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File #: 2017-4924   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: Planning Board
On agenda: 11/13/2017
Title: North Housing Zoning Amendment -A public hearing to consider a draft resolution recommending that the City Council approve a Zoning Map Amendment to remove the "G" Special Government Combining District overlay from the property to be conveyed to CP VI Admirals Cove, LLC, Habitat for Humanity, and the Alameda Housing Authority, which may result in maintaining, modifying, or removing the existing site-specific Reuse Plan housing limit. The property is generally located between Singleton Avenue, Mosley Avenue and Bette Street. The proposed rezoning is categorically exempt from further environmental review pursuant to CEQA Guidelines - 15305 Minor Alterations to Land Use Limitations
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 Location Map, 2. Exhibit 2 Draft Resolution, 3. Item 7-A Public Comment

Title

 

North Housing Zoning Amendment -A public hearing to consider a draft resolution recommending that the City Council approve a Zoning Map Amendment to remove the “G” Special Government Combining District overlay from the property to be conveyed to CP VI Admirals Cove, LLC, Habitat for Humanity, and the Alameda Housing Authority, which may result in maintaining, modifying, or removing the existing site-specific Reuse Plan housing limit. The property is generally located between Singleton Avenue, Mosley Avenue and Bette Street.   The proposed rezoning is categorically exempt from further environmental review pursuant to CEQA Guidelines - 15305 Minor Alterations to Land Use Limitations

 

Body

 

North Housing Zoning Amendment -A public hearing to consider a draft resolution recommending that the City Council approve a Zoning Map Amendment to remove the “G” Special Government Combining District overlay from the property to be conveyed to CP VI Admirals Cove, LLC, Habitat for Humanity, and the Alameda Housing Authority, which may result in maintaining, modifying, or removing the existing site-specific Reuse Plan housing limit. The property is generally located between Singleton Avenue, Mosley Avenue and Bette Street.   The proposed rezoning is categorically exempt from further environmental review pursuant to CEQA Guidelines - 15305 Minor Alterations to Land Use Limitations

 

 

BACKGROUND

The subject site, which is commonly referred to as “North Housing” was originally developed by the federal government for U.S. Navy personnel housing and related services.   Since 2007, the City of Alameda and the U.S. Navy have worked together to develop plans for future use of the property by private entities and affordable housing providers. 

 

In 2009, the City Council approved an Amendment to the NAS Alameda Community Reuse Plan to establish a plan for the conveyance, reuse, and redevelopment of the North Housing property.  As a result of these planning efforts:

 

                     The eight-acre estuary park was conveyed to the City for public park purposes in 2014.  The City of Alameda Recreation and Parks Department is currently developing a sports park on the site. In 2010, the City Council rezoned the property to remove the Government Overlay and zone the property for open space and park use;

 

                     Approximately 12.32 acres of the residential area will be conveyed to the Alameda Housing Authority as a homeless accommodation later this year or in early 2018;

 

                     Approximately two acres will be conveyed to Habitat for Humanity as a self-help housing Public Benefit Conveyance (PBC) later this year or in early 2018;

 

                     Approximately 5 acres is proposed to be conveyed to the City of Alameda for public roads; and

 

                     Approximately 14.8 acres was auctioned by the U.S. Government Services Administration (GSA) in 2017.  CP VI Admirals Cove, LLC  (“Camel Partners” ) won the auction.  

 

Exhibit 1 to this report provides a map of the North Housing site and the future conveyances.

 

ANALYSIS

 

In October of 2017, the City of Alameda received separate applications from Carmel Partners, which is an affiliate of Carmel Partners (PLN17-0527) and the Alameda Housing Authority and Habitat for Humanity (PLN17-0544) to remove the G, Special Government Combining District zoning designation from the property upon conveyance of the property from the federal government to the private and non-federal/state governmental entities.  

 

Alameda Municipal Code (AMC) Section 30-4.17 - G, Special Government Combining District, of the Alameda Municipal Code states that:

 

“The G District classification shall be combined with the district classifications applied to all lands in the ownership of the U.S. Government or the State of California.  Prior to the use of any lands by any private or public entity other than the United States or State of California, through purchase or pursuant to lease from the U.S. Government or State of California, rezoning procedures shall be completed to remove the G classifications and to consider further appropriate district classification changes.

 

Staff is recommending that the Planning Board recommend that the City Council remove the G Special Government Combining District designation from the property to be conveyed to the three private and non-federal/state entities. With the removal of the G Combining District, the three properties will retain the underlying residential zoning, which includes an R-4 Neighborhood Residential zoning designation, with a PD Planned Development Combining District overlay, and a MF Multifamily Residential Combining District overlay.   Since all three property owners propose to use their properties for residential purposes, staff believes the existing underlying residential zoning is the appropriate designation for all three properties.  

 

In 2014, the City Council added the following text to the G -Special Government Combining District regulations: 

 

The 37.36 acre U.S. Government property identified by assessor's parcel numbers APN74090501002 and APN 74090501202 shall be developed consistent with the 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 <https://library.municode.com/ca/alameda/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=CHXXXDERE_ARTIZODIRE_30-17DEBOOR>, in which case the maximum number of units may be increased consistent with Section 30-17 <https://library.municode.com/ca/alameda/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=CHXXXDERE_ARTIZODIRE_30-17DEBOOR>.

 

Removal of the G-Combining District from the site will remove this 435 housing unit limitation from the property.  The Planning Board and the City Council must decide whether the 435 unit “cap” should be reinserted into the MF Combining District Regulations to maintain the development cap on the properties. 

 

Staff is recommending that the language not be continued in the MF Overlay or PD Overlay for the following reasons:

 

                     Current Plans for Property. Carmel Partners wishes to rehabilitate and reuse the existing 146 units on its 14.8 acres. The Housing Authority and Habitat for Humanity are currently planning for 30 Habitat for Humanity units (self-help ownership units) and 90 Housing Authority units (permanent, service-enriched housing for homeless individuals and families) on their 14.32 acres.  Together, the three property owners will be providing approximately 270 units, which is far less than the 435 limit placed on the property in 2014.   It should be acknowledged however, that the Alameda Housing Authority and Habitat for Humanity plan to build new units and have not yet designed their projects. The two parties may decide to increase the number of affordable units above 120 collectively.   Even if they more than double the number of units on their collective 14.32 acres, the two affordable housing providers would need to build more than 285 units to exceed the 435 units on the North Housing site.

 

                     Affordable Housing Priorities. The City of Alameda is facing a housing affordability crisis.  The City Council, at its September 19, 2017 workshop on affordable housing, indicated that affordable housing was a top priority for the City Council.  Placing a cap on the affordable housing parcels that is below the maximum density provided by the R-4/PD/MF Zoning would be contrary to the Council’s desire to facilitate affordable housing construction.   The underlying zoning allows for 30 units per acre.   Therefore the underlying zoning could allow for 430 units on the 14.32 acres owned collectively by the Housing Authority and Habitat for Humanity.

 

                     Market Rate Housing. The current housing crisis is a direct result of a lack of housing supply. The short supply of residential land and building inventory is driving up housing prices, which is causing the affordable housing crisis.  Removing the cap from the 14.87 acres to be owned by Carmel Partners will provide an opportunity for future redevelopment of the property with additional housing units.  Additional housing units will not only increase the supply of market rate units, but 15% of all new units constructed would be deed restricted affordable units (and could be a higher percentage if a future developer applied for a Density Bonus).

 

                     “No Net Loss” Law.  North Housing is a “housing opportunity site” in the City of Alameda Housing Element.    In 2017, the State Legislature passed SB 166 and AB 1397 which modify the existing "No Net Loss Zoning" law, which ensures that local governments do not downzone sites or approve new housing at significantly lower densities than projected in their Housing Elements without identifying other sites that could accommodate the local need for housing sites at specified income levels.  The new laws ensure that as development occurs, local governments assess their ability to accommodate new housing on the remaining sites in their inventory and make adjustments to their zoning if needed.  Re-establishing a housing cap as part of the rezoning of the property is a form of downzoning, inconsistent with the new State law which is intended to facilitate housing construction in California.

 

                     Next Housing Element. In 2020 or 2021, the City of Alameda will receive a new Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) for the update of the 2015-2023 Housing Element.  Due to the statewide housing crisis, staff anticipates that the City will receive a large RHNA obligation, which could require rezoning industrial or commercial lands for residential use. By 2020, the 146 units on the 14.8 acre Carmel property will be rehabilitated and occupied; therefore, the Carmel property will not be available as a “housing opportunity site” in the 2023 Housing Element.   In contrast, staff anticipates that the 14.32 acres owned by the Housing Authority and Habitat for Humanity will be vacant and available in 2020/2021.   Without a housing cap, the City will be able to allocate approximately 400 units of the RHNA on this site for Housing Element purposes, which will lessen the need to rezone existing commercial or industrial sites for housing.  If the property is capped at a lower density, the need to rezone non-residential property will be greater.

 

For these reasons, staff is recommending that the G Combining District be removed from the North Housing site, without reinstating the 435 cap on the property.  

 

If the Planning Board disagrees with the staff analysis and believes that the 435-unit cap on the North Housing site should be preserved, then the Planning Board may recommend that the City Council reinsert the cap in the MF Overlay Zoning District.   However, the Planning Board and City Council would also need to determine how to distribute the 435 units among the future parcels, if the 435 cap is maintained.  

 

If the cap is to be maintained, staff would recommend that the 435 unit cap be allocated on a pro rata basis tied to acreage. A 15 unit-per-acre cap would result in a 222-unit cap for Carmel’s 14.8 acres, a 30 unit cap for Habitat’s two acres, and a 183-unit cap for the 12.23 acres to be conveyed to the Housing Authority.  

 

If any future lot line adjustments occur between Carmel and the Housing Authority/Habitat, the parties can decide if it is necessary to redistribute the cap at that time, provided the total number of units does not exceed the site-wide cap, if such a cap is reestablished by the City Council.

 

Carmel has requested that if the cap is to be maintained, then Carmel would like its 14.8 acres to have a cap of 315 units.  This would leave a cap of only 120 units on the Housing Authority/Habitat 14.32 acres.  In support of its proposal, Carmel points out that the 2009 Reuse Plan Amendment provided 315 “market rate” units and 120 units to be developed by the Housing Authority and Habitat.     

 

In the alternative, the Planning Board could consider recommending a “modified” cap that would cap the number of units on the Carmel property at 315, and remove the cap on the balance of the property. This approach would accommodate Carmel’s request for a cap of 315 units, but allow the balance of the property, which will be owned by non-profit/governmental entities that build affordable housing, to be developed pursuant to the underlying zoning.  

 

Conclusion

 

Carmel Partners has a deadline by which it needs to acquire the property from the Federal government and City action on removing the G Overlay is critical to its ability to close on the property acquisition.  To accommodate Carmel’s deadlines, staff would recommend that the Planning Board make a recommendation to the City Council on this Zoning amendment on November 13, 2017. 

 

Staff recommends that the Planning Board recommend that the City Council remove the G-Combining District designation without re-inserting the housing cap on the property.  If the Planning Board wishes to recommend that the cap be reinserted into the zoning ordinance, then staff would recommend that it be done on a 15 unit-per-acre basis or on the “modified” basis described above.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW

 

The proposed rezoning is categorically exempt from further environmental review pursuant to CEQA Guidelines - 15305 Minor Alterations to Land Use Limitations.

 

PUBLIC COMMENT

 

All property owners and residents within 300 feet of the site were sent letters providing notice of this public hearing. The notice was also placed in the newspaper and posted in the area.

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

Hold a public hearing and approve draft resolution recommending that the City Council approve a Zoning Map Amendment to remove the “G” Special Government Combining District overlay from the property to be owned by Carmel Partners, Habitat for Humanity, and the Alameda Housing Authority.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Andrew Thomas, Assistant Community Development Director

 

Exhibits:

1.                     Location Map

2.                     Draft Resolution