Planning Board Approves Site A Development Plan Amendments

City of Alameda &nbsp A photo of the current state of the Site A development at Alameda Point.
City of Alameda -- A photo of the current state of the Site A development at Alameda Point.

Planning Board Approves Site A Development Plan Amendments

At its July 25 meeting, the Planning Board voted unanimously to approve the Alameda Point Site A development plan amendments, after their clarifying questions were answered in the resolutions.

The key amendment will see the project develop 1,300 residential units, of which 25% will be affordable housing units. The previous plan called for 800 housing units.

The increase in housing units will help the city meet its of Alameda Regional Housing Allocation. Other major highlights from the amended plan include an underground sewer system and other new or upgraded public utilities. The proposal would support an infrastructure connection to the West Midway Project, a 37-acre project, north of Site A, where the city is planning to build 789 residential units. There would also be a decrease in the commercial square footage that had been allotted to the ground floor. This would “ensure financial viability” for the planned project, according to Alameda City Planner Allen Tai. The new square footage be just over 300,000 square feet.

The meeting began with a presentation from Tai, who was filling in for Andrew Thomas, Director of Building, Planning, and Transportation. Tai was joined by Stephanie Hill and Jessica Murphy from Alameda Point Partners, the organization developing the 68-acre site at Alameda Point. They presented the planned amendments for the development at Site A, which had been built on an extension of the former Alameda Naval Air Station. They mentioned that the construction would rely on private development.

Hill presented the development plan and specified the different phases of construction. She stated that the newer blocks would also have a focus on pedestrian and bike corridors and continue a close connection with the Seaplane Lagoon Ferry Terminal and the Waterfront Park. There would also be units set aside for veterans and formerly homeless people, as well as increased apartments and townhomes at market rate in the new plan.

The city staff recommendation to the Planning Board was for approval of the development plan and development agreement amendments. The latter would memorialize the development regulations for the infrastructure.

Just one resident provided public comment on the item The resident raised their concern for the decrease in commercial square footage in the amended plan. Discussion from the board echoed this sentiment, indicating that there was not enough clarity provided in the resolution regarding the exact amount of impacted square footage. Planning boardmember Hanson Hom stated that the plan needed to specify a minimum number for retail space to ensure specific delineation of land use. Boardmember Ronald Curtis agreed with Hom.

Boardmember Teresa Ruiz stated in reference to the agreement that “we need more accountability in the development agreement,” in light of the lack of clarification of exact space use in the resolutions. She also suggested amending the language for the limits on the construction of housing units from “up to” to “approximately.” Curtis agreed that they “should be realistic” in the details set forth by the development plan. Tai responded that the cap was needed for the environmental clearance impact.

After discussion, the exact numbers were presented again, for the square footage in each block by phase construction, and the Board decided to reconsider the resolution. They then voted unanimously to approve the amendments with the condition that the language and diagrams of land use would be updated to reflect the exact square footage and clarify the necessary regulations. They would also update the number as “minimums” to ensure their memorialization in the agreement.

BAR Architects   The Site A development project now includes more than 320 affordable housing units.