New Year 2009!

Happy new year everyone.

It’s been a quiet month at SD&R, mainly because I’ve been out of town and decided to take a little time off from things Alameda. 2009 promises to be an interesting year and will probably go down as one that is remembered, if not for the massive global financial crisis, then for what look to be spirited votes on plans for Alameda Point, the housing element update, the density bonus, etc.

Tomorrow, the council (sitting as the CIC) will be voting on whether to allow the Alameda Wine Company to change their hours, apparently nobody’s drinking wine at 11am. While a small vote, I think it will say a lot about what the council feels can control. Forcing a business to keep unprofitable hours will send a clear message that the city council feels that they can micromanage, store by store, the way to a stronger business district. Allowing the tenant to make or break it on the strength of their own model will acknowledge that there is definitely a role for the city council in guiding the development of our city’s downtown, but that success will be based factors that can’t be legislated to the nth degree.

This isn’t a call for complete laissez-faire development or planning, but I can’t help but feel that when any council starts trying to legislate operating hours (which is different than limiting them for quality of life reasons) the end result is rarely going to be the one that is hoped for.