Ron Cowan

The City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a stripped-down strategy for readying Alameda Point for new development that’s focused on preparing for potential commercial development there, though some council members and longtime Point development supporters said they preferred a more robust plan that included planning that would also ease the way for housing.

“I think this is an approach that moves us in the right direction,” City Councilwoman Lena Tam said.

Alameda's City Council voted early this morning to nix a proposal to swap the Mif Albright golf course to developer Ron Cowan for cash and land he owns nearby and to direct city staff to negotiate with two firms for a management contract at the Chuck Corica Golf Complex. The swap proposal fell on a 5-0 vote, drawing cheers from opponents who packed council chambers.

Less than a year ago, local youth sports leader Pat Bail was anything but complimentary about developer Ron Cowan’s proposal to build homes on the Mif Albright golf course in exchange for cash and land he owns on North Loop Road that would be used for new sports fields.

“If Ron Cowan wants to buy off the sporting community, in my mind he’s going to have to pay a lot more than $3 million (for fields), because that’s not going to do it,” said Bail, who said the Alameda Youth Sports Coalition she founded backed efforts to lease the course to a nonprofit. “The Alameda sporting community wants fields, but not at the cost of what’s right.”

A proposal to swap the Mif Albright golf course to developer Ron Cowan for cash and land he owns on North Loop Road would need to earn four votes from the City Council to pass, according to a legal opinion released by the council Tuesday night. But a second of the council’s five members is now saying it’s “not likely” she will vote for the swap plan.

Councilwoman Lena Tam told opponents of the plan who packed City Hall on Tuesday that the council’s earlier request for alternatives to the swap suggest it is “not going to happen.” Councilman Doug deHaan has long said he opposes the swap proposal.