Encinal Terminals Plan Considered

 

The Alameda Planning Board held a public hearing for the Encinal Terminals draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) Monday, March 27.

The purpose of the public hearing was to allow Alameda residents to express their opinions about the project with Alameda officials. The draft EIR was completed on Feb. 9. The report was then under a 45-day public comment period, which concluded yesterday.  

Public comments were mostly in favor of the project. However, some residents were concerned about its potential to add traffic. The project proposes 589 new housing units. 

“The addition of 589 units in an area of Alameda that is experiencing rapid growth will overwhelm the city’s local streets as well as the tube and all bridges,” wrote Dorothy Freeman in a letter to the planning board. 

However, other residents said the need for new housing trumps the transit problems that could arise with the new development. 

“We need every bit of housing we can get,” said Angela Hockabout. “We don’t solve transit problems by refusing to build housing. We cause homelessness.”

The plan asks for one high-rise building that will be 14 stories tall on the edge of the land. 

“Approval of this request by Tim Lewis Communities (TLC) will set a precedent for Alameda and will allow any future developer to be able to also build up to 14 stories,” wrote Freeman. “Once that genie is out of the bottle, it cannot be put back in.” 

Board members raised concerns with the adequacy of the report. The report detailed predicted delay times at intersections near the site. It said the additional units won’t cause a drastic increase in traffic on the Island. Caltrans also submitted a letter in which they believe the project will result in a “less-than-significant transportation impact.”

“I don’t think these traffic studies give us a real idea of what the traffic is,” said board member Lorre Zuppan. 

The project site is at 1521 Buena Vista Ave. in the north-central portion of Alameda. It is across the estuary from the Brooklyn Basin site in Oakland, where construction for a housing development has begun. 

The proposed project will impact 32 acres of land (10 acres are currently submerged). Along with the 589 housing units, the project includes a new marina, commercial, office and restaurant uses, and over three acres of waterfront-related public open space and parks. The residential unit types proposed include condominiums, townhomes, high-rise view residences and more. 

TLC will develop the project if approved.

To view the EIR, visit https://alamedaca.gov/community-development/encinal-terminals-project.