Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Point Is . . . Alameda Neighborhoods

I walked over to City Hall last night's to attend the City of Alameda ARRA meeting which had a presentation from SunCal on the master plan for Alameda Point. In fact, I tried to Twitter the events as I watched them unfold but I still a little handheld challenged.

The chamber was full of interested people and was good to see the interest in the presentation.

Here are the highlights as I saw them:

Development Services Staff opened the presentation addressing some of the recent community issues being raised by other bloggers and member of the community regarding the tax increment and public land trust. What I learned in more detail is that a land trust is not feasible (not even close) and most in the audience do not understand the tax increment bond financing.

The SunCal presentation was very vanilla. Their power point and presentation was a basic review of the Master Plan document. You can get more from reading the document than what was presented. SunCal started with all the feel good stuff, sports complex, new library and new fire house.

The SunCal theme was a plan that can get built.

The two items that I did miss in the Master Plan document were the relocation of Alameda Point Collaborative and the relocation of the Flight Tower. I was not clear where they planned on moving the Collaborative.

Peter Calthorpe, from the planning design company, reviewed the housing stock, street design, and infrastructure (water, sewer, electrical). For 94501 Real Estate this was the part of most interest.

Calthorpe made the point that Alameda Point, in this plan, would reflect Alameda as a whole. He is correct that all of the elements in the plan high, medium and low density are somewhere on the Island and the plan. Overall the plan showed a true change for the West End. For the most part I think that it is a good comprehensive look at the 560 acres that need to be developed.

The one item I forgot to jot down was a density number that Calthorpe presented to show that the overall density of the project would be no different that the rest of Alameda. If someone wrote that number down I would appreciate you pass it along.

I still have questions:

Can our city infrastructure support 4,500 new homes?

What happens if the voters do not give the Alameda Point Plan a Measure A pass? What's Plan B?

How long will the entire project take to complete?

I watch a bit of the public comment, but frankly it was hard to sit through. There was small group that were against SunCal and the project and had made up their minds before the presentation started. I watched about 12 speakers and that was enough. It was good to see former City Council Member Tony Daysog make the first public comment. He spoke about transit and my personal favorite topic a light rail that runs from the Point to Fruitvale BART down Railroad Ave (aka Lincoln).

That's all for today, there will be a lot more on this topic in the coming months. You can bet on that.


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