Tom Thurston: CCE PAC meeting April 6–come early and speak freely.

The most interesting element to the upcoming meeting of the Central City East Redevelopment Project Area Committee (CCE PAC) on April 6 (Paton University cafeteria) is actually not officially part of the meeting at all.

PAC members along with anyone else interested will gather at 5:30 by Council districts. CEDA staff will also be available for these gatherings. While the PAC meetings often are focused on very specific projects and proposals, these gatherings will give the various sub-areas to focus on their goals and priorities. They can hone their goals and make sure staff understands them and is working on them. Staff can tell the groups about possible upcoming proposals or opportunities. Community members who find the regular PAC meetings a bit long (6:30 to 8:30) and removed from their immediate interests might get more out of just attending these less structured gatherings. And they would attend these gatherings as participants rather than just observers.

On the official agenda first is the District’s vision document. This has been over a year in the making and should be finalized in May. When developers log on to the to see how they might work with Redevelopment, they will find this document. Proposals consistent with the document will be encouraged.

We have two funding requests. First, the Business Development Division of CEDA is asking for $54,000 to help fund the business assistance center (PDF). This will be a centralized technical assistance center to help people who want to open or expand a business in Oakland. They will assist in the processes for permits and licenses required by the Fire Department, Planning and Zoning, Building Services and Business Licenses. CCE is being asked to fund about 10% of the costs of this program.

Also asking for funding is the Planning Department. They have received a $245,000 grant for CalTrans for planning Transit Oriented Development along the International Blvd. corridor. CalTrans is requiring $40,000 in matching funds for this grant. The proposal is that the Coliseum Redevelopment District provide $30,000 and CCE provide $10,000.

In a non-voting item, Devon Reiff and Neil Gray will discuss the Zoning Update as it affects CCE. More controversial, they also included in the information packet information on the housing update. Their packet gives the vision of housing through 2014. The “vision” seems to be that as the population of Oakland increases, we should have the same mix of incomes as we have had in the past. Information on the city’s housing element plan can be found here. A map there shows where they believe the housing (including low-income) opportunity sites are.

Tom Thurston is an East Oakland resident and Chair of the Central City East Redevelopment Area PAC.