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Archive for the 'Environment' Category

Calpine says Russell City Energy Center is a go

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UPDATE: Here is the story.

The EPA rejected all appeals regarding the federal air permit issued in February by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Calpine representatives say that was the final hurdle for the 600-megawatt facility near the Hayward shoreline; spoke briefly with opponents, who said there may be other ways to block it.

Working on a story for tomorrow, but find the Calpine release after the jump. Curious quote from Kim Huggett, the new president and CEO of Hayward’s Chamber of Commerce about how the power plant will “be a magnet for bringing new business to Hayward.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, November 19th, 2010
Under: Alameda County, Business, Development, Energy, Environment, Hayward, Health, Schools | 52 Comments »

Cal State East Bay development blocked

Here’s our story on a judge’s ruling regarding a large parking structure and new dorms planned at the Hayward campus. Basically, the judge agreed that CSU didn’t do enough to mitigate the effects of more cars and residents. City Attorney Michael Lawson said the university planned to ask the state for money to help the city handle the extra load, but would have gone ahead with the projects whether they got the funds or not, putting the burden on the city.

The university plans to double its student body in the next 20 years or so.

You can find more information about the projects on the CSUEB website. The parking lot and dorm reports are under the subheading “Cal State East Bay Hayward Campus Master Plan Draft Environmental Impact Report Volume II

To view the case, go to Alameda County’s DomainWeb site and enter case number RG09480852.

Posted on Friday, November 5th, 2010
Under: Alameda County, Development, Environment, Hayward, Schools, Transportation | 58 Comments »

Conversations about conservation concerns

Any thoughts on Hayward’s Residential Energy Conservation Ordinance? Here’s our preview story on the special Sustainability Committee meeting tonight, and here’s the city’s report on the matter. At previous public meetings, members of the real estate community turned out to speak against it on the grounds that it can only damage a market that’s already hurting, particularly if the requirements are triggered upon sale of a property.

Staff is recommending three such triggers: Older homes have a deadline in 2023 or 2025 for upgrades, improvements costing more than $50,000 would require compliance for the property, and buyers would have two years after purchase to comply. Costs of various retrofits ranges from around $1,000 to $4,000, according to the report.

Posted on Monday, October 25th, 2010
Under: Development, Energy, Environment, Hayward | 4 Comments »

Foam fight tonight in Hayward?

Tonight’s City Council agenda includes a public hearing on a Styrofoam ban. You can read the entire item here.

Hayward wouldn’t be the first city to pass such a ban, and it wouldn’t be the first city to have said ban opposed by the Chamber of Commerce. According to an e-mail from Councilman Bill Quirk, that opposition is expected at tonight’s meeting.

Save the Bay also checked in and will be there to speak to the importance of such a ban.

Also on the agenda: A work session on regulating hand-cart vendors, which are currently banned from operating but do anyway.

Posted on Tuesday, October 12th, 2010
Under: Business, Environment, Hayward, Politics | 6 Comments »

Hayward board and commission interviews this week

UPDATE #2: The official appointment and swearing-in ceremony for selected members will take place at the Sept. 14 City Council meeting.

UPDATE: Selections for the Planning Commission are Mariellen Faria, Sara Lamnin, Diane McDermott. For Personnel/Aff Action it’s Satinder Pal Singh and Gurjit Kaur. For Library, Kari McAllister. Keep Hayward Clean and Green, Monica Ruiz, Frances Sagapolu, Seleacia Taylor, Carol Baks Pecil and Werner Heisserer. Human Services, Diana Fagalde. Council Economic Development Committee, Terry Swartz, Chris Lam, Waseem Khan, Kanti Patel. DT Biz Improvement Area Advisory Board, Katherine Kelley, Beneba Thomas, Elie Goldstein, Benjamin Schweng. Citizen’s Advisory Committee: Rowena Gilmore, Ray Bonilla Jr., Flo Samuels, Allison McManus, Robert Leppert, Jim Todd and Julius Willis, Jr.

Hayward-City-Hall-2Hayward has a total of 44 applicants for posts on various boards and commissions. There are three vacancies on the Planning Commission, seven on the Citizen’s Advisory Commission, three on the Economic Development Committee, four on the Downtown Business Improvement Area Advisory Board, seven on the Keep Hayward Clean and Green Task Force and one each on the Human Services Commission, Library Commission and Personnel And Affirmative Action Commission. Applicants for the Planning Commission: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, July 26th, 2010
Under: Business, Development, Environment, Hayward, Politics | 1 Comment »

Big city lights near the bridge?

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CORRECTION: Whoops! I was given incorrect information regarding what happened at last night’s meeting. The item that was postponed was NOT the Clear Channel billboard — it dealt with a cell phone tower at the Stonebrae Country Club.

Planners APPROVED the billboard 5-to-1 with Rodney Loche dissenting. The decision may be appealed to City Council.

The Planning Commission approved postponed making a decision on a billboard that would brighten up the approach to the Hayward-San Mateo bridge.

Clear Channel wants to put in one of those LED billboards, the ones with the changing ads. Like the Xtronx ones you see at Southland Mall or in San Leandro near Marina Boulevard. Sizewise, the Southland billboard is 14-by-26 feet. The Marina one is 20-by-30. The new one would be more of an elongated rectangle, the same size as a billboard currently there: 14-by-48 feet.

The city report is pretty extensive, and goes into possible side effects on drivers (deemed not distracting enough to be a safety hazard) and wildlife (overall light output won’t be much more than current billboard, and trained away from marshes).

Two planners recused themselves from Thursday night’s vote, and it was decided that with the current deficit of two commissioners, they will wait until September to make a decision, after the new members are seated.

It would make entrance and egress more exciting, but a lot of people don’t like those adboards and say they belong in, say, Times Square. This one would have some added benefit to the city because 12 percent of the adspace would be dedicated to city and community events, at no cost.

Here’s an interesting article on cities that have digital billboard bans.

Any thoughts on such a billboard?

Posted on Friday, July 23rd, 2010
Under: Development, Environment, Hayward, Odds & Ends, Transportation | 1 Comment »

San Leandro aims to reduce greenhouse gases

San Leandro’s Climate Action Plan sets a course for a 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. The city council unanimously approved the plan last week. To read it, click here —> Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, December 24th, 2009
Under: Environment, General, Politics, San Leandro | 3 Comments »

Creekside lookout, paths now open

The latest improvements to San Lorenzo Creek near Centennial Hall have been completed, and it’s worth checking out. The work is along City Center Drive, just east of Foothill Boulevard.

Starting up above 2nd Street, there’s an overlook with interesting bilingual historical placards about early settlers in the area.

Crossing the bridge, there’s an access staircase that goes down to a platform beside the bridge for a look at the creek and a large street drain output, which had some impressive flow during the major rainstorm on Oct. 13.

The concrete path ends, but a dirt trail continues under the bridge. There’s evidence that homeless people are camping there, and a spray-paint scrawl on the opposite bridge support advises that “Art is OK, Tags no way.”

At Foothill, there’s another access point in De Anza Park. It leads to a short trail and some ground erosion control efforts. Unfortunately, people are still dumping trash there.

Overall, the work looks terrific and will be much enjoyed by those who would like to take a closer look at our main local waterway. Let’s hope dumpers don’t keep treating the creek like a landfill and ruin that. Thanks for the heads up that work is finished, Alex!

Posted on Thursday, October 29th, 2009
Under: Alameda County, Environment, General, Hayward, Odds & Ends | 1 Comment »

Checking in with San Lorenzo Creek

The National Weather Service issued an urban and small stream flood advisory for the Hayward area, meaning that nuisance flooding could occur. Not nearly as extreme as a flash flood watch. Regardless, we went down to take a look at San Lorenzo Creek in a number of spots and found it flowing rather rapidly.

Here it is near Foothill Boulevard and City Center Drive.

Here it is at the Grove Street Bridge.

Here it is behind the Meek Mansion.

Want to know how your surrounding area would fare in a 100-year-flood? Here’s a FEMA site where you can punch in your address and get an overview.

And here’s a Daily Review from the mid-1950s, before the San Lorenzo Creek was calmed by dams and culverts.

Let us know if you are aware of any particularly flood prone areas in the greater Hayward area that we should be keeping an eye on.

Posted on Tuesday, October 13th, 2009
Under: Alameda County, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Environment, Fairview, General, Hayward, Odds & Ends, Other unincorporated areas, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Transportation | 3 Comments »

Help clean up Eden Landing

Save the Bay is still seeking volunteers for tomorrow’s Coastal Cleanup event at Eden Landing. They need 40 to 50 people to come out and collect the various trash — mostly plastic — that accumulates along the shoreline, which is in the process of being rehabilitated to its natural state.

Amy Alton Ricard of Save the Bay said our article about urine-filled bottles washing up on the San Leandro shore probably didn’t help the recruitment effort, though as the story states, volunteers are not expected to go near such nasties. Most of the trash consists of plastic bags, empty bottles, bottle caps and other refuse that isn’t biohazardous but is wrecking the Bay nonetheless. Save the Bay will have gloves and some extending trash-grabbers available.

Sign up here for the Eden Landing cleanup. It starts at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 19.

Posted on Friday, September 18th, 2009
Under: Alameda County, Environment, General, Hayward, San Leandro, Union City | No Comments »