Letters to the Editor

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Editor:
As a resident, parent, and community member, I attended a recent City Council meeting to see what all the fuss was about over the proposed secondary house or apartment, Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), ordinance. 

My wife and I are considering building one at our home for my 72-year-old mother-in-law who is rapidly approaching retirement and will need a place to live, and eventually someone to care for her, so I wanted to know the details for myself. What I found out surprised me.
I am a supporter of Gov. Jerry Brown’s adoption of creating in-law units. I’m all for smaller in-law units on individual home lots with minimal permitting requirements from the city, but I also want to protect what’s special about Alameda. That special “look and feel” is now at risk after the council preliminarily passed the ordinance with no design review of units up to 1,200 square feet. Why not allow a design review once the size exceeds the current maximum of 600 square feet?

Consider this: under current Alameda regulations, if a homeowner has a renovation or addition project, then they must follow the existing design review process. That means they must show how their design is compatible with their main house and then the planning department notifies neighbors within 100 feet of the proposed design. 

If this ordinance moves forward, we risk losing what we love about Alameda. We chose Alameda to buy a home and raise our family not only for the schools, but also for the charming and historical neighborhoods that exist because of the group that fought to save most of the Victorian and historical homes from destruction in the 1970s. 

This town is a special place in the Bay Area with the largest stock of historical homes outside of San Francisco. A big part of this is due to planning department’s design review process and their faithfulness to upholding the design standards of the city. Let’s not throw away what is working well. 

The look and feel of a town is a huge part of what drives people to choose Alameda and that in turn brings in homebuyers and renters willing to invest in the community. This brings in new businesses, restaurants, and shops that help Alameda continue to have a thriving local economy. 

What can we do as a community? Go to the next City Council meeting. Call your local councilmembers and mayor to tell them what you think of this proposed ordinance. By speaking up, we have a chance to keep Alameda special. Don’t you want that? Thanks for listening.

 

Shannon Reese

 

Editor:
The recent letter “City should ban paid signature gatherers,” June 22, discussed a petition in circulation that would alter Alameda City Ordinance 3180, recently passed by the City Council. As one of the organizations addressed in the letter the League of Women Voters shares the writer’s concern that the accuracy of information presented to voters by petition signature gatherers is ensured.

When approached by individuals gathering signatures we urge voters to ask the following questions before signing any petition. 

• What does the measure seek to accomplish? Do you agree with those goals? Is the measure seeking changes that are consistent with your ideas about government? Do you think the proposed changes will make things better?
• Is it complex? If so, it may require thorough legislative examination.
• Is it confusing? If so, it may require court interpretation or resolution.• Does it belong in our City Charter or state Constitution? If so, another ballot vote will be needed to amend it, so correcting unintended or unforeseen consequences will be cumbersome and costly.
• How will it be funded? Initiatives should create their own revenue sources.
• Who are the sponsors and opponents?
• Is the petition circulator a volunteer or paid? You have the right to ask and this statement of your right must be on the petition form. 

Finally, Alameda residents concerned about any type of voter fraud should contact the Alameda County District Attorney at 272-6222 or the California Secretary of State at (916) 567-2166.

 

 

Georgia Gates Derr, President, League of Women Voters of Alameda

 

Editor:
Thank you, Ronald Curtis, for saying no to new homes at Alameda Landing (“Planning Approves 700 More Homes,” June 22). Thank you for recognizing the traffic situation. Maybe you’ve been stuck in traffic on that side of Alameda? Many of us have, and not necessarily during commute hours. When traffic halts in and around the tunnel, or, when all bridges go up all of a sudden, there goes the blood pressure. Enough already!

City Councilmembers probably do not visit the West End, have never been stuck or been in a waiting traffic backup. Too many cars! Too many people! Our family has owned our home since 1964. Alameda is no longer the quiet island with the small-town atmosphere.  

What you all should fix is the increasing crime: drugs, DUIs, robberies and thefts, and, get this — prostitution, now happening here. Dealing with these issues is more important than more houses. I do not understand why the Island has to go that route. I do think our little Island eventually will sink.

 

R. P. Cordova

 

Editor’s note: The Alameda Sun incorrectly reported that the developer planned to build 700 new homes. In fact, the developer’s plans would bring the total new homes to 700. 

 

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