Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Bookmark and Share
File #: 2015-1466   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: Planning Board
On agenda: 3/23/2015
Title: Public Hearing to Consider the Design Review and Use Permit Applications for Construction of a Central Bay Operations and Maintenance Facility, Emergency Operations Center, Outdoor Fuel Storage Area, and Extended Hours to Serve as the Central San Francisco Bay Base for the Water Emergency Transportation Agency at 670 West Hornet Avenue. A Mitigated Negative Declaration has been prepared for the project pursuant to California Environmental Quality Act
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - Design Plans for Central Bay Maintenance and Operations Facility, 2. Exhibit 2 - Draft Resolution
Title
 
Public Hearing to Consider the Design Review and Use Permit Applications for Construction of a Central Bay Operations and Maintenance Facility, Emergency Operations Center, Outdoor Fuel Storage Area, and Extended Hours to Serve as the Central San Francisco Bay Base for the Water Emergency Transportation Agency at 670 West Hornet Avenue. A Mitigated Negative Declaration has been prepared for the project pursuant to California Environmental Quality Act
 
 
Body
 
CITY OF ALAMEDA
    Memorandum
 
To:            Honorable President and
            Members of the Planning Board
      
From:        Andrew Thomas
City Planner
                  
Date:        March 23, 2015
 
Re:      Public Hearing to Consider the Design Review and Use Permit Applications for Construction of a Central Bay Operations and Maintenance Facility, Emergency Operations Center, Outdoor Fuel Storage Area, and Extended Hours to Serve as the Central San Francisco Bay Base for the Water Emergency Transportation Agency at 670 West Hornet Avenue. A Mitigated Negative Declaration has been prepared for the project pursuant to California Environmental Quality Act
 
background
The San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) is proposing to construct a Central Bay Operations and Maintenance Facility to serve as the central San Francisco Bay base for WETA's ferry fleet, administrative offices, Operations Control Center (OCC), and Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The proposed project would provide maintenance service such as fueling, engine oil changes, concession supply, and light repair work for WETA ferryboats operating in the central San Francisco Bay.  In addition, the proposed project would be the location for WETA's central San Francisco Bay administrative and operational activities, including day-to-day management and oversight of services, crew, and facilities.  In the event of a regional disaster, the facility would also function as an EOC, serving passengers and sustaining water transit service for emergency response and recovery.
 
The proposed site for the facility is immediately adjacent to the berthing site of the USS Hornet and the U.S Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD) fleet at Alameda Point, on land that is currently owned by the City of Alameda.  (The property is part of a small area called "Term 1" that was leased, not sold, to the Navy.  When the Navy departed Alameda, the lease terminated and the land reverted back to the City of Alameda). The Navy constructed a small-boat floating marina with a landside building for maintenance and a snack bar on the site in the mid-1950's. The facility was used for small recreational boating for base residents until the base closed. The small building was demolished a few years later.  Currently the site is vacant.    The project site is bound on the east by the East Bay Regional Park District Trail and an undeveloped park, and on the north by a paved open area and West Hornet Avenue.
 
In 2010, the Planning Board held a study session to review and comment on the initial proposal.  On March 3, 2015, the City Council introduce on a first reading an ordinance approving a lease between the City and WETA for the subject property.  A second reading of the ordinance is scheduled for March 17, 2015.  The lease would be effective 30 days after the second reading.  Pursuant to the lease, WETA must obtain Planning Board Design Review approval for the project and building permits before work can begin at the site.  
 
DISCUSSION
 
Project Description: The Central Bay Operations & Maintenance Facility consists of approximately four leased acres of landside and water areas at the west end of West Hornet Avenue. Beyond the leased premises, the project site also includes improvements for circulation, public access and open space purposes on approximately 30,000 square feet of property east of the proposed facility that is owned by the City of Alameda, as well as various defined utility-related infrastructure improvements in the vicinity of the project site.
 
The Central Bay Operations & Maintenance Facility will be staffed by seven to eight maintenance engineers and a supervisor, approximately seven dispatch and operations-related personnel, and up to 35 administrative staff.  Additionally, two shifts of up to 24 captains and crew members each will access the facility at the start and end of their shifts.  Overall, there could be up to 50 on-site employees and an additional 24 to 48 captains and crew, depending on the degree that shifts may overlap.  
 
The functions of the facility include, but are not limited to:  
 
·      Overnight berthing for up to 12 vessels.
·      Refueling, bilge and sewer pump-out, fluid replenishment, wash down, cleaning and trash disposal.
·      Provisioning of passenger consumables, including sanitary supplies and concessionaire goods, replenishment of potable water and ice.  
·      Repair, replacement and painting of vessel components, as required, due to maintenance cycles and damage.     
·      Storage of replacement parts, concessionaire goods, sanitary supplies and maintenance records.  
·      Staffing of WETA's OCC to support the dispatch and operation of WETA ferry services, in addition to required crew trainings.
·      Staffing of WETA's EOC to coordinate the regional provision of emergency water transportation services.
·      Office space for administrative and management staff.
·      Shipping and receiving, including delivery of fuel, parts, and other vessel supplies.
·      Activities in support of engineering and maintenance staff who work at the site and for the vessel crews who arrive and depart daily from this facility.  
·      Secure cash transfer from vessels to the building where on-site storage and processing of cash will be provided, and ultimately transfer from the building to an armored truck.  
 
Landside Facilities:  In order to accommodate the functions and operations of the Facility, a secure site for a building, working yard, and diesel fuel storage will be required.  The total landside lease area for the facility includes approximately ½ acre south of West Hornet Avenue and ¼ acre north of West Hornet Avenue.
 
The building will be approximately 37 feet wide, 175 feet in length, and 70 feet high, and occupy a footprint of approximately 6,700 square feet south of West Hornet Avenue. The ground floor includes workshops, engineering offices, and other support facilities.  The second floor includes storage space related to maintenance and service operations.  The third floor provides office space for dispatch operations and a large conference room to accommodate crew training sessions and staffing of an EOC.  The EOC will be utilized by WETA to provide emergency transportation ferry services in response to a variety of potential disruptions to the transportation system, including closures of local and regional bridges, or closure of the BART system or other regional transit modes.  The roof area includes enclosed mechanical equipment, elevator over-ride and auxiliary spaces.   
 
As noted above, the overall height of the building is approximately 70 feet. (The adjacent MARAD fleet and USS Hornet far exceed the height of the proposed building.  The USS Hornet is 195 feet to the top of its mast.)  The floor-to-floor height of the ground floor where the maintenance shops are located is 26 feet in order to accommodate an overhead crane and a mezzanine area.  The mezzanine, which is approximately 14 feet in floor-to-floor height, is designed to provide an area for the storage of parts that are used on a daily basis and other shop support requirements.  The three upper floors have floor-to-floor heights of 14-16 feet. The height of the enclosed spaces on the roof is approximately 10 feet.  
 
A working yard comprised of approximately 12,000 square feet will be located directly adjacent to the building south of West Hornet Avenue. The working yard will allow for the extension of maintenance activities occurring in the limited shop space on the ground floor of the building directly into the outdoor spaces and facilitate the transfer of parts, supplies and equipment to the vessels.  The yard will have two means of ingress and egress, allowing for both large trucks and various other sizes of delivery vehicles to enter and exit the site without creating potential conflicts with east/west public access circulation along the trail extension areas directly to the north of the project site adjacent to West Hornet Avenue.  The yard must be fenced and gated in order to provide for security and public safety requirements.  Although the yard and building must be secured, a 10-foot high metal vertical picket fence will allow for visibility of the operations from the adjacent public access and open space areas.
 
A diesel fuel storage facility will be provided on approximately ¼ acre of leased land north of West Hornet Avenue.  The facility will consist of up to four above-ground diesel fuel storage tanks with a combined capacity of up to 48,000 gallons.  The facility will be screened from public view by a decorative wall and gated in order to provide for security and public safety requirements.  The fuel tanks would be National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) approved double-walled, UL-2085 Protected Tanks, with 100% secondary containment.  The tanks will include interstitial leak monitoring, overfill prevention valves, and emergency venting.  All piping and appurtenant fuel systems would be equipped with full secondary containment.  It would be expected that fuel deliveries would occur once every seven days.  A spill protection, prevention, and response plan would be prepared to include measures that address potential spills or exposures of contaminants. The plan would include measures for spill control, contaminant prevention, cleanup, wastewater management, and other foreseeable hazards. The plan would be prepared and implemented as a condition for facility operation.
 
Parking Plan:   The facility is estimated to require 75 vehicle parking spaces, to be used by the ferry boat crews and facility employees that will be arriving at the beginning of each work day at approximately 4:00 AM.  To accommodate the needed parking spaces, the City of Alameda has agreed to lease space for employee parking within walking distance (1,500 feet) of the facility on the north side of West Hornet Avenue.
 
 
In-Water Facilities:  The leased portion of the in-water area is approximately 150,000 square feet and includes berthing facilities to support up to 12 vessels.  The leased in-water area is enclosed by a shared maritime access area where the placement of permanent obstructions that could impede maritime navigation by WETA or others is restricted.
 
The in-water facility improvements include 15,000 square feet of floating docks for the berthing of up to 12 vessels, as well as associated utility and support services. Each berthing slip will be supplied by fresh water, wash water, sanitary sewer, and shore power.  Fuel dispensers would be installed to allow refueling of vessels at all of the berths.  Four of the slips would be equipped with lube oil and waste oil service, and six of the slips would be equipped with bilge connections.  The floating docks will also provide access for the loading and off-loading of sundries, waste removal, and the installation of parts and equipment required for regular maintenance service.  In addition, one boom reel assembly for spill containment, along with a 25-foot skiff and one crane for IBA replacement, will also be provided.  Although no regular passenger loading is anticipated at this site, some of the existing berthing slips will be capable of loading and unloading passengers in the event of an emergency.  
 
The project will also include a 900 square feet extension of the pile-supported deck to provide the straight deck required for a gangway connection between the working yard area and the floating docks.  The proposed project would require dredging to the required navigable parameters (berthing area depth of 12 feet mean lower low water, or approximately 47,000 cubic yards).  Maintenance dredging would be required with an estimated frequency of approximately once every five to 10 years. The City currently conducts regular dredging in the area to provide access for the MARAD fleet.
 
On March 17, 2015, the City Council is scheduled to approve a Memorandum of Understanding with WETA for the replacement of the existing floating docks that are currently being used periodically as a "haul-out" by harbor seals.  WETA has agreed to fund the replacement of the new haul-outs, and commence construction on or before August 2016, and prior to demolition of the existing docks, subject to obtaining the permits required to do so.  WETA has agreed to these additional costs even though the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Services did not conclude that the replacement haul-outs were necessary.  WETA has agreed to the replacement haul-outs to satisfy requests from the Alameda City Council and Alameda community.  
 
Offsite Bay Trail, Open Space and Infrastructure Improvements:  The project will enhance public access to the Bay by removing existing fencing and derelict facilities in the Bay and along the shoreline.  Additionally, the project includes the improvement and expansion of existing Bay Trail facilities, as well as the construction of a new viewing platform with benches, pathways, interpretative information, and landscaping.  In total, approximately 35,000 square feet of public access and circulation improvements are proposed as part of the project. These improvements include the following:
 
·      Immediately adjacent to the project, West Hornet Avenue will be improved to include a 26-foot wide roadway with a 15-foot sidewalk on the south and an 11-foot sidewalk on the north.  Street trees, lighting, and bio-swales will be incorporated into the improvements.  
·      On the southeast side of the leasehold area, an approximately one-half acre of City-owned land will be improved for a rerouted Bay Trail and for public access, park and open space purposes.
·      The open space areas will include a rerouted 10-foot wide multiuse Bay Trail, including an approximate 1,500 square foot elevated terrace for seating, viewing and enjoyment of the bay.    It will provide views to the berthing facilities and yard operations for the general public.  Two five-foot pathways will connect the viewing terrace to the Bay Trail.
·      Landscape improvements, including trees, shrubs, and ground cover, will be included with irrigation in the open space areas in keeping with the Bay Friendly Landscape Guidelines.  
 
WETA will also fund construction of a new water main extending from Main Street to the project site, consistent with the City's Master Infrastructure Plan for Alameda Point.  Other utilities to serve the project site will be made available through connections to existing infrastructure, with minor repairs and upgrade to facilities made on an as needed basis to ensure the reliable provision of utilities to the project site.
 
WETA is seeking a LEED Silver designation for the project.  The project includes environmental sustainability features such as energy efficient lighting, bicycle parking, water-efficient plumbing and irrigation, photovoltaics, and the use of recycled and local building materials.  
 
This design review proposal represents an important step in a long planning process for this project that includes a wide variety of public regulatory and approval agencies.  There are additional steps necessary to move the project from this approval to implementation, and they are preliminarily described in the schedule below.  All future discretionary approvals are subject to review and approval of the agency(cies) with applicable oversight responsibility.
 
·      November 2010: WETA presents to City of Alameda Planning Board
·      June 2011: Mitigated Negative Declaration adopted by WETA Board
·      Oct 2012:  NMFS issues Biological Opinion
·      March 2013: USFWS issues Biological Opinion
·      May 2013: FTA issues Determination of Categorical Exclusion; NEPA complete
·      January 2014:  WETA presents to BCDC Design Review Board
·      February 2014: WETA initiates 30% Design Drawings
·      March 2014: SFRWQB issues Water Quality Certification
·      February 2015: NOAA issues IHA for MMPA (public comment period complete); WETA Board approves Lease Agreement
·      March 3, 2015: Alameda City Council introduces ordinance approving lease agreement on first reading
·      March 17, 2015: City Council to consider MOU and 2nd reading of ordinance approving lease agreement
·      March 23, 2015: Planning Board acts on Design Review and Use Permit applications.
·      May 2015: BCDC approves Major Permit; ACOE approves permit (public comment period complete)
·      July 2015: WETA Board approves release of RFP for Design/Build Construction
·      November 2015: WETA Board approves contract award for Design/Build Construction
·      May 2016: Application for Site and Building Permits
·      July 2016: Permits Issued and Notice to Proceed for Construction
·      August 2016: In-Water Construction Start
·      November 2016: In-Water Construction Complete
·      November 2017: Facility Opens.
 
ANALYSIS:
 
Staff is able to make the necessary findings to recommend approval of the proposal.  The recommended findings of approval are included in the attached resolution and are based upon the following analysis:
 
Consistency with General Plan and Zoning Designations:   The General Plan and Zoning designations for the Property support and facilitate the redevelopment and reuse of this land and the adjacent water areas for maritime purposes.  The proposed project is consistent with the purpose of the Alameda Point Enterprise-4 Zoning District, which is to support maritime uses consistent with the Public Trust Exchange Agreement, provide lands for employment and business uses. District standards are intended to encourage and facilitate job growth and limit intrusion of uses that would limit or constrain future use of these lands for productive and successful employment and business use.  Residential use of these lands is not permitted.  
 
Every plan for Alameda Point has included ferry services, maritime industries, and maritime job generation.  This facility supports those goals and represents an important step toward moving the community's plans for Alameda Point from vision to reality. The proposed facility is located in an area that is restricted by the zoning ordinance and State legislation to "Tidelands Compliant" uses.   The site is located immediately adjacent to existing major maritime users, including the MARAD fleet.   The 1996 NAS Community Reuse Plan and the 2003 City of Alameda General Plan show the site as a potential "Ferry Terminal".   (The City and WETA are currently working on a plan to implement a Seaplane Lagoon ferry terminal at the terminus of Pacific Avenue and closer to the "Town Center".)  
 
Maritime uses require outdoor storage areas for the staging of equipment, the movement of vehicles, and the storage of fuel and equipment.  The area has historically supported outdoor storage yards and spaces for maritime uses, and the proposed fuel area is consistent with the past and present uses in the area.  
 
Disaster Preparedness:  As an island community with limited access to the region, Alameda must do everything it can to prepare for a major disaster.   In the event of a major earthquake, some or all of the City's bridges and portals may be impassable, or some may need to be restricted to emergency vehicles and emergency supplies only.  In the event of such a disaster, it will be a major benefit to the residents of Alameda to be the home of WETA's EOC and central Bay ferry fleet. Although no regular passenger loading is anticipated at this site, berths would be capable of loading and unloading passengers in the event of an emergency.
 
A use permit is required to allow the operation of the facility from 4:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. seven days a week and 24 hours a day in the event of a transportation emergency.  Given the location of the facility adjacent to the MARAD which is a 24-hour-a-day operation, the park, and at least a half mile from any residential uses, staff does not believe the extended hours will impact adjacent uses and will in fact benefit the Alameda community in the event of a natural disaster.
 
Alternative Transportation Services:  Alameda has historically relied on ferry services to provide an alternative mode of transportation for its residents.  This facility is an important step towards ensuring a strong relationship and partnership between the community of Alameda and the regional ferry provider.  All plans to improve transportation services for Alameda residents include expanded ferry services.  Although this facility is not a day-to-day ferry terminal, a strong partnership between WETA and the City will improve the City's ability to meet its ferry transportation goals.
 
Jobs at Alameda Point:  The proposed project is a permanent facility that will provide permanent job opportunities at Alameda Point and help to replace the jobs lost in Alameda when the Navy departed.    
 
Investment in Alameda Point:  The redevelopment of Alameda Point has proven to be a challenge for both the Navy (completing the clean-up) and the City (implementing redevelopment consistent with the Reuse Plan and General Plan.)  This project represents an important "step" in the eventual redevelopment of Alameda Point.  The project represents a $45-50 million ($35 million construction costs) in investment in Alameda Point, the first new building constructed and the first new infrastructure constructed at Alameda Point since the departure of the Navy in 1996.  
 
Street and Utility Improvements:  The project includes improvements to the roadway, sidewalks, landscaping and lighting along West Hornet Avenue adjacent to the project site.  In addition, the project will contribute to the improvement of the water service to this area and relocate or extend other infra-structure services as required to facilitate development.  
 
Public Park, Shoreline and Bay Trail Improvements:  The plans include permanent improvements and investment in the adjacent public park and the Bay Trail.  The project will improve the visual appearance and protection of the shoreline within the project boundaries and provide sea level rise protection.  
 
Architectural and Landscape Design:  The proposal includes landscape and building improvements that are compatible with uses in the area and appropriate for a waterfront maritime location. The architectural design reflects a well-crafted industrial aesthetic, appropriate to the functions of the facility and the maritime context.  The scale of the facility is in keeping with the USS Hornet and the MARAD fleet and will provide a visual landmark and gateway to the maritime industrial setting to the west.  The building is shaped to vertically accentuate the transition between the public spaces to the east and the more maritime and industrial uses to the west.  The project utilizes high quality exterior materials that provide durability and visual interest.  Canopies, sun shading devices and glazing, as well as landscaping along the street front, will differentiate the building facades. Sustainable design is an important attribute of the project, which is pursuing LEED Silver designation through the US Green Building Council.   
 
The improvement of West Hornet Avenue and the adjacent park and public access areas to the east will complement the marine and landside facilities which together will reinforce the image and identity of the area as an attractive and vibrant working waterfront setting.  Landscape improvements are planned to enhance the environmental quality, amenity and experience of the site.  The landscape improvements will further help to create attractive edges and transitions to surrounding areas, provide shade and reduce heat gain, aid in storm water treatment and provide for sustainability.  Plantings include street trees along the south side of West Hornet Avenue, trees, groundcover and shrubs in the park areas and storm water bio-retention areas necessary to meet C3 requirements for storm water management.  Drought-tolerant plant materials will be selected in consideration of local coastal and environmental conditions and specific plant selections will be guided by the City of Alameda Street Tree Plan and Bay Friendly Landscape Guidelines.  Based on the above analysis, staff is recommending that the Planning Board approve design review, as conditioned, and the Use Permit for extended hours for the WETA Central Bay Operations and Maintenance Facility at Alameda Point.
 
ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW  
 
 
 
 
 
RECOMMENDATION
 
Hold a public hearing and approve the draft Resolution of Approval (Exhibit 2).  
 
 
Respectfully submitted,
 
 
 
______________________                                           
Andrew Thomas
City Planner
 
Exhibits:
 
1. Design Plans for Central Bay Maintenance and Operations Facility
2. Draft Resolution