Oakland, CA

Thursday in the East Bay: Oakland approves environmental report for new A's ballpark, pipe bomb declared a hoax and more

Refugio Garcia

(Photographer/Oakland A's)

City of Oakland approves environmental impact report for A’s new Howard Terminal ballpark

The Oakland A’s moved a step closer to a new ballpark at the city’s Howard Terminal Wednesday after the city planning commission signed off on a 3,500-page environmental impact report for the proposed mixed-use development project, East Bay Times reports.

While the vote among Oakland’s planning commission was unanimous, the Oakland City Council must now certify the report along with other key factors included in the plan.

“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,” said Mayor Libby Schaaf in a statement.

However, many community members have voiced concerns about the project, arguing that the report is not thorough enough and requires further analysis.

A local coalition called the East Oakland Stadium Alliance, that represents businesses and workers unions operating at the port, issued a statement saying the “final EIR fails to address the significant concerns that community stakeholders and agencies have raised, particularly in regard to health, safety, traffic, air quality, and toxic remediation.”

Oakland city staff disagreed with the coalition’s assessment saying that after months of analysis and addressing concerns within the community, they’ve concluded that there’s no specific environmental hurdle to stifle the project.

A review of the EIR by the Oakland City Council may happen as early as next month but even if the council certifies the plan, other steps must be carried out before construction of the project can begin.

Suspected pipe bomb at Oakland federal building cleared by authorities as hoax

(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The federal building in Oakland was forced to evacuate Wednesday after a bag containing what appeared to be a pipe bomb was discovered nearby, East Bay Times reports.

The suspected explosive device was discovered at 12:36 p.m. in front of the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse on Clay Street prompting the evacuation of several buildings in the immediate area.

The F.B.I’s San Francisco bureau issued a statement saying that the bag was first discovered by a security guard who thought the contents looked suspicious causing “several other law enforcement agencies deployed to the scene to assess and mitigate the threat, including FBI San Francisco, the Federal Protective Service, Oakland Police Department, and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.”

Evacuations and street closures were in effect until 5:30 p.m. when the bomb squad gave the all-clear with officers carrying out “an additional search around the federal building out of an abundance of caution.”

The F.B.I later stated that the package “appeared to be a hoax device designed to elicit a law enforcement response,” adding, “The FBI will continue to follow all logical investigative leads related to this incident. To protect the integrity of the investigation, we have no additional information to provide at this time.”

Measure O affordable housing project approved by Berkeley City Council

(Tolu Olubode/Unsplash)

The City of Berkeley has approved seven affordable housing projects through the Measure O affordable housing project with the goal of adding 406 additional units to the city’s stock of affordable housing, East Bay Times reports.

Berkeley plans to allocate $67.5 million to the project that includes a combination of construction, acquisition and rehabilitation in an effort to complete the city’s most ambitious, and expansive, housing project to date.

“While we did make a historic and huge commitment in December to fund these projects, we still have more that we have to do,” said Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín during an interview.

“Measure O is a huge investment in affordable housing and keeping our city diverse,” Arreguín said. “That work really is rooted in the concept of housing first.”

The plan to allocate Measure O funds for the seven different sites was approved by the Berkeley City Council on Dec. 14. $24.5 million will go towards teacher housing within the Berkeley Unified School District, $14.4 million will go towards 1,100 UC Berkeley student beds at People’s Park, $5 million will be split between two projects on church properties in South Berkeley, $850,000 will be allocated for renovations of 54 units at Ashby Lofts on Ninth Street, $8.4 million will be used to purchase the Golden Bear Inn on San Pablo Avenue, and $1.2 million will be used for renovations of twelve single-room occupancy homes at the MLK House on Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

An additional $13 million was approved to develop shelters at either Ephesians Legacy Court or St Paul Terrace to provide housing for the formerly unhoused, low-income families and seniors.

While ​​revenue from fees charged to market-rate and commercial projects and federal dollars fund a portion of Berkeley’s Housing Trust fund, Arreguín said that amount of funding falls short of meeting the city’s current housing needs.

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