Council considers trio of development issues

Council considers trio of development issues

Alamedan Staff
Alameda City Council

Alameda's City Council returns from a one-month break next Tuesday to consider a trio of development issues.

The council will consider appeals of the Planning Board's approval of a 100-room hotel on Harbor Bay Parkway and also, final approvals for a 52-unit residential complex that will replace abandoned World War II-era warehouses at 2100 Clement Avenue. City staff will also give council members a report detailing the pros and cons of creating a wetlands mitigation bank at Alameda Point.

Mayor Trish Spencer called for council review of the Planning Board's approval of a 100-room Marriott Fairfield Inn project at 2350 Harbor Bay Parkway on July 23, citing concerns over the hotel's plans to share parking with adjacent offices in the Harbor Bay Business Park. UNITE HERE Local 2850 - the Oakland-based union local that represents North Bay and East Bay hotel and restaurant workers - also appealed the approvals, questioning the shared parking arrangement and the board's decision to exempt the project from environmental review.

The city has a development agreement with the hotel's developer giving the developer the right to erect a hotel on the property that's up to 100 feet tall, according to a city staff report on the appeal. The agreement only leaves the city discretion on the building's design and its location on the property, the staff report says.

It says the city's rules permit shared parking arrangements like the one the developer proposed, and also, that the developer has agreed to purchase nearby property to construct more parking at the council's request. The plan approved by the Planning Board includes 83 on-site spaces, 43 off-site spaces with valet parking, a free hotel shuttle and free bicycles for guest use, along with participation in the Harbor Bay Business Park shuttle program, which provides service to the Coliseum BART station and the Harbor Bay ferry terminal.

State law requires environmental review for development projects, but it also offers an exemption for "urban infill" projects if certain conditions are found.

The Planning Board okayed the project on July 13 after three public hearings; board members said design and parking issues aired in the earlier hearings had been addressed. The council can either grant the appeals, modify the board's approvals or uphold the original approvals; staff is recommending the approvals be upheld.

Once constructed, the new hotel could generate $400,000 to $500,000 a year in taxes for the city, the staff report says.

Also on the council's agenda are final approvals for a 52-unit townhome complex on a 2.78-acre parcel at 2100 Clement Avenue. The project, which would include a 14,000-square-foot park space, would replace three World War II-era warehouses.

Council members will consider whether to include language in the approvals encouraging the complex's future residents to park their cars in their garages to assuage neighbors' concerns that the new project's residents will gobble up street parking. The Planning Board offered its approvals to the project, proposed by Newport Beach-based City Ventures, on July 13.

Finally, city staffers will offer a report detailing the pros and cons of establishing a wetlands mitigation bank at Alameda Point. According to a staff report, staffers who have been researching the proposal since late January determined that just 50 acres of Point property could be used for the mitigation bank, which developers of other projects could buy into to offset wetlands their projects destroy, potentially netting the city $5 million.

The council meeting begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday, September 1 in council chambers on the third floor of City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue. The meeting will be broadcast live on Comcast cable channel 15, AT&T cable channel 99 and webcast live on the city's website. An agenda and materials can be viewed here.