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File #: 2019-6664   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 5/7/2019
Title: Public Hearing to Consider Adoption of Resolution Confirming the Park Street Business Improvement Area (BIA) Annual Assessment Report for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019-20, Changing the BIA Boundaries, and Levying an Annual Assessment on the Park Street BIA. (Community Development 256)
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - Annual Assessment Report, 2. Exhibit 2 - Assessment Fee Schedule FY 2019-20, 3. Exhibit 3 - Boundaries Map, 4. Exhibit 4 - Address List, 5. Resolution, 6. Correspondence, 7. Presentation

Title

Public Hearing to Consider Adoption of Resolution Confirming the Park Street Business Improvement Area (BIA) Annual Assessment Report for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019-20, Changing the BIA Boundaries, and Levying an Annual Assessment on the Park Street BIA. (Community Development 256)

body

 

To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council

 

From:  Eric Levitt, City Manager

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

The Alameda City Council will hold a public hearing to consider changing the Park Street Business Improvement Area (BIA) boundaries and to levy an annual assessment on the businesses within the BIA, which is managed on behalf of the City of Alameda (City) by the Downtown Alameda Business Association (DABA).  The public hearing allows business owners in the BIA an opportunity to comment on or protest the proposed boundary changes and annual assessment.

 

BACKGROUND

 

In 1989, the City Council created Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) in the Park Street and Webster Street commercial areas.  These BIAs were established in accordance with the Parking and Business Improvement Area Law of 1979 in the California Streets and Highways Code.  This report is for the Park Street BIA, which is managed by DABA.  Revenues from the BIA directly benefit business owners in specified geographic zones through the general promotion of business activities and public events, beautification and ambiance, construction and maintenance of parking facilities, and special projects benefitting that business area. 

 

The BIA is funded from fees collected by the City from all businesses within the geographic zones.  The Park Street BIA is divided into two areas, Area A and Area B. Businesses in Area A are in closer proximity to the retail core, and pay a slightly higher rate than businesses in Area B.  Other than an automatic annual San Francisco Area Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase, authorized by the original Ordinance 2435, the City has not increased assessments since inception of the BIA. This year’s CPI increase of 4.5% raises the minimum retail business annual fee by $14.00 to $336.00 in Zone A and by $7.00 to $172.00 in Zone B.

 

On April 16, 2019, the City Council approved DABA’s annual assessment report for the next fiscal year (FY 2019-20), with its projected activities, budget, and financial documents (Exhibit 1), and its request to extend the BIA boundaries to include the Park Street Landing businesses. The City Council received the BIA Assessment Fee Schedule, BIA Boundary Map, and the BIA Address list (Exhibits 2, 3, and 4). The City Council also adopted a Resolution of Intention to Change the BIA Boundaries and to Levy an Annual Assessment on the Park Street BIA and set a public hearing for May 7, 2019. 

 

DISCUSSION

 

With the evolution of the former auto row section of Park Street (north of Lincoln Avenue) into a more vibrant retail area, DABA incorporated into its Fiscal Year (FY) 2018-19 work plan, a reexamination of its BIA boundaries to include the Park Street Landing property, a strip shopping center located at the foot of the Park Street bridge (current tenants include Dragon Rouge, O’Reilly Auto Parts, and Dollar Tree).  DABA has worked with City staff to conduct a year-long outreach strategy to include Park Street Landing business tenants in the BIA.  DABA has canvassed each of the 14 businesses to inform them of the BIA expansion plans, the approval process, and the benefits of being part of the BIA. 

 

DABA’s FY 2019-20 annual report requested that the City Council approve extending the BIA boundaries to include the Park Street Landing property.  The property is zoned as North Park Street Workplace sub-district (W-NP), which allows for a wide variety of retail, commercial, and light industrial uses for the future development of the waterfront. The sub-district also allows a range of site and building types for employment uses.  The FY 2019-20 annual assessment for the businesses located at Park Street Landing, which is located in Zone B, would be between $110 (for non-retail services) and $172 (for retail goods).

 

The Alameda Municipal Code (AMC) outlines the following process to change the boundaries and to levy the assessment:

 

                     The BIA advisory board (DABA’s Board of Directors) files an annual report that proposes changes in the BIA boundaries (AMC 6-7.11.b.1)

                     After the City Council approves the annual report with the recommendation to extend the boundaries, the City Council adopts a Resolution of Intention to Levy an Annual Assessment, to declare the intention of the City Council to change the BIA boundaries (AMC 6-7.12.a.1), and to set a date for a public hearing to be held by the Council (AMC 6-7.12.a.6)

                     Notice of the public hearing is published in a newspaper and is mailed to each business owner of the affected area (AMC 6-7.19)

                     At the public hearing, the City Council hears and considers protests against the establishment and extension of the area (AMC 6-7.20.a)

                     During the course, or upon the conclusion, of the public hearing, the City Council may order changes in the proposed BIA boundaries (AMC 6-7.13.b)

 

At its April 16, 2019 meeting, the City Council approved the annual report and passed a Resolution of Intent to Change the BIA boundaries, Levy an Assessment, and hold a public hearing on May 7, 2019.  Notice of the May 7, 2019 public hearing was advertised in the Alameda Sun on April 25, 2019.  All BIA members were mailed notification of the public hearing, in addition to instructions on how to protest the BIA renewal, should they wish to do so. 

 

The next step to approve the BIA boundary changes and levy the annual assessment is to hold the public hearing, which allows affected parties a final opportunity to comment.  The FY 2019-20 assessment cannot be levied if protests are received by the owners of businesses in the area which will pay fifty percent (50%) or more of the assessment.  While the City Council approved the assessment report at its April 16, 2019 meeting, it may choose to modify the assessment report-including changes to the proposed activities-based on the public comments it receives at the May 7, 2019 public hearing.  After the hearing, the City Council may adopt a Resolution confirming the report as originally filed or as changed.  Adoption of the Resolution will constitute the levy of the assessment for FY 2019-20, and approve the boundary change. 

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

BIA billing is done concurrently with Business License billing.  Revenues from the BIA directly benefit business owners in specified geographic and benefit zones through the promotion of business and similar eligible activities.  The primary financial impact to the General Fund is in the form of Finance Department staff costs to process BIA billing and expenditures, estimated to be approximately $6,500 annually ($1,856 for WABA, the West Alameda Business Association, and $4,644 for DABA) and included in the Business License Program Budget (Fund 001, Program 2450). 

 

Community Development Department staff estimates it costs $4,600 annually to support and participate in monthly WABA and DABA board meetings and subcommittee meetings.  This cost has been absorbed within existing staff workloads to provide indirect financial support to the business districts.

 

MUNICIPAL CODE/POLICY DOCUMENT CROSS REFERENCE

 

The annual renewal of the BIA supports the goals of the Economic Development Strategic Plan (EDSP) through continued operation of the business association consistent with AMC Sec. 6-7 et seq. 

 

EDSP Strategy 4 states: “The City of Alameda’s role is to continue to support existing shopping and dining districts by working with private property owners and business associations to improve retail spaces and the public realm.”

 

EDSP Strategy 4.2 states: “facilitate the inclusion of restaurants and retail stores and on-water access opportunities (e.g. floating docks with picnic tables and transient boat docks when appropriate) in new projects on waterfront sites - such as . . . Park Street Landing.”

 

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW

 

This action involves government fiscal activities which do not include a commitment to any project which may result in a potentially significant physical impact on the environment and is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), pursuant to CEQA Guidelines section 15378(b)(4).

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

Hold a Public Hearing and adopt a Resolution confirming the Park Street BIA Report for FY 2019-20, changing the BIA Boundaries, and levying an annual assessment on the Park Street BIA.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Debbie Potter, Community Development Director

 

By,

Eric Fonstein, Development Manager

 

Financial Impact section reviewed,

Elena Adair, Finance Director

 

Exhibits:

1.                     Annual Assessment Report

2.                     Assessment Fee Schedule FY 2019-20

3.                     Boundaries Map

4.                     Address List

 

cc:                     Downtown Alameda Business Association