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File #: 2014-1091   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: Planning Board
On agenda: 11/24/2014
Title: PLN14-0305 - 2350 Harbor Bay Parkway - Applicant: Mina Patel. The applicant requests approval of Final Development Plan and Design Review to allow the construction of 105-room, five-story hotel. This project is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15332 - Infill Development Projects.
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - RAM Hotels Design Review Plans, November 10, 2014, 2. Exhibit 2 - Abrams & Associates, Trip Generation and Parking Letter, October 21, 2014, 3. Exhibit 3 - Letter from ALUC dated October 6, 2014, 4. Exhibit 4 - Letter from FAA dated October 1, 2014, 5. Exhibit 5 - WRA Environmental Consultants, Burrowing Owl Habitat Assessment/Survey, August 8, 2014, 6. Exhibit 6 - Letter from Harbor Bay Business Park Architectural Review Committee, July 10, 2014, 7. Exhibit 7 - Draft Resolution
Title
 
PLN14-0305 - 2350 Harbor Bay Parkway - Applicant: Mina Patel. The applicant requests approval of Final Development Plan and Design Review to allow the construction of 105-room, five-story hotel. 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:         Andrew Thomas
      City Planner
                  
      Date:      November 22, 2014
 
      Re:      PLN14-0305 - 2350 Harbor Bay Parkway - Applicant: Mina Patel. The applicant requests approval of Final Development Plan and Design Review to allow the construction of a 105-room, five-story hotel. This project is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15332 - Infill Development Projects.
 
                                            
BACKGROUND
 
The proposed project consists of a new five-story, 105-room hotel (see Exhibit 1) to be constructed on a waterfront property in the Harbor Bay Business Park.  The new hotel features standard guest rooms and suites to accommodate short duration stays. The building includes approximately 62,250 square feet of floor area, guest rooms, indoor pool, gym, meeting rooms and other guest amenities.  The ground floor includes a restaurant/bar space. The average building height would be approximately 63 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 Fairfield Inn and Suites brand, a product of the Marriott hotel chain.  Fairfield Inn and Suites is a standard guest rooms and suites hotel featuring contemporary accommodations for both business and family travel.
The project site is a 1.17-acre irregularly shaped parcel located on San Francisco Bay. There is City-owned open space to the north and south and an existing office building located to the east of the site. The Shoreline Park and San Francisco Bay are located to the west.     
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).   New projects require Final Development Plan and Design Review approvals by the Planning Board.
 
ANALYSIS
 
A.      Development Plan
 
The project site consists of an irregularly shaped vacant parcel, located between Harbor Bay Parkway and San Francisco Bay.  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 proposed hotel is located on a curve 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 proposed site plan (see Exhibit 1, Sheet 06) depicts the location of the new building on the site as well as usable outdoor open space and landscaping.  The proposed hotel parking on the site would be located on three side while landscaping would be located facing the Bay, minimizing visual impacts when viewed from the pedestrian/bicycle path running along the Bay. In addition, the proposed hotel would provide a 2,000 square foot bar/restaurant.
 
The Harbor Bay Industrial Park Development Plan 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.  0 ft.
 50 ft. 71 -76 ft. 0 - 9 ft.
  Complies
Maximum Lot Coverage
50%
25%
Complies
Building Height
100 ft.
63 ft.
Complies
 
 
Landscape Plan: The applicant has submitted a landscape plan and plant list that include 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, Sheet L1.
 
The parking areas are located on the north, east and west sides of the property and screened from the public right of way with landscaping and trees.  The Alameda Municipal Code (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 to encourage nearby employees to arrive at the restaurant on bicycle.  Overall, the project is consistent with the Design Review Manual (DRM) and is compatible with the surrounding business park development.
 
Bay Trail Improvements: The existing concrete bike and pedestrian path located on either side of the property currently does not extend along the property frontage.  The project includes much needed improvements to the Bay Trail located immediately west of the property adjacent to the Bay. A new concrete bike and pedestrian path designed to match the existing Bay Trail on either side of the site will be constructed along the Bay frontage to complete this link in the Bay Trail. In addition, the project will install landscaping and benches adjacent to the Bay Trail immediately west of the subject property and on the two City-owned parcels located on either side. This will complete City- and BCDC- required improvements within and adjacent to the property
 
Automobile Parking: According to the AMC Section 30-7.9, hotels are required to provide parking at the rate of 1.25 spaces per room.  The new hotel (105 rooms) would require a total of 131 parking spaces.  The project proposes to provide 72 parking spaces.  This represents 59 fewer parking spaces than the 131 spaces required for the hotel, including the ancillary bar/restaurant.
 
To justify a reduction in the required parking under AMC Section 30-7.13, the applicant retained Abrams & Associates to conduct a parking demand study (see Exhibit 2). The study surveyed parking demand according to Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) standards. It should be noted that a previous parking study for the new hotel at 1700 Harbor Bay Parkway determined that about 60% of existing patronage (and likely at the proposed hotel) derives from travelers visiting nearby businesses in Harbor Bay Business Park.  Many of the hotel customers use the hotels at the Harbor Bay Business Park because of their proximity to the Oakland International Airport.
 
The proposed hotel will provide complimentary shuttle services to the Oakland Airport on demand between 4:00 am and 1:00 am daily (21 hours per day).  This shuttle bus will also provide free transportation for guests to Park Street restaurants, movie theatre, and retail, the 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 will provide complimentary bicycles for guests to borrow at no charge.  These amenities have been made a condition of the subject project. 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 0.66 spaces per room as a more accurate reflection of actual demand.  Using this ratio, the parking requirement would be 69 spaces instead of the standard 131 spaces. The 72 spaces provided would be consistent with this parking requirement.
 
Bicycle Parking:  The AMC requires a project of this size to provide four to five long-term bicycle parking spaces and approximately two short term bicycle parking spaces. 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.
 
Off-site Traffic Improvements:  Pursuant to the Harbor Bay Development Agreement, a portion of the property taxes and building permit fees from this project will fund the Harbor Bay Business Park Transportation Improvement Fund (TIF).  The purpose of the TIF is to fund transportation and signal improvements in the Business Park.   
 
Abrams & Associates conducted a traffic impact/trip generation study (see Exhibit 2).  The traffic study concluded that based on conservative estimates identified in the ITE Manual, the addition of the 105-room hotel would generate approximately 61 AM peak hour and 65 PM peak hour trips.  The study 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 a signal will be necessary in the near future at the currently impacted intersection of Harbor Bay Parkway and North Loop Road. The unsignalized intersection currently operates at an unacceptable level of service during peak hours (LOS F).  Per the Development Agreement and the Infrastructure Agreement for the Business Park, the necessary traffic signal improvements will be funded by the TIF.
  
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 3, ALUC Letter). The FAA has determined in its letter dated October 1, 2014, that the project will not pose a hazard to air navigation at the Oakland International Airport or in Bay Area airspace (see Exhibit 4, FAA Letter). Therefore, the project, as conditioned, would comply with all regulatory requirements pertaining to airport safety.
 
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.
 
Biology:  The proposed project will not require any work within the San Francisco Bay.  A habitat assessment and survey of burrowing owls conducted by WRA Environmental Consultants dated August 8, 2014 (see Exhibit 5) concluded that no burrowing owls are present on the site and that the site provides poor quality habitat for burrowing owls.
 
B.      Design Review
 
The proposed five-story hotel building is designed in a contemporary style with a variety of materials and colors designed to complement the nearby business park buildings and the waterfront location. Given the unique configuration of the site between the Harbor Bay Parkway and the San Francisco Bay, the building will be highly visible from all four sides.  
 
The project has been reviewed and approved by the Harbor Bay Business Park Architectural Review Committee (see Exhibit 6). The north (front) and south (rear and waterfront) elevations provide a series of bays and a variety of building forms, entryways, windows and materials that provide visual interest at each floor. The building mass is articulated on the ground floor and upper floors with several rectangular forms each of which features a different color. The east and west (side) elevations are mostly flat with a variety of building forms, windows, materials and colors. The building mass of these facades also is articulated with several rectangular forms each of which features a different color. Facades are covered with smooth plaster finishes.
 
The Fairfield Inn and Suites/Marriott logo is located above the fifth floor on the north (front) fa├žade and on the fourth floor on the east and west facades. These signs will be subject to a separate Sign Permit application reviewed by staff.  Both facades include generous fenestration featuring horizontal sliding windows bordered by fixed glazing panels to provide additional visual interest. Overall, the architectural design of the building is compatible with other buildings in the business park.  The articulation of the building elevations using a variety of building materials and colors adds visual interest at this location along Harbor Bay Parkway.   
  
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.  
 
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 1.17 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 vacant and it has no habitat value for any endangered, rare, or threatened wildlife species. A habitat assessment and survey of burrowing owls conducted by WRA Environmental Consultants dated August 8, 2014 (see Exhibit 5) concluded that no burrowing owls are present on the site and that the site provides poor quality habitat for burrowing owls.  
 
d) Approval of the project would not result in any significant effects relating to traffic, noise, air navigation, air quality or water quality.  
 
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 PLN14-0305 for Final Development Plan and Design Review based on the findings and conditions contained in the Draft resolution (Exhibit 7).  
 
 
Respectfully submitted,
 
 
Andrew Thomas
City Planner
 
 
Exhibits:
 
1.      RAM Hotels Design Review Plans, November 10, 2014
2.      Abrams & Associates, Trip Generation and Parking Letter, October 21, 2014
3.      Letter from ALUC dated October 6, 2014
4.      Letter from FAA dated October 1, 2014
5.      WRA Environmental Consultants, Burrowing Owl Habitat Assessment/Survey, August 8, 2014
6.      Letter from Harbor Bay Business Park Architectural Review Committee, July 10, 2014
7.      Draft Resolution