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File #: 2016-3491 (45 minutes)   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 11/1/2016
Title: Provide Comments on the Draft Main Street Neighborhood Specific Plan for Alameda Point. (Base Reuse 819099)
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - Draft Main Street Neighborhood Specific Plan, 2. Presentation

Title

 

Provide Comments on the Draft Main Street Neighborhood Specific Plan for Alameda Point. (Base Reuse 819099)

 

Body

 

To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council

 

From: Jill Keimach, City Manager

 

Re: Provide Comments on the Draft Main Street Neighborhood Specific Plan for Alameda Point

 

BACKGROUND

 

Over the course of the last year, City staff and Urban Planning Partners (UPP), with funding from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), have been working on a Main Street Neighborhood (MSN) Plan for Alameda Point.  Alameda Point is a designated Priority Development Area (PDA) in the Bay Area’s sustainable communities strategy (Plan Bay Area), which makes Alameda Point eligible for regional funds to plan and implement transit-oriented land use plans.

The MSN Plan (Exhibit 1) is a specific plan for development of the Main Street Neighborhood, which covers approximately 108 acres, comprising the community south of the Alameda Main Street Ferry terminal and north of the Town Center and waterfront land surrounding the historic Seaplane Lagoon.  An approved Specific Plan is required before new development can occur in the Main Street Neighborhood Sub-district per the Alameda Point Zoning Ordinance (Alameda Municipal Code 30-4.24), which was approved by City Council on February 4, 2014 (Figure 1-2).

The draft MSN Plan represents another major step in the public planning process that the Alameda community has undertaken to redevelop and reuse the former Alameda Naval Air Station, commonly referred to as Alameda Point.  The planning and redevelopment process that pre-dates the release of the draft MSN Plan is summarized as follows:

-                     The adoption of the Alameda General Plan Alameda Point Element and a second EIR in 2003, which placed the Reuse Plan vision into the Alameda General Plan.

 

-                     The approval of the 2013 Alameda Point Vision Guide reconfirming the community's support for the vision and goals presented in the Community Reuse Plan and General Plan.

 

-                     The adoption of the Alameda Point Zoning Ordinance, Master Infrastructure Plan (MIP) and third EIR consistent with the Community Reuse Plan in 2014, which established the zoning and development regulations and the infrastructure improvement requirements necessary to support 5.5 million square feet of employment uses and 1,425 residential units, including the Main Street Neighborhood.  These were adopted after receiving input from over 30 public hearings and community meetings.

 

-                     The adoption of the Alameda Point Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Plan in 2014, which creates a comprehensive program of strategies, measures, and transit services that support a transit-oriented development at Alameda Point; achieves the City of Alameda's General Plan goals to reduce automobile trips; and mitigates potential traffic impacts.

 

-                     The adoption of the Alameda Point Waterfront Town Center Plan (Town Center Plan), which established the form based development standards, height limits and pedestrian oriented development standards for the lands at the gateway and surrounding the Seaplane Lagoon at the heart of Alameda Point.

-                     Approval of the Development Plan and Disposition and Development Agreement with Alameda Point Partners for a 68-acre mixed use project at Alameda Point Site A.

The work on the MSN plan has been informed by:

                     Interviews conducted by UPP with Stakeholders in June 2015, including:

o                     Alameda Architectural Preservation Society (AAPS) 

o                     Alameda Point Collaborative (APC), Building Futures with Women and Children (BFWC), and Operation Dignity, referred to as the “Collaborating Partners”;

o                     Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WTA)

o                     Alameda Point Partners (APP)

o                     Bike Walk Alameda

o                     Existing Residents from surrounding Market Rate Housing

                     Design workshops led by Mid-Pen, a highly qualified and successful Bay Area-based nonprofit affordable housing developer, and a team of architects with residents of supportive housing on July 16, 2015 and August 20, which were each attended by over 125 residents.

                     Individual interview and focus groups let by Mid-Pen from August - December 2015

                     May 9, 2016 Planning Board Study Session on open space, street and building concepts.

                     September 20, 2016 City Council meeting on the Phasing Chapter.

 

Staff is requesting that the City Council provide comments on the draft MSN plan, which will be incorporated along with public comments from the Planning Board study session held on October 24, 2016 into a final draft for approval by the Planning Board and City Council in December 2016 and January 2017, respectively.

The approval of the MSN Plan is an important first step and requirement of any future development in the sub-district.  As discussed at the September 20, 2016 City Council meeting, the Phasing Chapter of the MSN Plan will provide broad guidelines for implementation and the specifics of any development of the MSN will be addressed separately as part of an Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process to solicit development partners later in 2017.  At that time, the City Council will be presented with financial analysis of various scenarios (e.g. workforce, affordable and market-rate housing) and will be able to discuss the pros and cons of different options.

 

DISCUSSION

 

The MSN Plan will implement the Reuse Plan, the Zoning Amendment vision, and the General Plan policies for a residential mixed-use, transit, bicycle and pedestrian-friendly neighborhood at Alameda Point.  The MSN Plan will implement this vision through the adoption of form-based, transit supportive standards and regulations for the arrangement of public and private streets, public open space and parks, infrastructure, and associated private development consistent with the City’s existing plan and policies for Alameda Point and comparable to the already approved Waterfront and Town Center Plan.

The primary goal of redevelopment within the MSN Plan area is twofold:

1)                     To create a mixed-use and mixed income primarily residential neighborhood with an emphasis on small-scale neighborhood-serving uses, compatible specialty manufacturing and light industrial uses, urban agriculture, open space, varied housing, and community services that complement and support the sub-district and Alameda Point as a whole;

 

2)                     To ensure the existing supportive housing accommodations are rebuilt and well-integrated within the Plan Area and future development for the Collaborating Partners.

 

The three key character-defining sections of the MSN Plan are:

I.                     Access and Mobility: Discussion of existing and proposed access and transportation systems with emphasis on multi-modal networks throughout the Plan Area.

II.                     Open Space, Urban Agriculture, and Sustainability: Illustration of proposed open spaces, recreational facilities, landscape treatment, and other natural features.

III.                     Land Use and Character: Specific regulations, standards, and design guidelines to shape the form of the physical environment to create a walkable, primarily residential, mixed use transit-oriented neighborhood.

 

I.                     Access and Mobility

The MSN Plan’s major recommendations for shaping the form of the physical environment and expanding transportation options and promoting walking, cycling and public transit use over automobile dependency include new and enhanced features, consistent with the MIP, including:

a.                     Transit Network

o                     Consistent with the MIP, Main Street is envisioned as a primary bus route and West Midway and Orion Street as thoroughfares accommodating secondary bus transit in the Plan Area (Figure 3-4)

 

b.                     Introduction of two new street classifications -

o                     Neighborhood Shared Street Figure 3-14 - designed as shared streets and are narrower streets, typically curbless and low-volume with reduced traffic speeds.  With only one lane of parking, crossing distances for pedestrians are reduced and narrower section reduce the amount of impervious surfaces

o                      Pedestrian/Bikeway (Exhibit 5 Figure 3-16)- non-motorized access ways encouraging people to walk and bike beyond the MSN; offering shorter, more direct connections from the neighborhood to the Main Street Ferry Terminal.

 

c.                     Proposed Bike Facilities

o                     Bikeways buffered from vehicular traffic by parking and/or raised buffers with or without landscaping (Figure 3-6)

o                     Designated bike facilities including raised one-way cycle track, two-way raised median protected cycle tracks, bike lanes, multi-use trails, and pedestrian bikeways,

 

d.                     Proposed Street Typologies

o                     Adequate space for green infrastructure elements (i.e. bioretention areas) for stormwater management

o                     Enhanced features for people walking/biking, include traffic calming measures, such as corner bulb-outs; parking to buffer pedestrians and bicyclists; street trees, and pedestrian lighting.

 

II.                     Open Space, Urban Agriculture

 

The open spaces in the MSN are an integral part of the overall open space framework for Alameda Point (Figure 4-1). Urban agriculture, including community gardens and the existing Farm, and a network of small park or community gathering spaces are envisioned to reinforce the historic and small town qualities of Alameda.  Approximately 7 acres of park, open space, and urban agriculture amenities are planned in addition to the existing Farm, the Ploughshares Nursery that have been reviewed in consultation with the Recreation and Park Department and will be provided to the Recreation and Park Commission for review and comment later this month.  They include:

 

a.                     Central Gardens (Exhibit 8 - Figure 4-2)

o                     The main gathering, community park and event space of the MSN, including temporary and/or open space uses as community gardens, playgrounds, and/or event spaces, along with pedestrian and bicycle paths.

o                     Informal open grass areas for multi-use, such as informal play fields, picnic areas, and community play space.

o                     Multi-use trails connect the Central Gardens with adjoining neighborhoods as well as provide links through and around the garden space.

 

b.                     Pan Am Gardens

o                     Retention of this space to celebrate the historic base setting, including retention of the existing copse of trees

o                     Open grass areas for multi-use amenities, such as tot lots, picnic areas, informal play fields.

o                     Community, educational garden, or farming space (using Urban Agricultural Guidelines).

 

c.                     West Essex Park

o                     Planned as a smaller open space area to anchor the surrounding mixed-use area.

o                     Smaller assembly area designed as a space that can accommodate smaller community events

o                     Park and community amenities such as tot lots, picnic areas, community play spaces, benches.

 

III.                     Land Use and Character - Form based Regulations

 

The land use and character standards and guidelines will help ensure that all future private and public investments in the Plan Area support a walkable mixed-use, primarily residential environment with a variety of building types and complementary commercial, community services, open space, urban agriculture and park uses.  A wide ranging mix of land uses will be permitted, with others possible under a conditional use permit (Table 5-1).  Reserved parking ratios associated with each use represent the maximum number of off-street parking spaces that may be provided for private use of the site.

 

The Land Use Map (Figure 5-2) shows the majority of the Plan Area as Mixed- Use, including the approximately 10-acre parcel in the southeasterly quadrant of the neighborhood which will be new multi-family housing for the Collaborating Partners and will include supportive facilities and public gathering spaces.

Approximately 20 percent (23 acres) of the MSN Plan area lies within the NAS Alameda Historic District.  Specific infill guidelines are included that will ensure that new buildings respect the historic cultural resources and are consistent with character-defining features of the Historic District and abide by the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

The MSN Plan proposes maximum building heights (Figure 5-4) which vary from 2- 4 stories (with the 2-story height restrictions in the Historic District to ensure compatibility with the existing Big Whites) similar to existing residential neighborhoods in Alameda, with the residential densities increasing gradually from north to south to complement the more intensively developed Town Center area. Building types could include two-three, and four story single-family homes, townhouses and /or multi-family buildings.

 

The Draft MSN Plan provides the necessary guidance and requirements to ensure that the Alameda community achieves its goals and visions for a primarily residential, mixed-use neighborhood that encourages pedestrian, bike and transit modes of travel.  The Draft MSN Plan does not represent the last step in the planning process.  The public, the Planning Board and the City Council still will review the site-specific development plans and design review applications to ensure that the final details and designs reflect community expectation as outlined in the MSN Plan. 

Once the MSN Plan is approved, the City Council will be the decision-maker on the timing and content of any future RFQ process and the types and amount of development desired for the area.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

There is no financial impact to the City’s General Fund or Base Reuse Fund budgets related to this item.

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW

 

On February 4, 2014, the City Council certified a Final Environmental Impact Report (State Clearinghouse No. 2013012043) for the Alameda Point project (including the Main Street Neighborhood), in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

Provide comments on the draft Main Street Neighborhood Specific Plan for Alameda Point.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Jennifer Ott, Director, Base Reuse and Transportation Planning

 

By,

Michelle Giles, Redevelopment Project Manager

 

Financial Impact section reviewed,

Elena Adair, Finance Director

 

Exhibit: 

1.                     Draft Main Street Neighborhood Specific Plan (Hand-out)