Concerns on hotel
I have been an Alameda, Harbor Bay Isle, Bay Farm resident for more than 22 years and am writing to express my strong opposition to the proposed Marriott Residence Inn Hotel on Bay Farm Island, adjacent to the Bay Farm Ferry Terminal (“Bay Farm Island Hotel Plan Approved, 7-0,” Dec. 13).
Please note, I am not opposed to commercial development for our community. I am, however, in favor of development that will benefit our community without imposing undue and excessive strain on local infrastructure and residents in terms of traffic, noise, safety and aesthetics.
My concerns regarding this proposed hotel are numerous, and I am asking the City Council when this issue comes before them on appeal on Feb. 5, to vote against this plan.
The hotel, restaurant and bar will bring virtually 24/7 activity and traffic coming and going in our neighborhood. This is a real safety concern for our children walking and riding their bikes to and from school during the school year and at play. The developer’s traffic study is flawed. We have been told the traffic study does not address traffic on our local streets, it only references Harbor Bay Parkway.
Hotels tend to attract crime, and the developer acknowledges that by stating they will provide 24 hour security. This is not good for our family-oriented community of Bay Farm.
Property values have gone down already. One of our Bay Colony neighbors, with a home for sale, said that scores of people initially viewed her home, but when her Realtor disclosed a hotel may be built in front of her home, the offers and interest dropped off. Check out Zillow. It shows a drop in property values for our community.
The hotel will include conference space for weddings, meetings and other private events that will bring added noise and safety concerns on a day-to-day and nightly basis. The developer says the hotel is for short-term residential stays, but that can easily change. We’ve checked and have been told there is no code enforcement for this sort of concern in Alameda. Short-term residential can become permanent residential, and that will be a problem for the city and for our neighborhood community.
This massive hotel, if approved, would sit oppressively over the existing neighborhood, which consists primarily of two-story dwellings and an occasional three-story structure in the business park. There are no buildings currently on Bay Farm that exceed three stories, let alone five stories on 5.43 acres with 172 guest rooms. This proposed structure would drastically alter the coastline and skyline, and is simply too tall for this residential neighborhood.
The proposed hotel is nearly twice as tall as the recently built McGuire-Hester building on the adjacent lot. This is not about neighbors “losing their views.” This is about a building that is grotesquely out of proportion with the neighborhood in terms of scale, size and aesthetic.
It is rumored that there are at least two additional hotel proposals for Bay Farm, with at least one currently being built. With several local businesses planning to leave the business park, including North Face and the Raiders, it is imperative to examine the level of demand for so many more hotels.
Furthermore, the developer has stated that the two other hotels in the neighborhood are always booked to capacity and rooms are rented for $600 per night. This is not true. Both hotels have had ample vacancies during our numerous recent searches online, with rates of $189 and $125 per night. Additionally, there is a Hilton Gardens Hotel being approved right now with 270 rooms. At the very least, if they must build a second three-star hotel, why not build on the soon-to-be-vacant Raiders practice field much closer to the Oakland Airport. It would offer easier access to the freeway and major streets without having to cross residential areas.
In conclusion, bringing such a monumental, mediocre, commercial development right up to the steps of our quiet, residential neighborhoods with its quiet, suburban feeling is just dead wrong.