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About that Planning Board meeting …

Submitted by on 1, June 24, 2008 – 11:30 amNo Comment

So here’s the quick and dirty on the Planning Board last night: The board said no to a big box ban, saying their original idea – to toughen the process by creating additional layers of review – would do just fine. We’ll see how the City Council, which planning staff said were ready to pass the thing without the board’s guidance (and is in a mood to ban things, as their recent take on bikes in parks shows), decides to act. The board also okayed, with some caveats, Warmington Homes’ proposal to build housing for district employees on the old Island High site, at Eagle and Everett. The developer asked to swap half of the 10 affordable housing units they’re required to build into their Grand Marina project for as many as 17 new homes at the old Island High, which is zoned for industrial use. Planning staff lamented the fact that no one from the school district was on hand to answer questions about where they are on a potential housing deal; then again, the district just found out about it on Friday, per school board Trustee David Forbes (who, as a private citizen at least, wholeheartedly supports the project). Forbes said the district has been trying to build affordable housing for its employees for a while now; this project, he said. “This moves us off square one,” he said. There’s an outstanding issue though: Does this open a Pandora’s Box of sorts, allowing a developer to shuffle its lower-income housing out of new tracts and into their own little, dark corners? We’ll see. Next up is a final environmental impact report for Alameda Towne Center, which apparently wants to expand a bit. And it looks like they may have found a taker for the old Safeway building: Orchard Supply Hardware. I think I heard something about a potential parking garage too. We’ll have more on this as it comes.

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