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City Council To Review Westmont Senior Assisted Living Facility

The Bay Farm Island parcel slated for an assisted living facility. (Google Street View)

The Bay Farm Island parcel slated for an assisted living facility. (Google Street View)

Tonight, Alameda City Council will review a June 22 planning board approval of a roughly 100,000 square foot, two-story, 127-resident, assisted living facility on Bay Farm Island, near the ferry terminal.

The proposal has been controversial.

The prior entitlements for the site, located within Harbor Bay Business Park, allowed for approximately 109,000 square feet of office use.

The planning board’s approval in June gave a green light to the use of a portion of the site for senior assisted living, but requires the developer to revise and reduce the size of the then-proposed 105,000 square foot facility and increase the size of a proposed 8,000 square foot office building and return at a later date with a revised site plan and architectural elevations for a smaller facility.

A chief concern among project critics is one that has surfaced in the past with regards to residential projects on Bay Farm Island – the potential for noise complaints about Oakland Airport from new residents.

In correspondence to city council, Patricia Lamborn, of Alameda, wrote, “I am writing to urge you to deny the Planning Board’s approval of the Westmont Assisted Senior Facility on June 22, 2016. I am opposed to this change in the use for that land which is near the Oakland International Airport. This parcel is zoned commercial manufacturing – not residential…There is a long standing settlement agreement between the Airport and Harbor Bay Isle Associates which says no residential development will be built in the business park.

“Approving the Westmont project puts our City at risk for future lawsuits related to health and safety incidents for future senior citizen residents. Our city would bear the legal burden of allowing this residential use close to the flight paths which are flying 300 feet closer to the land than before. This puts the Westmont parcel too close to the 65 decibel level of jet noise making a residential development an incompatible use.”

Proponents of the project point to the need for living facilities for senior citizens.

For their part, city staffers say that the senior facility is a commercial facility in compliance with the Alameda County Airport Land Use Plan and that the planning board, in it’s June resolution, required the developer to increase the size of the office building to improve Alameda’s poor jobs housing balance.

The item is on city council’s agenda tonight at 7 p.m. in council chambers at city hall, after a 5:30 p.m. special closed council session.

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