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Veterans Administration Inches Forward with Alameda Point Plan

This map from a 2008 Veterans Affairs presentation outlines the portion of Alameda Point that the department would receive from the U.S. Navy in a so-called fed-to-fed transfer.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is moving forward with its plan to build a 158,000 square-foot, two-story out patient clinic and other facilities at the former Naval Air Station Alameda.

To that end, it has initiated a consultation with the California State Historic Preservation Officer to determine if its plan will impact any historic properties eligible for or listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

In an e-mail, Robin Jackson, Chief of Public Affairs, Veterans Affairs, Northern California Health Care System, explained that “Under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and its implementing regulations at 36 CFR 800, federal agencies are required to analyze the effects of their undertakings/projects on historic properties eligible for or listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

“Under the Section 106 compliance process, the federal agency overseeing a project inventories the project area to determine the presence or absence of historic properties. The federal agency then submits to the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) a Finding of Effect (FOE) outlining to the SHPO the project, the efforts taken to identify historic properties, and what effects, if any, the project may have on historic properties.”

A September 5th letter sent by Veterans Affairs (VA) to the California Office of Historic Preservation invited that office to participate in the process. Copies of the letter were sent to members of the Restoration Advisory Board and the City of Alameda; Action Alameda News obtained a copy through a public records request to the VA.

According to the letter, the U.S. Navy would transfer 623 acres to Veterans Affairs, which would then develop the land as follows:

  • Construction and operation of a 158,000 square-foot, two-story outpatient clinic, housing behavioral health facilities, a VBA Outreach Office, a National Cemetery Administration (NCA) Public Information Center, and other offices, on 20 acres.
  • Construction and operation of an NCA cemetery, including administrative and maintenance facilities and a columbarium on 80 acres.
  • Construction and operation of a 2,500 square-foot, one-story Conservation Management Office to support management of the California Least Tern colony, on 2.4 acres.
  • Use of existing bunkers for storage of emergency supplies and use of the undeveloped area within the 623 acre transfer parcel for emergency training exercises during Least Tern non-breeding season, and as a staging area during emergencies and natural disasters.
  • Installation and construction of both on- and off- site utilities and roadways, including upgrades, necessary to serve the facilities, comprising 10 acres on-site and 6 acres off-site.
  • Management of the roughly 511 acre undeveloped area, including the 9.7 acres Least Tern colony, for the long-term persistence and sustainability of the colony.

The area studied under the Section 106 compliance process includes the Naval Air Station Historic District, even though the VA plans no development in that area.

The outcome of the process is the Finding of Effect report, which the VA expects to deliver in October of this year.

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