In the works since 2015 and approved for development late last year, the plans for an eight-story building with 25 residential units and a 23-car garage to rise upon the former Holy Ground Fellowship building turned taggers paradise at 605 9th Street in Old Oakland, adjacent to the Oakland Flower Market at 821 Jefferson Street, were subsequently appealed.

The appellants argue that the approved plans are inconsistent with at least eleven (11) of the policies outlined in the City’s General Plan governing the development of Old Oakland and that the project’s eight-story height is “inherently incompatible” with the [appellant’s] adjacent one-story building and the neighborhood in general.

Noting that the Appellants “have placed an emphasis on the proposed building height and surrounding context as the basis for the project’s inconsistency with the [City’s] General Plan,” Oakland’s Planning Department has responded as such:

“The General Plan specifically notes that the desired character and uses [for the area] includes urban (high-rise) residential. Furthermore, the property is zoned for an 85’ height limit. Also, the property is located in Downtown and the history of downtown development, and continuing today, includes smaller buildings next to larger structures as the Downtown continues to evolve. As such, as eight-story building next to a one-story building and across the street from five-story buildings is not out of context in the [Central Business District].”

And as such, Oakland’s Planning staff is recommending that the City’s Planning Commission reject the appellants’ arguments and uphold the approvals for the development of 605 9th Street, which is likely to be branded 823 Jefferson Street, on Wednesday.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Tony

    “inherently incompatible”

    In in the downtown core of the city!

  2. Posted by Notcom

    Any idea who the appellants are, or just garden variety malcontents?

    • Posted by SocketSite

      “the [appellant’s] adjacent one-story building,” as noted in our second paragraph above, might provide a hint.

      • Posted by Notcom

        Much like a smile taking fewer muscles than a frown…
        But back to the topic: so this is a classic “neighbor doesn’t want it”; as such I consider it a positive – or at least semi-positive – as it doesn’t seem to be one of those organized shake-down groups we often see… the “Isa Doolittle Center for Property Appropriation” or whomever.

  3. Posted by Occupied in Oakland

    Recently, a couple of Uptown merchants came out against a FIFTY-bike bike station because it caused the removal or FOUR parking spaces -even though the vast majority of their clientele arrive by foot or bike. Argh! Merchants are not the brightest when it comes to urban planning. Likewise, this appellant has the potential to gain business from TWENTY-FIVE new households, but is instead fighting it over a height difference…

    • Posted by E. Gonsalves

      Merchants can be shortsighted at times. The fuss they made about the Latham Plaza is a great example. The merchants demanded that the city not close off Telegraph at 15th street because of traffic flow. Europe is now filled with beautiful vibrant pedestrian only zones. Initially the merchants were vehemently opposed to the pedestrian only plazas and walkways. Now the merchants in Europe love these very vibrant and successful pedestrian only commercial area.

      • Posted by Notcom

        Your European happy endings notwithstanding, ped malls in the U.S. have a checkered history…at best (and I avoided easy targets and chose one that “should have worked”).

        Admittedly there are many factors at work in the failures, but DO has a lot of marginal retailers – to the extent that it has any at all – and I think they should be described as “deservedly cautious” rather than “shortsighted.”

        • Posted by Occupied in Oakland

          Notcom, at present there’s no parking crisis in Downtown Oakland. City studies show it’s just unwillingness of drivers to increase their search radius by ONE block or use parking garages. Webster and Franklin streets in Uptown often have fewer cars driving down a given block than there are traffic lanes on the road. Many Oakland streets were widened just prior to the freeway system and white flight -so they’ve been under used for decades. There is room for bike parking here. Do you see a lack of auto parking in this image?

          • Posted by Notcom

            Thanks OO, but I was only addressing ES’ comment about Latham Square…and even then I wasn’t taking a position on it, rather a position against robo-labelling people as “shortsighted.” They can be, of course, but I’d be hesitant to categorize based simply on a short news story.

          • Posted by Occupied in Oakland

            Justin, parking is impossible on Alice because people going to MCCA choose to driver there over taking public transit or paying to park in the hundreds of off-street spots nearby. That’s it. MCCA’s page even says, “Metered street parking is available near the building and a low-rate hourly parking lot is located across the street…” So it’s not the existence of bike lanes or anything else -it’s the arts center and people choosing to jam up the area for cheap parking -place blame where it is due. Also, blame city hall for not instituting a parking permit program in the area, as it’s clearly warranted.

        • Posted by Sassy

          I attended one of the Specific Plan meetings for Downtown Oakland last year. 3 merchants voiced that they didn’t want anymore bike lanes or dog parks. All three said that stuff is for “White People”.

          • Posted by Justin

            The bike lanes are not used. Parking is impossible on Alice. Several new developments on 17th will make parking more difficult. Parking in Old Oakland can be pretty rough actually. Anyway this building should be tall. There is still plenty of empty storefronts in Oakland. Sunday is a ghost land. More people living down here supports a local economy.

  4. Posted by E. Gonsalves

    Oakland is a big city. Big cities have buildings of varying heights. The Upper East Side in Manhattan is filled with beautiful buildings of every height. Residential Manhattan features 60 story skyscrapers next to 10 story buildings, 5 story buildings, and even 2 story buildings. Varying heights make for a more interesting city. Any thing that delays the improvement to a parcel which is comprised of an ugly graffiti covered building, is bad for the neighborhood. Having said that, the building should be attractive. I’m not crazy about that rendering.

  5. Posted by Adam

    Thankfully, the appeal was denied at the Wednesday meeting.

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