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Open House on Webster Street Rejuvenation

The City of Alameda is conducting an open house tonight, at Otaez Mexican Restaurant on Webster Street, to gather input from Alameda business owners, residents and others on a plan to rejuvenate Webster Street.

According to a City of Alameda press release, consultants to the City of Alameda and City staff will hold a series of meetings this week, beginning tonight at 6:00 p.m. at the restaurant to gather input, review previous planning efforts and set goals and objectives for the current “visioning” process.

Chris Buckley, of the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society (AAPS) shared with Action Alameda News a letter that organization had sent to the City of Alameda Planning Board and City Council in May, in response to a proposed May 24, 2010 Planning Board agenda item concerning zoning classification that covers Webster Street and Park Street. The subject of AAPS’ letter is “Proposal to increase height limits on Webster Street from three stories to five stories.” Among other concerns, AAPS enumerated, in the letter, the following:

“We are very concerned that the proposed increased height limit will adversely affect the setting of the numerous historical buildings along Webster Street by promoting much taller new buildings that will visually overwhelm the historic buildings. The proposal is inconsistent with Policy 2.5.i of the General Plan that calls for three story and 35′-40′ height limits on Webster Street.” and “A ‘Webster Street Vision Plan’ has been proposed by the West Alameda Business Association. Any changes to height limits should follow, not precede, adoption of such a plan. Considering changes to the height limits before plan adoption is a backwards process.”

In forwarding the letter, Mr. Buckley told Action Alameda News, “Thanks for your interest in the five story height limit proposal for Webster Street […] Although the proposal was on the Board’s consent calendar and not pulled, the Board asked staff to get AAPS and WABA together to try to resolve the issue before it comes back to the Board.” Apparently, the series of meetings schedule for this week is the City’s response to the concerns raised by the AAPS.

Between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 14th and Thursday, July 15th, the City will host public drop-in working sessions on the plan at the restaurant, culminating in a joint Planning Board and Economic Development Commission meeting also at the restaurant at 7:00 p.m. on the 15th. The Economic Development Department of the City of Alameda hopes to present to Alameda City Council a draft plan for Webster Street in late September of this year.

Otaez Mexican Restaurant is located at 1619 Webster Street, Alameda, CA.

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