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File #: 2015-1731   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 6/16/2015
Title: SUMMARY: Public Hearing to consider rezoning certain property bounded by Mosely Avenue and Singleton Street at the Former Naval Air Station. Public Hearing to Consider Introduction of Ordinance Amending Alameda Municipal Code ("AMC") Section 30-4.17 G, Special Government Combining District and Zoning Map to Ensure Consistency between the City of Alameda Municipal Code and Zoning Map and the NAS Alameda Reuse Plan for 37.36 Acres of Federal Property Located on Singleton Street at the Former Naval Air Station. Pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15162, No Further Environmental Review is Required. (Community Development 481005)
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - March 10, 2015 City Council Staff Report, 2. Ordinance, 3. Ordinance - REVISED
Title
SUMMARY:  Public Hearing to consider rezoning certain property bounded by Mosely Avenue and Singleton Street at the Former Naval Air Station.
 
Public Hearing to Consider Introduction of Ordinance Amending Alameda Municipal Code ("AMC") Section 30-4.17 G, Special Government Combining District and Zoning Map to Ensure Consistency between the City of Alameda Municipal Code and Zoning Map and the NAS Alameda Reuse Plan for 37.36 Acres of Federal Property Located on Singleton Street at the Former Naval Air Station. Pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15162, No Further Environmental Review is Required. (Community Development 481005)
Body
To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council
 
From: Elizabeth D. Warmerdam, Interim City Manager
 
Re: Public Hearing to Consider Introduction of Ordinance to Amend Alameda Municipal Code ("AMC") Section 30-4.17 G, Special Government Combining District and Zoning Map to Ensure Consistency between the City of Alameda Municipal Code and Zoning Map and the NAS Alameda Reuse Plan for the 37.36 Acres of Federal Property Located on Singleton Street on the Former Naval Air Station. Pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15162, No Further Environmental Review is Required.
 
BACKGROUND
On March 10, 2015, the City Council held a public hearing to discuss the links between the City of Alameda housing plans, State-mandated density bonus provisions, and transportation capacity and plans.  At the meeting, the City Council asked staff to identify potential zoning changes to reduce the housing capacity in the Northern Waterfront given that the City has over 1,800 units under construction or in the planning pipeline, including 800 units at Alameda Point, which in total exceeds the City's Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) for the 2015-2023 planning period.
On May 11, 2015, the Planning Board held a public hearing and unanimously approved a resolution recommending that the City Council adopt an ordinance to amend AMC section 30-4.17 G, Special Government Combining District, and amend the zoning map to apply the G, Special Government Combining District, to approximately 37.36 acres on Singleton Street on the former Naval Air Station (NAS Alameda) referred to as "North Housing" in the Housing Element.
The recommended zoning text and map amendments limit the maximum number of units on the North Housing property to 435 units, which is consistent with the NAS Alameda Community Reuse Plan (Community Reuse Plan). The proposed zoning amendment reduces the housing capacity in the Northern Waterfront area by approximately 800 units.
DISCUSSION
On March 10, 2015, the City Council approved Vice Mayor Matarrese's motion to direct staff to examine opportunities for the City to reduce the capacity for new housing in the Northern Waterfront.  At the City Council meeting, Vice Mayor Matarrese emphasized a number of points, including:
·      It is in the best interests of the Alameda community to carefully coordinate housing development and transportation improvements to ensure transportation systems serve the transportation needs of a growing population.
·      It is in the best interests of the Alameda community to ensure that the City maintains a Housing Element that is in compliance with State law for the reasons described in the March 10, 2014 Council Report (Exhibit 1).
·      The City is proposing a public/private partnership to develop the "Site A" property at Alameda Point that would add 600 market-rate and 200 affordable housing units during the 2015-2023 planning period.  These 800 units are in addition to opportunity sites already identified in the Housing Element.
·      As shown in Figure 1 below, with the 800 units at Site A and the other projects currently under construction or in the planning pipeline, Alameda is projected to construct over 1,800 housing units during the 2015-2023 planning period.
 
Vice Mayor Matarrese also asked staff to investigate whether the zoning for North Housing in the Housing Element is consistent with the Community Reuse Plan as amended in 2009.   
Community Reuse Plan
In 1996, the City of Alameda community completed an extensive, multi-year planning process that included hundreds of Alameda citizens and the United States Navy.  This resulted in the adoption of the Community Reuse Plan for the reuse and redevelopment of the former NAS Alameda. For Alameda Point (the lands west of Main Street), the Community Reuse Plan envisioned approximately 5.5 million square feet of non-residential use and 1,425 residential units.  The General Plan was amended in 2003, and then again in 2014, to establish consistency between the General Plan policies for Alameda Point and the Community Reuse Plan.  This resulted in a cap of 1,425 units at Alameda Point.
In 2007, the Navy declared its plans to surplus approximately 42 acres of property at North Housing, bounded by Mosely Ave. and Singleton Ave.  The property contains 282 units of vacant former navy housing and Estuary Park.  The property was formerly leased to the U.S. Coast Guard but was vacated in 2005.  In 2009, the Community Reuse Plan was amended to include plans for up to 435 new housing units on the North Housing property, including 90 units for homeless individuals and families.  
As part of the federally mandated surplus process for the North Housing parcel, the Alameda Reuse and Redevelopment Authority (ARRA), as the local redevelopment authority, invited eligible homeless service providers and other agencies to submit proposals for homeless accommodations and public benefit conveyances (PBCs).  The ARRA approved a Legally Binding Agreement (LBA) for a 90-unit homeless accommodation with the Housing Authority of the City of Alameda, Alameda Point Collaborative, and Building Futures with Women and Children.  The LBA was approved by the Navy and the federal Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) in 2013.  In addition, the ARRA approved a PBC for the City of Alameda for the eight-acre park at North Housing.  The City took possession of Estuary Park in 2014.  Lastly, the ARRA approved a PBC for Habitat for Humanity of the East Bay for 30 units of self-help housing.  That PBC is still pending with HUD.
These binding agreements remain in full force and effect and will be unchanged by the proposed zoning text and map amendments.  The 90-unit homeless accommodation is included in the proposed 435-unit cap, as is the 30-unit self-help PBC, should it be approved by HUD.  The City is moving forward with improvements at Estuary Park and Phase 1 construction is anticipated to begin in 2016.  The land allocated for the homeless accommodation will be conveyed from the Navy to the City and then to the Housing Authority as is consistent with the terms of the LBA.  If the self-help housing PBC is realized, the land would be conveyed by the Navy to HUD and then to Habitat for Humanity.  The balance of the land would be disposed of by the Navy for development pursuant to the zoning in place at the time of conveyance.  
Housing Element and Proposed Zoning Amendment
In 2012, as part of the Housing Element update, 37.36 acres of the 42 acres at North Housing was identified as available to accommodate a portion of the City of Alameda RHNA.  The City also amended the zoning of the 37.36 acre residential property in 2012, to add the multifamily overlay zoning district (Multifamily Overlay), which permits multifamily housing and increases the permitted residential density on the site from 21 units per acre to 30 units per acre.  The 2012 zoning amendment increased the maximum total allowed units at North Housing from 784 to 1,121.
In response to the City Council's March 10, 2015 direction, the Planning Board unanimously recommended on May 11, 2015, that the City Council adopt an ordinance to provide a zoning text and map amendment for the 37.36 acres that would ensure consistency with the Community Reuse Plan by capping the total number of units permitted on the site to 435. The proposed amendments:  
·      Preserve the underlying R-4 Residential Zoning Designation permitting residential use of the 37.36 acres. (Assessor's Parcel Numbers 74090501002 and 74090501202).  
·      Preserve the MF Overlay zoning designation permitting multifamily housing on the 37.36 acres.  
·      Add the G-Special Government Combining Zone District designation to the 36.36 acres. The G District (AMC Section 30-17) is an existing zoning designation that has been used historically in the Zoning Ordinance to identify lands in the ownership of the U.S. Government or the State of California.  The zoning map amendment would impose the requirements of the Special Government Combining District on the property.
·      Amend AMC Section 30-17 G - Special Government Combining Zone to cap the maximum residential capacity of the 37.36 acres to 435 units to maintain consistency with the 2009 Community Reuse Plan Amendment.  
 
The proposed text to be added to the G District would read as follows:  
 
"The 37.36 acre U.S Government property identified by assessor's parcel numbers APN74090501002 and APN 74090501202  shall be developed consistent with the Naval Air  Station Alameda Community Reuse Plan Amendment (2009), and any use of the property by a private or public entity shall limit the number of housing units on the property to a maximum of 435 units, unless an affordable housing density bonus is granted  pursuant to Section 30-17, in which case the maximum number of units may be increased consistent with Section 30-17"
 
In addition to ensuring consistency between the Community Reuse Plan and the Zoning Ordinance, the proposed ordinance reduces the housing capacity on the site  between 686 and 927 housing units, depending on the amount of Density Bonus requested by future applicants.  (State law prohibits the City from disallowing requests for a density bonus up to 35% above the maximum density of the site that is permitted under the zoning).  The following table illustrates the range of potential reductions:
Figure 1: Range of Potential Reductions of Housing Units Zoning
Maximum Number of Units
With 10% Density Bonus
With 20% Density Bonus (1)
With 35% Density Bonus
R-4/MF (Existing)
1,121
1,233
1,346
1,514
R-4/MF/G (Proposed)
435
479
522
587
Difference
686
754
824
927
(1) Since 2009, the most common density bonus requested in Alameda has been the 20% bonus.
The proposed zoning amendments, in combination with approval of the Site A Development Plan, will ensure that the City of Alameda remains in compliance with State Housing Law and meets its RHNA obligations.
In 2014, the Planning Board recommended, and the City Council adopted, a Housing Element that meets the City's RHNA obligations (1,725 units) and provides for a reasonable surplus of available land (522 units).  Providing a surplus helps ensure that the City Council and Planning Board meet the RHNA numbers, while maintaining sufficient flexibility to carefully plan each housing project to meet the needs of the community, the immediate neighborhood, the site-specific physical conditions, and/or other city objectives and priorities (i.e., certain projects may build less units while others may build more).  With a surplus, the City may approve fewer units on a Housing Element opportunity site than originally projected in the Housing Element, if the finding can be made that surplus sites will ensure that the City will meet its RHNA obligations during the period.  For example, in 2013, the City approved fewer units on the Marina Shores site than expected in the 2012 Housing Element.  When approving that project, the Planning Board and City Council made written findings that the other sites were still available to meet the RHNA.   
The proposed zoning amendments for North Housing will reduce the City's 2014 Housing Element surplus, which may be needed over the course of the 2015-2023 period.  However, if the City approves the proposed 200 affordable units and 600 market rate units at Alameda Point Site A, the City will have compensated for the reduction and will maintain an adequate surplus, which may be necessary over the next eight years.   
Regardless of the Housing Element obligations, staff anticipates that with approval of the Development Plan for Site A, the City will add 1,835 new housing units during the 2015-2023 planning period.  Figure 2 below lists each of the new housing projects and number of units that are projected to be constructed in Alameda over the 2015-2023 planning period.  All of the projects listed are under construction, approved, or actively pursuing final land use entitlements (e.g. Design Review, Subdivision Maps, etc.).  
Figure 2:  Alameda Housing Construction Pipeline 2015-2023  
Project
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
2022
2023
Total
Oakmont Seniors
25
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
25
Alameda Landing Tripoint Homes
54
120
111
  
  
  
  
  
  
285
Marina Shores
29
60
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
89
Del Monte
  
  
75
75
75
75
80
  
  
380
2437 Eagle
  
  
  
22
  
  
  
  
  
22
Alameda Point Site A
  
  
  
100
150
150
150
150
100
800
Boatworks
  
  
  
82
100
  
  
  
  
182
2100 Clement
  
  
30
22
  
  
  
  
  
52
Total
108
180
216
301
325
225
230
150
100
1,835
 
In conclusion, the recommended ordinance:  
1)      Reduces the housing capacity in the Northern Waterfront by approximately 800 units;
2)      Ensures consistency between the Community Reuse Plan and zoning ordinance for the North Housing site, which will provide certainty for the community and the future developers of the site; and
3)      Maintains Housing Element compliance with State law.
FINANCIAL IMPACT
Adopting an ordinance amending AMC Section 30-4.14-G and Zoning Map has no financial impact on the General Fund.
MUNICIPAL CODE/POLICY DOCUMENT CROSS REFERENCE
The proposed ordinance supports General Plan policies to coordinate land use and transportation improvements, maintain certainty in the development process, and minimize transportation impacts from new development. The proposed ordinance is also consistent with the Housing Element and Community Reuse Plan.
ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW
Section 15162 of the State California Environment Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines describes the conditions under which preparation of additional environmental documentation is required. (Also see Public Resources Code section 21166.) Additional environmental documentation is not required if the City determines, on the basis of substantial evidence in light of the whole record, that none of the following conditions is met:
·      substantial changes are proposed in the project which will require major revisions of the previous EIR due to the involvement of new significant environmental effects or a substantial increase in the severity of previously identified effects;
·      substantial changes occur with respect to the circumstances under which the project is undertaken which will require major revisions of the previous EIR due to the involvement of new significant environmental effects or a substantial increase in the severity of previously identified significant effects; or
·      new information of substantial importance, which was not known and could not have been known with the exercise of reasonable diligence at the time the previous EIR was certified as complete that shows that: the zoning amendments will have one or more significant effects not discussed in the previous EIR; significant effects previously examined will be substantially more severe than shown in the previous EIR; mitigation measures or alternatives previously found not to be feasible would in fact be feasible, and would substantially reduce one or more significant effects of the project, but the project proponents decline to adopt the mitigation measures or alternatives; or mitigation measures or alternatives which are considerably different from those analyzed in the previous EIR would substantially reduce one or more significant effects on the environment, but the project proponent declines to adopt the mitigation measure or alternative.
The proposed ordinance amending the AMC and Zoning Map as described in this report would not result in any new impacts or more severe impacts than have been previously identified in the Community Reuse Plan Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and 2009 Addendum or in the Housing Element Negative Declaration and 2012 EIR Addendum.  
The proposed ordinance reduces the number of housing units that can be constructed on the property by between 655 and 886 units.   Reducing the number of housing units to be developed on the property will reduce the number of automobile trips and vehicle miles traveled generated by development of the property.   Reducing vehicle trips and vehicle miles travelled reduces the severity of the transportation impacts associated with development of the property.  The reduction in vehicle trips and vehicle miles travelled also reduces the severity of automobile emission air quality impacts, and automobile noise impacts associated with the development of the property.  
The proposed amendment does not change the planned use of the property for housing, open space, and associated facilities and improvements. Consistent with the Community Reuse Plan, it is anticipated that all of the existing buildings will be removed and replaced with up to 435 housing units on a site that has historically been used for residential and open space purposes.  Therefore, there is no evidence that the less than significant impacts associated with redevelopment of the property related to Land Use, Population, Housing, Visual Resources, Public Services, Water Resources, Historic and Cultural Resources, Biological Resources, Hazards, and Cumulative Impacts would be increased or that any new impacts that were not previously identified would occur.  
Finally, the environmental conditions on the site have remained unchanged since 2005, when the Coast Guard vacated the property.
In conclusion, none of the conditions described in Section 15162 that would require preparation of a subsequent environmental document are met.  There is no evidence that the proposed ordinance amending the G Special Government Combining District, or the Zoning Map would result in new significant environmental effects or a substantial increase in the severity of previously identified effects.  Therefore no further environmental review is required pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15162.
RECOMMENDATION
Public hearing to consider introduction of ordinance to amend Alameda Municipal Code ("AMC") Section 30-4.17 G, Special Government Combining District and Zoning Map to ensure consistency between the City of Alameda Municipal Code and Zoning Map and the NAS Alameda Reuse Plan for the 37.36 acres of federal property located on Singleton Street on the former Naval Air Station. Pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15162 No further environmental review is required.
Respectfully submitted,
Debbie Potter, Community Development Director
By:
Andrew Thomas, City Planner
 
Financial Impact section reviewed,
Elena Adair, Finance Director
 
Exhibit:
1.      March 10, 2015 City Council Staff Report