The Oakland City Council meets on 31 March 2015 to determine if an Environmental Impact Report on the Coliseum City project should be approved. Fans of the city's sports teams are encouraged to attend.
The future of professional sports in Oakland, California, remains in the balance as the Oakland City Council considers – once again – whether it should certify the Coliseum Plan Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) .
Certification of the report would be an important step forward in plans to build Coliseum City, which would include a football only stadium for the Oakland Raiders and a baseball only stadium for the Oakland Athelitcs.
Other facilities would include commercial, residential, entertainment, and industrial elements as well as a park along the shores of San Leandro Bay.
Should plans to build an arena in San Francisco for the Golden State Warriors fall through, the project could also be used as a lure to convince the basketball team to stay put.
The Warriors have a loyal fan base in the East Bay. Could Coliseum City tip the balance in Oakland's favour?
The team's owner has already expressed concerns that the electric atmosphere during games at the Oakland Arena might be hard replicate if the team migrates across the bay to San Francisco.
It remains a long shot at this point, but stranger things have happened. A few years ago, an A's move to the South Bay seemed like all but a done deal.
Environmental Impact Report
A final draft of the Coliseum Area Specific Plan was released on 30 January 2015.
Also known as Coliseum City, the plan covers 800 acres and comprises the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum and Arena, the Coliseum BART station parking lots, the Oakland Airport Business Park, and the surrounding area.
It has already been approved by the Oakland Planning Commission.
Basically, the Oakland City Council needs to consider whether it should …
- Certify the Environmental Impact Report and make related CEQA findings;
- Adopt the Coliseum Area Specific Plan and related General Plan Amendments; and
- Amend the Oakland Planning Code to create the D-CO Coliseum Area District Zone regulations, and make conforming changes to other Planning Code sections, as well as adopt revised Zoning and Height Area maps.
These actions must be done by a City Resolution, which requires a single reading of the Oakland City Council.
Save Oakland Sports
The hearing will begin at 6.30 pm on Tuesday 31 March 2015 at the City of Oakland City Hall, One Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, California.
Save Oakland Sports is a grass roots group of sports fans committed to keeping Oakland's sports teams in Oakland. The group is encouraging sports fans to attend the hearing wearing their favourite sports team's colours.
Even if the plan is approved, however, it will still need to be approved by the County of Alameda, and the city and county – which are joint owners of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum and Arena – are not well known for acting in concert on such issues.
Oakland's New Mayor
The city of Oakland has a new mayor, and she is making saving Oakland's sports teams a key item on her agenda.
"I have been working very hard on making sure that our sports teams are gonna call Oakland home for a long, long time to come," says newly elected Oakland Mayor, Libby Schaaf, in an interview with Radio Talk Show Host Damon Bruce on 95.7 FM.
"And it is exciting to know that … we are now moving ahead with a slightly different approach, and what's exciting about that is we have got to be in lock step with the County government. The city and the county are co-owners of the Coliseum land, and so nothing is gonna get done on the land unless we are in agreement."
While East Bay officials drag their feet, Southern California and San Antonio, Texas, offer the Raiders attractive and potentially lucrative alternatives should plans to built a football only stadium in Oakland not pan out.
Can the city and country get their acts together and move this thing forward? Oaktown's long suffering sports fans and only wait and see.