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Vol. XXXVII No. 4  The HAPA News  June 8, 2015

Update on Taxis

Dustyn and I continue to work on taxi reform in Hayward. It has been very difficult to get Hayward Police, Hayward Public Works, and Alameda County to respond to our advocacy. We need the Hayward Police to approve use of B Street eastbound as a place where taxis can wait in order to pull into the handicapped parking area, which we want to use for pickup. The current taxi stand on the north side facing west works very poorly, while the handicapped area is very close to the station exit and visible. There is enough room there to have three taxis lined up for people, with the rest waiting out on B Street.

The Public Works department needs to give us more detailed information about how taxis are regulated because the cell phone dispatch like Uber and shared ride services are exploding without regulations, while over-regulated taxis are declining. We need to regulate the new cell phone businesses more, the taxis less, and to combine both systems into one modern service that would serve riders, taxi drivers, and the environment.

Did you notice that the CEO of Uber recently emphasized how much these new services can reduce the need for car ownership, a real environmental plus. We are working with Bob Franklin at BART to implement the new location with some curb reconstruction and start with a pilot program. Bob is pushing this through the BART bureaucracy as best he can but we don't have more details yet. We are also trying to create a place for taxis to wait for people at the county complex on Amador Street. There is vacant parking in a good location between the courthouse and the family services building which we are trying to get assigned.


Update on "Public Purpose"

Bayview Village needs to get control of the quarry land from Caltrans, which is pretty complicated. I've been talking to Jeff Newman, a very sharp Caltrans official down in Los Angeles, who is working on this at the request of Andy Nierenberg, who is the Deputy Director for right of way at Caltrans HQ in Sacramento. Jeff has helped me find a better approach, but it still requires Caltrans to put in writing that the state's climate change laws serve a "public purpose." This process has been taking too long and I'm not sure how to make Caltrans do something.

Update on TCAC Parking Reform

I recently revised my paper on reforming parking policy of the Tax Credit Allocation Committee. The TCAC, as it is called, has a program called 9% tax credit financing of affordable housing. While good for affordables, their policies are terrible for parking. They subsidize parking structures, they have no information on parking ratios, cost, or unbundling, and they do not promote any alternative mobility. A few days ago I had a good conversation with John Chiang, the State Treasurer who replaced Bill Lockyer, and he was willing to listen but noncommittal. My next step is to circulate my report for comment to housing agencies. Hopefully of the dozen plus reforms that are needed, we might find some consensus on many of them. The reason for all this work is so the Bayview project, if and when it applies for TCAC funds, will score very high in the application.

A Housing Partner for HAPA?

In working on the TCAC parking reform, I learned of Meea Kang and her company, Domus Development. The Domas website was fantastic, absolutely right in line with what Bayview is all about. Kang in fact has a project pending before the Strategic Growth Council, one of the few to make the cut to apply for Cap and Trade funds. She is working on getting a bill through the legislature and I helped a bit involve Bill Quirk in assuring a good bill. The bill reduces parking requirements to 1 space per unit for projects close to transit, for seniors, and for the disabled. The bill is out of the Assembly in spite of opposition from the League of California Cities. I met Ms. Kang at an event at MTC in Oakland on June 2, a forum on parking pricing analysis. I hope to speak to her in a few days.

A New Approach for South Hayward

The HAPA board meeting on May 14, Minane Jameson and Sara Lamnin got to talking about South Hayward and I managed not to interrupt too much. The city is trying to get control over a sizeable property between Mission and Dixon. And HARD is trying to get a community center. We discussed a new approach to the various issues. There is some surplus school property, the Connley-Carrabello site on the border with Union City, could be sold to Chapel of the Chimes cemetery, which needs land for expansion. This money could go to Bidwell School on the west side of Mission, which is an underserved area some distance from other community centers. Bidwell has 10 acres, which is big enough for playgrounds and ball fields. The school would be converted to a HARD community/senior/teen center. Funds would also be used to improve Treeview School to add kindergarten and first grade coming over from Bidwell. The Dixon property could then be used for transitoriented development with walk access to BART. The development should avoid parking structures and should have surface parking on the south side, away from BART. The people living there would have to pay to park but they would not be required to rent a space if they did not need one. The city would implement parking management onsurrounding streets to prevent spillover parking. The walking path going north to the BART station should have a grocery store on the way. The project should accommodate car share/rental and modern taxi service so that residents could live there without needing to own a car.

Downtown Specific Plan Task Force

The city staff person in charge of the downtown specific plan is Damon Golubics. I do not think the city has announced the membership of the downtown task force and I was surprised to find out it has been appointed. Golubics sent me the membership list, shown below. The consultants are developing the background material needed for task force and public meetings on the future of downtown.

Downtown Specific Plan Task Force Members
First Name Last Name Expertise or Technical Background Helpful to Task Force Work # of Years in Hayward Downtown Resident (R) or Business Owner/Worker (B) Notes
Alejandro Gamarra Business Owner 22 B owns Metro Taqueros in Downtown and west of Downtown.
Antonette Harmon   2 R social worker and psychologist; wants to help city consider needs of youth, elderly and families.
Antonio Isais   18   brings young people Downtown; server at Celia's Restaurant on Hesperian; Mt Eden High School student
Bill Ward Planner, Architect,Business Owner 40   Architect and city planner
Carl Montgomery Business Owner 7 B Commercial Bank Manager
Charles Purvis Transportation Expert 10 R Concerned with safety re: traffic; retired planner MTC; wants more businesses and entertainment Downtown.
Chris Zaballos Property Owner and Business Owner 47 B Major local commercial land owner
Jason Escareno Planner 2   recent Master's Degree in Planning
Julie Lind   8   worked for former Senator Corbett; member of Hayward Human Services Commission.
Larry Gray Business Owner   B World Famous Turf Club
Lorry Hawley Business Owner 45   Lory Hawley Photography; '30+ years experience in high end restaurant business; wants restaurants to thrive
Mimi Bauer   20   Fairway Park Neighborhood activist
Phillip Gallegos   16   Skyline College Theater Instructor; Concerned about the Mervyn's project.
Robert Petenaude History Expert, Business Owner 24 B works in M-Group office on Main St. Retired city planner.
Robert Harmon   2 R Chief legal counsel for real estate for Tesla
Stacey Snowmen   32   Was on General Plan Task Force. Landscape design experience; Downtown Specific Plan Task Force Members

Lincoln Landing Coming Downtown?

Closely related to the downtown, is a new proposal to redevelop Mervyn's, by Dollinger Properties. I have quite a few issues with this project but I do think their density is good and their design is attractive. Here is one of the drawings for their proposed Lincoln Landing on the former Mervyns site:

Lincoln Landing Drawing

 

LSA 2014 Report on Mitigation at Stonebrae

A legal settlement requires Stonebrae to enhance 100 acres of habitat in the middle of the golf course for Alameda whipsnakes and California red-legged frogs. LSA, a biological consulting firm monitors and works on the habitat protection area.

PONDS

In 2013, LSA constructed thirteen new ponds covering 1.64 acres and enhanced or repaired seven existing ponds covering 0.63 acres. In 2014, LSA observed the ponds for erosion, and found native plant species-willows, cattails, bulrush, rushes, spike rush sedges, blue-eyed grass, and iris-leaf rush. Wildlife regularly observed included Pacific tree frog, California newt, aquatic garter snake, western fence lizard, and other bird and invertebrate species.

Constructed ponds meeting the criteria for California red-legged frog (CRLF) habitat increased from 8 in 2012 to 12 in 2014. All of the constructed mitigation ponds and enhanced ponds met hydrology performance criteria by drying out before mid-October. However, less than two-thirds of normal precipitation fell in 2012-13 and 2013-14, so ponds did not hold the requirement of 1 meter of water on July 1. In normal rainfall years, all ponds except one would typically achieve both vegetation and hydrology criteria.

SEASONAL WETLANDS

Currently, LSA has constructed 16.97 acres of seasonal wetland mitigation at the project site. This year, LSA implemented weed control including spot spraying chemical herbicide (Milestone) in order to improve native plant cover. Three years in a row precipitation was over 6 inches below average rates. Eleven out of thirteen mitigation wetlands met wetland hydrology performance criteria and demonstrated progress towards desired conditions in reference wetlands. LSA found much lower vegetation density than in previous years; only one of eight mitigation wetlands had adequate cover. Native species cover was low at all reference wetlands due to historically dry conditions in 2014.

RIPARIAN ENHANCEMENT

LSA implemented structural improvements in 1.14 acres of riparian areas. In 2014, LSA surveyed 6,610 linear feet of enhanced riparian areas for evidence of new erosion and checked biotechnical structures installed to promote channel stability. Most of the structures continue to fulfill this function. The LSA identified three eroded sites in 2012, which they repaired in March 2014 by installing 114 willow poles (pole packing). At the Pond 10 spillway, the LSA also improved and repaired the rock armoring to stop erosion. In 2014 LSA found no new erosion.

"Armoring" uses physical structures to protect stream banks from water erosion. Pole packing is when poles are laid horizontally and packed tightly on the stream bank and held together by willow poles jammed into the bank from the top and bottom of the structure. The willow weaving method allows for just about every willow pole to root in the mud whether "planted" vertically or horizontally. Roots from willows and other native riparian woody plants grow deeply and branch out to stop erosion.

A municipal water tank at 1530 feet serves the surrounding community as well as Stonebrae. The City of Hayward discharges excess water from this water tank to preserve drinking water quality. In 2014, significant erosion was observed downstream of the water tank outfall. LSA biologists observed discharges of water from the City's water tank on March 11, November 26, and on several occasions in December 2014. They found that the discharge was leading to erosion.

Additionally, Stonebrae golf course maintenance staff had observed "flushing" of the water tank by the City during summer 2014. . With LSA's assistance, Stonebrae is working with the City to repair the eroded area below the City's 1530 water tank outfall to control the current erosion, re-plant, and prevent future erosion. Currently, the channel below the water tank outfall contains gullies and head cuts up to 6 feet in depth. The destabilized area below the water tank outfall has destroyed mitigation plants and trees previously established in this area.

In the fall of 2014 LSA biologists counted plantings within riparian enhancement areas and found 133 trees and 220 shrubs in good condition. Also, over 450 willows have continued to grow and thus stabilize enhanced areas. Combined, 803 woody riparian plants are in good condition within the planting zones. LSA biologists also counted over 350 volunteer trees and shrub recruits within approximately 4,200 linear feet of other preserved reaches. Over 1,153 trees and shrubs have been established by plantings and passive recruitment. Currently, the LSA's planting and structural work yields an estimated 2.28 acres of riparian enhancement. However, in 2014, the LSA was not required to monitor vegetation in rock outcrops with scrub enhancement (i.e., planting and/or seeding of native scrub species suitable for Alameda whipsnake habitat).

ALAMEDA WHIPSNAKE

All whipsnake traps have been removed from the project site. In 2014, neither biologists nor Stonebrae staff observed any whipsnakes at the project site.

CALIFORNIA RED-LEGGED FROG

Twice a year LSA surveys twenty ponds for CRLF adults, larvae, and egg masses. In 2013-14, only 3 ponds provided documented CRLF breeding (eight less than in 2012-13) and adults were only observed in 3 additional ponds. When the LSA made these observations in December 2014, the ponds already had water levels lower than the last three years. Thus, during most of the CRLF breeding season in 2014 (January through March) only a small number of the ponds had the habitat to support CRLF activity. In December 2014, LSA observed up to 4 adult CRLF at the cistern. They also observed adult CRLF in two created breeding locations and CRLF egg masses at three mitigation ponds. To date, LSA has not observed any bullfrogs or predatory fishes (e.g. gambusia, carp, and sunfish).

Stating in 2005, LSA water quality monitoring focused on chemicals that could be found in urban and golf course runoff. These chemicals are potentially harmful to CRLF and other amphibians. In 2008, the water quality sampling plan was modified to focus on areas closest to the golf course.

OTHER HABITAT MANAGEMENT ACTIVITIES

Feral pigs damaged the area below the water tank outfall and caused erosion. Rural Pig Management Inc. set box traps during 2014, dispatched two female pigs and nine male pigs and delivered them to San Jose Tallow.

Grazing and weed abatement are used to disperse young whipsnakes in the fall and, potentially, whipsnake breeding/egg laying in the spring.

In 2014, grazing continued in areas away from the golf course and other developments from late spring to the end of 2014 as a weed management practice. Habitat improvement includes weed abatement by goat, sheep and or cattle grazing of selected areas etc. Due to excessive amounts of forage and extremely dry conditions, grazing in certain project areas was prescribed throughout the summer and remainder of 2014 to reduce thatch build-up and wildfire loads. LSA will employ electric fencing to protect riparian areas if livestock are grazed outside of the standard grazing season.

LSA will evaluate a conflict between two criteria. The requirement for high grass conflicts with the need to grow shrubs in rock outcrops and with the need to reduce wildfire risks.

 

Two inspirational videos on sustainability:

Sherman Lewis, President
Hayward Area Planning Association
510-538-3692
sherman@csuhayward.us
2787 Hillcrest Ave. Hayward CA 94542