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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

New Development Proposals Degrade Emeryville Parks/Open Space

'Big Three' Residential Developments Drag Emeryville Down

Tattler Investigation Shows Town Going Backwards on Parks/Open Space

News Analysis
As developers rush to build apartment projects on the last three large plots of fallow land left in Emeryville; the Market Place development, the Sherwin Williams project and the Anton (Nady) site, the Tattler has revealed these residential projects will negatively skew the ratio of residents per acre of park and open space land in our town.  An investigation reveals these projects will substantially increase the number of people per acre of park, exacerbating an already dramatically underserved Emeryville population.
The current lack of park land is something residents often cite as a problem in Emeryville; the General Plan clearly shows this as a problem, and taxpayer funded proposed parks aren't getting built owing to a lack of funds at City Hall.  But it's a subject begging our attention: Emeryville's current 472 residents per acre of park/open space land, a shamefully high number, towers over our neighbor Oakland's 67 residents per acre.  More troubling is the trajectory; if these last three projects get approved as they're proposed, the ratio of people to parks will get much worse in Emeryville with little chance to ever catch up with our neighbors.

The numbers tell the tale:

Population  10,777 (2013)*
Acres of Park/Open Space  22.82
Residents/Acre  472

Population  406,253
Acres of Park/Open Space  6,063
Residents/Acre  67

Population  116,768
Acres of Park/Open Space  235
Residents/Acre  497

*Doesn't include the first phase of the Market Place project, Emme Apartments completed in May 2015; 190 units with approximately 380 total residents.  Other smaller residential projects are also not included.

It's worth noting is how Emeryville's park land is currently distributed; most of it is located in the marina neighborhood leaving the east side of town underserved.

The last three large residential projects will increase our population and two of the projects will increase our park land.  But the new ratio of acres of park land to residents in the Big Three will drive down the ratio of park land to residents for the whole town.
Here's how the 'Big Three' numbers by themselves break:

Market Place Development
Units  456
Acres Park Land Added  .46

Sherwin Williams Development
Units  540
Acres Park Land Added  2.08

Anton (Nady) Development
Units  211
Acres Park Land Added  0

Together these three projects add 1207 units and 2.54 acres of new park land.  Using the double formula (an average of two persons per unit), the total number of people added to Emeryville with these projects will be 2414.  It should be noted however City Hall has said they are pushing for more family friendly units and to the extent they are successful, there may be more than an average of two people per unit for these projects, skewing the numbers presented here, driving up the people per acre.
Here are the numbers of the projects by themselves against Emeryville currently:

Emeryville Currently (2013)
Residents/Acre  472

Market Place Proposal
New Residents  912
Residents/Acre  1983

Sherwin Williams Proposal
New Residents  1080
Residents/Acre  527

Anton (Nady) Proposal
New Residents  422
No Park Land Added

So it can be seen these housing projects actually take Emeryville backwards when it comes to residents per acre and subsequent crowding in our parks/open space.  When added to Emeryville's numbers, these big three projects will skew the numbers against our neighbors thusly:

Emeryville (add 'Big Three')
Population  13277
Acres Park/Open Space  25.36
Residents/Acre  524*

Residents/Acre  67

Residents/Acre  497

*Doesn't include the first phase of the Market Place project, Emme Apartments on 64th Street completed in May 2015; 190 units with approximately 380 residents.  Adding these apartments after they're fully rented would change the total Emeryville number of residents per acre of park to 538.  Also, smaller residential development projects are not included in this calculation but they also will drive the number of residents per acre higher because no other of these proposed small developments will directly add to our park acreage.

Doyle Hollis Park
Emeryville residents can expect our parks to get a lot more
crowded if the 'Big Three' developments get approved.


  1. Each development doesn't need to add park land at their project site. The taxes generated from the project can go into a fund so the City can build a park elsewhere in town.

    1. True enough about residential development projects not needing to build new park land directly as part of the approval for the project. The problem is our park fees on new development don't match the impact the projects generate; the fees are too low. If the fees were high enough, you'd see new parks sprouting up everywhere in Emeryville as our population increases. Instead, the ratio of park acreage to residents keeps sliding over time in Emeryville. Also, the higher percentage of residential to retail or office each specific development has, the less money the project generates. Projects that are all residential actually COST the City money because new residents use more in City services than they pay for in taxes. New residential projects add traffic congestion and crowding...we have to make sure they add benefit for existing residents. They have to increase our park acreage to residents ratio I say or why should we allow these projects? If all we get are problems, what's in it for us?

  2. This is extremely valuable. The point about park acreage per resident is valuable and it's a good way to measure the effect on our community. Thanks for this.

  3. "Last three plots of fallow land left in Emeryville". Don't forget the land under Anna Yates School and the Child Development Center. What do you think is going to happen to them? One could predict.

  4. Right. I was so stupid to think"Park Side" Apartments meant something other than "beside a parking lot." That bill of goods we were sold was a crock. Thanks for kissing our back side planning commission.