Letters to the Editor

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Editor:

One of the defining characteristics of our island community is the Oakland Estuary. Over time dumped debris, rotten wharfs, sunken vessels and illegal anchor-outs have tainted this environment. In the fall of 2013 a major enhancement project was undertaken to clean up the estuary. This unique public-private effort cost approximately $8 million.

The Alameda Police Department (APD), the Oakland Police department (OPD), the California State Lands Commission, CalRecycle, the Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Coast Guard all participated.

When the job was completed, the participating agencies said that the cleanup was a one-shot deal, there would not be a repeat effort in the future. In no uncertain terms the message to the community was clear: If you want a clean estuary, you need to make the effort to maintain it.

The results a year later are actually quite positive. Through consistent enforcement activities by APD and OPD, newly arriving anchor-outs have been confronted and told to move on. This is only possible through regular, on-the- water enforcement. A new concern, however, is that APD’s patrol boat is presently damaged beyond repair.

Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern has stated that law-enforcement activities on the estuary are APD and OPD’s responsibility. OPD has a new, well-equipped patrol boat. APD is presently working with the California Division of Boating & Waterways on an $80,000 grant to help purchase a new patrol boat.

This grant application will be an agenda item for the City Council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 6. While it is unclear whether the amount requested would be sufficient to provide an appropriate vessel, it is a good start. Alameda residents should let Mayor Trish Spencer and the councilmembers know that they recognize the need for regular, vigilant patrols of the extensive Alameda waterfront.

It is critical that APD has the proper equipment to safely execute this responsibility.

Brock de Lappe, Harbor Master, Property Manager, Alameda Marina

The Alameda Sun received a copy of this letter addressed to Henry Dong, a project planner with the city of Alameda.

 

Dear Mr. Dong:

I’m writing this letter to oppose the proposed application for a waiver at 1207 Union St. We live next door and also own other property in Alameda. We enjoy the unique qualities of Alameda and don’t want to see this historical home cut up to make room for more apartments.

The home at 1207 Union St. is very cute and unique. It has had the same occupants of native-born Alamedans for more than 70 years: William George and his parents before him.

The proposed additions to the rear will affect all the neighbors on all sides. The light and view to our house will also be greatly affected. The backyard privacy will be reduced or eliminated with a big two-story addition to his house.

It shouldn’t be enlarged to the disadvantage of the neighbors. Why not just paint it and clean it up to be a joy to the neighborhood and a huge asset to the city?

The city of Alameda should not be in the business of destroying by altering these old significant grand old ladies but preserving them in their pristine state.

The properties at 1207 and 1209 Union St. are extremely close together, less than five feet apart at ground level and even less at roof level. This is both a safety and fire hazard.

These houses are too close already and transforming the one at 1207 into rentals will only exacerbate the problems. The street is already very densely populated. Additional tenants will increase the risk.

Parking is a huge problem at night because many do not have driveways or garages. Any additional units would only amplify the problem. Two units with two or three cars each would greatly impact the quality of the neighborhood. Existing parking on the site can only accommodate one car and inevitably the tenants would park on the street which is already overcrowded.

Again I strongly oppose this application for design review. Leave it as a single family home of great historical and architectural significance.

Mike Alexander

The Alameda Sun received a copy of this letter addressed to city project planner Henry Dong.

 

Dear Mr. Dong:

This letter is to express my opposition to the proposed application for a waiver for the property at 1207 Union St. I own the property next door at 1209 Union St.

The proposed changes to 1207 Union St. will change the architectural historical significance of the single family home, which was built in 1890. The proposed additions to the rear will affect all the neighbors on all sides.

The light and view to our house will also be greatly affected. The backyard privacy will be reduced or eliminated with a big two-story addition to this house.

The city of Alameda should not be in the business of destroying by altering these old significant grand old ladies but preserving them.

These two properties are extremely close, less than five feet at ground level and even less at roof level which is both a safety and fire hazard. This house is too close already and transforming this into rentals will only exacerbate the problems.

The street is already very densely populated. Additional tenants increases the risk.

Parking is a huge problem at night because many do not have driveways or garages. Any additional units would only amplify the problem. Two units with two or three cars each would greatly impact the quality of the
neighborhood.

Again we wish to oppose this application for design review. Leave it as a single family home of great historical and architectural significance.

Martine Lee

Editor’s note: The house at 1207 Union St. was designed and built in 1891 by men who had a hand in designing or building more than 80 homes during the Victorian era in Alameda. Charles Shaner, who designed or built 45 other homes here, designed 1207 Union St.

Shaner teamed up with David Brehaut and J. C. Diamond to build the home. Brehaut and Diamond built 17 other homes in Alameda. In all Brehaut lent his hand in either designing or building 38 homes here.

Shaner likely designed and Brehaut built the home next door to the property in question at 1209 Union St. The pair teamed up in 1893 to build the showcase home at Willow Street and San Jose Avenue, a home some remember as "the telephone book house" because it has so frequently appeared on the cover of Alameda’s telephone book.

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