Published August 24th, 2016 by

Sunset Office Plaza will remain commercial, thanks to the wisdom on the Livermore City Council.  Though the decision has been made, we would like to highlight a couple of recurring themes that we think should have been better addressed in the hope that such mistakes could be avoided in the future.

The traffic analysis was good, but its interpretation went off course.  Staff focused on total car trips without regard to true impact if homes replaced the businesses.  Most crucially, zoning change would have altered the direction and timing of traffic.  An office is a traffic destination in the morning (cars exit Holmes street) and a house is a source (cars enter Holmes).  The reverse happens in the evening.  During the day, the traffic activity is spread out with no effect on the commute. Thus, any conversion from office to housing would worsen Holmes commuter traffic. This should have been explained in more detail.

Another strange component was the report on comparable offices.  Though the author looks to have made a good effort they ended up comparing inferior properties that are hard to rent and wrongfully concluded that Livermore has a surplus of Class B offices.  Pleasanton has three times as many, but they are well maintained with better occupancy.  Sunset would have respectable occupancy if the landlord hadn’t stopped issuing leases.

Published August 20th, 2016 by

Board member Doug Mann found it was incredibly painless to get permitted and start producing energy at his home.  Having gone through the process, this information would hopefully help others get headed in the right direction with fewer missteps.

This system is grid tied and uses the newer technology of microinverters.  These inverters make just about everything easier, cheaper and better.  String inverters on the other hand, while still appropriate in some cases, could add unwanted complexity.

Here’s the MS Word document was handed to Livermore Building department.  They handed back a permit.

Livermore-Solar-Permit-Plan

Livermore also has these handy reference documents

1-14 Photovoltaic Submittal (Residential)

1-14 Photovoltaic 2013 Code Changes Residential

The “hardest” part for some may be calculating the voltage rise, which should be done to figure out how big your copper wires must be so that the system runs efficiently.  You can serach the internet for “Solar voltage rise calculator”.  Enphase also makes a handy guide.  EnphaseTechBrief_Vdrop_M250

Remember your ground wire needs to be #8 or larger in Livermore, regardless of your conductor size.

Search Craigslist for the solar panels and microinverters.  In our high tech area, there are often great package deals offered on Craigslist for panels/inverters/racking.  The south bay seems to always have inventory.  Everything else you need is at the hardware store.

Published July 18th, 2016 by

See wiki.citizensforbalancedgrowth.org for ongoing contributions

This post has information for Livermore residents as they consider redevelopment options for the Lucky Center parking lot between First street and Railroad Ave, east of L Street.  The overall process has been subject to a great deal of differing opinions and controversy.

After City staff began the planning process and awarded Lennar Homes the chance to design and build it, “Community Group” was formed and followed with alternative ideas.

Community Group Alternative http://vibrantlivermore.com
Lennar Alternative http://cityoflivermore.net/downtown
Here is an inspiring example of a well regarded project,  Cleveland Town Square.

Other resources:
Here are the original RFP documents for City staff’s envisioned housing development and hotel development that began the current process. These RFPs were created prior to any community workshops.

REFERENCE DOCUMENTS CONTAINED IN THE RFP

Downtown Specific Plan
This plan lays out the community vision for downtownrevitalization. It summarizes the goals to be implemented by thePlan, describes geographic location of the Plan area, and the process used in the Plan’s primary components.

City of Livermore General Plan
Fundamental land use and development policy document which shows how the city will grow and conserve its resources

Parcel Maps Land division maps, showing all related parcels

Preliminary Title Reports
Shows all various liens, encroachments, easements and anything else recorded against the property

Topography & Boundary Surveys
Survey establishing the perimeter of the property as it relates to the legal description

Speedee Oil Change Lease
Eastern 1.46 acre potential hotel site includes a lease with Speedee Oil Change (LED 11/25/2018)

Residential For-Sale Projects
List of residential for-sale projects in Livermore (approved, under construction, or completed since 2008)

Multifamily Rental Comparables
List of residential multi -family rental comparables in and near Livermore

Downtown Parking Management Study
Represents the City ’s efforts to address parking challenges in downtown, existing
and future

Livermore Demographics and Area Information
Statistical study encompassing the size, structure, and distribution of population in Livermore –
also includes information regarding major employers, healthcare, schools, major retail and entertainment centers, and transportation corridors and public transit in the area

Downtown Livermore Amenities Map
Map detailing downtown Livermore attractions, businesses, retailers, restaurants and other amenities

Map of Livermore Wineries
Location map showing Livermore wineries

Development & Impact Fees
City of Livermore fees associated with the project development

City of Livermore Video
Video detailing Livermore area attractions

Published July 14th, 2015 by

This statement was presented to the Livermore City Council July 13, 2015

As an educational non-profit, Citizens for Balanced Growth normally undertakes efforts to shed light on issues.  Fortunately, this time the public is already very well informed about the impacts related the possibility of rezoning the Sunset Office Plaza for residential use.

Council Members are undoubtedly aware of the numerous published editorials, and have endured countless conversations involving the negative impacts of a zoning change, as well as being reminded of the commitments by which the applicant was allowed to build the adjacent homes.  There is no need to repeat what you already know, and has been so eloquently stated by so many people.  We believe Council can clearly see that the goal of balancing jobs and housing is not achieved by adding more residences to an area of town that is already overwhelmingly residential.

The challenge for Council is not whether the current zoning is good for the community, but rather what is to be done with an owner of commercial property that seems disinterested in continuing current operations, yet won’t solve the problem in the conventional manner by simply selling it to an eager buyer.

What we would like to add to the conversation is simply this.  Do not let fear cloud your better judgement. Despite the rumors and back room anxiety, the owner needs to maintain the property at a profit in order to cover taxes, expenses and maintain the required park area. The plaza will not become a vacant lot. They are business people, and they’ll do what is most economically beneficial for their company.  If they see little hope for rezoning, we believe the owner will either continue to operate the plaza profitably, or sell it to someone else prepared to do the same. The profit motive always wins, as it should in most businesses.

Finally, please consider the message you will be sending other property owners who might be watching this decision closely. Rezoning this property will reverberate far into the future, beyond the confines of this action.  Imagine how impactful it may become.

 

Published October 21st, 2014 by

Alameda County Measure BB – NO

Citizens for Balanced Growth is recommending a NO vote on Measure BB, the Alameda County sales tax increase and extension.  It will raise sales taxes by 1/2% for at least 30 years and make Alameda the highest taxed county in California. Sometimes tax increases are wise, but we don’t believe BB will provide an honest value for the Tri-Valley, or adequately address the environmental issues that are important to CBG and our donors.

The promise of Livermore BART and reduced traffic congestion is attractive, but Measure BB fails in both these respects.   A careful reading of their “plan” reveals that the BART money is uncommitted; it could easily result in the all too familiar story of Livermore paying the tax and not getting BART.  As for traffic congestion, ACTC’s own projections show that it will be worse after their spending plan is implemented, not better. ACTC is trying to solve tomorrow’s traffic problems with yesterday’s solutions, and they won’t work.

As for paratransit, bus subsidies and the rest, they can be provided with reallocation or even a sensible local tax.  Otherwise, ACTC can propose a more effective plan which should be achievable in a couple of years. With almost eight years before the existing tax expires, they have all the time they need.

For 32 years, CBG has promoted environmental actions that make good sense.  Unfortunately, Measure BB falls short.
voteNoOnBB.com
NoOnBB.com

Dublin Measure T – NO

We can’t add anything to the discussion that hasn’t already been well articulated.

http://savedublinopenspace.org
http://www.greenbelt.org/general/no-on-dublin-measure-t

https://www.facebook.com/openspacedublin

 

Published September 9th, 2014 by

It seems we may be coming full circle. CBG was created to expand the discussion of potential impacts to existing residents from new development plans. Chief among those impacts were traffic, and the water supply/quality.

The Independent did an in-depth story on the issue recently.

Published August 24th, 2014 by

Until now, CBG has maintained a minimal presence on the web, mainly to provide a convenient way to make donations and contact us.  The time has come however, to open the door to what we have been doing recently, and information about our goals for the future. Please check back and let us know what you think!