Friday, May 17, 2019

Oakland to Stay in Port Business

By Karen Robes Meeks

Port of Oakland officials assured shipping executives in a letter sent earlier this week that the port remains committed to growing its maritime business.

This comes shortly after the commission agreed to a term sheet that would allow the Oakland Athletics to move forward on plans for a 35,000-seat stadium with nearby housing at the port’s Howard Terminal.

“In partnership with you, we’ve achieved great things at the Port of Oakland,” the port said in a letter signed by President of the Board of Port Commissioners Ces Butner and Port Executive Director Chris Lytle. “The plan now is to build on our momentum.”

The terms call for the baseball team to complete an environmental impact report and secure public agency approvals within four years before board members would consider a proposed stadium.

The letter attempts to ease concerns about how a ballpark might affect maritime business. Butner and Lytle said that the term sheet already include provisions that would:

• Preserve the port’s ability to widen the Inner Harbor Turning Basin for ships on Oakland Estuary;

• Create a buffer zone between residential uses and nearby seaport activities; and

• Require that a comprehensive transportation and circulation plan be submitted to the port.

“We know that our business partners, customers, and tenants have questions about the proposed development project,” Butner and Lytle said in their letter. “We want to assure you that we understand the issues.”