File #: 2015-1704   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: Planning Board
On agenda: 5/26/2015
Title: Development Plan and Design Review for a 31-Unit Affordable Housing Development. Applicant: TL Partners I, LP and City of Alameda Housing Authority (PLN15-0185). A development plan and design review application to construct 31 affordable, multiple-family rental units, parking and landscaping on an approximately .81 acre site within the MX Zoning District located on the northeast corner of Buena Vista Avenue and Sherman Street within the Del Monte Master Plan planning area.
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - Del Monte Senior Housing Project Development Plan, 2. Exhibit 2 - Draft Resolution
Development Plan and Design Review for a 31-Unit Affordable Housing Development.  Applicant: TL Partners I, LP and City of Alameda Housing Authority (PLN15-0185).  A development plan and design review application to construct 31 affordable, multiple-family rental units, parking and landscaping on an approximately .81 acre site within the MX Zoning District located on the northeast corner of Buena Vista Avenue and Sherman Street within the Del Monte Master Plan planning area.
The applicants, City of Alameda Housing Authority (Housing Authority) and TL Partners I, LP are requesting development plan and design review approval for the site plan and architectural design for a new residential building to accommodate 31 affordable, senior rental units within the Del Monte Master Plan area.
On September 22, 2014, the Planning Board recommended approval of the Master Plan and other entitlements for the Del Monte Warehouse site to the City Council. The Master Plan establishes the general location for a residential building on the subject site.  On December 16, 2014 the City Council approved the Master Plan, Density Bonus application and other entitlements for the Del Monte project.
The current proposal implements the Del Monte Master Plan and the Del Monte affordable housing plan.  The current proposal includes a Development Plan and Design Review for a 31-unit affordable housing project on the .81 acre parcel of land on the corner of Buena Vista Avenue at Sherman Street.  As described in the approved Master Plan, the project will provide 31 housing units for very low-and low-income households.  The Housing Authority will own the land, construct the building, and manage the facilities.  
Affordable, Well Designed, Environmentally Sustainable, and Senior Housing: The development of affordable senior housing was identified as one of the City's highest priorities in the 2014 City of Alameda Housing Element Update. The site is an excellent location for senior housing due to its proximity to the Northern Waterfront, Jean Sweeney Open Space Park, Littlejohn Park, and Mastick Senior Center, as well as planned transportation services and commercial services provided by the adjacent Del Monte Warehouse project. This location also maximizes the project's competitiveness to receive Tax Credit financing, a major source of affordable housing funding in the State. Other financing sources will include funding from TL Partners I, LP (land donation and subsidy payment), the Housing Authority, and a conventional loan.
The proposed project provides a total of 31 affordable, rental housing units, including 17 very low-income units and 14 low-income units.  All the units will be rental apartments that are configured as single-story flats.  The project includes 28 one-bedroom units, two one-bedroom plus den units and one two-bedroom manager's unit, ranging in size from approximately 537 to 793 square feet in size. Each ground floor unit features an outdoor patio and each upper floor unit features a balcony. The distribution of unit size and type is shown on the cover sheet of the plans (Exhibit 1).
Affordable housing, in general, and senior housing, in particular, is among the lowest automobile trip generators of any residential use.  The adjacent neighborhood was very concerned about traffic and off-site parking impacts from the Del Monte project.  The decision to locate affordable housing and, in particular, senior affordable housing, on this site will not eliminate the concerns of the neighborhood, but it will help to mitigate some of those concerns.
The proposed site plan, building architecture and landscaping continue the high quality design of other affordable housing projects in Alameda, including the Shinsei Gardens, Alameda Landing, Jack Capon Villa, and Bayport projects.  The project will obtain Cal Green certification, which is considered to be a comparable standard to LEED Silver. Solar panels are provided on the roof.
Site Plan: The site plan proposes a single building pad on the south end and a parking area on the north end of the site. The 31 housing units are proposed in a single, three story building with frontage along Buena Vista Avenue, Sherman Street and an internal access street. The internal street will run parallel to Sherman Street and will provide auto and bicycle/pedestrian access from Buena Vista Avenue. A sidewalk on this internal street will extend pedestrian access from the planned sidewalk along Buena Vista Avenue into the site (see Exhibit 1, Sheet A1.01).    
Site amenities will include on-site vehicle and bicycle parking, landscaped common open space, a community room, management office, laundry facilities and a lobby.
The landscaping in the courtyard will be drought-resistant and designed to provide residents with usable open spaces that are screened from neighbors. Native and Mediterranean species of evergreen and deciduous trees will be used throughout the project. Site landscaping will be designed using Bay Friendly landscaping for durability and low water use.
The 2,400 square foot courtyard is located immediately adjacent to the community room and is designed to promote use and interaction of residents. As such, the courtyard will serve as an extension of the community room and provide an outdoor room for project activities. The courtyard features tables, seating and shade trees to encourage resident interaction and outdoor activities. In addition to the courtyard, all of the apartments include either a ground level patio or an upper floor balcony for use as private open space.  
The street frontages along Sherman Street, the internal street and Buena Vista Avenue will be landscaped with large canopy shade trees that will screen the project from public rights-of-way. Roof water and parking area storm water will be handled on-site, and will be directed into planting areas with bio-filtration soils. Trees and plantings will be appropriate for areas handling urban runoff.
The parking area provides a total of 16 shade trees. The city requires one tree for every four parking spaces for a total requirement of eight trees. As a result, the project exceeds the City's requirement for parking area shade trees.
Automobile and Bicycle Parking Plan: The site plan provides 29 standard size, and two Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on-site parking spaces for the tenants, staff and guests of the 31 rental units. Staff and guest parking spaces will be designated with signage.
Housing Authority staff conducted a parking analysis of similar affordable housing projects in Alameda. Overall, other comparable Housing Authority projects provide a range between .36 and .69 parking spaces per bedroom. The proposed project provides 31 spaces for 32 bedrooms, yielding an average of .97 spaces per bedroom. This is significantly more than the .55 spaces per bedroom in the Breakers at Bayport Apartments, the .69 spaces per bedroom provided at the Shinsei Gardens project and the .67 spaces per bedroom at the Stargell Commons project.  
The proposed parking ratio is similar to other Housing Authority-owned properties occupied by all senior, or predominantly senior, households.  At Independence Plaza (186 units) there are 124 total parking spaces and not all are occupied.  At Rosefield Village (46 units) there are 42 total parking spaces. Rosefield Village includes about half working families and half seniors, and it is adequately parked.  At Anne B. Diament, there are 66 all-senior units, and there are 13 parking spaces.  
While tenants will not be assigned specific spaces and all the spaces will be shared, tenants must register their vehicles in order to park on-site.  All tenants will be notified of this requirement prior to signing a lease and signs will be posted throughout the project notifying other drivers of this restriction.  "Unbundling" the parking costs from the unit rents, will not be required due to federal and state tax credit program regulations.  
The site plan proposes 23 long-term bicycle lockers and six short-term bike racks. The 23 lockers are located inside the building near the front entry door across from the office. The six short-term bike racks are located just outside the front entry door. The City standard for long-term bicycle parking is .5 bike spaces per bedroom with a minimum of one bike space per unit. (The City standard does not make a distinction between senior housing and other types of housing.)  At this ratio, the project would require 31 long-term spaces while 23 are provided. Staff recently inventoried the long-term bike spaces provided at other Housing Authority projects. Stargell Commons provides .36 spaces per unit, Shinsei Gardens provides .33 spaces per unit and Park Alameda provides .38 spaces per unit. Based on bicycle use at other Housing Authority projects, staff believes that a ratio of .5 bike spaces per unit is more realistic for a senior housing project that features one bedroom units. Using this ratio, the project would provide more than an adequate number of long-term bicycle parking spaces. The City standard for short-term bike parking is .1 spaces per bedroom for buildings of more than 30 units. At this ratio, the project would require three short-term spaces and six are provided. As a result, the project meets the City's standards for short-term bicycle parking. Staff believes that the proposed number of bike lockers and racks is appropriate for this size and type of project. It should be noted that only four of the 300 senior tenants own bicycles at the Housing Authority's two existing senior complexes.
Transit Services:  Each resident in the project will have access to the on-site transportation services provided by the Del Monte project, including shuttle services to downtown Oakland BART. The transportation services are funded through required annual assessments of market-rate housing units on the site and in neighboring projects such as Marina Shores and Wind River.   
Architectural Design: The contemporary architectural design for the project is organized around the following design principles and objectives:
·      Each elevation of the proposed building is designed to provide a visually pleasing composition of materials and elements, which will be enjoyed by those viewing the building from adjacent public streets and open spaces.
·      The scale, massing, and the palette of materials used for the building is designed to be compatible with the adjacent traditional architectural styles of the surrounding neighborhood, the historic style of the existing Del Monte Warehouse and the contemporary design of the Del Monte Warehouse vertical addition.
The proposed building is designed to be compatible with, yet distinct from, the adjacent Del Monte Warehouse in terms of architecture, scale, materials and colors. The three story senior building is similar in height (32 feet plus parapet) to the ridge of the existing Del Monte Warehouse roof (35 feet).
Although the Del Monte Master Plan allows for a height up to 55 feet at this location, a number of neighborhood residents expressed concerns about the appearance of a 55- foot tall building on the site and the applicants responded to those concerns by minimizing the height of the building.  
The building's architectural design is intended to complement the historic Del Monte Warehouse. The individual pane size of the existing steel windows of the Warehouse are used as a building block for the proportions of the new apartment windows. This historic pane size defines the window sizes and placement of mullions in the proposed window types.  The proportions of overhanging patio bays on the senior building reflect the grid of pilasters on the exterior brick façade of the Del Monte Building. Lastly, the senior building bays are proportioned to provide a townhome scale with porches at the ground level that complement the surrounding residential neighborhood.
In addition to the main entry way, the project addresses each public street by providing unit entries and porches along Buena Vista Avenue and Sherman Street. These entries  activate the public streetscape and provide visual interest along pedestrian sidewalks.
Exterior finishes in the senior building, such as the balcony guardrails, window mullions and the main entrance canopy complement the industrial character of the existing Warehouse building. Proposed metal finishes such as medium bronze, natural gray galvanize and clear anodized aluminum provide a visual connection between the two projects.
The proposed senior building is primarily clad with a Portland cement plaster stucco finish which is a durable exterior material common in the surrounding residential neighborhood. Some of the colors are used to complement the Warehouse, such as the dark orange and graygreen of the balcony bays. The remaining stucco walls either have a neutral gray as a background to the bays or are blue to contrast with the Warehouse. In some portions of the building, a wood grained siding will add a contemporary look and warm feel to the building.
Universal Design: The General Plan Housing Element identifies the need for housing for people with disabilities and seniors who wish to "age in place". The floor plans provide the full range of universal design features that were approved for the Del Monte Warehouse. The provision of universal design features is particularly appropriate for this project which is designed for seniors.  All 31 single-story units include the following universal design elements:
·      Accessible route of travel from a public sidewalk to the unit's primary entrance.
·      Accessible route of travel from the parking lot to the unit's entrance.
·      Minimum 32" clear entry doorway and a "no step entry" (1/2" or less threshold) with dual peephole and doorbell.
·      All exterior/interior doors shall meet Chapter 11a. Code-required maneuvering clearances, hardware, thresholds, and strike side clearances.
·      An accessible route of travel with a minimum 42" wide hallway to all bedrooms, living room, kitchen, and bathrooms.  
·      Light switches, electrical receptacles, and environmental controls at accessible heights on the primary accessible floor.
·      Rocker light switches throughout unit.
·      Minimum required work/floor clearance of 30"x48" in front of stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, sink, and oven.
·      Accessible countertops with a 30" wide workspace and/or one or more 15" breadboards installed between 28 and 32" high.
·      Under-cabinet lighting.
·      One full bathroom on accessible route of travel.
·      Standard bathtub and toilet with grab bar reinforcement.
·      Bathroom with removable base cabinets.
·      Accessible medicine cabinet and integral mirror, lower towel racks and robe hooks, and accessible toilet tissue holder.
Next Steps in the Development Process: The site is currently comprised of two parcels: an approximately .45-acre parcel that is owned by the City and a portion of the 11-acre Del Monte property.  The May 26, 2015 Planning Board agenda also includes a request by the applicant for a Tentative Map to subdivide the 11-acre Del Monte property into separate smaller parcels to implement the Master Plan.  One of the seven parcels is a .36-acre parcel adjacent to the City-owned .45-acre property.  
If the Planning Board approves a Development Plan and Design Review for the residential building and recommends approval of the Tentative Map to City Council, then staff will recommend that the City Council:  
1.      Approve the Tentative Map,  and
2.      Approve conveyance of the .45-acre City parcel to the Housing Authority.
If the City Council approves the conveyance and the tentative map, then TLC will convey its .36-acre parcel to the Housing Authority so that the Housing Authority will own the entire .81-acre parcel and the building in perpetuity.  
In 2008, the City of Alameda certified an EIR for the Northern Waterfront General Plan Amendment. The City of Alameda released a Subsequent Mitigated Negative Declaration on April 29, 2014, for the Del Monte Master Plan, which is designed to implement the Northern Waterfront General Plan Element. The project, if approved, will be required to implement all of the relevant mitigation measures in the Northern Waterfront General Plan EIR and the Subsequent Mitigated Negative Declaration.  
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.  No comments have been received as of May 7, 2015.  
Approve the draft resolution (Exhibit 2) approving the Development Plan and Design Review.
Respectfully submitted,
Andrew Thomas
City Planner
1.      Del Monte Senior Housing Project Development Plan
2.      Draft Planning Board Development Plan Resolution