A Healthy Bay and Housing Can Coexist

Aerial view of the Brooklyn Basin development in Oakland

Some people think that solving the housing crisis and protecting the environment are at odds with one another. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

A development proposal for Oakland’s Brooklyn Basin had originally included a large private marina expansion that would have blocked public access to the waterfront and harmed vital marshland habitat. This was the very marsh that a Baykeeper lawsuit protected more than 20 years ago. We were disturbed that this special place, already home to many native plants and animals, was going to be affected by construction and boat traffic.

Construction of the marina would also have unleashed historical contaminants locked in the Bay’s sediment. The developer’s proposal did not include any assessments or plans to contain this pollution.

That’s why Baykeeper’s policy team, alongside several community groups, advocated for the developer to reconsider the marina entirely—and they listened! The marina expansion is no longer in the newly revised proposal. Even better, the plan now facilitates recreational access to the Bay with a public launch point for kayaks and paddleboards. The new plan is an example of how we can build much-needed housing, provide community access to the waterfront, and protect the Bay—all at the same time. The proposal includes over 3,500 new homes, many more than the initial proposal, including hundreds of affordable housing units.

It’s just too bad that it took so long. Developers should be supporting the Bay’s health and sustainable housing solutions from day one.

You know when they don’t, they’ll hear from us.

Pictured: Brooklyn Basin in Oakland (SF Baykeeper)