Letters to the Editor: Site A plan is back to the future

Letters to the Editor: Site A plan is back to the future

Letters to the Editor

Image courtesy of Richard Bangert.

The residential and commercial neighborhood proposed for 68 acres at Alameda Point’s east entrance implements the approved 1996 vision for conversion of Naval Air Station Alameda to civilian use. The foundation for implementing that vision was financing infrastructure upgrades through land sales. The “Site A” land sale price of $108 million earmarks over $90 million for infrastructure upgrades that will serve not only the current project but neighboring ones as well.

Opposing the Site A plan solely on the basis of 800 residential units and its traffic impacts, as favored by some members of the community, would be attempting to scuttle the longstanding vision for Alameda Point. In effect, saying that 800 units of multi-family housing are unacceptable for Alameda Point is the same as saying that the 1996 Community Reuse Plan is no longer acceptable. Thousands of community hours spent on drafting the plan for the base pointed to creating a mixed-use neighborhood there, and every City Council since 1996 has operated under that assumption. The reuse plan was not conditioned on what development might happen elsewhere in Alameda.

Failing to approve the Site A plan would be a direct affront to the many businesses that have chosen to invest in Alameda Point with the expectation that progress is coming. In recent years, the city has done an admirable job of leasing existing buildings at Alameda Point to exciting new businesses. It is now time to lay the other track for the railway to success: land sales and new construction.

The daunting infrastructure tab will not be paid through leasing buildings, crossing our fingers for a grant, or expecting a commercial developer to buy enough land at residential prices to fund the infrastructure upgrades. A business park with only housing for the homeless and a handful of dated market rate units is not what the community envisioned.

We went from SunCal’s bad deal that promised a monster West End traffic problem with 4,800 units back to the original 1,425 units that the 1999 environmental impact report deemed the realistic capacity for the existing roadway infrastructure.

Hopefully, this modest mixed-use neighborhood proposal will receive unanimous approval from the City Council, and we can finally begin the long-awaited upgrades to Alameda Point.

Richard Bangert

Richard Bangert hosts the blog Alameda Point Environmental Report.