Mia Bonta introduces fix to Surplus Lands Act for Alameda Point

An amendment to the California Surplus Lands Act that went into effect in January 2020 brought long-term leasing and land sales at Alameda Point to a screeching halt for two years.  The new law mandated that no government-owned land could be sold, or leased for more than a year, without first offering the land to affordable housing providers on a state clearinghouse.  After the city listed six initial sites on the clearinghouse, the process ended in January 2022 without yielding one single unit of additional housing of any type.

In an effort to remedy the flawed law, Assembly Member Mia Bonta has introduced legislation to exempt Alameda Point from the process, citing the agreement with the Navy to follow the community base reuse plan.  Under the current process, it forces Alameda to entertain ad hoc changes, such as offering to place housing in job-generating commercial zones.  The Community Reuse Plan for Alameda Point adopted in 1996 spells out the types of uses for all of the areas, and the Navy has been conducting environmental cleanup based on those agreed-upon uses.   

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New housing law hampers economic development at Alameda Point

A new state law that took effect in January 2020 has stymied the City’s plan for commercial development on a plot of land at Alameda Point.  Assembly Bill No. 1486 requires cities, counties, special districts, and the state to first offer any and all “surplus” land to affordable housing developers before it can be leased for more than one year or sold.  This legislation amended the Surplus Lands Act and, unbeknownst to the city when they supported the bill, swept in former military bases.    

The city had received proposals from 10 commercial developers as a result of its marketing campaign in 2019.  Each applicant was willing to pay at least the minimum listing price of $36.5 million for 22 acres in the Enterprise District and provide a construction timeline.  The acreage is within the larger commercial and light industrial zone adjacent to Main Street, and includes the self-storage facilities.  This new law meant that the City was unable to proceed with the selection process.

“It’s ironic,” said Nanette Mocanu, Assistant Director of Base Reuse & Community Development.  “The City is a proponent for affordable housing and supported this legislation.  We and many other communities were caught off guard when the legislation was applied to leasing and base reuse properties,” said Mocanu.  “Cities across the state are working to find solutions to the unintended consequences of this legislation.” 

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