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Alameda gets a little more dense

Submitted by on 1, December 4, 2009 – 5:50 amOne Comment

Now that all the hoopla over the Boys and Girls Club thing has died down, here’s another story from Tuesday night’s City Council meeting: The council voted to okay a package of incentives for developers who create homes for lower-income residents, putting Alameda partially in conformance with the state’s 30-year-old density bonus law.

I say “partially” because the incentives apply only to developers building in the Island’s commercial and mixed-use zones. An ordinance containing incentives for developers who build housing in residential zones won’t come to the council for approval until January or February of next year, after the Planning Board has had a chance to consider caps on the concessions and incentives developers can get in those areas.

The council voted unanimously to approve the new rules. The heads of the West Alameda Business Association and Park Street Business Association, Kathy Moehring and Robb Ratto, voiced support for the local density bonus ordinance, saying the incentives will make it easier for developers to work in the business districts they represent.

Chris Buckley, head of the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society, thanked city staff for considering changes the group wanted made to protect historic buildings. But former Councilwoman Barbara Kerr said she fears the ordinance could jeopardize the Island’s historic buildings.

The ordinance allows developers to build additional units of housing on their property based on the amount of homes they build that would be considered affordable to an array of lower-income residents. It would also give them the right to apply for incentives and concessions that can include breaks on parking requirements and rules mandating minimum setbacks, lot sizes and open space requirements. (The list is shorter than the one the Planning Board passed along to the council, and the ordinance contains rules designed to protect historic buildings.)

The staff report and ordinance are here.

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