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Alameda City Council Members Express Mixed Views on Encinal Zoning Application

By Erica Madison

“I’m not one for stealing”, said Council member Matarrese at a Dec. 1, 2009, City Council meeting.

Matarrese was referring to a zoning report given by Mr. Goldman. Goldman stood before the City Council on Dec. 1, 2009, as a liaison between the zoning administration and  Encinal warehouse owner, Mr. Chengben.Wang.

1523 and 1501 Entrance Road/Buena Vista Avenue, (also referred to as Encinal Terminals and Del Monte Warehouse) is going to be redeveloped. Part of the process of redeveloping the area is changing the zoning from a manufacturing to a mixed use zoning district.

On Sept. 28, 2009, Planning Services Manager Andrew Thomas went before the Planning Board to ask for a zoning text amendment that would allow the space to become a mixed use district. The Board granted the zoning text amendment, but the terms of the use are not renter friendly.

Currently the area is being used by ConGlobal industries, however the company will be transitioning to Oakland within the next ten months.

Goldman went before the City Council on Dec. 1, to ask the council members to change the permit usage terms in the interim of creating a master plan for redevelopment.

“We want people to have the option of long term and short term use permits,” said Goldman.

Currently use permits are only given on a short term basis. The reason for this is that because the City plans on redeveloping the area, it doesn’t want to tie up the space once a master plan has been developed.

Council members were concerned with how the area would be used.

“The vision for the master plan is important, because it is all intertwined,” said Vice-mayor deHaan.

deHaan pointed out that the use of the space would impact Alameda Point.

This was emphasized by the fact that Mr. Wang previously asked for a fifteen year use permit but was not granted one.

“We have earmarked the area for a supermarket,” said Vice mayor deHaan.

Councilmember Tam had a different vision for the space. Tam mentioned that many people wanted the area to become an Asian market place.

Mayor Beverly Johnson as well as Councilmember Matarrese were concerned the new use of the district would interfere with [Oakland] Chinatown.

City Manager Ann Marie Gallant, cut the discussion short by reminding everyone that the master plan had not been developed yet.

“All we are trying to do at this moment, is work with the owners to facilitate change within the area”.

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