The 402 homes at MacArthur BART are almost a reality. It previously made its way through the planning commission with unanimous approval, but before it can be built it needs approval from the full city council. Decades ago, when MacArthur Transit Village was being put together, the councilmember at the time considered it a good idea to require full city council approval, and so here we are.

Tomorrow, February 28th, 2017 at 1:30pm: The MacArthur Mammoth will be having a hearing at the Oakland City Council's Community and Economic Development committee. This is an early afternoon meeting, so not everyone will be able to make it. Thats fine! The Mammoth will still be coming before the full city council on March 7th. The exact time is being worked out, but you'll know when it happens.

In the meantime, East Bay Forward is asking supporters to write letters of support to the city council's CED committee and the city planner for the project:

  • Catherine Payne, City Planner: cpayne@oaklandnet.com
  • Annie Campbell Washington, CED Chair: acampbell-washington@oaklandnet.com
  • Lynette Gibson McElhaney, Councilmember: lmcelhaney@oaklandnet.com
  • Noel Gallo, Councilmember: ngallo@oaklandnet.com
  • Larry Reid, Councilmember: lreid@oaklandnet.com

If you're unsure what to write, here's a sample letter to get you started:

Members of the Oakland Planning Commission and Councilmember Campbell-Washington,

I am writing to you in strong support of the proposed housing for the MacArthur Transit Village's Parcel B, which will bring 402 additional homes to Oakland without displacement. Oakland is becoming increasingly unaffordable to newcomers and long-time residents alike through a long-term trend of creating insufficient quantities of housing. Our crisis-level housing shortage has caused rents to skyrocket across the entire city, while at the same time leaving even rent controlled tenants—otherwise safe from drastic, immediate rent increases in market-rate housing—unable to move into safer, higher quality housing.

These 402 homes will bring thousands of families, workers, artists, neighbors, and friends to the Temescal and Longfellow neighborhoods over the lifetime of the building. These people can be long-term Oakland residents needing to get out of their earthquake-prone turn-of-the-century Victorian, or newcomers who are looking to make Oakland their home just as many others have done here for generations. The new housing will generate millions in tax revenue for the city, provide throngs of eager customers to local businesses, and start to make a dent in rents.

While the MacArthur Transit Village will not end our housing shortage overnight, building more housing is part of the answer and Approval of this project does exactly that. I urge the Community and Economic Development Committee to approve this project at MacArthur BART at the Februrary 28th meeting, with a recommendation of expedited approval by the City Council for March 7th.

Since this meeting is in the early afternoon, we're not in full-out organizer mode and aren't herding folks the day of the meeting. However, if you are able to, please do show up! Others will be there in East Bay Forward shirts to speak for the mammoth. If you are forced to choose between this committee meeting or the full city council meeting on March 7th, please pick the March 7th one; we are estimating it to be heard around 8:45pm.