Oak to Ninth Development a Step Closer to Severing Bay Trail

photo credit: Oaklandnorth.net

signing ceremonySeptember 15, 2010 Update:
Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, stepping in while Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is on a trade mission in Asia, signed approval of a state land swap at a news conference at Estuary Park, an agreement that precludes completion of the Bay Trail in Oakland by opening the shoreline for development. Read the full article:

Next Up: Hearing at the Bay Conservation & Development Commission (details soon)

The State Lands Commission approved the land swap in June, removing a public trust designation from 8.7 acres of land within the proposed development project – land that previously could be used only for public benefit. The port will replace those public trust lands with similarly sized industrial parcels at the former Oakland Army Base.

Oakland Harbor Partners LLC, a partnership between developers Signature Properties and Reynolds and Brown, received city approval for plans to build a mix of 3,100 market-rate and affordable residential units and 200,000w square feet of new retail and commercial space on waterfront land between Oak Street and Ninth Avenue, south of Jack London Square. The 64-acre project will include two renovated marinas and more than 31 acres of parks, sports fields and public open space and will take more than a dozen years to complete.

The Tribune quoted Oakland Vice Mayor and Mayoral Candidate Jean Quan, “Many years of negotiations and discussions have gone into this project,” who spoke at the news conference Tuesday, September 14, 2010. “This is the next important development in Oakland.”

While approval of the land swap from the governor’s office is a step forward, the project must still clear other hurdles before breaking ground, including approval by the Bay Conservation & Development Commission, which is expected to take up the matter later this year. The hearings of the Bay Conservation & Development Commission could be our last chance to regain public access to the shoreline and ensure completion of the Bay Trail in Oakland. Look for more updates soon.

June 2010 Update:
The Oakland Tribune is closely following the Oak to Ninth Street Housing Development and the challenges being raised by thousands of concerned Oakland residents at their loss of shoreline access and completion of the Bay Trail thru Oakland.

Oakland Tribune.

January 9, 2009 Update:
Public Hearing Announcement Tuesday, January 20, 2009 in the City Council Chambers, One Frank Ogawa Plaza, 7:00 p.m.

EBBC has participated in lawsuits to protect bicyclist safety and improve access in the vicinity of the proposed Oak to Ninth development. The project is adjacent to the existing Embarcadero bikeway–a part of the regional Bay Trail bikeway that connects Oakland and Alameda bicycle commuters with downtown Oakland and Lake Merritt BART. Traffic generated by the project would significantly degrade bicycle and pedestrian safety along the route and at many nearby intersections.

In fact, many of the “traffic mitigations” proposed for the project would only serve to conduct more cars and trucks to the Oakland Waterfront and thereby worsen bike/ped access and safety!

Although the immense project would be close to numerous jobs and schools, safe bike/ped access across I-880, ramp traffic, or the main-line Union Pacific Railroad would also not be built as a condition of the project.

Alameda Superior Court determined that the EIR and Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program was inadequate. The Court ordered that the EIR certification be set aside and project approval suspended. EBBC and others find the Revisions to the Analysis for the EIR as required by the Court to be inadequate. Look at other cities with a waterfront and then try to imagine how this giveaway and paltry mitigations would lead to a public Oakland Waterfront. It’s Oaklandish!

Please review the above documents and the recently posted Responses to Comments before sharing your concerns with the Oakland Council as they consider whether to certify the revised EIR.

April 2007 Update:

Today’s Montclarion presents a letter from the attorney representing EBBC
and other groups in our lawsuit against the city of Oakland.

Here’s the text:

Staff pushed council to decide too hastily
By Stuart Flashman

It is unfortunate, but not surprising, that Oakland City Attorney John Russo has chosen to blame the Oak to Ninth Referendum Committee for the problems he has with the referendum petition. Shifting the blame to someone else is a common political ploy to avoid taking responsibility for one’s mistakes; and mistakes by the city staff and Russo’s own office are the real culprit behind the objections Russo has raised to the petition.

Russo complains that the version of the ordinance circulated in the petition was not the final version approved by the City Council. He’s half-right. It
certainly was not the final version of the ordinance that now sits in the city clerk’s files, but it was the version of the ordinance presented to and given final approval by the City Council on July 18, 2006.

The basic problem here stems from Russo allowing the City Council to consider and purportedly approve an ordinance that was not, in fact, ready for “prime time.”

For whatever reason, the city staff pushed through the City Council an ordinance that was still in draft form and under revision by the staff. As presented to the council on first reading on June 20, the ordinance did not
even have its associated development agreement attached to it. Bear in mind that this was at the public hearing on the ordinance – where the public was expected to understand and comment on the development agreement and its terms. Even at the second reading of the ordinance on July 18, Russo admits that the development agreement was still in draft form, and some exhibits had apparently not yet even been completed. Nevertheless, Russo allowed the council to consider and purportedly give final approval to the ordinance.

What the referendum petition presented to the Oakland voters was exactly what the staff presented to the Oakland City Council (and the public) on July 18. After that meeting, the city staff, apparently including Russo’s
office, continued to modify the documents to come up with a “final” version, but by the city clerk’s own admission, that version was not even submitted to her office until July 27 – nine days after it had supposedly been approved by the council. No wonder the referendum committee used the earlier version. If it had waited for the final version to appear in the city clerk’s office, the 30-day circulation period would have been cut by a
third!

Russo now proposes a “legislative fix” to protect petition circulators from losing time due to such delays. The committee would suggest that a different, and less complicated, solution is in order. The City Council
should not be considering legislation until it is ready for all to see in final form. That is what’s really needed to preserve transparency in government, and to protect the citizens’ right of referendum.

Stuart Flashman is an Oakland attorney. He represents the Oak to Ninth Referendum Committee in its lawsuit challenging the City of Oakland’s rejection of the referendum petition. He can be reached at stu@stuflash.com
or at 510-652-5373.

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