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I think the City Council should oppose the present plans. When people buy into a neighborhood, they have a right to expect that neighborhood changes won't undermine their investment of both money and heart. The City's own Design Guidelines for Corridors and Commercial Areas, adopted in 2013, supports this principle. It specifies that new large buildings should be much more integrated into a neighborhood's existing buildings than the huge slab shown here, and it explains how this can be achieved. The design that's on the McGrath Properties website would be wonderful, for instance. And although more people spoke in favor of the project, numbers alone are hardly the only criterion for approval, and it's one that the Planning Commission often ignores.
Also, I think McGrath should do more to provide affordable units, and I'm worried about Boston Properties' involvement. It doesn't have a good reputation as a landlord.
I'm sure this is going to have a HUGE impact.
The City owned parcel at Oak Knoll is in the southeast corner of of the site adjacent to an existing single family neighborhood. Historically, Oak Knoll was in a Redevelopment District and the city's intent was always to have the affordable housing obligation from this site be satisfied with the developers obligation helping finance actual construction of affordable units off site. As I recall, the Oak Knoll redevelopment area was combined with the MacArthur Redevelopment area to facilitate that construction in a more appropriate area. I mean more appropriate in terms of site constraints of this hillside parcel, compatibility with surrounding mixed uses and availability of transit and services for future occupants of the affordable units that Oak Knoll does not offer. Having a policy about affordability above I-580 is a noble goal. However, each site still has to be evaluated on it's own merit.This city parcel is not a great site for affordable housing. The portion of the proposed development that may be more suitable would be in the flatter portion of the site where multiple family or senior housing is proposed by the developer. That would require a land exchange or commitment from the developer to satisfy all or part of the requirement on site as opposed to paying an in lieu fee.This option would still place affordable housing on a somewhat isolated site with difficult public transit and service options.
$300K per year for the new Chief, OK.
Spending is the best entertainment, if you've got the cash. I guess city hall has got the cash, just like I do.
The complete relevant city document includes even more entertaining spending. When (not if) the new Chief takes a powder from Oakland, she gets a year's pay in consolation. That's a nice pleasure hit for city hall to anticipate. You need to plan for the future!
Not to wander too far off topic, the document which supposedly is devoted to the required spending for the new Chief mentions a couple more ka-chings, one real and one potential. There was a headhunter consultant hired to help city hall spend the $300K for the Chief. There is no amount specified for this joyful advice but I'm willing to bet that it's signficantly more than the $50K pocket change I like to carry for homeless requests streetside and waitperson/bartender tipping restaurantside.
Last, there's a tiny paragraph in the document upping the potential pay for the City Administrator to $325K. That is good planning by city hall for future spending joy!
Oakland, the town with the happiest city hall! My town!
Good work, Abel!!
@Matthew: Concillors and their staff can work on more than one problem at a time, ya know
Abel, you should be more worry about the Ghost Ship fire
Many people submitted letters of opposition including a petition with over 100 names. Unfortunately not everyone can attend these meetings. Some need to be home to care for family or are at work.
We always have to question who the vandals are. Often, they are undercover police from one agency or another, deliberately damaging the reputation of the genuine protestors. The so-called anarchists who show up at nearly every demo are probably a prime example. Newspapers like the Express should be more aware of this and report it.
Unfortunately, this is what the City of Oakland gets for continuing to do business with this character, who acts as if he is entitled to Oakland's public land and resources, and expects to be given public money for his projects. This lawsuit is being funded by big coal and their investors to force this on the residents of Oakland. This is an important fight that is less about the few permanent jobs it could generate, but more about the agenda of corporations to take over public resources for their interests.
"For West Oakland, the overall rate of asthma emergency department(ED)
visits is almost two times the Alameda County rate. For West Oakland zip
codes 94607, 94608, 94609, and 94612, the overall rate of asthma ED visits
is 1014.6 per 100,000 residents; the Alameda County rate is 531.8 per 100,000. The asthma ED visit rate for children (0 4 year olds) is 1224.3 per
100,000 compared to the Alameda County rate of 929.0 per 100,000.
Source: CAPE Unit, Alameda County Public Health Department/ Health
Care Services Agency with data from California Office of Statewide Health
Planning and Development (OSHPD), 2011 2013."
Don, I can tell you with some degree of certainty having been involved in the negotiations- those two things will not be a part of this project
I agree. Oakland's basic city services are still underfunded. Not just police, but also Parks & Rec ($200 million in needed repairs), Pothole Repair & Street Repaving ($300 million in needed funds), Fire Inspectors, reopening closed Libraries, Traffic Safety, lack of School Crossing Guards for children, safe After School programs, etc. etc. etc. People are literally dying while Oakland aggressively engages in national politics but doesn't solve important local problems & provide important local services.
I'm not seeing a way to respond to a specific comment, but thanks back to you, Brandie, for correcting me and adding detail to the community benefits complications - the comments to this post are exploring the issues around this project in considerably more depth than the post managed to. I do want to add, though, that I think this project all by itself, with no additional concessions, will end up being a significant community benefit. But if any significant chunk of money gets extracted from the developer, I'd like it to go to significantly subsidized retail rents aimed at local businesses and a full-service grocery store.
A number of urban rail systems--Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Washington--have high rise buildings at a number of stations along their lines.
The delicious stench of Oakland's Mayor's "Secret Sauce" again arises along with another developmental gift for our beautiful city.
They say that Oakland uses more fermented fish sauce in its real estate development recipes than even Bangkok. We can all be so proud.
I love the fragrance of the arms-length relationships with the project of our Planning Commissioners.
Judging simply from the smell, the handful of below-market-rate apartments will make a huge dent in our housing afforablility problem, way beyond their token numbers.
Looking forward to reading about all the formerly-unemployed young Oaklanders who will be able to support their families very well with their high-paying new jobs. Their refrigerators will surely be well-stocked with enough fermented fish sauce for every meal.
Last, but not least, Oakland's new "Trump Tower" will fit perfectly into the neighborhood. It will truly be a fragrant addition to that part of town.
Commenters seem to think that the raw number of pro vs con speakers at the meeting are indicative of the community? The only thing it represents is the fringe BARF crowd, who attempt to skew reality in 2 minute regurgitations.
At 80% the median income for households. That is hardly affordable. Specifically because low income households usually only make about 60-70% of the median income. I as a builder who lives in Oakland. Would like to see the 90 units at 60%. That way the families that will be priced out of the surrounding area due to value increases can actually, what's the word, oh yeah, afford housing.
Thanks Don, and the community benefits are tricky in this - what the developer COMMITTED to is around $300k - some of which has already been performed (street lights and an already determined $25k to Mosswood Park) What staff and Councilman Kalb SUGGESTED are $1.1 million. Unfortunately, the Commission moved this forward without adding the condition that the developers actually DO the things prescribed by Council and by Staff - which is a serious problem and leaves the developer able to not do them now.
I was there too (and spoke in favor of the tower, as I've done in the past.) Brandie Albright raised a few other points as well; why just report on this one? If Tom Limon's immediate and direct response to this request for recusal was accurate, then no: he has no conflict of interest. Albright, by the way, is a huge asset to the community and my neighbor; we may disagree on this project but her input isn't served well by this post, which appears to have cherrypicked the most potentially inflammatory statement (and the most readily refuted, at least in legal terms.) That was spotty and incomplete reporting. Over here in your utterly failed reporting column: ANY of the comments by ANY of the 46 people who spoke in favor of the project, including representatives of multiple unions, East Bay Forward, and the Greenbelt Alliance. You also forgot to note some (oh wait: I mean any) of the community benefits coming from the developers; was it half a million bucks for Mosswood Park improvements? Check your notes and get back to us on that OK? Then go find a current rendering of the building; the one you're using has been revised and (to my eye) significantly improved in the places it counts. I will look at this building every morning when I leave my house, and I can hardly wait.
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