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File #: 2017-4568   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: Planning Board
On agenda: 7/17/2017
Title: Encinal Terminals Environmental Impact Report, Draft Master Plan, General Plan Amendment and Development Agreement. Applicant: North Waterfront Cove, LLC. Public Hearing to consider the Master Plan, Density Bonus application, General Plan Amendment, and Development Agreement for the redevelopment of the Encinal Terminals property located at 1521 Buena Vista Avenue. (APN 72-0382-001, -002, and 72-0383-03)The properties are zoned MX (Mixed Use) and MF (Multifamily Residential). A Focused Supplemental Environmental Impact Report has been prepared for the project pursuant to California Environmental Quality Act
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 Encinal Master Plan, 2. Exhibit 2 Proposed Master Plan Conditions of Approval, 3. Exhibit 3 Draft Development Agreement, 4. Exhibit 4 Final Focused Supplemental EIR, 5. Exhibit 5 Draft Resolution, 6. Item 7-A Public Comment



Encinal Terminals Environmental Impact Report, Draft Master Plan, General Plan Amendment and Development Agreement. Applicant: North Waterfront Cove, LLC. Public Hearing to consider the Master Plan, Density Bonus application, General Plan Amendment, and Development Agreement for the redevelopment of the Encinal Terminals property located at 1521 Buena Vista Avenue.  (APN 72-0382-001, -002, and 72-0383-03)The properties are zoned MX (Mixed Use) and MF (Multifamily Residential). A Focused Supplemental Environmental Impact Report has been prepared for the project pursuant to California Environmental Quality Act




Public Hearing to consider the Master Plan, Density Bonus application, General Plan Amendment, and Development Agreement for the redevelopment of the Encinal Terminals property located at 1521 Buena Vista Avenue.  (APN 72-0382-001, -002, and 72-0383-03)The properties are zoned MX (Mixed Use) and MF (Multifamily Residential). A Focused Supplemental Environmental Impact Report has been prepared for the project pursuant to California Environmental Quality Act.





In 2008, the City Council adopted the Northern Waterfront General Plan Element (Chapter 10 of the General Plan) and the Northern Waterfront Environmental Impact Report (EIR), which establishes the City’s vision for a waterfront mixed use neighborhood along the Northern Waterfront and designates the Encinal Terminals site for residential, open space, and commercial mixed use.  


The Encinal Terminals site is within the Northern Waterfront Priority Development Area (PDA) as established by the City Council and the regional sustainability plan (Plan Bay Area).  In 2009, the City Council zoned the property MX (Mixed Use) to support mixed use development of the site.  In 2012, the City Council added a multi-family (MF) overlay zoning designation on the property to facilitate the use of the property for multifamily housing to meet the City’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA).


On February 29, 2016, the City of Alameda received an application from North Waterfront Cove, LLC (the “applicant”) requesting review and approval of a draft Master Plan, density bonus, development agreement, and tidelands exchange for the Encinal Terminals site. The draft Master Plan proposes:


                     589 housing units,

                     Seven (7) acres of public waterfront open space with a public kayak dock and water shuttle landing,

                     50,000 square feet of commercial space, and

                     160 marina slips.


On March 10, 2016, the City Council held a public workshop and tour of the major Northern Waterfront sites, including Encinal Terminals. As part of the workshop, the Council was able to review the development proposal and walk the site.


On April 19, 2016, the City Council held a public hearing to review the City’s policies and MX and MF Zoning requirements that apply to the Encinal Terminals site and the Alameda Marina site.  


On April 27, 2016, the City of Alameda released a Notice of Preparation (NOP) stating that the City had determined that a Focused Supplemental EIR (FSEIR) would be required to supplement the analysis completed in 2008 in the Northern Waterfront EIR. 


On May 23, 2016, the Planning Board held a public hearing to review the scope of the FSEIR and review the initial draft Master Plan.   


On June 22, 2016, November 10, 2016, and January 9, 2017, the Planning Board held public study sessions to review and provide direction on the proposed Master Plan.


On February 8, 2017, the City released the draft FSEIR evaluating the environmental impacts of the proposed Master Plan on the environment for public review and comment. 


On March 27, 2017, the Planning Board held a public hearing to take public comment on the SEIR and the proposed Master Plan. 


On June 6, 2017, the City Council held a public workshop to review the MX mixed use zoning standards that would apply to the proposed project and heard from staff how staff and the Planning Board have shaped the project through the public workshops to reflect City Council priorities. 




The proposed Master Plan (Exhibit 1) implements the City of Alameda General Plan Northern Waterfront Element and Housing Element policies and the MX Mixed Use and MF Multifamily Zoning District requirements for the site, as well as the Regional Sustainability Plan (Plan Bay Area). 


The City of Alameda General Plan includes a comprehensive set of policies to govern the preparation of a Master Plan for Encinal Terminals. The policies are prefaced by the following policy objective:


“The intent of the site specific development policies for the Encinal Terminals Site is to facilitate redevelopment of the site with new land uses that will take advantage of the unique site configuration and waterfront location, increase opportunities for public access and enjoyment of the waterfront and eliminate the existing uses which contribute a large volume of truck traffic in the vicinity.  The Mixed Use designation will allow for the development of a wide range of land uses to capitalize on the site’s unique location adjacent to the Alaska Basin, Oakland/Alameda Estuary, Fortman Marina, and Del Monte Warehouse site. Anticipated land uses in this district include a range of housing types, including senior housing, commercial, office, and public parks and open space. Public waterfront access around the perimeter of the site is envisioned, as well as a new marina on the Alaska Basin.”


Mixed Use Waterfront Development:  The City’s General Plan and Zoning Ordinance call for a waterfront, mixed use development with multifamily housing on the property.  The General Plan states: 


The Master Plan for the Encinal Terminals site shall replace the existing container storage and cleaning operation with a mix of uses to create a lively waterfront development. The plan should include at least the following four land uses: residential, retail, commercial, and public open space.”


“Commercial uses may include restaurants, marine related uses, office uses, and/or additional berths in the Alaska Basin. Additional berths should not be allowed on the northern edge of the site facing the Estuary and Coast Guard Island to preserve views of the water and Oakland.


“Encourage water and maritime related job and business opportunities that relate to the area’s unique waterfront location.


“Encourage retail uses that offer recreational products and services, such as windsurfing and sailing equipment and lessons and bicycle and boat rentals. 


“Encourage a variety of restaurants and activities that meet the needs of people of all ages and income levels.


The draft Master Plan includes up to 589 multifamily housing units, seven (7) acres of public open space, including a public kayak launch and water shuttle landing, a marina with up to 160 slips, and up to 50,000 square feet of retail commercial space that may be occupied by future maritime commercial recreational uses, offices, and/or restaurants. 


Open Space and Public Waterfront Access.  The General Plan policies state: 


“The Master Plan should consider relocating the tidelands trust lands to the perimeter of the site to allow residential mixed-use development in the core of the site with publicly accessible open space around the perimeter of the site.


The site plan should allow for a shoreline public promenade around the perimeter of the site and adjacent to the Alaska Basin and Fortman Marinas.


Ensure that the public access path along the waterfront includes a separated path for bicyclists or is wide enough to minimize conflicts between pedestrians and bicyclists.


Establish connections to the Bay Trail and other regional circulation systems.


Provide docking facilities to encourage waterborne forms of transportation.


Consider opportunities for a public human powered/non-motorized boat launch facility at Alaska Basin.


Require that the master plan include inviting, well-designed public entrances from Clement Street. Primary vehicular access into the site should occur at a four-way intersection at Clement/Entrance, if feasible. 


Cluster development to maximize open space and view corridors to the estuary.


The draft Master Plan provides:  


                     A reconfiguration of the existing 6.4 acres of public Tidelands, which are currently located at the center of the site without access to the water’s edge. The reconfigured Tidelands provides approximately 8.5 acres of publicly owned land adjacent to the water around the perimeter of the property and an adjacent approximately 9.5 acres of submerged lands for public and maritime use.


                     Seven (7) acres of public waterfront open space, including parks, promenades, and plazas and over 4,000 lineal feet (3/4 mile) of new and improved waterfront Bay Trail (separated bicycle and pedestrian facilities) around the perimeter of the site with a public kayak launch constructed with the first phase of wharf improvements and a public shuttle dock constructed with the third and final phase of wharf improvements.  All of the new public parks, plazas, promenades, and spaces are located on the 8.5 acres of new Public Tidelands property, but the improvements will be constructed by the development and maintained in perpetuity by the project at no cost to the General Fund or the existing Alameda taxpayers.


                     A primary automobile, bicycle and pedestrian public entrance at Clement/Entrance and a secondary Bay Trail pedestrian and bicycle entrance at the intersection of the shoreline promenade and the Cross Alameda Trail on Clement Avenue.


                     An internal roadway network that maximizes access to open space and creates view corridors to the Estuary from Clement Avenue and across the site from the Alaska Basin to the Fortman Marina. 


Affordable Housing. The General Plan Housing Element’s first two policy goals are to: 


“Provide housing services and opportunities to support, maintain, and enhance Alameda’s diverse community and excellent quality of life and provide for the housing needs of Alameda's future residents and regional housing needs.


Provide housing that meets the City’s diverse housing needs, specifically including affordable housing, special needs housing, and senior housing.


The General Plan policies for Encinal Terminals state:


“Provide for a mix of housing types, densities, and affordability levels throughout the Plan area.


Encourage and support the development of both “for-rent” and “for-sale” affordable housing units distributed throughout the Plan area.”


The draft Master Plan provides for 589 for-sale and for-rent housing units, including 79 deed-restricted affordable units.  The 589 units is permissible under State and local law, because 15.48 acres of the property is within the Multi Family (MF) Overlay, which allows the maximum density of 30 units per acre, and 1.25 acres of the property is within the MX Mixed Use Zoning District which permits a maximum allowable base residential density of 21.78 units per acre. (An additional 6.4 acres of the land on the Encinal terminals site is currently owned by the City of Alameda and is subject to the Tidelands Trust, which does not permit residential development.)  Therefore, the existing zoning allows 491 housing units.   However, since this Master Plan proposes to 5% very low-income deed restricted units instead of 4% very low income for a total of 79 affordable units, State and local law requires a 20% density bonus for a total of 589 units.


Of the 589 housing units proposed on the site, the Master Plan includes:


                     25 deed-restricted units for very low-income households ((less than 50% of Area wide Median Income (AMI)),


                     20 deed-restricted units for low-income households (50% to 80% of AMI),


                     34 deed-restricted units for moderate-income households (80% to 120% of AMI),


                     51 small “affordable by design” middle income market rate units of 900 square feet or less designed to be affordable to households earning of 120-180% of AMI, and


                     102 small “affordable by design” middle income market rate units of 900 to 1,200 square feet designed to be affordable to household of 120-180% of AMI.


Universal Design:  The General Plan Housing Element includes a Universal Design policy goal:


Consider amendments to the Zoning Ordinance to require universal design elements in all new housing projects of five or more units. 


In June 2017, the Planning Board recommended a new Universal Design Ordinance for City Council consideration in September.  The draft ordinance establishes two basic standards:  1) a standard that requires that 100% of the new units be “visit-able” by a person with mobility issues, and 2) a standard that requires that 30% of the units be “universally designed” to allow a person with mobility issues to live in the unit.  The draft ordinance also establishes a waiver process that allows the Planning Board to adjust the requirements for each specific project upon request. 


Although the draft Ordinance has not yet been considered by the City Council, the applicant appreciates the benefits of providing housing for all segments of the community.   To that end, the applicant is requesting Planning Board support for an adjustment to the proposed standards for Encinal Terminals.  According to the applicant, providing the approval at the Master Plan stage will help reduce uncertainty for future investors in the project. Under current market conditions, with construction costs increasing rapidly and lenders imposing more stringent financing requirements, the ability of developers to reduce or eliminate cost variables has become of paramount importance.


As described on Master Plan page 73, the Master Plan provides: 


                     A reduction of the visit-ability standard to require that at least 80% of the market rate units will meet the City’s visit-ability standard. The adjustment allows for a maximum of 102 market rate townhomes, which may not meet all of the visit-ability requirements.

                     An adjustment to the “universal design” standard to require that at least 70% (408 market rate units) will be “adaptable” for a person with mobility issues.  The 70% “universal design” units are adaptable and do not meet the full requirements of the draft ordinance.  The units would meet the space requirements to allow a person with a mobility issues to circulate within the unit and access all the necessary rooms for living, but fixtures such as lower counters would not be included and would be an “option” for buyers of for-sale units.  Rental units would be constructed without the options.


As written in the Encinal Master Plan, the figures above apply to the 510 market rate units.  The universal design standards for the 79 deed restricted units would be subject to review and approval at the time of the review of the Design Review application for those units.        


Building Height Limits and the General Plan Amendment: The General Plan states that the Master Plan for Encinal Terminals should:


Require building heights to “step down” as they approach the water.


Require that new development provide a pedestrian-friendly scale with building sizes consistent with adjacent and historic land uses in the area.


To ensure design compatibility with adjacent developments and neighborhoods; limit new building heights to 60 feet.


Given that Encinal Terminals is surrounded by water on three sites, taller buildings should be located at the southern end of the site.


Require that buildings at waterfront locations be designed with attractive and varied architecture style.


The draft Master Plan includes building height requirements that:


                     Ensures that each building "steps down" to the water. The Master Plan requires that the tallest portions of each building be located along the Central Boulevard along the central spine of the site and that the building heights drop down as the building approaches the water.   Along the Central Boulevard, building heights are limited to 72 feet in height at the face of the building, and up to 90 feet for a setback penthouse unit and/or roof garden.  (The buildings across Alaska Basin on the Windriver Campus are approximately 60 feet in height.)


                     Requires that along the waterfront public promenade, the maximum heights step down to three stories and 40 feet. 


                     Allows the Planning Board to approve an architectural design that exceeds the defined height limits, provided that the Planning Board is able to make the finding that the architectural design is exceptional and that the proposed height exemption allows for a more attractive building and better overall architectural and urban design for the entire Encinal Terminals site.  The height exception allows the Planning Board and community to accept an architectural design that is of “landmark” quality, or that is iconic and will punctuate and improve the Alameda skyline, up to 160 feet.   Approval of a taller building on any of the development blocks does not increase the number of units permitted on the property.


                     Ensures that each of the subarea districts is designed by different architectural firms to create a variety of design. A similar requirement is in place at Alameda Point Site A, which has ensured a variety of architectural styles.


                     Ensures that each building provides a 10-foot setback along the public right-of-way or waterfront park property line to allow for larger sidewalks and landscaped areas to allow for a comfortable pedestrian environment.  The Planning Board may reduce the 10-foot setback at approval of the Design Review application if the Planning Board finds that the reduced setback is a benefit to the pedestrian environment.  


To enable the proposed heights, the applicant is requesting a density bonus waiver from the MF Overlay 35 foot height limit and a General Plan Amendment to allow heights over 60 feet and taller buildings at the northern end of the site.   Based upon a review of the base plan, staff believes that a waiver from the 35 foot height limit in the MF Zoning District is appropriate and is justified based on the finding that a waiver will be needed to fit 589 units on the site and meet the City’s other development standards and requirements for the property.  In regards to the General Plan amendment, staff believes that 589 units could be constructed on the site within the 60 foot height limit established by the General Plan policy, but an amendment to the General Plan policy will allow for a more varied and interesting architectural design that allows buildings to “step down” to the water.     


For these reasons, staff is recommending approval of the waiver from the 35 foot MF Overlay height limit and the following General Plan amendment:


To eEnsure design compatibility with adjacent developments and neighborhoods; limit new building heights to 60 feet.


Given that Encinal Terminals is surrounded by water on three sides, taller buildings should be located at the southern end center of the site.


Staff is also recommending some changes to the proposed height limits in the draft Master Plan.  Specifically, staff is recommending that the height limits established on pages 40 and 41 of the Master Plan be amended as follows: :


                     Building heights along Clement Street shall be limited to 40 feet within 50 feet of Clement Avenue to reflect the heights of the adjacent developments on Clement Avenue. (The Master Plan allows up to 55 feet facing Clement Street.) Staff believes 40 feet is more appropriate since the Del Monte Building across the street has a 35 foot high brick façade.  Sixty feet back from the façade the building will rise to approximately 55 feet with its future addition.  The Marina Shores townhomes across the street vary in height from 36 to 46 feet, depending on the roof design. 

                     Building heights fronting onto the waterfront promenade in sub-area F shall be limited to 40 feet, similar to all the other sub-areas.  (The Master Plan allows buildings up to 60 feet adjacent to the Alaska Basin promenade and up to 72-90 feet adjacent to the promenade along the north side of Encinal Terminals).  

                     Building heights shall be limited to 60 feet for those portions of the buildings between the 50 and 100 feet back from the waterfront edge, if the building includes a portion of 72 to 90 feet along the Central Boulevard to ensure that buildings “step down” to the waterfront. Under the draft Master Plan, buildings can increase from 40 feet to 90 feet, without any interim “step up”.    


Public Infrastructure and Transportation Facilities:  The General Plan states: 


Extend Clement Avenue through the Northern Waterfront from Grand Street to Sherman to facilitate the movement of trucks, transit and/or rail, bicycles, and pedestrians.


The Encinal Terminals development should fund a fair share of the costs of the Clement Street extension from Sherman to Grand.


Establish a Transit District, amend the Citywide Development Fee Ordinance, or establish a comparable mechanism to fund expanded Northern Waterfront transit services in corridors through and between the Northern Waterfront and the high ridership generators inside and outside the City such as Oakland BART stations, airport, and transit hubs.



The Encinal Terminals Master Plan requires a fair-share financial contribution to the construction of the Clement Avenue extension from Grand Street to Sherman Street.  Pursuant to past development entitlements, the extension is being constructed in four segments: 1) Marina Cove built the first segment in 2003, from Hibbard to Ohlone,  2) Marina Shores built the second segment in 2016, from Ohlone to Entrance, 3) Del Monte will build the third segment from Entrance to Atlantic.  Encinal will reimburse Del Monte for a fair share of this segment. If Del Monte fails to construct this segment prior to Encinal’s first occupancy, Encinal will be responsible for its construction and Del Monte will be required to reimburse Encinal, and 4) Encinal will fund the acquisition and construction of the last, one-block segment from Hibbard to Grand.  Future developments in the area will reimburse Encinal for a fair share of the costs.

With completion of the Clement extension from Atlantic to Grand, the City of Alameda will be able to completely remove the truck route from Buena Vista Avenue and the Cross Alameda Trail will extend through the Northern Waterfront from Jean Sweeney Park to Grand Street. This improvement facilitates the City’s long term goal of allowing bicyclists to safely and conveniently bike from the Seaplane Lagoon at Alameda Point across the entire island of Alameda to the Fruitvale Bridge in dedicated lanes and cycle-tracks on the “Cross Alameda Trail”.


In June of 2017, the Northern Waterfront properties, including Encinal Terminals and Alameda Point established the citywide Alameda Transportation Management Association (ATMA). As a 501.C3 non-profit association, the ATMA’s mission is to improve transportation services for all Alameda residents by funding improved transit services in the City’s two Priority Development Areas (PDAs). The funds generated by each project will be administered by the ATMA to:  


                     Increase transit services in Alameda.  Through a partnership with AC Transit, annual contributions from the existing Northern Waterfront projects are currently subsidizing increased frequency during commute hours on the Line 19 bus which currently runs through the Northern Waterfront between Fruitvale BART and 12th Street BART.

                     Provide AC Transit Easy Passes to each household for use on all AC Transit routes, including the O Line to San Francisco.

                     Provide coordinated transportation information services, including a transportation coordinator, a common website, and other services necessary to increase and facilitate transit use.

                     Fund services such as the future water shuttle services between the Northern Waterfront and Oakland.

The draft Master Plan requires annual financial contributions to fund additional public transportation services.  Per the Master Plan, each townhome will pay $500, each apartment and/or condominium will pay $400, and each square foot of commercial space will pay $0.75 annually.  Assuming 100 townhomes and 489 apartments and/or condominiums, and 50,000 square feet of commercial space, the project will generate approximately $282,500 annually for transportation services. With annual CPI increases, the value of the contribution will increase each year starting in 2017. 


Sustainable Design, Bird Safe Building Design, and Night Sky Lighting Design: The draft Master Plan requires building design consistent with a LEED Silver designation or its equivalent to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from building heating, cooling, and operations.   In addition, the mitigation measures for the project imposed by the SFEIR include extensive requirements to ensure bird safe building design, and appropriate night sky lighting design.


Development Agreement: To provide additional certainty for both the community and the property owners, the applicant has proposed a Development Agreement for the proposed project.  The Development Agreement is a contract between the City and the project applicant (and any future owner of the property) that outlines certain rights and obligations of the City and the property owner and establishes conditions under which development may occur.  In accordance with the Alameda Municipal Code Section 30-92.5, the Planning Board must review the Development Agreement and advise the City Council as to whether the Development Agreement is consistent with the General Plan and  compatible with the uses and other regulations prescribed for the use of the land in the General Plan.


The draft Development Agreement (Exhibit 3) includes the following major obligations and benefits for the City and the property owners/developers of the property:


                     The agreement vests the project approvals for 15 years, so that the project can be constructed in phases over time. Vesting protects the property owners from new, future City ordinance requirements or/and any new development impact fees or other requirements on development that might be adopted by the City after approval of the Development Agreement. 


                     The agreement approves the proposed Tidelands Property Exchange between the City, the State of California State Lands Commission and the property owner, which is necessary to allow the project described in the Master Plan to proceed and is envisioned in the General Plan.  The agreement authorizes the City Manager to complete the necessary documents with the State of California to complete the exchange of property.  The developer must pay all City expenses related to the exchange of property with the State; provide seven acres of waterfront public parks, plazas, promenades, a public kayak launch and a public water shuttle launch; and maintain the public parks and facilities in perpetuity at no cost to the City.


                     The developer will fund the City of Alameda’s acquisition of the land necessary to construct the last block of the Clement extension from Hibbard Street to Grand Street through the Shell Company (Pennzoil) property to enable the construction of the Cross-Alameda Trail and relocate the Buena Vista Truck Route. The City will collect fair share contributions from future developments in the Northern Waterfront for the construction of the Clement extension through Northern Waterfront area.  Completion of the Clement Extension implements a major General Plan public infrastructure objective.


                     The Developer will make a $1 million contribution to the City of Alameda Down Payment Assistance Program to assist low and middle income families.  The contribution supports General Plan Housing Element Program 6.1 to support and continue the City’s First-Time Homebuyer Program.


                     The Developer will make $250,000 investment in public art at Encinal Terminals.


                     The City may consider a potential credit for the project for the Improvement Tax which it a fee collected at Building Permits to cover the cost of municipal services if it can be shown that the revenues generated by the project exceed the cost of municipal services to serve the project.  Such credits are permissible under the Alameda Municipal Code.


                     If the Tidelands exchange is executed, the City will consider a first right of refusal or below market rate lease for the Encinal Developer for development of the new submerged Tidelands, which will be necessary to construct and operate a marina or other maritime uses on the submerged lands if the anticipated Tidelands exchange is executed.


In conclusion, staff believes the Encinal Master Plan, Draft General Plan Amendment, and draft Development Agreement supports and implements General Plan policies to create a waterfront, mixed use transit oriented development, improve waterfront park opportunities for the Alameda community and the city as a whole, and initiate long-term transportation improvements and services for the entire Northern Waterfront.  For these reasons, staff is recommending that the Planning Board approve the attached resolutions which lay the ground work for a number of subsequent actions and permits needed to realize this important project.




In 2008, the City of Alameda certified an EIR for the Northern Waterfront General Plan Amendment. In February 2017, the City of Alameda released a draft Subsequent EIR for this Master Plan, which is designed to implement the Northern Waterfront General Plan Element. In June 2017, the City released the Final Subsequent EIR. The project, if approved, will be required to implement all of the mitigation measures in the Final Subsequent EIR included in Exhibit 4. 




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.  




Hold a public hearing and adopt the draft Resolution (Exhibit 5) recommending that the City Council adopt the Final Focused Supplemental EIR (FSEIR), adopt the Encinal Master Plan, Density Bonus Application, and General Plan Amendment, and approve the draft Development Agreement.


Respectfully Submitted,



Andrew Thomas

City Planner




1.                     Encinal Master Plan

2.                     Proposed Master Plan Conditions of Approval

3.                     Draft Development Agreement

4.                     Final Focused Supplemental EIR

5.                     Draft Resolution