Oakland’s planning commission on Jan. 19 signed off on a 3,500-page environmental impact report that moved the Oakland A’s another base closer to building a waterfront ballpark and mixed-use development at the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal.
Although the city council still needs to certify the report and other key decisions loom, supporters of the proposed 35,000-seat ballpark and housing development touted the commission’s vote as a milestone to be celebrated, Siliconvalley.com reported.
“Tonight’s Planning Commission recommendation to send the Final Environmental Impact Report onto the City Council for certification is a huge win for our entire region and puts Oakland one step closer to building a landmark waterfront ballpark district with the highest environmental standards,” Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a statement.
Team president Dave Kaval said he was “encouraged by the unanimous vote” of the planning commission.
The city and the A’s still must reach a financial deal involving the project’s infrastructure, affordable housing and community benefits, the website reported.
Kaval said the A’s and the city’s representatives have been meeting multiple times per week to negotiate over the deal, and he expects the council would vote on it in the next four to six months.
City leaders had wanted the A’s to designate at least 15% of the 3,000 proposed housing units as affordable and shell out at least $50 million to build affordable housing elsewhere in Oakland.
“There is also the issue of who will fund $400 million worth of infrastructure work such as improvements to roads and sidewalks, sewer, water and electrical lines, and construction of pedestrian bridges to get people to and from the ballpark,” the published report said.
“The Alameda County Board of Supervisors had tentatively signaled its intent to join the city in forming a special financing district to help pay for the improvements, but its support was lukewarm and nonbinding. The county supervisors indicated they would do their own financial analysis before jumping in.”
Kaval said Thursday he expects the county’s decision to affect the way the development agreement plays out. The city is also exploring federal and state money that can be used for the infrastructure around the project.