What’s New

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 >>>

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!

HBIA files their application with City Hall and reveals their site plans and plan narrative. Please post your comments below or email us your thoughts.

Ready to contact the City Council? Here’s a letter sent by Dave Foote, resident of the Main Island, on August 14.
Read it now >>
Send your own email (in 10 seconds or less) >>

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!)


17 thoughts on “What’s New

  1. I am with the majority of homeowners on Bay Farm Island in the opposition of Ron Cowan’s latest attempt to make more money at the expense of the people who live here. The Harbor Bay Club is a major feature of this part of Alameda and the detrimental repercussions of more housing on a dead-end road that has a school on it isn’t something any of us like to consider. We already face gridlock during commute hours because of how densely populated we are. PLEASE stop Ron Cowan from grabbing more, and listen to the people!

  2. Not only would Cowan’s plan cause a huge increase in traffic which would affect safety tremendously if an evacuation were necessary, it would ruin the entire nature of our communities. Add these points to the agreements made regarding the club and its future and Cowan’s business record, it’s a no brainer: why is this issue even an issue?

  3. I am a member of the club because off the feel off nature and watervieuw . if the club is
    moving and we have to play tennis under the exhaust off the planes
    …they would call that a health club ????

  4. Moments ago (11 July 2014 at 4:00 p.m.) I read both Cathy Leong’s and Mark Theiding’s letters to our local newspapers. Well done, Cathy and Mark. When do we order the T-shirts? I vote for red with white lettering: “You CAN fight City Hall” or “Harbor Bay Neighbors Fight Back” and then on the back “Join our Fight at: harborbay neighbors, etc. Just a thought.

  5. Thanks for the most recent update on the Harbor Bay club. I am one of the residents who thought that they had decided not to pursue it. Pretty manipulating efforts. I’m glad you clarified the whole issue. You should also make it clear to all elected officials that should Cowan get approval for this preposterous move the residents of Harbor Bay will be very focused on voting them out of office.

  6. To the Alameda City Council
    Do not change the zoning and make valuable land into a commercial enterprise. We elected you to do the right thing for Alameda. Converting the land for houses or a hotel will make traffic horrific. And if there is ever an emergency and people need to leave the island in a hurry because of the additional number of vehicles it will result in an increase in the number of causalities.
    Trusting you with our lives and those of our loved ones.
    Marianne Henderson

  7. I join with my Harbor Bay and Bay Farm neighbors in opposing Ron Cowan’s plan to move the Harbor Bay Club and build 80 homes on that land. Anyone who has been on Island Drive at morning commute time, just before Earhart School opens, as parents pick up children at the end of the school day, and commute time in the evening knows that it can take two to three times longer to get to the light and over the Otis Street Bridge. Adding more homes is ridiculous. Escape from our part of Alameda in any kind of disaster…earthquake, flood, fire…would result in a deadly traffic jam. Ironically, residents of those 80 homes would be the first to escape, leaving the rest of us to fend for ourselves.

  8. Great Article in today 10/3/13 in the Alameda Sun by Marilyn Moffit. Its ironic as I yet to see an artical in favor of this ridiculous plan.

  9. I don’t know anyone who agrees with Ron Cowan’s plan.I like the Harbor Bay club just the way it is and certainly would not welcome more traffic on Packet Landing.

  10. Please, City Council and Planning Board, DO NOT ALLOW Ron Cowan to do what he has proposed. The traffic is a nightmare now, and if he get’s his way, it will ruin life as we know it in our lovely community.

  11. We should make it absolutely clear to any city council member that this will be his or her last term in the council if he or she votes for the HBIA’s proposal.

    • We totally agree! The Harbor Bay Isle community is the biggest “voting block” in each election. Let’s all come together on this and be sure to get even more individuals to sign up on this web site. The “real negotiation ” on this is JUST beginning!

  12. Even if this proposal were a good one, which it most definitely is not, take look at the financial background of the developer. Several multimillion dollar loans all defaulted on, declaration of bankruptcy on many occasions, FBI subpoena during a corruption investigation, to name but a few. Not a record that should inspire confidence for a good outcome to this development.

  13. We bought at Cente Court with the idea of being in a quiet, safe community as we transisiton to our impending retirement years. At this point we are generally able to modify our hours in order to miss the traffic during school drop-offs. However, on occasion, we have gotten stuck in traffic as soon as we exit Centre Court– and traffic is bumper to bumper until we cross the bridge taking some 20 minutes extra to commute. Certainly with additional homes comes additional traffic. Additionally, we purchased here with the idea of joining the Club upon retirement as we’ll have time to use it. I inquired of the Harbor Bay realtor as to future plans for the Club and was advised it would be here “for many years to come” and I ” would certainly have ample time to use it”.

  14. this is not what we all bought into when moveing to harbor bay isle. I purchased my home with the asset of having the club next to my home. The density is allready high and this will be horrible.

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