Council Listens to Options on Crab Cove Project

Council Listens to Options on Crab Cove Project


The City Council conducted a public hearing to discuss whether to amend the city’s Zoning Map and General Plan at a property near Crab Cove to create a wellness center at its Dec. 4 meeting. They also discussed future procedures after accepting a Certificate of Sufficiency for a proposed initiative measure that would prohibit the creation of the wellness center.

The 3.71-acre property is currently owned by the Federal Government. After the U.S Department of Agriculture abandoned its use of the federal buildings, the Federal Government entered into a lease agreement to convey the property to Alameda Point Collaborative (APC), a nonprofit, for assisted living, medical respite and supportive service facilities for the homeless. However, the deal is contingent on APC being allowed to create a 3.65-acre wellness center at the site. To do this the city’s Zoning Map and General Plan needs to be amended.

City staff and the Planning Board are recommending the Council amend the Zoning Map to remove the G Overlay and the General Plan to change the land use from Federal Facilities to Office to be consistent with the underlying A-P zoning.

The plan has also received support from the Planning Board and many residents. However, the Friends of Crab Cove (FCC), an organization representing neighborhoods, businesses and schools adjacent to Crab Cove Regional Park, are in heavy opposition of the proposed wellness center. 

Members believe having a wellness center for homeless individuals will create a safety hazard for Crab Cove visitors, many of them children. Members began a signature gathering effort to create an ordinance on the November 2020 General Election ballot to change the zoning at the property to open space.

The Registrar’s office approved the signatures on Nov. 28. The City Council has three options to take, according to the California Election Code. They can adopt the ordinance, adopt a resolution submitting the ordinance to the voters. To do that the Council must draft arguments and direct the City Attorney to prepare impartial analysis. Lastly, they can order a report on the effect of the proposed initiative measure. Staff is recommending option three, according to a city memorandum.

City staff maintains the wellness center is the best use of the property on the west side of McKay Avenue. Staff supports the plan because it aims to “provide housing that meets the city’s diverse housing needs, specifically including affordable housing, special needs housing and senior housing,” which is part of Alameda General Housing Plan. The city also cites the more than 350 acres of Alameda land designated for future park plans including the 21-acre Jean Sweeney Park, the eight-acre Estuary Park and a 3.9-acre park adjacent to the wellness center purchased by East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD).

Another reason FCC opposes the wellness center is its members feel the land should be used by EBRPD to expand Crab Cove. In November 2008, more than 70 percent of the Alameda and Contra Costa County voters voted in favor of EBRPD’s Measure WW, a tax measure covering projects in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, according to the FCC website. “One of the specific projects listed in the measure was funding for EBRPD to acquire the surplus federal property next to Crown Beach,” reads the website. However, EBRPD has already gone on record that it doesn’t want the property because they recently acquired the nearby 3.9-acre property. The city does not want to tear down the existing buildings at the property nor divert funds allocated to already existing park plans.

The wellness center would consist of 90 housing units for formerly homeless individuals, a 50-bed medical respite center, a resource center to help recently homeless people locate housing and a 7,000-square-foot primary care clinic for outpatient services. The Council made its decision after press time.