It's the first public meeting on the draft EIR for the former Alameda Naval Air Station. The draft was made public Sept. 3, and members of the public have until Oct. 21 to comment.
The 1,000-page document is available online (in chapters) on the City of Alameda website here and paper copies are available for reading at several locations around here. (See a list of locations here.)
The Alamedan website has published several articles on aspects of the draft EIR. You can check out their reports on cleanups of toxic waste here, potential traffic problems here and the effects of rising sea levels here.
The Planning Board will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in the City Hall council chambers, 2263 Santa Clara Ave. Doors will open at 6:45 p.m.
Anyone wishing to speak at the public hearing will need to fill out a speaker's slip at the meeting. Each speaker will be limited to a maximum of five minutes (or three minutes, if more than five speakers' slips are submitted).
City Planner Andrew Thomas and Jennifer Ott, chief operating officer for Alameda Point, provided the following summary of the draft EIR in a memo to the Planning board.
EIR SECTIONS The DEIR includes a series of chapters that address the following environmental topics:
- Land Use
- Population, Employment, and Housing
- Transportation (including impacts on bicycle, transit, and pedestrian levels of service)
- Cultural Resources (including impacts on historic resources and the NAS Historic district)
- Biological Resources (including impacts on the endangered species and the Least Tern colony)
- Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
- Geology, Soils, and Seismicity
- Hydrology and Water Quality
- Hazardous Materials
- Utilities and Service Systems
- A summary chapter (Chapter 2) that summarized the impacts and mitigations for each environmental topic.
- A detailed project description is provided in Chapter 3. In summary, the Alameda Point project evaluated in the draft EIR is designed to accommodate a mix of land uses, including approximately 5.5 million square feet of employment uses in existing and newly constructed buildings, 1,425 residential units, including 267 existing single family and multifamily housing units, over 2|1013|0 acres of parks and open space, and maritime and recreational uses in and adjacent to the Seaplane Lagoon. The new housing units will be distributed within existing vacant and newly constructed multi-family and single-family buildings. While it is anticipated that Alameda Point will be developed in phases over the next 20 to 30 years, the pace of redevelopment will depend on economic conditions, completion of the Navy's remaining environmental remediation activities, property conveyance, and other factors.
- An alternatives chapter (Chapter 5) that evaluates alternatives to the proposed project that might reduce or avoid environmental impacts associated with the project. The alternatives chapter is also designed to inform future decisions about potential changes to the project plans.
- Incentivize future Alameda Point residents and employers to use transportation alternatives to the single-occupancy vehicle,
- Generate funds for alternative modes of transportation (shuttles, buses, ferry and/or water taxi services, car share services, etc.), and
- Facilitate and support a transit oriented development at Alameda Point.
Noise (Chapter 4.G) Due to increased construction activity and traffic related to development facilitated by the Alameda Point Project there are potentially significant and unavoidable noise impacts. Offsite noise impacts related to the increase automobile traffic can be reduced or avoided by a successful TDM program.
Cultural Resources (Chapter 4.D) The development facilitated by the Alameda Point Project would potentially have a significant and unavoidable adverse impact on historic resources within the Historic District. The NAS Historic District has over 100 contributing elements, including buildings, landscape features, open taxiways, open water areas, and view corridors. The Alameda Point Project will facilitate development that includes:
- Physical changes within the Historic District in order to address sea level rise, infrastructure improvements, and address health and safety issues;
- Alternations and possible demolition of certain contributing buildings and/or features that may not be economically feasible to rehabilitate and reuse, especially considering the cost of installing new infrastructure to support these buildings (many of the buildings have be vacant for over 15 years); and
- Modifications and improvements to the Seaplane Lagoon and adjacent taxiways (contributors to the District) to accommodate future ferry services, a marina, waterfront recreational activities, and waterfront visitor serving development (i.e. restaurants, kayak rentals, etc.).
Biology and Hazardous Materials The Draft EIR includes extensive discussion and analysis of the potential impacts on biological resources (species and habitat) and hazardous materials. The draft EIR finds that all of these potential impacts can be mitigated through appropriate procedures and standards to be implemented with the project.
Project Alternatives CEQA requires that an EIR describe and evaluate a range of reasonable alternatives that would reduce environmental impacts associated with the project. Based upon comments received at the Planning Board scoping sessions and the CEQA requirements for alternatives evaluation, the draft EIR includes an evaluation of a range of alternatives. The analysis is designed to identify changes to the project that might be considered to minimize environmental impacts and identify any additional impacts that might be expected if certain changes to the project were considered in the future to accomplish other planning goals. The alternatives considered include:
- The No Project Alternative: This alternative considers the environmental impacts of continuing the existing uses on the site, which include 267 existing housing units and existing non-residential business leases with approximately 1,000 jobs. No construction of new housing units or new commercial development would occur under this alternative.
- The Preservation/Less Development Alternative: This alternative considers the environmental impacts of allowing some additional development, but not as much as the proposed Alameda Point Project and limiting that new development to the areas outside of the Historic District. This alternative would include a total of 1,000 housing units (733 additional units) and up to 6,000 jobs (5,000 additional jobs). Approximately 733 of the housing units would be created through new construction. Of the 5,000 new jobs, approximately half (2,500) of the new jobs would occur in new non-residential buildings and the other half would occur in exiting vacant or underutilized buildings. This alternative is specifically designed to avoid or reduce impacts in the Historic District. In this alternative, no new construction would be allowed within the Historic District.
- The General Plan Alternative: This alternative compares the environmental impacts of 500 more housing units (up to 1,928), but fewer jobs (6,000 instead of 9,000) than then proposed project. The development program reflects the development program from the 2003 Alameda Point General Plan Amendment.
- The Multifamily Alternative: The Multifamily Alternative includes the same amount of housing and jobs as the proposed Alameda Point Project, but the residential uses are organized differently on the property. Existing single family homes would remain, but all new residential units would be constructed in new multi-family structures or in buildings within the Historic District that would be adaptively reused for multifamily housing, such as the Bachelors Officers Quarters (BOQ) and Bachelors Enlisted Quarters (BEQ). This alternative is specifically designed to examine reduce transportation impacts associated with residential development.
- The Transit Mixed Use Alternative: This alternative examines the relative environmental impacts of creating a higher density mixed use development at Alameda Point. The alternative includes 3,400 units. The alternative maintains the 5.5 million square feet of residential use, but significantly increases the amount of retail development 1 million square feet. Office, manufacturing and other non-residential development is reduced to approximately 4.5 million square feet.
- High Density Alternative: This alternative is modeled on the plan contained in the 2009 Ballot Initiative for Alameda Point. It includes 4,841 housing units and 3.8 million square feet of commercial uses. This alternative was included at the request of speakers at the scoping sessions.
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