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Proposed Island High Project Debacle Reverberates

Last Friday, the local print newspaper ran a correction to its previous week’s editorial about what a bad idea it was to move forward with a proposed 36-unit apartment complex for the former Island High School site. Evidently some members of the planning board were miffed.

The correction ran as follows:

“The editorial that ran Aug. 8 contained some incorrect information. The Planning Board did not recommend approval of Warmington Homes’ proposal to build a 36-unit low income apartment complex at the former Island High site. The Planning Board only recommended the City Council allow Warmington to build five of its 10 affordable homes slated for Grand Marina at the Island High site if the property eventually is rezoned as the location of affordable housing for school district employees. The proposal for a 36-unit low-income apartment complex came up at a meeting Warmington held for Island High neighbors after the Planning Board meeting and was never considered by the Planning Board.”

Judging from comments made at the August 11 Planning Board meeting, it looks like it was Board member Marilyn “Ezzy” Ashcraft who took it up the editor at the local newspaper. However – while, technically, the Planning Board did not approve a 36-unit apartment complex at the June 23rd meeting, it’s pretty ridiculous for them to argue they didn’t know what was coming from the evidence at hand.

o David Day of Warmington Homes can be heard on tape of the June 23rd meeting addressing the Planning Board several times making statements to the effect of “Yes, we’d build the 9 affordable units from the transfer of homes from Grand Marina, but we’d like to build many, many more.”

o The proposed affordable housing agreement between Warmington Homes and the CIC presented to the Planning Board for the June 23rd meeting clearly stated a proposed development of between 16 and 36 units of housing for the Island High site. Please see the attached excerpt from the agreement and the link to the agreement from the June 23rd packet.

o The Planning Board discussed the CIC agreement at length with City Staff during the June 23rd meeting and made suggestions that were carried to the CIC as recommended changes to the Warmington Homes – CIC agreement in the August 5th packet for the CIC. The City Staff letter to the CIC clearly states “The Planning Board also recommended two changes to the Affordable Housing Agreement: …..”

o Subsequent to the June 23rd meeting, after the Planning Board gave Warmington Homes the approval to transfer the affordable units to the Island High site – and tacit approval of the affordable housing agreement clearly stating 16 to 36 homes, Warmington Homes, surely with some confidence, and aided and abetted by a least three City of Alameda Planning Department and Redevelopment Services staff, as well as AUSD Board member Mike McMahon and City Council candidate Tracy Lynn Jensen, held a “public meeting” wherein they presented the 36-unit apartment complex to neighborhood residents as fait accompli.  

It’s absurd for the Planning Board to pretend they were shocked – SHOCKED! – as they did at the July 28th Planning Board meeting that Warmington Homes was proposing a 36-unit apartment complex. It’s ridiculous for the Planning Board to pretend they didn’t know they were moving forward a proposal for an apartment complex of up to 36-units. It is disingenuous at best, for the Planning Board to assert they weren’t approving in some form a 36-unit apartment complex.

Watch for a re-cap from City Staff of the Island High debacle to come before the Planning Board at a future meeting.

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