Mission Blvd. mission continues, despite potential funding loss

The City Council held a Tuesday night work session on the Mission Boulevard Specific Plan. That’s the one that covers Mission from Harder Road to the northern city limit, with the exception of the downtown area between Jackson and A streets. It’s 640 parcels, 200 acres, about 2 miles long.

As Mayor Mike Sweeney pointed out, it’s important to keep in mind that redevelopment funds are crucial to see this become a reality, and the future of those funds is uncertain because Gov. Brown has stated he wants to dissolve redevelopment agencies and use the funds elsewhere.

“If the governor is successful and redevelopment is no longer available, that takes several tools out of the tool box for this area,” Sweeney said. “The remaining tools would have to be used very effectively.”

Read about Tuesday’s discussion after the jump, click on images for a larger view.

missionplan03Main topics Tuesday night: Mission north of A Street, below Prospect Hill. There was a lot of concern regarding views; council members did not want to see new development reach heights that would block scenic westerly views for hill residents. They liked keeping Mission in that area two lanes in each direction, but with a 4-foot wide landscaped median, slightly narrowing parking lanes and sidewalks by one foot on each side. Staff also recommended public park on the east side of Mission from Simon St. to A, partially on account of the fault running beneath.

missionplan02Car lots. While the proposed code would allow auto dealerships along Mission ( new car lots currently get an automatic green light while used car dealers need a conditional use permit), it also bars any new facilities from displaying their wares in the open in a lot next to the street. To make Mission more pedestrian friendly, the lot office would have to front to the sidewalk, cars in a lot behind it, or the cars could be in an enclosed building streetside. Staff also said this setup is more conducive to reuse of the building. Existing lots would be allowed to remain.

Slip lanes for a new mixed-use development from Torrano Ave to Harder Road. Slip lanes (aka frontage roads) “allows traffic to slow without encumbering other cars, are safer for people to walk and ride bikes, and better for retail, (because) people see the shops,” said planning consultant Robert Alminana.

missionplan04That’s one of three “opportunity areas” for retail, the other being at Carlos Bee (“A food market, maybe a sports bar”) and Sycamore at Pinedale (neighborhood serving retail).

Concerns were voiced regarding emergency homeless shelters and single room occupancy housing. The state requires shelters be automatically allowed in at least one zoning district. In Hayward, that’s the general commercial zone. Most of that zoning is along Mission Boulevard, and Mission could accommodate a lot of shelters – 60 acres in the project area are vacant or underutilized.

“I have a problem with allowing emergency shelters in that area,” said Councilman Marvin Peixoto. “We see traffic from Green Shutter (Hotel) into parks downtown, and to Casper’s, and it’s problematic. I would like to look at other (general commercial) areas in the city to meet the (state) requirement.”

However, development director David Rizk said any new single room occupancy facilities (that’s a boarding house with single-room domiciles, such as the Green Shutter Hotel) would have operating standards that the existing ones don’t have.

“We’re working with the police department to address concerns,” he said. “It’s not comparing apples to apples. This is a shinier apple, with operating standards.”

Kinda random, but agriculture requirements would be loosened for Mission corridor residents with room for a vegetable garden, allowing up to four chickens. Those chickens previously would have needed a permit, or been right outlawed in the commercial zone.

Note that this project uses “form based codes,” which take into account the look and feel of an area in regards to land use, rather than strict zoning. For example, these are the codes in play for this particular project area:formcodes

The chicken thing is a nod to sustainable food production practices.

missionplan01Side note for conversation: Councilman Bill Quirk said that while he sees the historic value in some of the current buildings along Mission, he couldn’t get behind calling the above car lot “vintage” or the 1/4 Pound Giant Burger “historic.”

“I guess they’re kinda nice, but I’m not sure if they’re necessarily the best uses for the area,” he said. He got some audible reaction from some of his colleagues on the Giant Burger slam.

Timeline: Draft EIR should be ready late June, community meeting in July, all up for approval as early as fall.

Find more information on the city’s web page dedicated to this plan. Here’s the Draft Specific Plan in all its 144-page glory.

Eric Kurhi

  • qodrn

    Took a crack at reading the proposal. Not a clue except for the tree pictures. Did the city pay for this proposal? What is the goal for Mission Blvd? If it was to turn the street into a waste land, they are becoming successful. Why do we want to draw more people to this area? Trust me, with the old housing in the area, it is never going to be a riverwalk. I don’t suppose they are giving any thought to who or when anything new will be built. Would have been much simplier to help the local busnesses improve their looks.

  • Michael Moore

    Qodrn, I too took a look at it and did not experience the same issues.

    It certaninly looks like the city paid for the proposal.

    The goal is pretty straight forward, I thought, but everyone might have a different point of view.

    The area along Mission covered in the study looks blighted to me now.

    As to a Riverwalk, not much river, but an enhanced greenway will help. I am not so sure about the architecturally significant old housing in the area.

    This document is a draft and the City wants comments. I sure hope you provide yours. I certainly will provide mine.

    I agree it would be a great thing for local businesses to improve their looks. However, Hambrick’s Quarter Pounder, which is a destination location and local treasure, has not had much invested by the owner(s) in a long time.

    This is a vision document. The city needs all the help it can get.

  • John W. Kyle

    You speak of the fact that City needs input from it’s citizens. The challenge here is that you read #35 under Kurhi’s topic “New HUSD Website 2/9 meeting”.

    Lay aside your disdain for my typing skills…. I used Spell Check etc and spent the better opart of a day using and avoiding typing and grammatical errors.

    Go ahead, take a shot at me if the piece annoys y6ou…..

  • Sherry Blair

    Wow. I appreciate your effort, Mr. Kyle. Who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks!

    All – I noticed in the last city council agenda materials letters from the public were uploaded so the public can see them. There’s a good one from Sherman Lewis for instance. If you do write, see if they include yours so we can all read them.

    I hope they keep Big Mike. That should be preserved as a historical landmark.