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File #: 2020-7674   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 2/18/2020
Title: Recommendation to Authorize the City Manager to Execute a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) Related to the Northwest Territories Regional Shoreline at Alameda Point, and to Approve the Finding that the Northwest Territories Regional Park Disposition is Exempt from the Surplus Lands Act, as Amended, as the Property is Proposed to be Leased to Another Local Agency (EBRPD) for the Agency's Use and Because It is Located on Public Trust Lands. (Recreation 280 and Community Development 216)
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - MOU, 2. Exhibit 2 - Map, 3. Presentation, 4. Submittal

Title

 

Recommendation to Authorize the City Manager to Execute a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) Related to the Northwest Territories Regional Shoreline at Alameda Point, and to Approve the Finding that the Northwest Territories Regional Park Disposition is Exempt from the Surplus Lands Act, as Amended, as the Property is Proposed to be Leased to Another Local Agency (EBRPD) for the Agency’s Use and Because It is Located on Public Trust Lands. (Recreation 280 and Community Development 216)

 

Body

 

To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

The Northwest Territories Regional Shoreline (NWT) is a proposed 158-acre passive park located at Alameda Point at the far northwest corner of the site.  This Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) details the terms for a no-cost, 66-year lease to be negotiated with the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD), pursuant to which EBRPD will develop, operate and maintain the NWT shoreline park.  The MOU is attached as Exhibit 1.

 

This property disposition is exempt from the Surplus Lands Act, as amended, as the proposed shoreline park is being leased to another local agency (EBRPD) for the agency’s use and because it is located wholly within Public Trust Lands.

 

BACKGROUND

 

The NWT is a proposed 158-acre passive park located at Alameda Point at the far northwest corner of the site and adjacent to the proposed Regional Sports Complex (Exhibit 2).  The NWT is located wholly within Public Trust Lands, which is also referred to as Tidelands property.     NWT is zoned as open space and referenced as a regional park in numerous Alameda Point planning documents, including the Naval Air Station Alameda Community Reuse Plan, 2003 General Plan Amendment for Alameda Point, 2013 Alameda Point Conceptual Planning Guide and Master Infrastructure Plan.  NWT is envisioned as a regional shoreline along the Oakland Estuary waterfront.  The park is planned to include interior bicycle and pedestrian trails, San Francisco Bay Trail, viewing areas, habitat restoration and a staging area with restrooms, parking and drinking fountains.  NWT is intended to complement the adjacent nature reserve. 

 

In 2012, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service issued a Biological Opinion for the Proposed Naval Air Station Alameda Disposal and Reuse Project (Biological Opinion). The Biological Opinion included a regional shoreline park and identifies EBRPD as a potential manager of the regional shoreline park, the Bay Trail along the estuary side of the NWT, and the seasonal bay trail extension around the southwest corner of Alameda Point to Seaplane Lagoon.

 

EBRPD manages nearly 125,000 acres of parkland in 73 parks throughout Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, including Crab Cove and Alameda Beach, as well as a portion of the Bay Trail from Encinal Boat Launch Facility to the U.S.S. Hornet.  In 2008, voters approved Measure WW, a bond sponsored by EBRPD to increase and preserve open space for recreation and wildlife habitat.  EBRPD allocated $6.4 million in Measure WW funding specifically for the NWT project.  In November 2018, voters approved Measure FF, also sponsored by EBRPD, which provides funding for a variety of park services, including maintenance.  NWT was also included as a project for maintenance funding in this measure.

 

Based on the City’s extensive and on-going relationship with EBRPD and EBRPD’s depth of experience and commitment to funding and managing the NWT, City Council directed staff to work with the EBRPD on development of a regional shoreline.  Because the NWT is located on Public Trust Lands, and the City is the trustee, the City must lease the property to EBRPD, rather than convey the property in fee.  Following several years of negotiations, City and EBRPD staff have drafted an MOU, setting out the material terms, conditions and process for the planning, development, construction and operation of the NWT consistent with the above described planning documents.  The terms of this MOU outline the terms and conditions of a 66-year lease for NWT between City and EBRPD. Sixty-six years is the maximum lease term for Public Trust Lands.

 

The EBRPD Board of Directors approved the MOU at its February 4, 2020 meeting.

 

DISCUSSION

 

The NWT MOU requires that the City and EBRPD work cooperatively to identify a phased development and that EBRPD is responsible for planning, construction and maintenance of NWT.  City will assist with the Conceptual Plan (as defined in the MOU) development, as well as with identifying and applying for grant funding for construction and maintenance.

 

The MOU also includes two expansion parcels to be later added to the leased premises and subject to the terms and conditions of the lease following the occurrence of certain events.  After these expansion parcels are added to the premises and subject to the lease, EBRPD is responsible for operating and maintaining the entire premises, as expanded.  These two expansion areas are 1) the Seasonal Bay Trail Extension around the perimeter of Alameda Point from NWT to De-Pave Park at Seaplane Lagoon, and 2) the Bay Trail connection along the Regional Sports Complex after the City constructs the shoreline stabilization.

 

The San Francisco Bay Trail development will comply with San Francisco Bay Trail design guidelines and may also be used for an Emergency Vehicle Access road and/or maintenance vehicles.  There will be no other vehicular roads included in the park design.  NWT is susceptible to future inundation from sea level rise and shoreline planning will include resilient design, also known as managed retreat, to address sea level rise. No levee is contemplated for NWT.

 

The following describes the material terms of the MOU:

 

                     Park Design Components - 158-acre passive shoreline including the San Francisco Bay Trail and wetlands, trails throughout with viewing and seating areas, habitat restoration, and amenities including a staging area with restrooms, parking, and drinking fountains.  The Veteran’s Administration (VA) will separately build a small interpretive center on its property that would be operated by EBRPD and serve NWT and wildlife refuge. 

                     Length of Term - A no-cost, 66-year lease to be negotiated within one year of execution of the MOU.

                     Concept Plan - EBRPD will develop a Concept Plan within two years of the executed lease.  For the Concept Plan, City and EBRPD will work cooperatively to engage the public and stakeholders for input on the planning and development of the park, including bringing a draft Concept Plan to the Recreation and Parks Commission and City Council for feedback.  Suggestions from the Commission and City Council will be taken into account and incorporated into the Concept Plan where feasible.  The Concept Plan will include a construction budget, milestones and description of development phases.

                     Funding - $6.4 million is identified in Measure WW for development of the shoreline.  Funding for operations and maintenance is identified in EBRPD Measures CC and FF.  City and EBRPD will work cooperatively on identifying grant and other funding sources for development of the park and long-term maintenance and operation.  City may consider using Alameda Point Development Impact Fees as it is consistent with the Master Infrastructure Plan (MIP).

                     Interim Park Access - EBRPD will provide interim access to the public as soon as reasonably possible and during development, most likely through the use of regularly scheduled guided walks.

                     Maintenance - EBRPD is responsible for maintaining, repairing and operating the NWTshoreline.

                     Shoreline Stabilization - City is responsible for shoreline stabilization adjacent to the regional sports complex.  Once stabilization and the corresponding section of the Bay Trail is complete, that part of the trail will become subject to the lease and EBRPD will assume maintenance of the trail.

                     Progress Reports - City Council will receive an annual progress report from EBRPD until full build-out is complete.

                     Naming - EBRPD is responsible for naming the shoreline and will consider names that demonstrate a connection to Alameda and the property’s history.  EBRPD will formally solicit feedback on the shoreline naming from City, but maintains final naming authority within reason.

                     Design & Construction - EBRPD is responsible for (i) preparing a shoreline and trail plan; (ii) preparing the design and construction plans for the shoreline; (iii) obtaining all applicable permits and governmental approvals; and (iv) constructing any and all improvements. EBRPD will coordinate with City on the Regional Sports Complex design and   City and EBRPD will work cooperatively with each other and the VA on design connectivity and any opportunities for joint use facilities, such as kiosks, water fountains, parking and restrooms.  The NWT design will consider the special needs and interests of the veteran population.

                     Existing Leases/Licenses - City will retain revenue from all existing leases and licenses in effect at Alameda Point, including at the NWT.  These leases and licenses will continue until EBRPD is ready to commence construction.

 

Once the MOU is approved by both City and EBRPD, the lease will be negotiated and executed within one year of the effective date of the MOU.

 

ALTERNATIVES

 

Staff recommends that the City Council approve the MOU as presented.

 

Alternatively, City Council could:

 

                     Propose changes to any of the terms.  If any terms are changed, it would then require renegotiation with EBRPD as its Board has previously approved the MOU. 

 

                     Decline to enter into a MOU with EBRPD at this time and direct staff to solicit proposals from other partners to develop the NWT.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

There is no financial impact from approval of this MOU.  Each project phase will require funding through grants and other sources.  EBRPD has allocated $6.4 million toward planning and construction of NWT and is financially responsible for operations and maintenance of the park once open.

 

MUNICIPAL CODE/POLICY DOCUMENT CROSS REFERENCE

 

The proposed NWT regional shoreline is consistent with the site’s Open Space zoning, the General Plan, the 2013 Alameda Point Conceptual Planning Guide and the MIP.  It is also a permitted use on Public Trust Lands.

 

SURPLUS LANDS ACT

 

The proposed transaction is exempt under the Surplus Lands Act, as amended, because the Property is proposed to be leased to another local agency (EBRPD) for the agency’s use, namely the development of a regional park.  (California Government Code Section 54221(f)(1)(D).  The NWT shoreline park is further exempt under the Surplus Lands Act as it is wholly located on Public Trust Lands. (California Government Code Section 54221(f)(1)(H)).  Government Code Section 54221(f)(1)(H) states that land “…acquired by the local agency for trust purposes by purchase or exchange, and for which disposal of the land is authorized or required subject to conditions established by statute” is exempt under the Surplus Lands Act, as amended.  In 2000, Chapter 734 (Senate Bill 2049) established the Naval Air Station Alameda Public Trust Exchange Act to facilitate the productive reuse of lands comprising the former Base in a manner that furthers the purposes of the public trust for commerce, navigation and fisheries.  The Act further required the State Lands Commission to establish procedures to carry out the land exchange. This statute meets the requirements of the Surplus Lands Act, as amended, to qualify for an exemption under the law.

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW

 

On February 4, 2014, City certified the Alameda Point Environmental Impact Report (EIR), adopted certain mitigations and adopted a Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program.  No further environmental review is needed.

 

CLIMATE IMPACTS

 

All NWT design and construction will address climate change and sea level rise impacts and incorporate mitigation measures as needed.  Planting new trees and plants, and creating marshland and other landscape strategies are key components of all new park and shoreline designs as they increase carbon sequestration, create new wildlife habitat and create more shade for heat reduction.

NWT will incorporate resilient design to address sea level rise through inundation of land over time.

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

Authorize the City Manager to execute a Memorandum of Understanding with the East Bay Regional Park District related to the Northwest Territories Regional Shoreline at Alameda Point, and approve the finding that the Northwest Territories Regional Shoreline Disposition is exempt from the Surplus Lands Act as the Property is proposed to be leased to another local agency (EBRPD) for the agency’s use pursuant to Government Code Section 54221(f)(1)(D) and because it is located on Public Trust Lands and therefore it is exempt from the Surplus Lands Act pursuant to Government Code Section 54221(f)(1)(H). 

 

CITY MANAGER RECOMMENDATION

 

The City Manager concurs with the request to authorize the City Manager to execute a MOU with East Bay Regional Park District regarding the Northwest Territories Regional Shoreline at Alameda Point.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Amy Wooldridge, Recreation and Parks Director

Debbie Potter, Community Development Director

 

 

Financial Impact section reviewed,

Elena Adair, Finance Director

 

Exhibits:

1.                     MOU

2.                     Map

 

cc:                     Eric Levitt, City Manager