A's waterfront ballpark proposal terms get a closer look from Oakland city leaders

Oakland city leaders are taking a look at the terms of a proposed waterfront ballpark for the A's. 

A committee of city councilmembers reviewed that report on Wednesday about negotiations with the Athletics and the financial burdens for Oakland. 

The A's say the stadium Waterfront Ballpark District at Howard Terminal would be built with private financing, but city officials are concerned about infrastructure funding and the need for Alameda County to help pay for the $12 billion development. 

According to Mayor Libby Schaaf, who issued a statement following the committee meeting and presentation, the project's property taxes would be used towards public infrastructure and community benefits without risk to the city or county's general fund and without raising anyone's taxes. 

The council listened to public comment both for and against the project Wednesday. They also heard a presentation from A's President Dave Kaval on what he says are the benefits of a waterfront ballpark. 

"As folks know, we spent the last five years, really working as hard as we can to make Oakland work, to ensure the A's can stay here for many generations to come. We've held hundreds of community meetings. We've gotten input, we've gotten an understanding of what people want," Kaval said. 

Mayor Libby Schaaf said in her statement that the presentation, "answered many questions and showed how we can structure a development deal that protects our taxpayers" while keeping the A's rooted in Oakland.

Some councilmembers opposed the A's proposal to limit the non-relocation agreement to 20 years. Instead, they preferred an agreement that lasts at least 45 years. 

Schaaf said the city-staff recommended deal would include a non-binding relocation agreement between the team and the city. This was something the mayor said both the Warriors and Raiders did not have before they relocated to San Francisco and Las Vegas respectively. 

"Twenty years seems very low," said Councilmember Dan Kalb, who chaired the meeting. 

Kaval said 20 years seems appropriate given the nature of the proposal, which is being privately financed.  

The A's also want Oakland to waive a requirement that 15 percent of the housing to be built at the ballpark be affordable housing. 

Councilmember Carroll Fife, who represents areas such as West Oakland, which likely will be greatly impacted by the ballpark, said development in the past in Oakland "has been very racialized." 

Development has been very traumatic for some populations, she said. 

Vice Mayor and Councilmember at large Rebecca Kaplan said, in the past, Black Oaklanders have been driven out of West Oakland by the construction of the freeway and other projects.   

Councilmembers expressed their concern about the impacts the new stadium will have on traffic, parking, as well as related concerns around air pollution in places like Chinatown.  

The city council is set to hear a term sheet later this month. The July 20 vote will be non-binding, but Kalb said typically few things change after such a vote. 

The City Council will then need to vote on the project's environmental impact report, which won't be ready for a vote until probably November.

The city has received over 400 comments from the public on the EIR and is in the process of responding to the comments.

Bay City News reporter Keith Burbank contributed to this story.