Too Many times the people have a question or an Idea and it is ignored because it's not in the City's best interest to respond or resolve the issue.
LaTonda Simmons, City Clerk Idea Admin
The bookmark for this page is "City of Oakland." That's sloppy web design and it results in a confusing bookmark that gets lost amidst other Oakland-related bookmarksk.
We're trying to figure out how many 2 and 3 bedrooms are planned for downtown. Simple question, but it is cumbersome and manual and incomplete. Here is our attempt at tracking units in the pipeline downtown: https://infogr.am/unit_mix_of_projects_in_oakland_pipeline
Everyone is very concerned about all the new development "popping up" but the reality is that this information is known well in advance of the final City Hall meeting when it is approved. The information is online, but it's not very accessible and most residents aren't actively monitoring it to see if a new development is going up on a vacant parking lot near by. I've been told by city staff that the only way to tell if there is a property of interest is to scan the planning commission agendas every week to see if there is a new address being discussed. What we really need is a simple map residents can monitor. A lot of neighborhood tension could be relieved by simply having more accessible information at the right time.
We need a simple data set attached to a map that shows: project name, developer, city staff, status, proposed total units, current unit mix, impt milestone dates, link to staff reports, etc...
The City has been using the same pdf template for the last 15+ years: http://www2.oaklandnet.com/oakca1/groups/ceda/documents/agenda/oak049918.pdf It is not sortable and does not include proposed unit mixes (# studios, one bedrooms, 2 bedrooms and 3 bedrooms). It is also not clear when public feedback would be useful, and what the best way is to give that feedback. It is also only a list of Major Projects, not every project.
There is a little more info on Major Projects at http://www2.oaklandnet.com/Government/o/PBN/OurOrganization/PlanningZoning/index.htm but the reality is that even a small project next door to you might seem like a major deal.
It would be awesome if the public could see the pipeline data and filter it in a way that would be useful for them. For example, we created this manually: https://infogr.am/downtown_oakland_condo_development and it was not easy!! Furthermore, it is not complete as the multi-family data is virtually inaccessible.
As it stands now, most Oaklanders wait till the media puts out a list on residential and commercial construction: http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/feature/oakland-structures/2015/ But even then it's outdated the minute it's published.
I hope the City will invest in this proposal as it is a critical need during this time of rapid change, development and displacement.
Please upload clean searchable color pdfs of staff reports and attachments. In particular, the architectural submittals to the Planning Commission are very hard to read when they are black and white scanned images. It is difficult for the community to give or gather feedback when the staff reports are so hard to consume. There are likely several ways to improve this process but at a minimum the staff reports should be searchable, the architectural renderings should be in color, and the pdfs should be original acrobat documents, not scanned files.
For example, the architectural drawings in this document are completely illegible:
The downtown specific plan is being conducted by a Coral Gables-based consulting firm. Our planning director moved here from the East Coast just a few years ago. The group guiding the process is SPUR, an SF-based advocacy organization. It's hard for me to trust the process when it's being managed entirely by outsiders. Why couldn't an Oakland-based organization such as OCO be part of the public outreach process?
I see new commercial, residential and mixed use developments going up all over downtown, but I don't see very many new public trash enclosures being installed in the downtown area. I don't know what the City currently requires developers to do, but it seems like additional trash cans should be required, just like street trees, new sidewalks and bike racks. The existing trash cans are getting overwhelmed, and worse yet, littering increases and pollutes our waterways. New developments bring new workers and residents, so more trash capacity just makes sense.
The Economic Development Strategy could provide a platform for different city departments to review service delivery processes and establish performance metrics.
Many decisions are made about city operations and services that affect the quality of life of residents. It would be helpful if residents had opportunities for public feedback and education at the earliest points of consideration - before matters are voted on by the Council.