America's Cup team gets okay for additions to Alameda Point home
America’s Cup challenger Artemis Racing got the Planning Board’s okay Monday night to build floating docks in Seaplane Lagoon and to plant a crane capable of reaching 160 feet on an adjacent taxiway.
The team is slated to call Alameda Point’s Hangar 12 home through March 31, 2013 – longer if America’s Cup organizers don’t require them to move to San Francisco in advance of the summer 2013 Cup races – and will need to make the changes before moving in.
The docks will sit astride 45-foot and 72-foot catamarans that will split their time between the water and Hangar 12, with the crane on hand to lift the vessels out of the water to be rolled back into the hangar when they’re not in use. The hangar sits near the Bladium sports club.
Planning Board member John Knox White amended the permit the board ultimately approved on an unusually speedy 5-0 vote Monday to make it easier for Artemis to extend it should they decide to remain in Alameda. The team can go to the city’s zoning administrator for that approval, instead of returning to the Planning Board.
“I’ll just go on record to say that we would like to stay. It’s our intention to stay,” said Bill Erkelens, an Artemis Racing representative.
The team plans to construct a security gate and fence in addition to the temporary docks and the crane, a report detailing the plans presented to the board on Monday said. Hangar 12 will be home to between 12 and 55 Artemis crewmembers during the team’s time there, it said.
City staff determined that the team’s docks would be far enough away from the Point’s California Least Tern colony to avoid any impacts to the colony. And the facilities and floating dock will be moved incrementally to remain clear of the Navy’s ongoing environmental cleanup efforts in the area.
Members of the city’s ad hoc America’s Cup committee voiced support for the team’s request, and city staff recommended approval of the plans. And Planning Services Manager Andrew Thomas said other America’s Cup teams could construct similar setups at the Point.
“As long as they’re willing to live with these same conditions, we could use this use permit for other teams, or other boating uses,” said Thomas, who welcomed the team to Alameda immediately following the vote.
Also on Monday night, a team of students from the University at California, Berkeley’s landscape design studio offered their vision for future development at Alameda Point in the face of predicted sea level rise.
“This is an issue we have been working on, struggling with, for several years now, as part of the many struggles with Alameda Point,” said Thomas, who said he was a graduate of the program.
The students’ vision included an Alameda Point protected by a wide, gradually sloping “super levy” along Seaplane Lagoon that is five to six feet higher than it is now, where houses are placed on the Point’s highest ground. New construction would be built on foundations that would stand 12 feet higher than high tide, while foundations for the Point’s existing hangars would be raised “a few feet.”
The Point could be dotted by new tidal wetlands and multi-tiered parks with different levels that could be used based on where the tides are, some of them skate parks whose channels become canals during high tides. And workers and residents could travel via an enhanced ferry system or a sky tram that would carry passengers over the Bay.
The Bay Conservation and Development Commission has determined that local waters will rise 55 inches by 2100; city staff and the city’s consultants determined that a sea level rise of 18 inches would increase flooding hazards at Alameda Point.
“We think future development must respond to sea level rise,” said Eileen Pearson, one of the student presenters.