Plan for Empty Clinton Lot Postponed
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Dennis Evanosky

The planning board decided a proposal for this vacant lagoon-front lot on Clinton Avenue near Chestnut Street was not in keeping with the rest of the neighborhood.

On Monday, Feb. 13, the Alameda Planning Board unanimously voted to postpone the design review approval of a proposed duplex at 2004 Clinton Ave.

The board opted rather for another "Call for Review" motion to further workout details of the plan.

The contentiousness of the plan involves the large configuration of the original proposed duplex and how it measures up against surrounding properties.

Alamedan Leslie Shubin, who lives next door to the proposed site, argued the building would obstruct the beauty of her home and the neighborhood.

"My biggest problem is the mass of the house," said Shubin. "It's going to dwarf my house. She went on to say the building would impede the natural light and the lagoon view on the eastern side of her house.

In the original plan, the duplex would have two three-bedroom units, 3,638-square feet of conditioned floor area; an attached 744- square-foot, four-car garage and a 1,849 square-foot basement, according to the draft resolution.

In a Jan. 23 memo to the board, Dennis Brighton, who planned the project with Michael Chang, stated that the project is in compliance with all zoning standards, including compliance with yard setbacks and open space, building height, main building coverage and off-street parking.

However, many Alamedans feel the project should be modified because it is not compatible with the neighboring buildings.

"The project does not conform to the Guide to Residential Design (GRD), the city council design renewal manual," said Christopher Buckley, a member of the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society.

One of the provisions the project does not conform to in the GRD is the provision that the project would provide side yards that respect the existing properties, Buckley said.

Andrew Thomas, planning services manager for the city proposed certain configurations that might come as a compromise to the builders and neighboring residents including moving one of the units to the front and the other to the back and reducing the garage from a four-car to a two-car garage.

Overall, the board, without hesitation, asked the planners to modify its proposal. "This needs to go back to the drawing board," said board member David Burton.

Thomas did caution the board that they not further complicate the matter to the point where Chang and his group not want to build the duplex and the space remain an open lot. The review approval will be held at a future Planning Board meeting.

The site was originally occupied by a predominantly one-story Craftsman duplex constructed in 1903. Fire destroyed the structure and it was demolished in 2008.

 

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