I can’t wait for the elections to be over. I miss writing about the City Council. Anyway, quickly, here are some highlights of what you’ll be missing if you don’t tune into KTOP tonight:
- Zoning Update: minor edits (PDF!) to the zoning code, none of which interest me all that much, but one of which got some people all worked up. Under the current zoning, to build a three unit project in an R-36 or R-40 zone, you need a Major Conditional Use Permit. Ridiculous! Staff proposed amending the code so that the need for a Major Conditional Use Permit would be triggered at 4 units instead of 3, claiming “This increased threshold better reflects the intent of these zones.”
R-40, FYI, is the “garden apartment residential zone,” an according to the chapter (Can’t link directly, but it’s 17.22.010) “is intended to create, preserve, and enhance areas containing a mixture of single or two family dwellings and garden apartments in spacious settings for urban living.” The R-36 zone (17.20.010) “is intended to foster the development of small lots that are less than four thousand square feet in size and/or less than forty five feet in width in desirable settings for urban living.”
When the changes went before CED, the committee changed this aspect of the plan at the request of anti-development activists so that we will continue requiring a Major Conditional Use Permit for 3 unit buildings in these zones. Final passage of the ordinance is tonight.
- Development appeal. A Council meeting just never feels complete without one of these. The proposal is to build a 115 unit building of affordable senior housing on the corner of MacArthur and High Street. This fight has been dragging on forever. The project has been significantly altered in response to community objection, from an original plan for a 70 foot building with no retail to 60 foot (at the highest point) building with retail space.
Under the General Plan, the site is designated Neighborhood Center Mixed Use, which would permit 156 units, so the project is actually well below maximum density under the General Plan. The old zoning, which we’re in the process of replacing, would have allowed 91 units, although the Planning Code has a provision allowing a 75% greater number of units with a CUP in the case of senior housing, so the existing zoning for this lot would actually be 159 units.
Anyway, the Planning Commission approved the project in February, and CRADL (Commercial & Retail Attraction for the Laurel) has, naturally, appealed the decision.
Why? Well, because (PDF!) “the location is horrible, the economic fallout for the citizens of Oakland is significant and morally the project comes very close to nothing more than a land scam with negative impacts for the prospective elderly residents.” They complain that because the building is for affordable housing, it will deprive the City of necessary property tax revenues and that it would be better for the City to have this lot remain vacant. Also because of “traffic, noise, and air quality.” The Council will deny the appeal, although it’s possible they’ll request modifications to the project.
- Other stuff of note that I don’t have time to write about right now, but hopefully next week: $50,000 (PDF!) to establish a Food Policy Council for Oakland and $658,455 (PDF!) to have the Cty Attorney’s office prosecute misdemeanors.
And of course, I seem to be maintaining my perfect record of broken blogging promises, and am unlikely to be able to post about the D1 School Board or Downtown Lake Merritt Forum today. Tomorrow, tomorrow! Also, I have a bunch of comments I need to respond to, and I’ll do that tomorrow, too. Also, in case you’re not a regular reader of Oakbook, I wrote a profile of Patrick McCullough over there yesterday people may want to check out.