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File #: 2022-1529   
Type: Council Referral
Body: City Council
On agenda: 6/7/2022
Title: Consider Having the City Council Address the Zoning of the Harbor Bay Club. (Councilmember Herrera Spencer) [Not heard on December 7, 21, 2021, January 4, 18, February 1, 15, March 1, 15, April 5, 19, May 3 or 17, 2022]
Attachments: 1. November 16, 2021 Planning, Building and Transportation Director Correspondence



Consider Having the City Council Address the Zoning of the Harbor Bay Club.  (Councilmember Herrera Spencer) [Not heard on December 7, 21, 2021, January 4, 18, February 1, 15, March 1, 15, April 5, 19, May 3 or 17, 2022]






The Council can take any of the following actions:

1) Take no action.

2) Refer the matter to staff to schedule as a future City Council agenda item.  Concurrence that staff time will be devoted to the item does not signify approval.

3) Take dispositive action only on time sensitive legislative matters if sufficiently noticed such that the public and Council have been provided sufficient information by the published agenda, and no formal published notice of a public hearing is required.


Name of Councilmember requesting referral: Councilmember Herrera Spencer


Date of submission to City Clerk (must be submitted before 5:00 p.m. on the Monday two weeks before the Council meeting requested): November 22, 2021


Council Meeting date: December 7, 2021


Brief description of the subject to be printed on the agenda, sufficient to inform the City Council and public of the nature of the referral:


Request that this referral be heard on the next City Council agenda as time is of the essence. City Council has received many emails requesting that City Council ensure that the zoning of Harbor Bay Club accurately reflects the current and only use of said property as a health club, and "specifically protecting it as recreational space (with a health club) in the City's General Plan."  Currently, over 1,100 have signed a petition asking for such.


However, a letter from the City's Planning, Building and Transportation Director Andrew Thomas, dated November 16, 2021, attached hereto, to a community member, Chris Aria, provides: 


"You are correct, the November draft Housing Element does not list or rely on the Harbor Bay Club to provide housing for the RHNA.  


However, based upon the recent public correspondence, it is pretty clear that we should all expect an application to be submitted very soon by a prospective buyer of the HB Club.  I believe that development application will include a proposal to maintain a private health club for members with a swimming pool and construct housing on the balance of the site.   I have not seen any applications, yet, but that is what the representatives of the HBC ownership are stating.   Once that application is received by the City, we will process it for Planning Board review and action.   I am sure the final decision regarding that site specific development application will ultimately end up at the City Council for final action.  They may approve it or they may deny it.   I don’t know what will happen.   But if they approve it, we will be able to count those units in the Housing Element.  If they deny it, then we will not count those units in the Housing Element.  Tough decision for the City Council, but pretty simple determination for the Housing Element.   We will just wait and see what happens..


The Harbor Bay Club site is a very different animal.  What if any zoning amendments are needed for the Harbor Bay Club should be tailored to the specific geography and specific City Council priorities for that specific site.   Those conversations will occur at the public hearings for the Harbor Bay Club application that we expect to receive in the near future."


Thus, Staff expects to receive a development application by a prospective buyer "very soon."  It is critical that the issue of any "zoning amendments" be brought to City Council as soon as possible and before any sale of the property.  Sadly, Staff's decision to wait to bring this issue to Council until there is a development application may in effect result in Staff making the decision of rezoning, clarifying the zoning, or allowing uses beyond the current and only use, as opposed to City Council, and put the developer in a potentially superior position than if the issue had been heard by Council prior to any sale.  It is imperative that this issue come to City Council immediately to allow City Council to decide and clarify with certainty to any buyer, the current owner, and the community allowable uses (i.e., what can be developed on the site and what cannot be, including housing and commercial uses) and the issue raised by community members of "specifically protecting it as recreational space (with a health club)."


Thank you for your consideration.


The City Council, at its July 25, 2020 Priority Setting Workshop, established the following 5 priorities for 2021:

1.                     Preparing Alameda for the future

2.                     Encouraging economic development across the Island

3.                     Supporting enhanced livability and quality of life, including addressing the housing crisis and homelessness

4.                     Protecting core services

5.                     Ensuring effective and efficient operations


Briefly describe which Council priority the subject falls under and how it relates:


These priorities were for the former Council, not the current Council.  Priorities 1 and 3.  It is critical that City Council determine zoning of parcels for City planning; this is a Council decision, not a Staff decision.