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File #: 2022-1902   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: Historical Advisory Board
On agenda: 5/5/2022
Title: Public Hearing to Review and Comment on General Plan Annual Report and Draft Housing Element Update. (Continued from the meeting or April 7, 2022)
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - General Plan Annual Report, 2. Exhibit 2 - Draft Housing Element, 3. Exhibit 3 - Draft Zoning Amendments, 4. Item 7-A Public Comment as of May 5, 2022



Public Hearing to Review and Comment on General Plan Annual Report and Draft Housing Element Update. (Continued from the meeting or April 7, 2022)




To: Honorable Chair and Members of the Historical Advisory Board


From: Andrew Thomas, Planning, Building and Transportation Director




Every year, the City of Alameda prepares an annual report on the General Plan.   Staff provides these annual reports early in the spring of each year so that the community and City Council is able to use the annual reports to inform citywide priorities and budget decisions, which are typically made in June or July of each year.   Per State of California requirements, the Annual Report was sent to the Department of Housing of Community Development (HCD) by April 1, 2022.   The Annual Report will be reviewed by the City Council on April 19, 2022.


As described in the General Plan Annual Report, the City of Alameda has been working for over two years on an update of the Housing Element of the General Plan to accommodate the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) for the 2023-2031 Housing Element cycle.   This Housing Element public hearing provides an opportunity for the City Council and the public to review and comment on a draft Housing Element. 

At this time, staff is requesting that the Historical Advisory Board (HAB) review and comment on the Annual Report and review and comment on the draft Housing Element.   The Annual Report is attached as Exhibit 1.  The draft Housing Element is attached as Exhibit 2, and the draft zoning amendments required by the draft Housing Element are attached as Exhibit 3. 




Every city and county in the State of California is required to adopt and maintain an up-to-date General Plan, which establishes the local development and conservation policies necessary to guide physical development and protect the general health, safety and welfare of the community.  The General Plan should be an “integrated, internally consistent and compatible statement of policies for the adopting agency.” (Government Code section 65300.5.)  Government Code § 65400 et seq. requires that the City of Alameda annually review the adequacy of the General Plan and progress made toward meeting the City’s regional housing need allocation (the “RHNA”). The City Council adopted the Alameda 2040 General Plan on November 30, 2021.


The Housing Element must be updated every eight years to accommodate the local share of the regional housing need (more frequently if the jurisdiction does not have a certified housing element).  Under the Planning and Zoning Law (§§ 65000-66499.58), the City of Alameda has the “responsibility to ... make adequate provision for the housing needs of all economic segments of the community.” (§ 65580, subd. (d).) This is accomplished through the adoption, amendment, and implementation of a general plan for the community (§§ 65300-65302), including a mandatory housing element (§§ 65580-65589.11).   All 101 cities in the nine county Bay Area are concurrently working on an update to the Housing Element for their respective communities. 

Staff recommends the HAB review and comment on the General Plan Annual Report and Draft Housing Element Update.  No formal action from the HAB is needed.



General Plan and Housing Element Annual Report. The attached annual report (Exhibit 1) on the status of the General Plan provides an assessment of the City’s General Plan and progress made toward meeting Alameda’s regional housing need in 2021. As described in the Annual Report, Alameda’s housing production for the planning period between 2015 - 2023, established by the State, is projected to meet the housing need for total housing units (1,725), but not the need for housing for lower income households.   The Housing Element update currently underway will need to address the need for non-deed restricted and deed restricted affordable housing. 


Housing Element Update:  Over the course of the last two years, the Planning Board and staff have been working with the community to update the Housing Element for the next 2023 - 2031 planning period as required by State law.    As part of this community planning effort, the Planning Board has been holding a series of public workshops to review and comment on the draft zoning amendments that will be necessary to accommodate the RHNA and affirmatively further fair housing in Alameda, as required by State Housing Law.  The upcoming milestones in the Housing Element update public process will include the following schedule, which leads to a state-imposed deadline to complete and certify the Housing Element by January 31, 2023.  The schedule starts on Monday, April 4, 2022, with the City releasing the Draft Housing Element and Draft Zoning Amendments for a 30-day public review period.  Visit for the public release of the draft documents.  

                     April 4, 2022:  Start of 30-day public review period of Draft Housing Element.  

                     May:  Transmittal of draft Housing Element to HCD for 90-day review.

                     May+July:  Planning Board public hearings on draft Zoning Amendments. 

                     August or September: Planning Board public hearings to consider HCD comments.

                     October:  Planning Board public hearings and final recommendations to City Council on Draft Housing Element and Zoning Amendments.

                     November or December 2022:  City Council public hearings and action on draft Housing Element and Zoning Amendments. 

The April 2022 Draft Housing Element will include all of the content required for housing elements under state law, including:


                     A statement of goals and policies,

                      Programs to encourage and support housing development,

                     A site inventory showing where and how the City will accommodate the RHNA,

                     A review of the past Housing Element programs,

                     A fair housing analysis,

                     A housing conditions and needs analysis,

                     A housing constraints analysis, and

                     A housing resources analysis.


Site Inventory and Programs.  The draft Housing Element must identify lands that can be feasibly developed for housing during the 2023-2031 period to accommodate over 5,353 units, per State of California Government Code requirements. State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) guidelines require that the City provide a 15% to 30% buffer to avoid “no net loss”.  With a 20% “buffer”, the City’s 5,353 unit RHNA increases to approximately 6,400 units. 

The draft Housing Element accommodates the RHNA and a “buffer” of 20% as follows:

I.                     Housing Project Sites (2,198 units). The site inventory identifies opportunities for 2,198 units in nine projects on land currently zoned for residential development.

II.                     Alameda Point (1,482 units).  The Housing Element commits the City to constructing 1,482 residential units on 55 acres of City-owned land at Alameda Point zoned for residential use. 

III.                     Areas to be Up-Zoned. To accommodate the remaining units, the draft Housing Element includes programs to up-zone specific areas and districts of Alameda to encourage and/or permit additional housing.   The areas and districts include:


                     Shopping Centers (1,200 units):   A revised draft Shopping Center Overlay Zoning District was discussed at the January 10, 2022 Planning Board Workshop.  The new overlay district would be applied to four shopping centers comprising approximately 100 acres of land.   Based on communications with owners of the four shopping centers (South Shore, Harbor Bay, Alameda Landing, and Marina Village), staff estimates the realistic capacity of the four sites to be 1,200 housing units or approximately 150 units per year for 8 years.  Under the current zoning, these sites have produced no housing units annually, and amendments to the current C-2 zoning must occur to facilitate realistic housing development according to state housing law.   

                     Park Street, Webster Street and Neighborhood Stations (400 units):  Revised amendments to the CC-Community Commercial District were presented at the February 14, 2022 Planning Board workshop. To accommodate 400 units, similar amendments to the C-1, Neighborhood Business District and the NP, North Park Street Districts zoning text are also proposed.  Cumulatively, these three districts comprise approximately 90 acres of land already zoned for mixed use.  However, due to zoning constraints established in 1972 with the passage of Measure A, no new housing has been constructed on these mixed use corridors and sites since 1972.  The 400-unit realistic capacity (50 units per year) is based on a list of over 20 sites that staff believes represent housing opportunity sites.   (This estimate may be too optimistic given that staff has not yet had direct communication with more than a few of these property owners.)  

                     Residential Districts (1,120 units). The residential districts (R-1 through R-6) include over 2,522 acres of land.   Staff is still developing the draft ordinance amendments for the residential districts based upon the Planning Board’s March 14, 2022 workshop, but the draft Housing Element programs anticipate that over the next 8 years: 

o                     The R-1 through R-6 districts will continue to generate approximately 560 accessory dwelling units (ADUs) under the existing ADU ordinance   (approximately 70 per year).

o                     The R-1 District will generate approximately 72 SB 9 units (approximately 9 per year).   (This estimate may be too optimistic given that since the passage of SB 9 on January 1, 2022, the City has not received any SB 9 applications.)  SB 9 is a new state law that mandates cities across California allow duplexes and lots splits by right in single family zones.

o                     The City will rezone a vacant 4-acre site at 2199 Clement Avenue for residential use and accommodate at least 125 units if the zoning establishes a minimum residential density of 30 units per acre.  (The vacant waterfront site is immediately adjacent to the Boatworks property.  The current zoning prohibits residential uses on the site.)   

o                     The Alameda Unified School District will surplus 4 acres of land for residential use at either Thompson Field or the former Lum School site, which will result in at least 125 units if the sites are zoned for a minimum density of 30 units per acre.   The Lum School site is currently zoned R-1 and Thompson Field is currently zoned O, Open Space. 

o                     The City will amend the R-2 through R-3 Zoning Districts to permit multifamily housing, which will result in 238 additional units (approximately 30 per year).   Under the current zoning, the R-1 through R-6 Districts currently produce about one (1) unit per year in addition to ADUs.   

Because the zoning amendments include most zoning districts in the city, including the Park Street Historic District and other properties with historical elements, staff believes the HAB should be given opportunity to review and comment on the proposed zoning amendments.  The proposed zoning amendments would modify development standards such that there is larger developable envelope to accommodate residential units.  The amendments also identify specific types of residential and related uses to be allowed by-right per state housing law.  The proposed amendments do not affect the role of the HAB in the review of development projects that potentially affect historic resources.

For background information, additional Planning Board staff reports are available at the following links:

Jan. 10 - Proposed Shopping Center Multi-family Overlay District


Jan. 28 - Proposed Residential Zoning District Amendments


Feb. 14 - Proposed C-C Zoning Amendments (Park St and Webster St)


Feb. 28 - Housing Capacity at Alameda Point




Review and comment on the General Plan Annual Report and draft Housing Element. 



Respectfully Submitted:

Andrew Thomas, Planning, Building and Transportation Director

Allen Tai, City Planner




1.                     General Plan Annual Report

2.                     Draft Housing Element

3.                     Draft Zoning Amendments