By MARISA KENDALL : eastbayexpress – excerpt (includes active overview)
Massive building boom tears through city
LEEK NEW CONDOS rise up amid the graffiti-covered warehouses, artist’s studios and homeless encampments of West Oakland. Construction cranes dot the downtown skyline, and scaffolding-shrouded towers march down Broadway into Temescal.
An extraordinary residential building boom is shaking up Oakland, part of a transformation sweeping the Bay Area as market forces and political initiative combine to address the region’s desperate housing crisis.
“The city is being radically reconfigured — the whole Bay Area is,” said urban geography expert and UC Berkeley professor emeritus Richard Walker. “The Oakland we knew is not going to remain.”(more)
By Peter Hegarty : eastbaytimes – excerpt
ALAMEDA — A state commission has rejected a waterfront hotel planned for Bay Farm Island despite the city of Alameda having green-lighted the project.
The Feb. 16 decision by the San Francisco Bay Conservation & Development Commission means city officials cannot issue building permits for the 98-room hotel proposed for a vacant 1.5-acre parcel in the Harbor Bay Business Park near Oakland International Airport.
“Quite simply, the project is too large for the parcel, would significantly obstruct views of the bay and substantially reduce access to the shoreline,” said Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan, who also serves on the commission…
“No matter what they do, this project will not fit on this site,” resident Irene Dieter said. “It’s just not compatible with it.”…(more)
By Darwin BondGraham : eastbayextress – excerpt
The Oakland planning department quietly proposed zoning changes that would greatly benefit a politically connected developer in the heart of First Friday.
The proposed zoning changes would make it easier for Signature Development to build a large mixed-use project across the street from the company’s Hive development in Uptown.
The Oakland Planning and Building Department recently attempted to quietly push through changes to the city’s zoning code that would greatly benefit a politically connected developer who has acquired a big chunk of real estate in Uptown Oakland, right in the heart of First Friday, the Express has learned. Planning staffers buried the proposed zoning amendment in a six hundred-plus page document amid other proposed changes that they described as routine and neutral efforts meant only to “clean up” Oakland’s planning code. But the zoning change, which underwent no public scrutiny before the planning department recently proposed it, would greatly increase the value of property recently purchased by Signature Development Group, a major Oakland real estate company run by Michael Ghielmetti, and would make it easier to build a large development project between 24th and 25th streets near Broadway.
“There seems to be a blatant disregard for the community,” said Hiroko Kurihara, founder and director of the nonprofit 25th Street Collective, in an interview. “The zoning changes that were proposed at the last minute … left even members of the planning commission scratching their heads.”… (more)
The technique is described really well by someone who researched the methods used by SFMTA to illegally alter the parking policies while claiming they were not making any substantive changes. See details here: https://metermadness.wordpress.com/actions/
CEQA future tied to Oakland’s experience
By Joe Garofoli : SFGate.com – excerpt
Gov. Jerry Brown wants to loosen requirements on the state’s 43-year-old landmark environmental law and is willing to stare down his core backers in labor and environmental circles, in large part because of what he learned as mayor of Oakland more than a decade ago.
In 2001, frustrated with the pace of his plan to revive downtown Oakland by creating housing for 10,000 residents there, Brown won passage of a state law that would exempt certain parts of the city’s downtown from the California Environmental Quality Act, known as CEQA. Brown believed that the law, which requires public agencies to examine the impact of development projects on the environment, had been commandeered by NIMBYs and others who wanted to slow, if not stop, all development.
A decade later, Brown’s plan has worked in many parts of downtown Oakland. But some officials wonder how much of the area’s renaissance had to do with getting exemptions to the law… (more)