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File #: 2014-787   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: Planning Board
On agenda: 8/25/2014
Title: PLN14-0302 - 1700 Harbor Bay Parkway - Applicant: Balaji Alameda, LLC. The applicant requests approval of a Parcel Map to allow the subdivision of an existing 3.56-acre parcel to create a new 0.93-acre parcel, and approval of a Final Development Plan and Design Review to allow the construction of a 72-room, four-story hotel on the new parcel. This project is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15332 - Infill Development Projects.
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - Home2 Suites Design Review Plans, August 11, 2014, 2. Exhibit 2 - Kittelson & Associates, Traffic Impact/Trip Generation Letter, August 11, 2014, 3. Exhibit 3 - Kittelson & Associates, Parking Demand Letter, July 18, 2014, 4. Exhibit 4 - Letter from ALUC dated August 7, 2014, 5. Exhibit 5 - Letter from FAA dated July 28, 2014, 6. Exhibit 6 - Letter from Harbor Bay Business Park Architectural Review Committee, 7. Exhibit 7 - Draft Resolution
Title
 
PLN14-0302 - 1700 Harbor Bay Parkway - Applicant: Balaji Alameda, LLC. The applicant requests approval of a Parcel Map to allow the subdivision of an existing 3.56-acre parcel to create a new 0.93-acre parcel, and approval of a Final Development Plan and Design Review to allow the construction of a 72-room, four-story hotel on the new parcel.  This project is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15332 - Infill Development Projects.
 
 
Body
 
CITY OF ALAMEDA
      Memorandum
 
 
      To:            Honorable President and
      Members of the Planning Board
      
     From:         Allen Tai
      Acting Planning Services Manager
                  
      Date:      August 25, 2014
 
      Re:      PLN14-0302 - 1700 Harbor Bay Parkway - Applicant: Balaji Alameda, LLC. The applicant requests approval of a Parcel Map to allow the subdivision of an existing 3.56-acre parcel to create a new 0.93-acre parcel, and approval of a Final Development Plan and Design Review to allow the construction of a 72-room, four-story hotel on the new parcel.  This project is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15332 - Infill Development Projects.
 
                                            
BACKGROUND
 
In 2006, the Planning Board approved a three-story, 105-room Hampton Inn hotel on a 3.56-acre site at 1700 Harbor Bay Parkway.  The approved plans identified an area for future hotel expansion.  The hotel has been very successful in supporting business activity at the Harbor Bay Business Park.  With an improving economy and increasing airport traffic, the hotel operator wishes to construct a second hotel on the portion of the site previously identified for future expansion.
 
The site is within the Harbor Bay Business Park, a mixed-use planned development that was originally approved by Planning Board Resolution No. 1203 in 1981.  The City and Harbor Bay entered into a Development Agreement (DA).  Under this DA and earlier entitlements, a relatively broad range of commercial and manufacturing uses are allowed within the business park, including hotels.  New projects require Final Development Plan and Design Review approvals by the Planning Board.
 
The project site is a 3.56-acre parcel in the shape of an oblique pentagon.  The existing hotel building occupies the rear portion of the site adjacent to the Metropolitan Oakland International Airport (Oakland Airport) property.  The Shoreline Park and San Francisco Bay are located to the west.  Previously developed commercial properties are to the east and to the north across Harbor Bay Parkway.  The proposed hotel would be situated in front of the existing building directly facing Harbor Bay Parkway.  The location of the proposed building pad is currently a large area of turf.   
 
 
PROPOSAL SUMMARY
 
The proposal consists of a new four-story, 72-room hotel (see Exhibit 1).  The new hotel features suite-style guest rooms to accommodate extended stays. The rooms contain a wet bar and refrigerator, but not cooking facilities.  The building includes approximately 52,000 square feet of floor area, guest rooms, indoor pool, patio, gym, and other guest amenities.  The ground floor includes a 4,300 square foot restaurant/bar space with an outdoor dining patio wrapping around the front of the building.  The restaurant/bar area can yield a net dining area of approximately 3,000 square feet.  The average building height would be approximately 49 feet, with some parapets extending up to a maximum height of 55 feet.  The site is located in the C-M-PD, Commercial Manufacturing, and Planned Development Zoning District.  The proposed use is allowed in this zoning district and conforms to the Business Park General Plan land use designation.
The applicant is planning to operate the new hotel under the Home2 Suites brand, a product of the Hilton hotel chain.  Home2 Suites is an all-suite, extended-stay hotel featuring contemporary accommodations for both business and family travel.  If approved, this Home2 Suites hotel will be the first in California. The hotel and restaurant operations are anticipated to create up to 30 new jobs.
ANALYSIS
 
A.      Final Development Plan
 
The Development Plan for the Harbor Bay Industrial Park sets minimum development standards for the Harbor Bay Business Park, including setbacks, landscaping, building coverage, and employee open space.  Table 1 summarizes project compliance with applicable development standards. In addition to the summary table, a more detailed discussion concerning traffic, parking, and airport noise and safety is provided below.
 
Table 1. Project Compliance Summary
Standard
PD Requirement
Project
Compliance
Setbacks Front (Harbor Bay Pkwy) Side  Rear
 50 ft.  15 ft. 15 ft.
 50 ft. 20 ft. 24 ft.
  Complies
Maximum Lot Coverage
50%
35%
Complies
Building Height
100 ft.
55 ft.
Complies
 
Parking:
 
The existing 105-room Hampton Inn hotel was developed with 167 parking spaces, including a surplus of 36 parking spaces.  The hotel has access to another 392 spaces under a reciprocal easement that permits shared parking on the adjacent office sites between the hours of 6PM and 6AM.
 
According to the Alameda Municipal Code (AMC) Section 30-7.9, hotels are required to provide parking at the rate of 1.25 spaces per room.  Restaurant spaces require parking at the rate of 10 spaces per 1,000 square feet of dining area.  The combination of the existing Hampton Inn (105 rooms), the new hotel (72 rooms) and ancillary bar/restaurant (net 3,000 s.f.) would require a total 251 parking spaces.  The project, which proposes to remove 26 parking spaces, would maintain in 141 spaces on site.  This represents 110 fewer parking spaces than the 251 spaces required for both hotels including the ancillary bar/restaurant.
 
To justify a reduction in the required parking permitted under AMC Section 30-7.13, the applicant retained Kittelson & Associates to conduct a parking demand study (see Exhibit 3).  The study surveyed parking demand at the existing Hampton Inn and determined that about 60% of existing patronage (and likely the proposed hotel) derives from travelers visiting nearby businesses in Harbor Bay Business Park.  Most travelers fly into the Oakland Airport and are picked up by a complimentary hotel shuttle that runs on demand between 4:00 am and 1:00 am daily.  This shuttle bus also provides free transportation for guests to Park Street, South Shore Shopping Center, and anywhere within a three-mile radius of the hotel, including the Harbor Bay Ferry terminal and the Air Bart station near Oakland Airport.  In addition, the hotel makes available ten complimentary bicycles for guests to borrow at no charge.  Given the free shuttle service, complimentary bicycles and a location within walking distance of nearby employers, the study noted that the proposed hotel is likely to generate less parking demand than similar hotels located elsewhere.  Based on these findings, the parking study cited a parking ratio of 0.82 spaces per room as a more accurate reflection of actual demand.  Using this ratio, the parking requirement would be 145 spaces instead of the standard 251 spaces, and the project's proposed supply of 141 on-site spaces would only be a difference of four spaces.
 
The study also conducted surveys of daytime parking demand to determine whether there are sufficient spaces to accommodate both lunch patrons and hotel guests leaving their vehicles in the parking lot during the day.  The study shows that on average, there were more than 125 empty parking spaces in the hotel parking lot during the day.  Even if the new hotel doubled this demand, there would still be a sufficient number of empty parking spaces (averaging 75 spaces) during the day to accommodate a lunchtime crowd.  During the evening, even if all 141 on-site parking spaces were filled, access to the other 392 reciprocal parking spaces would provide more than adequate parking supply to meet demand during peak periods.    
 
Overall, the parking demand study determined there is sufficient parking to accommodate the new hotel and lunchtime demand at the restaurant.  Staff recommends a condition of approval that the complimentary shuttle and bicycle service be offered to patrons of the new hotel.  
 
Bicycle Parking:
 
The project includes an area for bicycle parking located at the front of the hotel adjacent to the outdoor dining patio.  This location is appropriate given that patrons of the restaurant/bar are anticipated to come from nearby businesses.  Staff will work with the applicant during the preparation of final improvement plans to ensure that the bicycle racks provided comply with the standard rate of one per every ten parking spaces.
 
Traffic:
 
Kittelson & Associates also conducted a traffic impact/trip generation study (see Exhibit 2).  The traffic study concluded that based on conservative estimates identified in the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Manual, the addition of the 72-room hotel and 4,300-square-foot restaurant and bar would generate approximately 48 AM peak hour and 50 PM peak hour trips, which averages to less than one vehicle per minute.  The study also states that its methodology does not account for the hotel's location in proximity to the airport and the business park.  Also excluded from the study is the provision of free shuttle service and complimentary bicycles.  Considering these factors, the project will likely generate fewer trips than the conservative estimates based on the ITE's Trip Generation Manual.  
 
The study indicates that the project will further add to the impacted intersection of Harbor Bay Parkway and North/South Loop Road.  The unsignalized intersection currently operates at an unacceptable level of service during peak hours (LOS F).  The project results in increases of 3.3% and 3.9% in the AM and PM peak hour volume respectively.  The City has previously determined that signal improvements will be necessary at the intersection based on existing conditions.  As a standard measure to be incorporated into all future development in the vicinity, the City requires new development to pay a fair share contribution toward signal improvements proportional to its trip generation.  As this project and other development occur in the vicinity, the signal improvements will become fully funded, which would offset the traffic impacts at the intersection by improving the traffic operations to an acceptable LOS.  The attached Draft resolution (Exhibit 7) includes a condition of approval that reflects this requirement.  The project's contribution to the signal improvements will adequately offset any traffic impacts at the intersection.  
 
Airport Noise:
 
Due to the proximity to the Oakland Airport, noise levels within the hotel must be attenuated to 45 dB CNEL (General Plan Policy 8.7.f).  A standard condition of approval for all development in the Harbor Bay Business Park is for the applicant to submit an acoustical noise study with the building permit application to demonstrate that interior noise levels can be attenuated to less than 45 dB.  Furthermore, new construction must comply with State of California Title 24, Part 2 of the Administrative Code, which will typically attenuate interior noise levels to less than 45 dB.  Therefore, the project is unlikely to experience any adverse noise effects from airport operations.
 
Airport Safety:
 
The project is located within the Airport Safety Zone of the Oakland Airport and triggers the review of both the Airport Land Use Commission (ALUC) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  The ALUC deemed the project consistent with airport land use regulations upon the FAA issuing a Determination of No Hazard to Air Navigation for the proposed location and maximum building height (see Exhibit 4, ALUC Letter and Exhibit 5, FAA Letter).  Therefore, the project, as conditioned, would comply with all regulatory requirements pertaining to airport safety.
 
B.      Parcel Map
 
The application includes a Parcel Map that would allow the subdivision of an existing 3.56-acre parcel to create a new 0.93-acre parcel on which the proposed hotel would be located.  The existing 3.56 acre parcel is located along Harbor Bay Parkway and is irregular in shape. The existing Hampton Inn hotel building occupies the rear portion of the site adjacent to the Oakland Airport property.  The proposed hotel would be situated on the new 0.93-acre parcel in front of the existing building directly facing Harbor Bay Parkway.  The proposed subdivision is consistent with the General Plan and meets the City's design and engineering standards.  Staff is recommending the Planning Board recommend the City Council approve the Parcel Map to allow subdivision of the building site into a separate parcel.
 
C.      Design Review
 
In addition to City design review requirements, the project also is subject to approval by the Harbor Bay Business Park Architectural Review Committee.  The project has been reviewed and approved by the Harbor Bay Business Park Architectural Review Committee (see Exhibit 6).
 
AMC Section 30-37.5(a) requires that projects be compatible and harmonious with the site, adjacent or neighboring buildings and surroundings and promote harmonious transitions in scale and character between designated land use areas.  AMC Section 30-37.5(c) notes that City staff may rely on the principles and standards of the Design Review Manual (DRM) in determining project consistency with AMC Design Review requirements.  The DRM notes that project design should take into consideration the project's effect on adjacent properties and neighborhoods.  The DRM provides the following guidance in achieving this objective.
 
·      Site Plan:  Major design considerations are the location of open space and connection to the existing circulation system.  Loading areas, maintenance facilities and trash collection equipment should be located to minimize effects on nearby buildings.
 
·      Architectural Design: Buildings should be of an appropriate design theme, sense of scale, compatible roofline and harmonious colors and materials.
 
·      Landscaping: Landscape design should be integrated into the project and provide an appropriate transition between properties.
 
·      Parking Areas:  In general, off-street parking should be located at the rear or side of the property and should be screened from the public right of way.
 
Site Plan
 
The project site consists of an irregularly shaped parcel, located between Harbor Bay Parkway and the Oakland Airport.  A central component of the Harbor Bay Business Park is the broad, tree-lined boulevard effect created by Harbor Bay Parkway.  Projects must maintain a 50-feet wide landscaped setback from Harbor Bay Parkway.  The existing hotel faces toward Harbor Bay Parkway.  The proposed hotel is located on a bend in Harbor Bay Parkway and will maintain the required 50-foot setback.  In combination with the irregularly shaped lot, this reduces visual impacts by minimizing the viewing angle from the street.  The entryway to the existing hotel site currently includes a water feature and enhanced landscaping.
 
The proposed hotel would be located directly adjacent to Harbor Bay Parkway. The proposed site plan (see Exhibit 1, Sheet DR1.1) depicts the location of the new building on the site as well as usable outdoor open space and landscaping.  The majority of hotel parking on the site would be located behind the existing Hampton Inn building; minimizing visual impacts when viewed from public areas.  The proposed hotel will screen the parking area that is currently in front of the Hampton Inn hotel.  In addition, the proposed hotel would provide a 4,300 square feet bar/restaurant, including an outdoor dining patio.  This facility would not only serve hotel guests, but would be a welcome addition to the business park by offering lunch and happy hour service to nearby employers.  
 
Architectural Design
 
The proposed four story hotel building is designed in a contemporary style with a variety of materials and colors. The architectural style and building materials are compatible with surrounding business park buildings. At ground level, the north and east elevations are essentially flat and covered with a stone veneer. The building mass is articulated on the three upper floors with several rectangular forms. The upper floor facades are covered with cement board brown lap siding and smooth, off-white stucco. The Home 2 logo is located on an internally illuminated, channel letter sign on the east façade at the fourth floor level and mounted on a dark brown stucco background. This sign will be subject to a separate Sign Permit application reviewed by staff.  Both facades include generous fenestration featuring an aluminum window system with vision glass glazing.  
 
The south and west elevations provide a series of bays and a variety of building forms, entryways, windows and materials at ground level. Building materials on these two facades include stone veneer, smooth stucco and glass. A Porte Cochere clad in painted metal is located at the southwest corner of the building to provide convenient access and add visual interest at ground level. The building mass is further articulated on the three upper floors with several rectangular forms. As with the north and east elevations, the upper floor facades are covered with cement board brown lap siding and smooth, off-white stucco.  Building signage is located on the south façade at the fourth floor level and mounted on dark brown stucco.  
 
Overall, the architectural design of the building is compatible with other buildings in the business park.  The triangular shape of the building and articulation of the building elevations using a variety of building materials adds visual interest at this location along Harbor Bay Parkway.   
  
Landscaping and Parking
 
The applicant has submitted a landscape plan and plant list that includes a mix of trees, shrubs, grasses, and other low-lying ground cover vegetation that is consistent with Bay Friendly Landscaping Guidelines, which promote native, drought-tolerant species.  The Landscape Plan is shown in Exhibit 1, Sheets L1.0 through L1.2
 
As described earlier in this report, the project will utilize existing parking spaces on the site.  The parking areas are generally located at the rear or side of the property and screened from the public right of way.  The AMC requires one tree per four parking spaces to create a shade canopy.  Under the business park planned development, the applicant may implement a landscape plan that provides varying densities of trees within the parking lot as long as the overall ratio of one tree per four spaces is maintained.  The landscape plan for the new hotel maintains this requirement for the broader hotel properties.  A bicycle parking area is prominently located at the front of the property with the intent of encouraging nearby employees to arrive at the restaurant on bicycle.  Overall, the project is consistent with the DRM and is compatible with the surrounding business park development.
 
PUBLIC NOTICE AND COMMENTS
 
Property owners and residents within 300 feet of the project's boundaries were notified of the public hearing and given the opportunity to review and comment on the proposal.  Project notification was also provided to the responsible regulatory agencies including the ALUC, FAA, and the Port of Oakland.
 
ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW
 
The subject parcel is located in the existing Harbor Bay Business Park.  This project is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15332 - Infill Development Projects.  The project meets all requirements for the infill exemption, including the following:
 
a) The project is consistent with the applicable general plan designation and all applicable general plan policies as well as with applicable zoning designation and regulations.  The project meets this criterion because the proposed hotel is consistent with the Business Park General Plan designation and is a permitted use in the CM-PD zoning district.  The project also complies with all applicable development regulations for the CM-PD zoning district.
 
b) The proposed development occurs within city limits on a project site of no more than five acres substantially surrounded by urban uses.  The project site is located within the Harbor Bay Business Park, an urban commercial office park, and the project site parcel is approximately 3.56 acres in size.
 
c) The project site has no value as habitat for endangered, rare or threatened species.  The area of the proposed development is currently used as landscaping.  The site consists of a grass lawn surrounded by surface parking and it has no habitat value for any endangered, rare, or threatened wildlife species.
 
d) Approval of the project would not result in any significant effects relating to traffic, noise, air quality, or water quality.  The proposed hotel will not result in any significant noise, air quality or water quality effects.  With regard to traffic, the project will further add to the impacted unsignalized intersection of Harbor Bay Parkway and North/South Loop Road, which currently operates at an unacceptable level of service during peak hours (LOS F).  The City has determined that signal improvements will be necessary at the intersection based on existing conditions.  As a standard measure to be incorporated into all future development in the vicinity, the City requires new development to pay a fair share contribution toward signal improvements proportional to its trip generation.  As this project and other development occur in the vicinity, the signal improvements will become fully funded, which would offset the traffic impacts at the intersection by improving the traffic operations to an acceptable LOS.  The project's contribution to the signal improvements will adequately offset any traffic impacts at the intersection.  
 
e) The site can be adequately served by all required utilities and public services.  The project site is located within an urban business park that already has the basic water, sewer, and other utility infrastructure necessary to support the proposed hotel.  The site has access to all other public services provided by the City.
 
RECOMMENDATION
 
Approve file no. PLN14-0302 for Final Development Plan and Design Review based on the findings and conditions contained in the Draft resolution (Exhibit 7).  Recommend the City Council approve a Parcel Map to subdivide the subject 3.56-acre parcel.
 
 
Respectfully submitted,
 
 
Allen Tai
Acting Planning Services Manager
 
Exhibits:
 
1. Home2 Suites Design Review Plans, August 11, 2014
2. Kittelson & Associates, Traffic Impact/Trip Generation Letter, August 11, 2014
3. Kittelson & Associates, Parking Demand Letter, July 18, 2014
4. Letter from ALUC dated August 7, 2014
5. Letter from FAA dated July 28, 2014
6. Letter from Harbor Bay Business Park Architectural Review Committee
7. Draft Resolution