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File #: 2019-6448   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 2/5/2019
Title: Summary: Review of 172-Room Hotel Development located at 2900 Harbor Bay Parkway within the Harbor Bay Business Park. Public Hearing to Consider Two Appeals of a Final Development Plan Amendment and Design Review to Allow the Construction of a 172-Room Hotel and Restaurant at 2900 Harbor Bay Parkway and Adoption of Related Resolution. (Community Development 209)
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - December 10, 2018 Planning Board Staff Report, 2. Exhibit 2 - Approved Project Plans, 3. Exhibit 3 - Brian Tremper Appeal Petition, 4. Exhibit 4 - Local Union 304 Appeal Petition, 5. Exhibit 5 - Environmental Science Associates Memorandum, 6. Correspondence - Updated 2-5, 7. Presentation, 8. Presentation - REVISED, 9. Resolution, 10. Presentation by Appeallant - Brian Tremper

Title

 

Summary:  Review of 172-Room Hotel Development located at 2900 Harbor Bay Parkway within the Harbor Bay Business Park.

 

Public Hearing to Consider Two Appeals of a Final Development Plan Amendment and Design Review to Allow the Construction of a 172-Room Hotel and Restaurant at 2900 Harbor Bay Parkway and Adoption of Related Resolution. (Community Development 209)

 

Body

To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council

 

From: David L. Rudat, Interim City Manager

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

On December 10, 2018, the Planning Board held a public hearing and approved a Design Review and Development Plan amendment to permit construction of a 172-room hotel and restaurant in the Harbor Bay Business Park immediately adjacent to the Harbor Bay Ferry Terminal (the project). 

 

Within 10 days of the decision, the City of Alameda (the City) received two appeals requesting review of the decision by the City Council. 

 

Based upon a review of the appeals in light of the whole record, staff recommends that the City Council find the project as conditioned is consistent with:

 

                     The requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA),

                     The City’s General Plan and Zoning Ordinance, 

                     The Harbor Bay Business Park Development Plan and Development Agreement, and

                     The City’s Economic Development Strategic Plan.

 

Staff further recommends the City Council find that the appellants failed to demonstrate that the Planning Board’s actions, findings and conclusions, including but not limited to its actions, findings, and conclusions pursuant to CEQA, were not supported by substantial evidence. Staff is recommending that the City Council review the project de novo in light of the whole record and affirm the Planning Board’s decision to approve the project.

 

BACKGROUND

 

The proposed project develops the vacant 5.5 acre portion of the Esplanade development site within the Harbor Bay Business Park. The site is approximately 400 feet west of the corner of Harbor Bay Parkway and Bay Edge Road and immediately east of the Harbor Bay Ferry Terminal. A lagoon and residential neighborhood border the site to the north, and the property fronts onto Shoreline Park and the San Francisco Bay to the south. The property is zoned Commercial Manufacturing (CM) with a Planned Development (PD) overlay, and designated as Business Park by the General Plan.

 

The City certified a project specific Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in compliance with CEQA by motion on March 5, 1974 for the development of Harbor Bay.  In 1989, the City completed a comprehensive addendum to the EIR to assess the potential environmental effects of an enlarged plan for a 4.1 million square foot business park and supporting roadway system at Harbor Bay. Those plans and entitlements were vested in 1989 by a Development Agreement between the property owners and the City.

 

The following year, in 1990, the City amended its General Plan to include specific policies referencing the Development Agreement, the prior entitlements, approvals vested by the Development Agreement, and the appropriateness of hotels in the Harbor Bay Business Park.

 

Pursuant to the above-referenced approvals and the anticipated impacts of that development identified in the EIR, the owners of the Business Park were required to build all of the public open space along the shoreline and the existing public roadways in the Business Park to accommodate the traffic generated by the anticipated land use program, which includes up to 4.1 million square feet of development.  Over the last 30 years, the business park has been developed pursuant to the plans, but it is important to note that as of 2019, the business park only includes approximately 2.7 million square feet of commercial space.  

 

The City’s current review of proposed project modifications is conducted within the parameters of the existing environmental documents and in relation to the scope of development allowed by right in the Development Agreement.

 

On February 25, 2008, the Planning Board approved the original Esplanade Development Plan (PLN07-0061) to allow the construction of ten office buildings totaling 109,000 square feet on the 9.22 acre Esplanade site.  In 2012, the first of the ten buildings was completed for the Stacy & Witbeck Company.  

 

On May 26, 2015, the Planning Board approved Development Plan Amendment and Design Review No. PLN15-0092 to allow the construction of the 22,868-square-foot McGuire & Hester office building in lieu of two of the nine office buildings remaining in the development.

 

On August 28, 2018, Harbor Bay Hospitality, LLC (the applicant) submitted an application for a Development Plan Amendment and Design Review to allow the construction of the proposed hotel, restaurant/café, and expanded parking lot on the remaining 5.5 acres of the Esplanade site immediately adjacent to the Ferry Terminal parking lot in lieu of the remaining seven (7) approved office buildings.

 

To evaluate the effects of the proposed project modifications and the circumstances in which they would be undertaken to determine whether subsequent environmental review would be required pursuant to CEQA (Public Resources Code section 21166), the City examined the potential environmental impacts of the modifications, including the following analyses:

 

                     A 2018 traffic and parking analysis was conducted by Abrams and Associates, Transportation Engineers and showed that the new hotel, restaurant, and ferry parking proposal does not result in any new or substantially more severe traffic impacts to the surrounding area. 

 

                     A survey for burrowing owls and sensitive species was conducted by Monk & Associates Environmental Consultants at the project site on September 10, 2018, and no evidence of the presence of these species was observed on or within a zone of influence of the site.

 

                     A noise analysis was conducted by Saxelby Acoustics on September 5, 2018 and determined that the project can meet city, state, and county requirements regarding noise levels through the implementation of standard Community Noise Equivalent Level (CNEL) building requirements. 

 

                     Confirmation from the Alameda County Airport Land Use Commission on September 27, 2018, that the building design will not pose a hazard to air navigation at the Oakland International Airport or in Bay Area airspace.

 

The applicant conducted public outreach to engage the local community and met with the Harbor Bay Business Park Association on August 21, 2018.  The City received a letter of support for the project from the Harbor Bay Business Park Association on September 24, 2018. The applicant also held community meetings with the Harbor Bay Island Neighbors on September 26, 2018, the Freeport Homeowners Association Board on October 11, 2018, and with the Freeport Homeowners Association on November 7, 2018.

 

On October 8, 2018, the Planning Board held a study session to review the proposed hotel development. At the hearing, the Planning Board directed the applicant to make a number of changes to the proposed site plan, landscape and parking plan, and architectural design.

 

On December 10, 2018, the Planning Board held a public hearing on the project and reviewed the revised design.  At that meeting, the Planning Board made CEQA findings and determined that the application is consistent with all existing General Plan and Zoning requirements governing the site. The Planning Board approved a Final Development Plan and Design Review with conditions that the final elevation details and landscaping plans return to the Board for final approval, and that the project provide at least 100 non-exclusive parking spaces for long term use between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 p.m., as well as providing for a Ferry Parking Management Plan. The staff report and project plans from the December 10, 2018 Planning Board meeting are attached as Exhibit 1 and Exhibit 2.

 

On December 18, 2018, Brian Tremper filed an appeal of the Planning Board decision. On December 19, 2019, Laborers International Union of North America, Local Union 304 filed a separate appeal of the Planning Board decision.  The Brian Tremper and Local Union 304 appeal letters are attached as Exhibit 3 and Exhibit 4.    

 

Detailed responses to the appellants’ comments and concerns have been prepared and are attached as Exhibit 5.

 

DISCUSSION

 

The following discussion focuses on the specific challenges to the Planning Board’s decision raised by the appellants. As noted above, additional information in response to the appellants’ comments and concerns is attached as Exhibit 5.

 

Adequacy of the Public Noticing for the Project

The City noticed the public of the project consistent with State of California and the City public noticing requirements (the Alameda Municipal Code utilizes State law requirements). Consistent with California Government Code Sections 65867 and 65091, the City provided advertisements in the Alameda Sun, mailed public notices to all property owners and residents within 300 feet of the property, and posted notices in the public paths for the October 8, November 26, and December 10, 2018 meeting dates.

 

In addition to the State and City required notices, prior to the hearing, the applicant met with the Harbor Bay Business Park Association and held community meetings with the Harbor Bay Island Neighbors, the Freeport Homeowners Association Board, and the Freeport Homeowners Association.

 

Conclusion: The project was properly noticed in accordance with State and local requirements.

 

Appropriateness of the Size of the Hotel

 

The Brian Tremper appeal argues that the hotel is too tall, too large and out of proportion with the adjacent neighborhood.

 

In accordance with the existing entitlements, the Development Agreement, and the City’s land use regulations, the City’s discretion in reviewing the proposed project modifications is limited to the architectural design of the building (Design Review) and the location of the building on the site (Final Development Plan). The Planning Board reviewed these issues in detail and unanimously approved the proposed project modifications as consistent with the scope of development allowed by right by the Development Agreement. The Planning Board further found that the proposed project modifications are consistent with the City’s General Plan and Zoning Code.

 

The project site is located within the C-M-PD, Commercial Manufacturing - Planned Development zoning district and designated as Business Park by the General Plan. The C-M-PD zone allows hotel uses and buildings up to 100 feet in height by right.

 

The appellant argues that the size of the project is “inappropriate” for the site, despite the fact that it meets all of the site development standards: 

 

                     The development standards allow for a 100 foot tall building, and the proposed building is 72 feet at its highest point. 

                     The development standards allow up to 120,257 square feet of floor area on this site, and the proposed hotel and restaurant buildings cumulatively include 119,990 square feet of floor area. 

                     The development standards require a 25 foot setback from the Shoreline Park property line, and the proposed project provides a 35 foot setback.

 

Conclusion: The proposed design is consistent with the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance, General Plan, and the Harbor Bay Planned Development.

 

Adequacy of the Review under the California Environmental Quality Act

 

Both appellants argue that the City and the Planning Board failed to adequately review the environmental impacts of the project prior to approving the proposed project modifications pursuant to CEQA. 

 

Staff concludes that the record of the City’s review and Planning Board approval demonstrates that the City complied with CEQA.

 

Pursuant to Public Resources Code section 21166 and CEQA Guidelines section 15162, when an EIR has been certified for a project, no subsequent EIR shall be prepared for that project unless the lead agency determines, on the basis of substantial evidence in the light of the whole record, one or more of the following:

 

(1)                     Substantial changes are proposed in the project which will require major revisions of the previous EIR or negative declaration due to the involvement of new significant environmental effects or a substantial increase in the severity of previously identified significant effects;

 

(2)                     Substantial changes occur with respect to the circumstances under which the project is undertaken which will require major revisions of the previous EIR or negative declaration due to the involvement of new significant environmental effects or a substantial increase in the severity of previously identified significant effects; or

 

(3)                     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 or the negative declaration was adopted, shows any of the following:

 

(A)                     The project will have one or more significant effects not discussed in the previous EIR or negative declaration;

 

(B)                     Significant effects previously examined will be substantially more severe than shown in the previous EIR;

 

(C)                     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 measure or alternative; or

 

(D)                     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 proponents decline to adopt the mitigation measure or alternative.

 

The proposed project modifications do not represent a “substantial change” to the project that would require major revisions to the EIR. The information in the record as a whole shows there are no new significant environmental effects or a substantial increase in the severity of previously identified significant effects associated with the proposed project modifications. The discussions below and in Exhibit 5 provide summaries of this information.

 

The 1989 Addendum describes how the City approved the full build-out of the Business Park in 1981 by Planning Board Resolution No. 1203, and included as the first finding that the EIR was adequate to cover the ultimate project description for the Harbor Bay Business Park. The 1989 Addendum also took into account the revisions to the setbacks, road alignments, and types of uses approved by the amendments to the Harbor Bay Planned Development prior to its approval, including the recommendation by Condition No. 46 of Planning Board Resolution No. 1203 that hotel uses could be located at the subject site. In addition, the 1991 General Plan and the environmental review of the 1991 General Plan EIR evaluated the Harbor Bay Business Park to include 4.1 million square feet of office and research development space, plus conference, hotel and retail space. The General Plan states the Business Park may include high rise buildings up to 100 feet in height as of right and 156 feet subject to discretionary review.

 

Pursuant to the above referenced approvals and the anticipated impacts of that development identified in the EIR, the owners of the Business Park were required to build all of the public open space along the shoreline and the existing public roadways in the Business Park to accommodate the traffic generated by the above referenced land use program, that includes up to 4.1 million square feet of development.  

 

Despite the fact that the Business Park public roadway and park networks were built to accommodate 4.1 million square feet of commercial development and 100 foot buildings, due to regional and local market conditions, the actual amount of commercial development that has been developed in the business park is far less than the 4.1 million square feet originally planned (approximately 2.75 million  square feet), and many of the types of businesses that have been established in the business park (manufacturing and distribution) have not generated the numbers of employees originally envisioned from the planned office buildings, therefore the number of vehicle trips generated by the business park is far less than originally planned.

 

To evaluate the effects of the proposed project modifications and the circumstances in which they would be undertaken to determine whether subsequent environmental review would be required pursuant to CEQA, the City and Planning Board considered substantial evidence in the entire record before the City, including:

 

                     A 2018 traffic and parking analysis conducted by Abrams and Associates, Transportation Engineers showing that the new hotel, restaurant, and ferry parking proposal does not result in any significant traffic impacts to the surrounding area.  The traffic analysis findings are consistent with the finding of the Harbor Bay EIR, the 2006 traffic study completed for the original office development for the site and the more recent 2012 traffic study completed for the prior proposal for assisted living on the site.  In addition, the project site is within steps of the Harbor Bay Ferry service to San Francisco; the AC Transit line 21 service to Oakland and BART, and the Harbor Bay free public shuttle to BART, all of which will further reduce the transportation impacts of the proposal.

 

                     A survey for burrowing owls and sensitive species was conducted by Monk & Associates Environmental Consultants at the project site on September 10, 2018, and no evidence of the presence of these species was observed on or within a zone of influence of the site. Additionally, biological resource surveys were conducted as part of the Harbor Bay Isle Certified EIR, and were updated multiple times, including by LSA Associates, Inc. on May 27, 1988, by PBS&J on March 27, 2008, by Environmental Science Associates (ESA) Biological Resources on April 14, 2015, and by Monk & Associates on May 4, 2016. The most recent survey conducted by Monk & Associates on September 10, 2018 for the hotel project confirmed the findings of the previous biological surveys, that there were not sensitive species, habitat or migratory wildlife corridors on the project site. Finally, the project is conditioned to meet the City’s recently adopted Bird Safe Building Standards ordinance which requires bird safe window design to prevent bird deaths resulting from collisions with windows and other transparent glass features.

 

                     A noise analysis conducted by Saxelby Acoustics on September 5, 2018 determined that the project can meet city, state, and county requirements in regard to noise levels through the implementation of standard CNEL building requirements.  Additionally, the Planning Board conditioned the project to meet requirements of the City Noise Ordinance which regulates noise levels and limits truck deliveries and outdoor activities to further reduce potential noise impacts on the adjacent properties.

 

                     Confirmation from the Alameda County Airport Land Use Commission on September 27, 2018, that the FAA has determined in its letter dated September 25, 2018, that the building design will not pose a hazard to air navigation at the Oakland International Airport or in Bay Area airspace.

 

                     Greenhouse gas emissions from the project will be generated by the building occupant’s vehicle trips and by the heating and cooling of the building. The impacts to air quality were determined for the full build-out of the Harbor Bay Business Park and analyzed in both the certified EIR and Addendum to the certified EIR. In addition, the project site is served directly by the adjacent Harbor Bay Ferry Terminal, AC Transit line 21 which serves the site, and the Harbor Bay free shuttle which connects the site to BART, all of which reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the project.  Furthermore, the Planning Board conditioned the project to meet sustainable building design standards of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

 

                     All construction will be conducted in conformance with the California Building Code and other relevant state laws and regulations. No substantial evidence in the record indicates that the project modifications would result in new or substantially more significant environmental impacts from formaldehyde materials or require major revisions to the certified EIR.

 

                     The project will not conflict with airport safety plans or regulations. The project is located within the Airport Safety Zone of the Oakland Airport and triggers the review of both the Airport Land Use Commission (ALUC) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The building meets the airport height restrictions of the FAA.  As stated above, the FAA has determined in its letter dated September 25, 2018, that the building design will not pose a hazard to air navigation at the Oakland International Airport or in Bay Area airspace, and the ALUC deemed the project consistent with airport land use regulations and has provided recommended conditions of approval for construction design, which staff has incorporated into the resolution for the project on September 27, 2018. The Port of Oakland has reviewed the proposal and recommended conditions of approval that construction crane height is reviewed by the FAA prior to construction of the building, and that landscaping height maintained on the site. The project, as conditioned, will comply with all regulatory requirements pertaining to airport land use policies and safety.

 

                     The 1989 EIR Addendum includes a potential energy mitigation measure stating the developer “should provide an electric car for each house sold in Village V.”   The proposed hotel is not a house in Village 5 and the mitigation measure does not apply to this property or this project.


Conclusion
: The City’s review of the potential environmental impacts of the proposed project modifications complies with CEQA and there is no substantial evidence in the record indicating that subsequent environmental review is required. 

 

Conclusions

 

Based upon a review of the appeals in light of the whole record, staff recommends that the City Council find the project as conditioned is consistent with:

 

                     The requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act,

                     The City’s General Plan,

                     The Harbor Bay Business Park Development Plan and Development Agreement, and

                     The City’s Economic Development Strategic Plan (EDSP), which states that “Alameda does not have adequate facilities for business-related conferences and events despite the increase in high-tech service sector businesses in the city and the region.” The EDSP also provides, “[A] conference facility and additional rooms for business travelers are needed.”

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

The proposed 172-room Marriott (with a 3,000-square foot meeting room) will provide a significant economic asset for Alameda.  It is conservatively estimated to generate approximately $1 million annually in Transfer Occupancy Taxes (TOT) revenue during its first three years of operation.  The TOT is expected to gradually increase thereafter once the hotel becomes established in the marketplace.  This will make the Marriott one of the largest revenue-generating businesses in the City, matching the scale of the entire sales tax collected from one of Alameda’s major shopping centers.

 

The project will fund construction of pedestrian and bicycle pathways and landscape improvements along Harbor Bay Parkway and the Bay Trail for which funds are not currently available in the General Fund.

 

MUNICIPAL CODE/POLICY DOCUMENT CROSS REFERENCE

 

General Plan Land Use Element policies support hotel uses within the Harbor Bay Business Park. General Plan Transportation Element policies support transportation design solutions that balance the needs of all modes of transportation, including pedestrian, bicycle, transit, and automobile facilities. The Project is also consistent with the Harbor Bay Isle Development Agreement. 

 

Hotel use on the site is also consistent with the City’s Economic Development Strategy recommended by the Planning Board and unanimously approved by the City Council in 2018, which identifies hotels as a critical component of the City’s economic development strategy.  

 

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW

 

Substantial evidence in the record shows that pursuant to Public Resources Code section 21166 and CEQA Guidelines section 15162, none of the circumstances necessitating subsequent environmental review are present.

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

Hold a public hearing and approve the draft resolution denying the appeals and affirming the Planning Board’s decision to approve construction of a 172-room hotel and restaurant at 2900 Harbor Bay Parkway.

Respectfully submitted,

Andrew Thomas, Interim Planning, Building, & Transportation Director

 

Exhibits:

1.                     December 10, 2018 Planning Board Staff Report

2.                     Approved Project Plans

3.                     Brian Tremper Petition for Appeal

4.                     Laborers International Union of North America, Local Union 304 Petition for Appeal

5.                     Environmental Science Associates Memorandum

 

Available at the Clerk’s office

1.                     1973 Harbor Bay Isle Draft EIR

2.                     1974 Harbor Bay Isle Final EIR

3.                     1989 Harbor Bay Isle Addendum to the Certified EIR

4.                     PD-81-2 Planning Board Resolution No. 1203

5.                     PD-85-4 Planning Board Resolution No. 1533

6.                     2018 Marriott Transportation Impact Analysis

7.                     2018 Marriott Biological Resources Survey

8.                     2018 Marriott Noise Analysis

9.                     Letter from the Airport Land Use Commission

10.                     Letter from the Federal Aviation Commission

11.                     Letter from the Bay Conservation Development Commission