(Editor's note: After Patch reported that the proposed Village Marketplace had lost its second anchor tenant in three months, Leah Hall wrote an op-ed urging the community to go back to the drawing boards. Fred Reicher penned another guest column seconding that emotion. Today, City Councilwoman Pauline Cutter writes that even if the Village Marketplace is erased from consideration, San Leandro doesn't start with a clean slate.)
The Village Marketplace is a complicated situation and I hope the following facts will help explain the reasoning surrounding the Council’s decisions regarding the project.
To restate what Chris Zapata, City Manager, told the Broadmoor Neighborhood last Wednesday evening at their Association meeting, the City does not own the planned Village Marketplace property.
It was owned by the redevelopment agency to which the City Council served as Directors.
Last year when the state eliminated all Redevelopment Agencies, all property that was owned by redevelopment agencies became property of the "Successor Agency."
Although the City Council serves as the local Successor Agency, the Successor Agency's responsibility is to unwind the operations of the former redevelopment agency (editor's note: and not to initiate new projects).
All Successor Agency actions must be approved by both the Oversight Board to the Successor Agency and the State Department of Finance.
The Oversight Board is made up of representatives from the public agencies that benefit from the property tax of the former redevelopment agency project areas.
San Leandro's Oversight Board is chaired by Supervisor Wilma Chan and includes:
- Surlene Grant an Alameda County Board of Supervisor appointee,
- Morgan Mack Rose (appointed by Alameda County of Schools Superintendent Sheila Jordan),
- two Mayoral appointees -- John Jermanis who represents the public and Steve Hernandez who represents the former redevelopment agency employees
- Dr. Hal Gin from Peralta Community College District, and
- Mark Williams, a member of the board of directors of AC Transit.
The City was fortunate that it was able to get approval of the sale of the Village Marketplace property from the Oversight Board consistent with what was envisioned.
All other 21 parcels owned by the former redevelopment agency will be sold as outlined in a Property Management Plan to be approved by the Oversight Board and the State Department of Finance once all issues are resolved which likely won't be approved for another year.
The Successor Agency will have little ability to dictate the quality of tenanting or architectural detailing of any future project. The City's zoning code will dictate what uses are allowed or not.
In the case of Village Marketplace, if Innisfree Ventures II doesn't exercise their option to develop the project in the next few months, and the deal falls through, the property will not revert back to the City.
Instead, the property will revert back to Successor Agency ownership and -- consistent with state law -- it will be sold to the highest bidder.
If the City wanted to develop the property, it would have to successfully bid for it, just as the YMCA or any other private developer would have to if they wanted to develop the site.
The zoning for Village Marketplace is dictated by the Planned Development approved for the project. (The Planned Development document is essentially a zoning exception that allows for the current project plan; editor's note.)
In October 2013, unless the Planned Development is extended, the zoning will return to zoning adopted as part of the Transit Oriented Development Strategy, which is DA-1.
Specifics regarding DA-1 follow:
- TOD Land Use Designation: Retail Mixed-Use
- Primary Land Uses Allowed: Office, Residential, Retail
- Maximum Height: 75 ft.
- Maximum Density: 75 Dwelling Units per Acre /2.0 FAR (floor-area-ratio) Office/1.0 Retail
- Minimum Density: 35 Dwelling Units per Acre/1.0 FAR Retail.
Click for other stories on the Village Marketplace in the Patch archives.
Pauline Cutter, District 5, San Leandro City Council