Public Trust lands are generally limited to development related to maritime use, water-oriented recreation, visitor-serving facilities, habitat preservation and scientific study. According to the City of Alameda, the exchange agreement just approved will remove from the public trust interior land at the former naval air station that was cut off from the water, and place lands along the waterfront into the public trust.
The result is that the interior lands cut off from the water would be open to virtually any type of development, and not limited to the uses that public trust lands are.
The groundwork for the exchange was laid by Senate Bill 2049, introduced by then-Senator Don Perata.
The language of the bill called for trust lands to be used, “solely for the establishment, improvement, and conduct of a harbor, and for the construction, maintenance, and operation thereon of wharves, docks, piers, slips, quays, warehouses, factories, storehouses, equipment, parking areas, streets, highways, bridges, pedestrian ways, landscaped areas, public buildings, public assembly and meeting places, convention centers, parks, museums, playgrounds, public recreation facilities (including, without limitation, public golf courses, marinas, restaurants, hotels, commercial recreation facilities, entertainment facilities and attractions), and any other utilities, structures, and appliances, provided the facilities are incidental to, or necessary or convenient for, the promotion, benefit, and accommodation of the purposes of the public trust.”
The bill also included a site map that estimated the boundaries of the public trust land after the exchange.The former airfield in its entirety, the seaplane lagoon, the existing deepwater piers and all of the shoreline at Alameda Point becomes part of the public trust.
The City of Alameda expects the exchange covered in the agreement to take place within six months of the City having been conveyed the first parcel of land from the U.S. Navy, expected early next year.