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Third housing project for Alameda’s waterfront gains support

ALAMEDA — A proposal to transform a chunk of the city’s northern waterfront along the Oakland Estuary with 589 homes and 160 slips for boats will soon go before the City Council.
Known as Encinal Terminals, the project also calls for seven acres of open space on the shoreline, including spots for a kayak launch and a water shuttle that could offer future residents a quick trip across the estuary to Jack London Square for easy access to BART and other public transportation.
Developer Tim Lewis Communities is behind the proposal for the 20-acre parcel at 1521 Buena Vista Ave., which is adjacent to the historic Del Monte warehouse, where the developer is also building up to 380 apartments, lofts and townhouses and at least 30,000 square feet of commercial and retail space.
Encinal Terminals, which most recently served as a storage spot for shipping containers from the Port of Oakland, also borders the 89 homes of what’s known as Marina Shores.
On Monday, the Planning Board recommended the City Council support the developer’s master plan, as well as take other steps for the project to move forward.
“It’s really the guidebook, the rule book,” City Planner Andrew Thomas said. “(These documents show) how things need to proceed to get to an ultimate development.”
The City Council will consider the project in September, Thomas said.
The Planning Board still must approve any design of the future homes, which would include 79 units designated as affordable, if the developer is successful with going forward with the project.
Rachele Trigueros, a policy manager with the Bay Area Council, said the Alameda project, which will feature a mix of rental and market-rate homes, can help ease the region’s housing crunch.
“It’s because the Bay Area is in one of the most severe housing crisis of this or any generation,” Trigeuros said. “It’s driving displacement. It’s driving poverty in the entire state. The reason for it is we have not been building enough housing.”
Board members Ronald Curtis and Sandy Sullivan said the waterfront site was too small for the number of homes proposed, and questioned whether the develop,ment’s plan sufficiently addressed parking and traffic. Both voted against recommending the council get the current proposals.
Increased traffic is inevitable result of large housing projects in the Bay Area, Thomas said.
“We can’t make traffic go away,” he said. “What we can do is to try and give people options, good options, so that they have other ways of getting around.”
Critics also said they did not like the height of some buildings under the developer’s proposals, including for up to 90 feet for a penthouse or a roof garden on some buildings.
The board also wanted the homes to be built with features that will allow them to serve someone with a disability or who is older, and not just for the features to be included as option for future home buyers.
Thomas said the project, which already has been the subject of a host of public and community meetings, still has a long way to go before any construction begins, including the need to secure approval for a master infrastructure plan.

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