A Primer for Our Issue. This week The Alamedan wrote an exceptionally good article about our issue. The article presents some of our arguments against moving the Harbor Bay Club and compares them to what we know are Ron Cowan and Harbor Bay Isle Associates’ strongest arguments for moving the Club in order to build 80 to 160 new homes. The author of the article clearly shows he understands issues of development are equal parts what a developer wants to do and what a developer actually can do. That is a critical concept for our city leaders to understand. Read More >>
Are You Ready to Contact City Council? Let them know how you feel about keeping the Harbor Bay Club where it is. Tell Them What You Think >>
How About a Letter to the Editor? Here is where you can talk directly to the people that ned to know more about this issue. Shorter is better. Tell Them What You Think >>
You and Ron Cowan Have the Same Rights. One of the favorite scare tactics of Ron Cowan and Harbor Bay Isle Associates is the claim of an indisputable right to build more homes in Bay Farm. The only problem is their “right” does not apply to building more homes. It applies to the processing of their re-zoning request. They are entitled to expedited processing and that is all. Still, Cowan and HBIA use that liberal interpretation as a blunt instrument to influence those who want to believe the company would not mislead them. Unfortunately, not all of our city leaders understand this issue. That means it is up to us to educate them. Read More >>
Harbor Bay Neighbors Want A New Club, Too! So, Ron Cowan’s Harbor Bay Isle Associates are it again. Their recent campaign to the masses brings up a number of points that defy logic and disrespect intelligent people. Enough is enough! Harbor Bay Neighbors is on record for SUPPORTING a new Club. The difference is that we insist the Club is renovated or rebuilt at its current location – within the Harbor Bay Isle residential development. Read More >>
Facts are Facts. The Harbor Bay Club has a long, well-documented connection to the Harbor Bay Isle Residential Development. From the very beginning, the Club was a center piece of the development and a key component of Harbor Bay Isle as proposed by Ron Cowan and the company that eventually became Harbor Bay Isle Associates. As a result, the City of Alameda has historically taken a very unambiguous stand on the purpose of the Harbor Bay Club. Harbor Bay Neighbors conducted a thorough search of documents related to the Harbor Bay Club at the City’s Planning Department. Read all about our findings and view the supporting documentation here.
Airplane Traffic at the Proposed Club. Ron Cowan and his Harbor Bay Isle Associates claim to have spent years and years searching for the right location to relocate the Harbor Bay Club. So why in the world would they even suggest a location where aircraft typically turn at low altitudes while approaching or departing the runway? The risks include uncontrolled aircraft crashes and excessive noise. The Alameda County Airport Land Use Commission (ALUC) identified the risk to the city’s Planning Department in late 2013, according to a copy of the email obtained by Harbor Bay Neighbors. Specifically, the majority of the outdoor recreation area – tennis courts, kids pools, etc. – are in Safety Zone 3 – Inner Turning Zone. The Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan from 2010 advices avoiding “non-residential uses having moderate or high usage intensities” including shopping centers and fast food restaurants. It also prohibits hospitals and nursing homes. But the outdoor facilities for a club with (allegedly) 3,800 to 4,000 member club? It’s OK with Cowan and HBIA. You can view the email here.
Update from Harbor Bay Neighbors. A lot has happened since we last communicated in November. HBN Supporters were elected Mayor and Vice Mayor. Alameda is looking for a new city manager and the chief lobbyist for Ron Cowan’s Harbor Bay Isle Associates resigned after the November election. Unfortunately, other things remain the same. Read More >>
Give Thanks, Ms. Spencer … by Robert Sullwold, Alameda Merry-Go-Round, November 28, 2014. Read More >>
As Bay Farm Goes… by Robert Sullwold, Alameda Merry-Go-Round, October 18, 2014. Read how Bay Farm voters can influence City elections.
Harbor Bay Neighbors Election Flyer – We recently interviewed all the candidates for City Council. Dozens of volunteers (thank you!) distributed over 5,000 flyers that summarize the candidates’ positions on the two critical issues that affect our community:
1) Preserving Harbor Bay Isle’s 30-year old Master Plan, retaining established recreational space at the Harbor Bay Club site;
2) Creating a permanent closure at the end of Island Drive, reducing traffic and promoting safety in our neighborhoods. Read the Flyer Now >>
Bay Farm Residents Seek Voice at City Hall. How much longer will we lack representation? We care about decisions at City Hall and how they impact us. Read More >>
Cowan DOES NOT have the option to move the Club. Harbor Bay Neighbors recently discovered the “Harbor Bay Isle Homeowner’s Manual,” which was written by HBIA and given to all initial homebuyers. This document states that the Club is for the benefit of the Community and if Cowan no longer wants to operate it, he may either SELL it or TRANSFER OWNERSHIP to another entity. It does NOT give him the option to MOVE the Club. Read the Document >>
City Affirms Land Swap! Research by City staff confirms Cowan swapped open space for the 10-acre Club. This means that the Club would not exist today if Cowan had given residents the open space that was planned for within each of our neighborhoods. It also reaffirms that the Club is not a “portable” entity since it replaces open space within the confines of a PUD. By agreeing to the 1976 swap, Cowan inextricably tied his ownership of the Club land to its continual use as a Community recreational facility. Read the City document >>
BREAKING NEWS: Cowan Pulls Application for Current Club Site
Monday, March 10, 2014
HBIA has dropped its application to build homes or a hotel/conference center on the site of the current Harbor Bay Club. However, the company is asking the city to speed approvals on its proposal to build a new fitness club on North Loop Road. However, any decision on the business park parcel is a defacto decision on the current Club parcel. The application for a new Club CANNOT BE SEPARATED from a proposal for the current Club site. These two projects are inextricably linked and must be considered together to best serve the interests of our community.
Read more here >>>
Tell City Officials to refuse to separate the applications >>>
REQUEST TO DENY HBIA’s APPLICATION
On March 3, 2014, Harbor Bay Neighbors formally requested the City of Alameda Planning Board immediately reject Cowan’s application to move Harbor Bay Club out of our community and build 80 to 160 houses on the current Club site.
What is the reasoning for our request? Changing the zoning of the current Club property from “commercial/recreation” to “residential” requires a substantial change to the City of Alameda General Plan. The HBIA proposal fails to meet ANY of the requirements to change the City’s General Plan.
Read more here >>>
Tell City Representatives What You Think >>>
Will Cowan close the Harbor Bay Club if he isn’t allowed to move it?
NO! HBIA is threatening this as a scare tactic. Here’s the TRUTH:
Harbor Bay Neighbors have found that Cowan rolled a $6 million loan against the Club from 2008 into a $7 million loan in July 2013. Despite the big loan payments, the Club is still generating a sizable income stream for HBIA. Plus, Cowan has millions of dollars worth of equity in the Club, which he would hardly walk away from by going out of business. No one with any financial sense would be so fiscally irresponsible as to default on a profitable a business like this one, especially a multi-millionaire developer.
Read all the facts >>
Tell City Hall What You Think >>>
Read the loan documents from 2008 and 2013.
Errr… now Cowan wants the City to consider a HOTEL/CONFERENCE Center??? HBIA has requested the EIR includes consideration for a 212-room hotel/conference center as an alternative to the 80 homes, referencing the “quiet, retreat-like setting” (unlike the business park with the planes overhead!). The hotel complex plan consists of 11 buildings with an 8,000 sq. ft. restaurant/banquet hall; 9,500 sq. ft. conference center and… yes, a 3,000 sq. ft. fitness center, complete with outdoor pool and tennis courts. Huh? HBIA says the site can’t sustain a new Club, yet all the components are in the hotel plans…
See the plan here [Alameda Sun] >>
Read The Neighbors Response [Alameda Journal] >>
Send your comments to City officials >>
The City of Alameda put forth a Notice of Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report and an Initial Study for public comment on what should be included in the EIR. THANK YOU to our supporters who packed the Planning Board meeting on October 28 and shared their opinions. The public comment period is now closed. The consultant hired by the City will now work on completing the EIR.
Read the Comments We Submitted >>>
Harbor Bay Neighbors Issues Press Release, Makes Presentation to CHBIOA Master Board. On September 25, 2013 over 80 HBI homeowners assembled at the Community Board meeting to express their opposition to the Cowan/HBIA proposal. Tim Coffey, spokesperson for Harbor Bay Neighbors, presented historical documents revealing Cowan was allowed to build additional homes on Harbor Bay acreage originally designated as recreation space. The City of Alameda granted HBIA the right to swap 44 acres for a 10-acre Harbor Bay Club under the provision that “the purpose of the Harbor Bay Club is and shall continue to be to provide quality recreation facilities for the residents of Harbor Bay Isle residential development.”
Read the Press Release>>
Read the Club Timeline Presentation>>
It is unclear whether the CHBIOA Master Board understands their legal obligation to maintain home values, retain our quality of life, and represent HBI homeowners. It falls on us to continue to remind them!
If you belong to a Homeowners Association, Click Here to let your Board of Directors know you support Harbor Bay Neighbors. (It’ll take you just 10 seconds—honest!)