City releases summary of proposed Point measure
The city has released a summary of the proposed Alameda Point development initiative that raises questions about how all the project’s expenses will be covered and whether the detailed development agreement Island voters will likely be asked to okay in November properly accounts for everything from the amount of water the development will require to whether the streets will be wide enough to accommodate the traffic it generates and if its developers will get proper fixes in place to deal with potential sea level rise.
The 39-page executive summary of the proposed ballot measure questions whether the taxes to be collected by future property owners at the Point will be enough to cover an estimated $4.8 million annual hit to the city’s general fund plus a list of other improvements that money is supposed to cover (and additional costs like maintaining streets and sidewalks).
The report’s unnamed authors also question whether the $200 million the project’s developer will be required to pay for improvements including a regional sports complex, Bay Trail extension, parks, transit improvements and a library will be enough to cover the tab. The initiative would cap the developer’s contribution for those costs at $200 million; bonds that would be covered by future tax revenues at the site have been listed as another potential revenue source.
Meanwhile, the Point’s developer or developers (per the initiative, they could sell the development rights without the city’s consent) would get an $82.4 million break on city development fees, though some of those fees might have otherwise been credited back for the development of schools and other amenities.
And per the summary, the city could potentially incur more debt on the project than planned and hold the debt longer than typically anticipated by law. Here’s what it says:
The law also requires a plan state the maximum amount of bonded indebtedness that can be outstanding at a given point in time. That limit may be increased by a plan amendment. Because the developer’s proposed project could require a higher indebtedness, the plan may have to be amended to increase the indebtedness limit.
The summary lists a host of potential issues that are not directly addressed by the initiative, including whether there will be enough water available for its inhabitants, whether adequate sea level rise precautions will be put in place and even if the streets to be built for the development will be wide enough to accommodate the traffic it generates. Those issues would be dealt with later, if the plan were passed.
It also says city leaders will be required to okay the infrastructure for the project, even if it doesn’t meet city standards.
It’s not even entirely clear how much housing could be built on the site. The plan on the ballot calls for a total of 4,841 housing units to be built on the site. But developers could be eligible for up to a third more under the city’s to-be-passed density bonus ordinance if they build certain types and amounts of affordable housing.
I chatted with a spokesman for developer SunCal about this a while back, and acknowledged that future developers there (SunCal would probably fix the land up and sell it) could ask for more housing on the site, although he said that’s not what SunCal envisions.
The report was requested by the City Council in order to give them an idea about the potential impacts the development could have on the Island. A second report that deals specifically with the proposed development’s traffic impacts is due by the end of July.
Meanwhile, SunCal has until June 15 to turn in the petition signatures they need to get their measure on the ballot. If enough of them make the cut and the council calls an election, we could be voting on this one on November 3.
By the way, if you’re looking for your very own printed copy of the 288-page initiative-to-be, the Alameda Copy Center at 1211 Lincoln has ’em for $20. You can also get it online (and print out your own copy) by linking here.