Keep Club at its Current Location
I’m actually shocked that the relocation and rezoning requests from Harbor Bay Isle Associates (HBIA) are even a consideration. There are several reasons this proposed action cannot be approved:
From the conception of Harbor Bay Isle, agreements with the city were made. These must be honored. Period. The agreement with the city states: "The purpose of the Harbor Bay Club is and shall continue to be to provide quality recreation facilities for the residents of the Harbor Bay Isle residential development."
The club is tied to the residential community of Harbor Bay Isle. Open space areas, clubhouses and pools were omitted from neighborhood design plans (to add more homes) and the club was agreed to and approved to meet this specific purpose. It appears a few seem to be caught up in the excitement of a "new club."
I can assure you, playing tennis, lounging poolside, or trying to relax during a spa treatment with commercial jets flying directly overhead all day would not be pleasant. The club has stated it accommodates mostly mainland residents. It would be a farther commute and contradicts the "pedestrian friendly" community developers envisioned. It’s not about building walls or exclusion, it’s about honoring agreements with residents and the city. This also cannot set precedent that one doesn’t have to uphold their agreements. The city has accommodated and amended plans per HBIA requests many times. Enough is enough.
Location, location, location. Every real estate professional will agree that location is the most important criteria when purchasing a home. Homeowners bought into this planned community with the clear understanding that zoning would not change.
Specifically those on Centre Court purchased with the club being a next door as an asset and amenity. When the complex was developed more than 30 years ago, the club was clearly promoted and marketed as an attractive draw in the sales material. Complementary memberships were offered as an incentive to buy. The club’s next door location is listed in every real estate listing that I’ve seen, including my home.
We have a side access gate that leads directly to "Centre Court" that’s located in the middle of the club. I have yet to see one document stating that there has been a "vision" all along to make one mega master planned community and relocate the club. If this were true, every homeowner should have received disclosures when purchasing their home.
The approved residential, business and shopping areas (Live, Work, Play) of Harbor Bay Isle already exist as planned and approved. If the club was planned to be at the business park, it should have been on the table during development, and not change gears almost forty years later. Please consider if this were your home, your child’s program, your neighborhood, and your investment. It appears to be deception then, or it is deception now.
Lastly and most importantly, is the safety and well-being of our children. Kids can easily walk or bike to the current club location. Residents are familiar with the comings and goings in their respective neighborhoods. We have no idea who is employed at the business park and who might be just loitering around. As a parent, this greatly concerns me. The club accommodates kids from Amelia Earhart and Bay Farm elementary school after-school care.
They also offer summer camps for all Alameda kids. It’s not the same feel to walk or bike along a lagoon or bay path as it would be to drive through a sterile business park. It’s much too far for our young children to walk that distance and it is not safe for them to bike. The pedestrian-friendly community (walk, jog, bike) that HBIA developed already exists and the Harbor Bay club at its current location is inclusive of that plan.
There are many beautifully restored homes here in Alameda. A new structure can easily be built on the several of the unused tennis courts and still remain operational during construction and transition. This is the most reasonable, fair and logical solution. To claim it’s not possible is unrealistic and untrue. Projects like this are done all the time.
The club is outdated but that was a choice of the owner. There is also an option to sell the club. Requesting a zoning change to build and sell waterfront homes that only benefits one at the expense of an entire Community is not in the best interest of Alameda. For more information and community support, join your friends and neighbors at: https://harborbayneighbors.wordpress.com
Kerry Kohler Pryor is a homeowner at Harbor Bay Isle and a member of the Harbor Bay Club.