Hotel Is Ill Advised, Poorly Conceived

Hotel Is Ill Advised, Poorly Conceived


Let me start by saying I am not a NIMBY. I have supported many development activities in Alameda, including VF Outdoor’s relocation to Alameda and the movie theater expansion and garage addition. 

As a long-time Alameda resident, I understand the value of well-planned, sustainable commercial and residential development. These bring tax revenue and jobs to Alameda, in addition to increasing property values. 

I cannot support, however, ill-advised or poorly conceived development. Enter the planned Marriott Fairfield Inn hotel planned on Harbor Bay Parkway, a 100-room hotel, a 63 foot high, five-story edifice (practically a skyscraper in Alameda Business Park terms) with a setback of a mere 15 feet from the Bay Trail, sitting on a 1.17-acre site. 

For comparison, the existing hotel on the Harbor Bay Parkway, which is also 100 rooms, sits on a 3.5 acre site, three times larger than the proposed site of the proposed Fairfield Inn. 

The project is so out of scale, it requires a “car-stacker” to park cars one atop the other in a two-story garage and even at that, does not have the city-code-required vehicle parking spaces necessary. It has to go trolling for another 45 additional parking spaces from BCDC or other business park tenants just to move the project forward. 

In addition to blocking views and public access to the bay, the hotel developer stated plan is to have no allowed public access to the hotel itself. 

In spite of these issues, the Planning Board and the City Council inexplicably approved this development, in spite of what I can only generously describe this as a loose interpretation of permitted use for this property. 

The zoning document says nothing about a hotel and actually describes a commercial building with a ground-floor coffee shop. How in the world did the City Council and Planning Board interpret this to mean a 100-room hotel from this zoning description? 

The zoning document further forbids uses that require truck loading and staging for any development on this space. How does one supply a 100-room hotel (with a bar no less) without trucks for laundry service, food service, alcohol deliveries, etc.? 

While I support the businesses in the business park, building a five-story hotel for the convenience of the executives who come to visit at the expense of the general public seems inappropriate. 

The City Council should rescind its approval of this project, admit it erred in granting it in the first place, and work collaboratively to develop this property in accordance with the actual zoning requirements, allowing more public access and is scaled appropriately for a 1.17-acre site. 



Kerwin C. Allen lives in Alameda.