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Boatworks, Alameda Point on planning agenda

Submitted by on 1, May 24, 2010 – 4:50 amNo Comment

Two kind of important things on the Planning Board’s agenda tonight: progress on the Boatworks development plan and developments on Alameda Point.

This week’s meeting brings the continuation of efforts to hammer out the potential environmental impacts of the proposed Point development, for a report that could take two years to complete – if indeed, it is completed.

SunCal’s exclusive agreement to negotiate a development deal for the Point runs out on July 20, though the agreement could be extended automatically if the developer and the city ink a term sheet to buy the bulk of the Point from the Navy and if SunCal is able to either secure a disposition and development agreement with the city or if the city accepts a “best and final offer” from SunCal as its negotiating agreement lapses. (City staff have written a very clear, concise explanation of the process which you can get here.)

The automatic extension would be granted so that the environmental impact report could be completed.

But city staff said they would rather see city leaders decide up front whether they want to deny SunCal’s project or grant an extension to the negotiating agreement.

“Given the resounding defeat in February 2010 of Measure B, which is substantially similar to the (plan SunCal submitted to the city), the opposition to the (plan) expressed at the May 10, 2010 Planning Board meeting by the community, and the limited progress made by SunCal on the entitlement application over the last three years, as described in the May 10, 2010 staff report, staff is not comfortable with an automatic extension,” they wrote.

About two dozen people appeared at that meeting, most of them to express their opposition to SunCal and their plan. But opposition and support for the developer and their plan were more even at a City Council meeting the following week.

SunCal has proposed building 4,845 homes, 4.57 million square feet of commercial space and 146 acres of park and recreational facilities at the former naval air station, which closed in 1997. Last week they submitted a letter to city staff laying out the different types of housing they’d seek to build there, which showed housing types that are fairly similar to what had been planned prior to the Measure B vote.

Meanwhile, things appear to be moving forward on the long-stalled Boatworks development on Clement Avenue. City leaders had long wanted to put a park on the 9.5 acre lot, but a series of efforts to find the money to pay for the land failed. So city staff are now hammering out a deal with developer Francis Collins that could bring 179 new homes and two acres of open space (in a “T” configuration with shoreline access) to the site.

The board will hold a public hearing on the “reduced density” alternative to the original plan to build 242 units on the site. If the new plan is approved, Collins would be allowed to build three-story homes on lots as small as 1,300 square feet – less than the 2,000 square feet required by Measure A – in exchange for affordable housing. He could also build 26 units of “affordable” housing in an apartment building up to four stories high.

Planning staff is also seeking to amend the city’s general plan so that it would guide the city toward creating a continuous shoreline park from the Fruitvale Bridge to the western tip of Alameda Point. Funding for the park could come from leases of public land to adjacent private property owners.

The road network planned for the site is the major bone of contention between the developer and city staff, they said, though the developer is proposing a trio of pedestrian- and bike-only paths through the development from Clement Street.

The homes’ heating and cooling would be provided by solar panels and a host of other newfangled building technologies.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. today in council chambers at City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue.

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