Tag Archives: zoning

Daniel Schulman – What Matters a Taco Bell

18 Dec planning-area

This guest blog post was written by Daniel Schulman, who first moved to Oakland in 1984. Following a multi-year break for graduate school and career, he returned to the city in 2001 where he has lived since. During that time, Dan has worked to improve Oakland’s livability while maintaining its unique character. He is a founding member of Oakland Urban Paths, a voting member of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, and currently serves on the Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board.

Before jumping into Dan’s blog post, I wanted to mention that on Thursday I will be sworn in to the BART Board of Directors. I invite you to join me at the swearing in at 9 am and the celebration from 6 pm – 9 pm, both in downtown Oakland. You can find all the details and RSVP on my campaign website or on Facebook. – Rebecca

                                                                                                                                              

The third item on the agenda for the December 19 Planning Commission is for the demolition and re-build of the Taco Bell on Telegraph at West Grand. This item was originally scheduled for October, but it was pulled due to unanticipated community objection. Originally, the applicant wanted to rebuild at the same location, but staff convinced them to move to the corner so as to minimize the “auto-orientation of the building” and “give the restaurant a greater street presence.”

While staffs’ goal of increasing the urban-feel of this highly visible intersection is laudable, their solution left a lot to be desired. In order to accommodate the drive-thru facility, a corner location would have required stacking the cars parallel to the West Grand sidewalk. While myself and others had a number of objections, the poor pedestrian experience afforded by being sandwiched by cars was our primary concern. In December of 2010, a group of activist successfully raised over $1,400 to appeal the Planning Commission’s decision on the rebuild of the Telegraph McDonald’s for precisely this reason. Continue reading

March 1-7 Oakland Political & Community Events

1 Mar

Monday, March 1st – Public Ethics Commission Meeting

Tonight, the PEC will be hearing complaints about mayoral candidates Don Perata and Jean Quan. The complaint about Perata stems from an Oakland Police Officers Association endorsement made for him at a city-funded event, while the complaint against Quan centers around her use of her email list and city website for transmitting campaign information. The Perata complaint was held over last month, and the Quan complaint was heard but brought back for further discussion. The meeting will be held at 6:30pm in Hearing Room 1, City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza. You can read the meeting agenda here. I tweeted the last PEC meeting and should be tweeting tonight’s meeting as well.

Tuesday, March 2nd – Oakland City Council Meeting

At this week’s meeting, the Council will continue its budget discussions and hopefully make some more progress. They’ll also be discussing instant runoff voting implementation, the 12th Street construction project (see V Smoothe’s blog post for background on why this is controversial), amending the times of Council meetings to run from 5:30pm-midnight, applying for a broadband grant, and misuse of disabled parking placards. See the full meeting agenda and check out my post about how to watch and understand City Council meetings if you need some guidance on how or where to view the meeting. The non-ceremonial parts of the meeting start at 7pm in the Council Chambers in City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza.

Wednesday, March 3rd – Alameda County Democratic Central Committee Meeting

Every month, the Central Committee meets to discuss party business and to make plans for the future of the Democratic Party in Alameda County. This month, we’ll be discussing the June endorsement process and the California Democratic Party convention. If you’re interested in getting involved with the Democratic Party, this is a great way to do so. The meeting will be held from 7-9pm in the San Leandro Main Library, Dave Karp Room, 300 Estudillo Ave., San Leandro, CA 94577.

Thursday, March 4th – Special Public Ethics Commission Meeting

There are not one, but two PEC meetings this week, and the second one should be just as contentious as the first. The PEC will be discussing a proposal to raise the candidate contribution limit from $700 and raising expenditure limits, which vary by office. The City Attorney has recommended doubling contribution and expenditure limits because there is now only one long election, instead of two shorter elections (in the past, a person could donate the maximum for both the June and November elections). There are a range of opinions on this proposal from City Councilmembers, so it should be interesting to see what the PEC decides. The meeting will be held at 6:30pm in Hearing Room 1, City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza. You can read the meeting agenda here.

Thursday, March 4th – Residential Rezoning in the Grand Lake – A Town Hall Meeting Hosted by Grand Lake Neighbors Community Group

The Grand Lake Neighbors (GLN) community group will host a town hall meeting at Barnett Hall behind Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church, 3534 Lakeshore Ave, starting at 7:00 pm on Thursday, March 4, 2010. The topic will be residential zoning concepts for the Grand Lake neighborhood that are being proposed as part of the city-wide zoning update. Planners from the City’s Planning and Zoning Department will be available to answer questions. This meeting will focus primarily on residential zoning update proposals. A well-attended meeting was held by GLN in December which focused on commercial zoning proposals and there may be a brief time for follow-up questions regarding commercial zoning, but it will not be the focus of this meeting. All property owners and residents are invited and encouraged to participate.

Friday, March 5th – Art Murmur

Check out the monthly evening of art gallery shows and entertainment in Uptown. Read my review of the art murmur here. The Art Murmur runs from 6-10pm but individual art gallery times vary. The galleries are mostly located in Uptown, between Broadway and Telegraph, and Grand and 29th. Visit the Murmur’s website for more info.

Saturday, March 6th – Oakland Kidical Mass

An opportunity to get to know families who get around Oakland by pedal power. Bring the kids on the trail-a-bike, the trailer, the Xtracycle, on their own bikes or however you happen to make it work. No kids? No problem! Come out and share the joy of a casual social ride. We’ll hopefully spend a few minutes talking about the future of Oakland Kidical Mass, so please be ready to share ideas for future rides. Rides normally meet up at 10 am and begin at 11 am. Destination is Union Point Park. Questions contact Mark@walkoaklandbikeoakland.org.

Saturday, March 6th – Greening Oakland Homes Fair

This educational fair will feature exhibitors with solutions to help you save energy, water, and natural resources. It will include presentations on the benefits provided by various types of retrofits and also offer information on financial aid and programs that will save you money. This fair takes place from 11 am-3 pm, at Montclair Women’s Cultural Arts Club, 1650 Mountain Blvd. Learn more at Greening Oakland Homes.

Sunday, March 7th – Women of WOBO: International Women of Mystery Ride

The next Women of WOBO (WOW) ride is in honor of International Women’s Day. Join us to tour around San Leandro Bay, mostly following bicycle paths that are part of the Bay Trail. And the “International Mystery” part means you should bring your favorite international snack to share! Depending on the weather, we’ll stop and share on the edge of the Bay, or somewhere more protected. Any and all female-identified people are invited to participate. Please RSVP to shannon@walkoaklandbikeoakland.org by Wednesday, March 3rd with your name, email, and phone number in case there are any last-minute updates. All participants must sign a waiver and wear a helmet – no exceptions! The ride will take place from 10am-1pm, and starts and ends at Fruitvale BART station (by the bike racks). Approximately 10 miles and pretty darn flat. See the route map (subject to change).

Sunday, March 7thNWPC-AN Susan B. Anthony Celebration

The National Women’s Political Caucus, Alameda North will be hosting their Susan B. Anthony Celebration, honoring Susan Muranishi, Alameda County Administrator; Nancy O’Malley, Alameda County District Attorney; and Nancy Nadel, Oakland City Councilmember. Drink wine, eat hors d’oeuvres, and participate in a silent auction. This event will be held from 3-5pm at the Montclair Women’s Cultural Arts Center, 1630 Mountain Blvd, in Oakland.  Tickets are $50 and benefit the NWPC-AN PAC.

Telegraph is Ready to Grow

21 Aug

Yesterday, I read a great post by dto510 about zoning on Telegraph in North Oakland. The planning commission will soon be considering updating zoning in Temescal, including raising height limits on buildings:

To fulfill the goals of the General Plan, it is absolutely imperative that the city bring its zoning in line with what private-sector developers want and need. Currently, every single project in the area requires a Conditional Use Permit to be feasible, primarily because developers need at least five stories to make money. A Conditional Use Permit requires at least one public hearing, and every such permit can appealed to the city council at a minimal cost to the appealing party. That creates huge uncertainties for developers, massively increasing delays and other “soft costs” that are then passed on to the condo-buyers…

The solution to this problem is to raise the allowed building heights at least up to what is already been approved, which is 57 feet. Ideally, the heights would be increased to 75 to 100 feet in at least some areas, which the market might build and would be appropriate for the 100-foot-wide streets throughout the area.

This got me thinking, and last night, as I walked down Telegraph from the bus stop, I realized just how odd the 1-2 story buildings looked. The disproportionality of the building heights to the size of the street is astounding.

Beyond aesthetics, Temescal’s businesses are rapidly growing, and Telegraph has become a major transit corridor, thanks to the new rapid bus line. This is only going to increase, once Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is developed. If Oakland wants to become a more environmentally sustainable city, it makes so much sense to build dense housing in neighborhoods with established services and transit.

The real question is, why are groups like STAND fighting against smart growth, when it seems so clear that the neighborhood I’ve lived in for years is more than ready denser housing and more mixed use buildings?

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