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On Point: A few quick points

Submitted by on 1, May 4, 2010 – 4:50 am10 Comments

Remember a few weeks ago when city leaders got into it with SunCal’s chief operating officer, Frank Faye, about why SunCal went to the ballot with its development plan for the Point – and then asked SunCal to cover Alameda’s $280,000 Measure B election tab? (No? Then click here.)

Well, the folks at SunCal have agreed to pay those bills – provided they can reach a deal with the city to develop Alameda Point.

“In response to the letter from Ann Marie Gallant dated April 20, 2010 Re: Special Election Costs, SunCal agrees to include in the DDA executed by the CIC and SunCal a provision that SunCal will reimburse the City for the costs of the election and that such payment will be treated as an approved project predevelopment cost,” SunCal’s reps wrote in response to a city request to pay the tab for the February 2 election. The response was posted on the city’s SunCal Updates site.

The response follows another few weeks of back-and-forth (read: bickering), this time over the reasons for SunCal’s disastrous electoral turn.

SunCal attorney Amy Freilich said they figured they would need to sue the city to get permission to use state affordable housing laws to build a non-Measure A compliant project – until the city passed its own ordinance (known as the density bonus ordinance) in December 2009. And Freilich cited the lawsuit Boatworks developer Francis Collins filed against the city – and lost – to build more on his Clement Street acreage as proof of the company’s position.

“While as a technical legal matter, the City was still bound to comply with State density bonus law and grant a bonus, the City’s density bonus ordinance was the first time that the City expressly acknowledged in its codes or otherwise that the density bonus process was ever procedurally available and, more importantly, that the city would consider a “waiver” of the limitations of Measure A in connection with a density bonus application,” Freilich wrote in an April 28 letter.

But Mayor Beverly Johnson called you-know-what on that, saying the Collins suit was over other issues.

“(I)t is factually and legally incorrect that the City has at any time had an “unwritten city policy” to discourage the application of density bonus law,” Johnson wrote in a letter released Monday.

Quick note about a kind of important thing: Representatives from the Navy and the regulatory agencies in charge of overseeing the cleanup at Alameda Point will make a presentation about cleanup activities to date at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 6 at Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Avenue. The presentation, of course, is free and open to the public.

The federal government has spent $239.2 million to date cleaning up contaminants at the Point, with another $122 million slated to be spent in 2011 and beyond. So far, the Navy has transferred or is set to transfer 40 percent of the base, while another 35 percent is undergoing active cleanup and 25 percent is under investigation for future cleanup.

Each cleanup job takes between one and five years, and the majority of the base cleanup work to date is being done to residential standards, according to a presentation posted on the city’s website.

We plan to be at the meeting, so stay tuned Friday for more.

10 Comments »

  • RM says:

    Something seems out of whack here. More than 85% of the voters voted NO to SunCal on Feb. 2.

    That was an election. Not a poll. An official vote of the citizens of Alameda.

    Now, three months later, SunCal is offering to pay for that election if people will change their minds.

    Did they all throw tantrum after tantrum when they were told “No” in their youth?

    What part of NO do they not understand?

  • Jack B. says:

    Some contributors to AlamedaPointInfo.com created a nice video about the environmental cleanup that has been going on for years at AP… if you want to check it out… http://alamedapointinfo.com/video/alameda-point-environmental-cleanup

  • dlm says:

    So much for any reliable planning around the use of redevelopment money. The California Redevelopment Association took the state to court over its seizure of redevelopment funds and lost.

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2010/05/04/state/n155338D87.DTL#ixzz0n6dUTO1U

    Ruling does little to improve Calif budget outlook

    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday won the right to raid local redevelopment funds to help close California’s budget deficit, but it will likely do little to save the state from having to make deeper cuts to education, social services, and health care for children and the poor.

    Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Lloyd Connelly ruled that the state can take more than $2 billion from local redevelopment funds and transfer the money to school operations. Local governments objected to diverting the money, which generally is used to promote public works projects and rehabilitate downtowns.

  • dlm says:

    A better link, from the Sac Bee, re: the CRA lawsuit:

    Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2010/05/04/2726425/california-can-use-2-billion-in.html#ixzz0n6jSaDQN

    “If the court says ‘you can take redevelopment money whenever you wish and for whatever purpose you wish,’ that means redevelopment agencies will have no assurance from one year to go the next that they will have any money to work with. If they don’t know that, they can’t make long-term commitments for issuing bonds, for making commitments to housing or public projects of any sort because they don’t know if they will have the money.”

  • Richard Bangert says:

    So, do I understand this ruling correctly about the redevelopment funds? Possibly some help for our local school system, but definitely a big problem regarding the financing plan for infrastructure at Alameda Point, right? Are we looking at waiting two years or more while this case works its way to the Supreme Court before anyone knows if bonds can be issued for Alameda Point?

    What’s the point of working on a development agreement if the whole thing hinges on a court case that may not be settled for years?

  • dave says:

    It really isn’t a help for AUSD. Even if redev were abolished today & the schools got that forgone cash, the amount would still be far below the state ADA, leaving the schools dependent on state aid. (A lack of local control is the primary problem with school funding but that is a digression)

    As for the base, a fair chunk of the Suncal plan was to be financed with private capital, the TID was only a portion. The project can still continue w/ private funds.

  • RM says:

    Over 85% of the voters said “NO” to SunCal’s “project.”

  • Richard,

    the State had already budgeted based on an assumption of winning the lawsuit, so this ruling will bring no new money to schools or anything else. It means the draconian budget will remain just as draconian.

  • ct says:

    RM,

    Your statement that “85 percent of the voters voted NO to SunCal” is incorrect; 85 percent voted against Measure B. And according to “The Island”‘s polling results of March, 40 percent of that 85 percent did not like SunCal’s land plan.

    It’s also incorrect to say “SunCal is offering to pay for that election if people will change their minds.” The City asked the developer last month to foot the bill, even though it was three members of the City Council who pushed for the early, single-issue special election; the initiative could and should have been placed on a general-election ballot later this year, as there was no urgency concerning its passage or defeat.

    Mr Bangert,

    It will take two years or more to rid the site of toxins properly (“Final cleanup efforts are expected to happen in 2015,” says an EPA rep in “The Island”‘s “Navy, regulators give rundown on base cleanup” post on Friday) and complete the EIR before any development even begins on the Point. It wouldn’t make sense to drop what’s been in the works for three years to wait for a court decision, when several years’ worth of cleanup and the EIR remains to be done.

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