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Cowan Tries to Seduce Neighbors Into Swapping

In an apparent mass-mailing letter targeting Bay Farm Island residents, a copy of which has been obtained by Action Alameda News, developer Ron Cowan’s Harbor Bay Isle Associates is touting what it claims are the benefits to residents that would result from a proposed land swap involving the Mif Albright Golf Course.

“Dear Neighbor:” the letter begins. “Many people are talking about the City of Alameda’s proposal to build new sports fields, renovate our historic golf course and the associated property transfer between Harbor Bay Isle Associates and the City of Alameda.”

The letter asserts that property values on Bay Farm Island will go up if the swap goes through and if the developer builds new, more expensive homes on the golf course property. It also claims that traffic safety and flow will be improved and that congestion will not be increased due to the additional homes, in part because of a proposed new traffic signal at the intersection of Golf Course Drive and Island Drive.

Further Harbor Bay Isle Associates maintains that the 12 acres of land along North Loop Road that it wants to donate for a sports complex “will be maintained in perpetuity at no cost to the City of Alameda.”

The letter does not mention how many homes would be built on the golf course land.

Harbor Isle Associates Letter

6 comments to Cowan Tries to Seduce Neighbors Into Swapping

  • Repeating an opinion over and over does not make it fact. The fact is 99.99% of Alameda is opposed to this bullshit land-swap canard, except for Ron Cowan and the City Council members in his pocket. Oh, and Karen Bey, who loves anything unconditionally that developers do.

  • Barb

    So much time has passed since Cowan originally set his sights on developing our island for his benefit, a reminder is in order. Decades ago, Cowan made many promises in exchange for developing HBI and building 3200 homes and the business park. He was to provide all needed public improvements. When the time came – he renigged. HBI had been planned, marketed and financed so poorly, that there was no money to pay for any improvements. The residents were in an uproar, but Cowan turned his head the other way. The Council had to propose a complete construction moratorium to get Cowan to act. The funding for his improvements was foisted off on the newest homeowners to pay for all of the unfulfilled promises. Even now, the ferry promised in perpetuity, has been handed off to those with deeper pockets. Taxpayers who do not use the service. Upkeep of the lush medians that line his roads, is at public expense.

    It is a fundamental axiom in public finance that residential development never generates enough in taxes to pay for the services that self-same residential development consumes. Building a warren of 130 homes on 73 X 35 foot lots is going to generate hundreds if not thousands of more trips across Bay Farm Island Bridge, without adding a cent to existing home values, most of which are on nicer and bigger lots. There will be few sidewalks, and narrow streets. The fire department will not be able to save any home that catches on fire, and will only fight to contain the fire. The tax base will be further stretched to provide fewer and fewer services to existing homes. There will be only one City employee left, whose job it will be to write the checks for the retirement of all the retired firefighters, police and former city employees.

    Unless the users of the sports fields are limited to residents of Bay Farm Island and required to walk to the fields, additional traffic will be generated going to the fields. Paying for the development and upkeep of high level sports fields in perpetuity will require constant use of the facilities, renting, leasing for tournaments, competitions, training and so forth. These users will have to come by car or bus. Unlike golf which spreads its foursomes out through the daylight hours, large competitions will generate lots of people every few hours.
    The dreamy quality of the “projected development” barely provides enough parking for soccer players and their families, let alone team tournaments. There are not enough bleachers, bathrooms, or other public facilities for the potential users. And who will pay for upkeep?

    Before the public buys another of Cowan’s bridges remember we paid for his Expressay – 80 million tax dollars and upkeep in perpetuity). What is the budget for this sports facility, and were is the money? I’d have to see the money in the bank before I believed that COWAN had the ability to fulfill that promise.

    The residents of Bay Farm are going to experience the greatest increases in traffic, but unless the teams are flying in to the Oakland Airport, the rest of Alameda is also going to bear a share of the burden. We are all going to be asked to pay for this, and for what? So Cowan can pocket a little more money to take to his grave?
    The tax payers have not yet experienced a net benefit for anything that Cowan has done. This will be no different. In the years to come, there will be many more newly arrived citizens who do not remember all the fighting and ballot measures it took the previous citizens to make HBI a pleasant place to live. Cowan only promised it, he then refufsed to provide it. Never forget that.

  • 94502

    Occupy Alameda! Do not let Cowan run us over!

  • reyla graber

    This paper is filled with errors or untruths,
    or manipulative distortions. To say new homes will bring home prices up when we have a glut of homes on the market, with more foreclosure down the road is totally false. Not so, in this downturn economy, where economists are saying
    the housing market may not revive for 10 years.
    And then the Hoppins letter says a 1% increase in commute traffic? Try 12%. Thats more the size of it!

  • Dr Poodlesmurf

    Homes built on substandard lots, only 35 feet wide! Poor planning and political greed, brought to you by a transparent city council and a shallow mayor.

  • Blanche Knott

    Don’t forget the deaf-to-citizens CM. Hey, Al Davis just passed. Could Cowan be far behind? For a sample of what this development might look like, visit the big homes+no yards+scant parking @Grand Marina!