Letters to the Editor: No ambivalence or ambiguity here!

Letters to the Editor: No ambivalence or ambiguity here!

Letters to the Editor

As a member of Harbor Bay Neighbors, which is in opposition to moving the Harbor Bay Club from its 35+ year location in order to build homes or a hotel, I frequently hear misconceptions and untruths that have been accepted as fact. I'd like to take this opportunity to set the record straight.

1. Ron Cowan and Harbor Bay Isle Associates (HBIA) have given up on replacing the current club with houses.
This is untrue. While HBIA has withdrawn their application for houses on the current club site, this is a tactic to bypass community input and make a mockery of the City planning process. If he secures approval to build a new Club, his next move will to resubmit the plans for houses.

An April 22 mailing from HBIA states clearly, "One of the main questions and concerns is what will be developed on the existing Harbor Bay Club site once the new club has been approved. We believe that the highest and best use of the property is for the development of 80 single-family homes."

2. HBIA will operate two clubs: The current one and one at the Harbor Bay Business Park.
This is untrue. HBIA staff has repeatedly told city staff that they have no intention of operating two clubs. If a new club is allowed at the business park, the current club in our community is gone forever.

3. HBIA will automatically receive approval to build a new club on the business park parcel because the land is already zoned “commercial.”
This is untrue. The State of California REQUIRES city officials to evaluate the impacts of any development on THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY, including those of us affected by the removal of the current Harbor Bay Club. Our community DOES have a voice and a choice. Our Planning Board and City Council were elected to make balanced decisions that don't negatively impact our community.

4. Harbor Bay Club will close if it isn’t allowed to build a new facility at the business park.
This is untrue. Ron Cowan has taken $7 million in loans against the current club — an indication that the club is not only a viable business at its current location, but a very profitable one. Plus, Cowan has millions of dollars worth of equity in the club, which he would hardly walk away from by going out of business.

5. Harbor Bay Neighbors represents the majority opinion in our community.
This is TRUE! We have nearly 1,000 supporters from throughout Alameda. We are not a group of “NIMBYs” or “outliers” as HBIA wants you to think. We are intelligent, reasonable people who simply do not believe a developer has the right to remove a valuable community asset — and negatively impact the entire balance of our carefully planned planned unit development — exclusively for his own personal gain.

6. Harbor Bay Neighbors is fighting for a renovated club right where it is.
This is TRUE. We want a modern club, too, and no one can deny that the current club location is easily accessible and convenient for all residents — those who walk, bike, skateboard and drive.

Harbor Bay Neighbors has proven that a renovated club at the current location is financially, architecturally and logistically feasible. We hope to soon be working closely with HBIA on new plans for the current site so the club can remain a fixture at Harbor Bay for years to come. If you agree, then please join us in our efforts at http://harborbayneighbors.wordpress.com/join-us/.

Cathy Leong
Harbor Bay Neighbors


Submitted by Dave Terry (not verified) on Thu, Jun 19, 2014

This is a very accurate response to what HBIA has been peddling for months. They promote a new, modern club on a parcel similar in size to the existing club. They fail to mention that the existing club is a part of a Planned Unit Development and was zoned accordingly as "commercial recreation" for the near-by residents.
Don't be fooled. There plan all along has been 80 homes on a dead in street, near an elementary school. HBIA completely ignores any safety concerns for the children or the additional traffic congestion 80 new homes would have on a daily basis.
Ron Cowan borrows money against the club and blames everyone but himself for the deterioration of the existing club. This is the fox trying to steal the entire farm. Don't let it happen in our community.

Member of Harbor Bay Neighbors

Submitted by Paul Medved (not verified) on Fri, Jun 20, 2014

Thank you, Ms. Leong! While reading your mssg the following occurred to me:

Dear Mr. Cowan, I know you don't need any help coming up with stuff like this, but have you thought of asking the City Council and Caltrans to re-dedicate the bridge to Bay Farm Island as a private toll bridge with your name on it and proceeds going to HBIA? Really, I think you should go for it.