The Island: Candidate Questionnaire

What do you think needs to be done with Alameda Point – and what steps
would you take to make that happen?

After two failed attempts at
developing Alameda Point, the City must learn from past mistakes as it
moves forward, and also heed the results of hundreds of hours of
community forums and citizen input. We should not have to start at
“square one”.

The “Long Range Financial Forecast for 2009 - 2019” prepared by the
Fiscal Sustainability Committee suggested, back in 2008, that:

“If SunCal terminates the agreement with the City, the City Council
should consider hiring its own land planner and develop its own reuse
plan, with community input. If voter approval is obtained, the City can
then offer an approved plan to the market place on a bid basis with a
plan that is acceptable to the Public and has the zoning, mix (of uses),
and density in place.”

I think there is merit to this hybrid option for developing Alameda Point,
with the City handling long-term leases (hopefully Lawrence Berkeley Labs
among them) and then putting out bids for a developer or developers to
handle residential, retail and other commercial development, in
accordance with what the community wants to see. In a hybrid
agreement, infrastructure costs could be shared between the City and a
developer or developers.

At this point, I don’t have enough information to support the City acting
as its own Master Developer because, while the economic benefits sound
attractive, the City has no comparable experience performing in this
capacity and I’m not convinced that the City can afford the pre-
development costs such as an EIR and other required studies, as well as
the additional staff that would be needed, and the cost of repairing and
replacing infrastructure.

But any Development Agreement the City enters into must avoid the
pitfalls of the proposed SunCal Development Agreement that were so well
described in an analysis done by the Chamber of Commerce before the
Measure B election. The City must negotiate a strong development
agreement that benefits Alameda.

My vision for Alameda Point is a fiscally and environmentally sustainable,
transit-oriented, pedestrian and bicycle-friendly mixed-use development
that includes an abundance of job-creating uses such as the VA clinic —
perhaps a partnership between the VA Clinic and Alameda Hospital;
Lawrence Berkeley Labs; offices, commercial, light industry and clean
manufacturing uses; a variety of housing types to serve Alameda Point
employees and others, with highest density residential located within 1/4
mile of the ferry terminal and transit hub; residential-serving retail; schools;
a branch library and lots of recreation areas and open space, including
public shoreline access and a wildlife preserve.