Measure A

City Council members voted Tuesday to abandon a proposed moratorium on development applications that seek a break on Measure A and other development standards to help facilitate construction of affordable housing.

Instead, city staffers will work to clarify the city’s rules for granting the waivers – and will also begin looking at ways to make sure developers don’t build more homes than the land set aside to accommodate housing development can realistically handle.

Supporting and maintaining new computers and equipment are proving to be challenges the district may need to hire more staff and broaden bandwidth to address.

Fixing Encinal High School’s pools could cost more than $2.1 million, a newly released estimate shows – a bill that’s four times what city staffers thought needed fixes would cost and a few hundred thousand dollars less than building new pools from scratch.

Estimates obtained by the city put the cost of fixes for Encinal’s pools at $500,000 – about a quarter of the school district’s new estimate. But the city’s estimate doesn’t include fixes the school district would need to make the pools comply with county and state regulations, Alameda Unified’s chief business officer, Robert Shemwell, told the Board of Education at a meeting Tuesday night.

City leaders have granted what some deemed an historic early approval for a new housing development that will include homes that don’t comply with Measure A, despite a lawsuit that challenges an earlier decision that allows such development on a limited number of sites.

The City Council voted Tuesday to release a confidential memo laying out staffers’ case for new rules allowing apartments and other multifamily housing despite voter-approved restrictions put in place by Measure A.

The memo lays out potential legal challenges the city could face – including a lawsuit housing advocates had already threatened to file – if its leaders failed to gain state approval of a new housing element to its general plan that demonstrated the city had sites zoned to allow multifamily housing to be developed. It also detailed ways city staffers could address opposition from Measure A backers.

When city leaders voted last week to allow new apartment buildings to be built on 10 sites in Alameda – in apparent contravention Measure A, which bars such development – they were facing the very real possibility of a court challenge that could have nullified the four-decade-old voter initiative Island-wide.

“I strongly believe we would have been sued,” Planning Services Manager Andrew Thomas said.

Measure A conflicts with the state’s housing element law, Thomas and other city staffers said. And if there were a legal battle between the two, they said state law would prevail.

Alameda school district administrators painted a grim picture of the district’s finances over the next few years, though school board trustees questioned whether constant changes in state funding and policies make it impossible to offer a true picture of the district’s financial future.

Budget projections Chief Business Officer Robert Shemwell offered the Board of Education on Tuesday night showed the district would use up its $8.6 million in reserves over the next three years and would need to make $1.8 million in cuts before the 2013-2014 school year. The three-year budget projections are mandated by state law.

Alameda’s city leaders are attempting once again to revise the city’s plan for housing to comply with state law and to avoid state funding losses and lawsuits. Alameda’s so-called housing element, which is designed to show that a city’s got enough land zoned in a way that allows its housing needs to be met, has been out of compliance with state law since 1999.