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Is Calthorpe the new Copperfield?

Putting David Copperfield to shame, last week SunCal hired-gun planning guru Peter Calthorpe, before a live audience in Alameda City Council chambers and dozens watching at home on TV and the Internet, waved his hand and made 2,000 homes at Alameda Point just disappear.

In an exchange with Councilmember Doug deHaan, Peter Calthorpe conceded, with a wave of his hand, that SunCal had abandoned a previous proposal for 6,000+ homes at Alameda Point, including a Personal Rapid Transit system, in favor of the current 4,000+ home proposal that does not include PRT. In response to a question from Councilmember deHaan about high-density sites within the Alameda Point proposal, Mr. Calthorpe said “That was in the previous…there was a previous plan that had 6,000 units and a PRT (Personal Rapid Transit) and that has been abandoned.”

You can hear the exchange here: Peter Calthorpe makes 2,000 homes disappear or play it with an embedded player here:

Councilmember deHaan went on to question Mr. Calthorpe regarding his suggestion that the “uptown” area of Oakland was comparable to what he proposed for Alameda Point. Could Mr. Calthorpe provide any existing areas of Alameda as an example of the proposed 55 dwelling unit/acre (du/ac) high-density sites clustered around the ferry terminal at Alameda Point? He could not. Neither he nor City Staff had “done their homework” on that point to date, although it was requested at the previous City Council review of SunCal’s plan.

The other interesting point is that nobody on City Council even batted an eye at the revelation that SunCal and Calthorpe had abandoned their 6,000 home proposal with the “innovative” Personal Rapid Transit system that they had boasted about previously. But then, as you can hear at the end of the audio clip, Mayor Johnson had to step out of the meeting for a moment.

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