
Redeveloping Alameda Point would be a significant step in creating the type of walkable new neighborhood the Bay Area needs. In June 2009 Greenbelt Alliance unveiled Grow Smart Bay Area, a regional vision of protected open space, farms, and wildlife habitats and vibrant, climate-friendly neighborhoods. The Grow Smart vision is based on rigorous research that finds the region’s next generation of growth can be accommodated within the Bay Area’s existing cities and towns if infill development sites are efficiently used.

For years, about 1,000 acres of the decommissioned Naval Air Station have sat neglected on the western end of Alameda. The redevelopment plan calls for a 60-acre sports complex, new waterfront and community parks, and outdoor recreation opportunities, linked by bike-friendly boulevards. Toxic contamination, left over from the Navy era, would be cleaned up. Expanded ferry services would increase transit options to San Francisco for all Alameda residents. Over 1,000 homes in the mixed-use community would be affordable to people with moderate, low, and very low incomes, increasing housing choices for Alameda’s socio-economically diverse population.

Greenbelt Alliance recognizes that the proposed Alameda Point development and Measure B are controversial among Alameda residents and leaders. Some of the criticism is understandable. Measure B itself could be simpler, allowing voters to more easily understand the implications of approval. Greenbelt Alliance would have preferred that the development proposal include provisions to use well-paid Bay Area workers to build the new community so that the construction itself would contribute to the economic vitality of the region.

Measure B Misrepresented
However, Greenbelt Alliance believes that the long-term benefits of development at Alameda Point outweigh the shortcomings of the development proposal or Measure B. We also believe that some of the criticisms are incorrect or overstated. Greenbelt Alliance commissioned an urban economics expert to review the City’s election report finding that the fiscal impacts of the proposed development would be negative for Alameda. This independent review found that the election report relied on several worst case assumptions. A more standard analysis would have likely revealed that the development’s fiscal impacts would be either neutral or slightly favorable for the City. Our analysis of Measure B also found that, while the measure would convey land use entitlements to the developer, it does not convey ownership rights or other regulatory permits. As such, the City Council or other regulatory agencies could require modifications to the development if further analysis, including CEQA review, indicates that changes to the development plan are warranted based on environmental, health or other concerns.

Finally, Greenbelt Alliance acknowledges that the process to approve development at Alameda Point is not ideal. Under normal circumstances, City voters would not act as decision-makers on such a complicated land use matter via the ballot box. Instead the elected representatives of Alameda’s residents, the City Council, would be responsible for reviewing the development proposal through established parameters of land-use decision making, carefully deliberating and determining the best interest of their constituents. However, Alameda’s 1973 Measure A requires a public vote to allow for any development of multifamily housing other than duplexes. In an era where Bay Area workers, seniors, and young families are seeking a variety of housing choices, policies like Measure A are an impediment to creating high quality, thriving neighborhoods. In fact, Measure A has rendered previous development proposals for Alameda Point infeasible.

Time for Change
"If the redevelopment of Alameda Point does not move ahead now it could be years, even decades, before something happens with the old Naval Air Station,” said Madsen. "Alameda deserves better. If Measure B passes, it will lead to a great community at Alameda Point, a place Alameda residents will be proud of and a model for the entire Bay Area."


For 50 years, Greenbelt Alliance has been the San Francisco Bay Area's advocate for open spaces and vibrant places, with offices in San Francisco, San Jose, Walnut Creek, San Rafael, and Santa Rosa.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lauren Do - "It’s tricky"

Here is Lauren Do's post today:

So, in an apparent about-face from last Friday when I was told that the SunCal submission was a public document, apparently both the City and SunCal have gone to Def con stall and I’m getting the runaround. According to SunCal spokesman, Joe Aguirre, they are not releasing the documents because of the “confidentiality agreement” between the City and SunCal.

The unspoken is that it appears that the blockage is coming from the City side (surprise surprise) So, in the public (namely, my own) interest, I’ve submitted a public records request and if the City wants to justify how precisely it is not in the public’s interest given the election, I can’t wait to get the answer. For a City that is interested in “transparency” and and “informed populace”, it will be interesting to see how they justify that these documents are not public. So far, I have not received a response yet from the City Attorney’s office, but it’s only been a day.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Letter to the Editor - City leaders let residents down

The Alameda Sun
By Joan Konrad
January 15, 2010

Three years ago, after a competition, the city of Alameda chose SunCal to be the master developer for Alameda Point.

The city and developer, acting as partners, entered into an agreement by which they would work together to establish how Alameda Point would be developed. If that is the case, how could the city, both elected officials and staff, have been unaware of what is in the initiative written by SunCal?

How could our city leaders have had so much enthusiasm for this project for the past three years, and now, suddenly, work for its failure? The reasons they give for rejecting the initiative appear flimsy.

How could the city leaders tell the voters to reject the Measure B initiative and entrust the development to the very people, the city, who have been unable to prevent the process from falling apart? The city's energies might have been better spent negotiating a fair deal and seeing the Disposition and Development Agreement is well-written.

Does the city plan to do the development alone? Where would they find the money? Do they have the expertise? They run a city; they are not experienced developing large tracts of land. Perhaps they have a new developer in mind to take over the work done by SunCal? That certainly would not be acting in good faith.

If Measure B fails, how many more years will it take before we have a new community at Alameda Point? How much more will it cost the city? Let's hope Measure B passes.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Alameda Point: Do We Move Forward or Let It Rot?

When it comes to how we vote on Measure B, that is really the question. Eve Pearlman sums it up excellently in her article today: