In March 2014 HBIA withdrew their application for developing the existing Club site due to vehement community opposition to rezoning the site for houses. HBIA is now attempting an ‘end run’ to build a new Club in the Business Park that ignores community input and undermines the transparent spirit of the application process. It is clear that a decision on their current application is also a de facto decision regarding the future of the current Club property. The two sites are inextricably linked and their use should be submitted as ONE proposal so the community has an opportunity to fully consider the implications of any decision.
City officials are obligated by State law to consider the effects of HBIA’s plans for BOTH sites on the community, and fully consider the implications—both legal and ethical—of HBIA’s ultimate intention, which is to build more houses on the current Club site.
7 Reasons Why the HBIA Proposal is Bad for Our Community
Tell City Officials Why You Oppose the HBIA Proposal
1. IT CONVERTS A COMMUNITY ASSET TO A DEVELOPER ENTITLEMENT.
Historical documents confirmed by City staff state that HBIA was allowed to build additional homes on acreage originally designated as recreation space.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.”
The Club would not exist today if Cowan had given residents the open space that was planned for within each of our neighborhoods. As a result, the Club is not a “portable” entity because 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. Therefore, removing the Club from its current location violates homeowner’s property rights to a recreational facility within the Community of Harbor Bay Isle.
2. IT VIOLATES THE SANCTITY OF AN ESTABLISHED PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT.
The Community of Harbor Bay Isle was designed and approved by the City as a PUD, which provides the City with all the advantages associated with a long-term land use plan, reduces construction costs for the developer, and protects buyers/residents from encroachment.
• Changing a completed PUD is contrary to the very concept of a PUD, which is to provide a known balance of residential, commercial and recreational land use. Changing a PUD after completion upsets this balance.
• Removing an amenity from a completed PUD is inequitable to residents who purchased homes at Harbor Bay Isle. A breach of contract by the City may constitute fraud and will likely result in protracted legal action initiated by homeowners who were misled when buying their homes.
• Sets a dangerous precedent for PUDs in the City. What is to stop owners of similar properties, such as Harbor Bay Landing (the sole shopping center on Bay Farm Island) from razing their commercial properties because they can make more money by building houses? The City should not support removing needed community amenities to satisfy a developer’s demands.
3. THE BUSINESS PARK PARCEL DOES NOT PROVIDE ADEQUATE ACCESS.
Harbor Bay residents—those the Club is specifically designated to serve—and their children now walk, bike and skateboard to the Club along safe lagoon paths. There is no direct access by car, foot, or bicycle from Harbor Bay Isle to the proposed Club site on North Loop Road. Harbor Bay residents would be required to drive up to 3.5 miles down Maitland Drive or Aughinbaugh Way to the North Loop Road site, increasing traffic in these residential neighbourhoods. Putting more people into cars is inconsistent with State mandates as well as the City and HBI master plan to promote alternative forms of transportation.
To “solve” this problem, HBIA will likely ask the City to continue Island Drive into the Business Park, a proposal that is contrary to previous agreements with residents to divert Business Park traffic away from residential neighborhoods by constructing Harbor Bay Parkway. Additionally, the intersection of Island/Otis Drives is already a traffic nightmare during commute hours. Designating Island Drive as a major route into the Business Park would make a bad situation even worse.
4. MOVING THE CLUB TO THE BUSINESS PARK SITE REDUCES OPPORTUNTIES FOR JOB GROWTH AND TAX DOLLARS.
The Harbor Bay Business Park parcel is zoned “commercial,” and when fully-developed, will result in the creation of new, long-term jobs for Alamedans, as well as more local tax dollars than housing generates. Shifting existing Club jobs to the Business Park has no net effect on job growth and in fact reduces the opportunity for job growth in the Harbor Bay Business Park. The City of Alameda is already struggling to create a healthy balance between jobs and housing. (Only the City of Piedmont has a lower ratio of jobs to housing in Alameda County.) It is not in the general welfare of the community for the City to approve a project that reduces job growth and reduces City funding.
5. THE CITY DOES NOT NEED MORE HOUSING.
Alameda has satisfied the housing element of its General Plan and is in compliance with State requirements to provide adequate housing for its community. Changing zoning of the Harbor Bay Club property to entitle additional housing development on a high-density cul de sac, would not only perpetuate an imbalance between commercial and residential land use in Alameda and undermine the integrity of the General Plan, but would inequitably favor the interests of the developer over the general welfare and interests of the community.
6. “ALTERNATIVE” PROPOSAL DEFIES COMMON SENSE. HBIA’s alternative proposal for the existing Club property is for a 212-room hotel and conference center with 11 buildings and an 8,000 sq. ft. restaurant/banquet hall. This “alternative” is grossly inappropriate for the existing Club parcel under any conceivable scenario and defies common sense. A transient population yards from a large elementary school would create a public nuisance and is vehemently opposed by Alameda citizens.
7. STOP SQUANDERING CITY AND COMMUNITY RESOURCES. HBIA has continuously presented our community with ill-conceived proposals that result in a massive waste of City resources on public hearings, community communications, research, and potential legal litigation/costs. Furthermore, there is no overriding economic consideration that justifies approving HBIA’s proposals.
The City has serious, critical issues regarding important developments that require their full attention and will provide a real benefit to the City and its citizens such as Alameda Point, the waterfront areas, sea-level rise, and job growth. It is not in the best interest of the community for City resources to be wasted on an ill-conceived plan that clearly offers no public benefit.