Mayor and Vice Mayor's Statement: Why to Pause Before Signing the Mixed-Use Development Petition

Mayor Farid Javandel and Vice Mayor Marge Atkinson issued a statement on the University Village San Pablo Avenue development project. Click the "Keep me posted" button below for an update when we post more on this topic.

After Albany spent more than four years reviewing, revising, and redesigning the San Pablo Avenue senior housing & grocery store/retail plan, the City Council to allow this long-awaited project to move forward. Some people are now asking “” and to put the project before voters. 

Before signing such a petition, let’s pause to remember the thousands of hours that Albany residents put into making the best project possible for the community. And give some thought to the unbudgeted that a referendum election would cost Albany from its General Fund. 

For the Albany residents on the waiting list for Albany’s only senior housing, this brings the hope that they can stay in their community when they can no longer stay in their homes. Albany families can be close to their parents who need assisted living services. 

For neighborhoods without a grocery store in walking distance, it means close access to fresh food and goods. A grocery store like Whole Foods provides opportunities for local entrepreneurs to sell their products. 

For Albany homeowners and other taxpayers, it means tax-exempt property is put on the tax rolls, estimated to bring more than $450,000 in gross annual revenue to the tax base, and $200,000 per year net after the cost of added services. 

For the School District, it means not building tax-exempt housing for UC students with children on this University property to add to the burden of the school system, but instead providing a tax base for bond measures, parcel taxes, and development impact fees. If the current proposal is rejected, UC could simply build more student housing without zoning changes or other approvals from the City, thus increasing the burden on the School District and adding service costs to the City without offsetting revenues. 

The project also means helping support the businesses on the south end of San Pablo Avenue, among others, with revitalization of this former World War II barracks area. When completed, there will be 320 full-time new, on-going jobs created – which is critical in this economy. 

For Little League, it means assurance—at last—that they will have field space. For construction workers out of work, it means a job—paid at prevailing wage. And University Village students and their families will receive much-needed rent subsidies from project revenues. 

It means Albany residents continuing to work together to further improve the project as it goes through its next approval phases. Let’s move forward to bring senior housing, groceries, jobs, city revenue and other benefits to Albany as planned. 

August 13, 2012 

Click the "Keep me posted" button below for an update when we publish future stories on the Whole Foods project. Learn about the proposed Whole Foods and senior housing development here.

don September 10, 2012 at 02:28 AM
well i signed and it too was a neighbor so marsha skinner your not for albanys good i wont vote you next time made mistake last time go ahead start paper work on your pension wont be long
don September 10, 2012 at 02:44 AM
madisonian:i would rather pay the 60k thats a h better than spending millions right so yes im for that vote bring it on so we will save the millions their trying to get from us
don September 10, 2012 at 02:46 AM
problem is people on council work for ther own magic
Ross Stapleton-Gray September 10, 2012 at 02:50 AM
Punctuation: conversation's necessary condiment.
Marsha Skinner September 10, 2012 at 03:12 AM
Since Don is naming me, I will respond : Don, I think you're confused. My name has not been on the ballot since 1994 When I served, it was on the Board of Education We received a stipend of under $200 per month, and access to the school district's benefit plans. Eventually, I will receive a small pension, but it will be for my full-time corporate employment, not for my 8 1/2 years as a Board Member. Your experience, having a neighbor bring the petition, evidently was different from mine. I was approached at the same private party as Peggy, and again by the same woman at the Albany Library. I asked her where she lived. It's not in Albany. The fellow who came to our door lived in Newark. The person who approached me on Solano Avenue also told me that he did not live in Albany


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