ALAMEDA -- The City Council will consider a proposal Tuesday to carve out 11 lots for single-family homes on land that has been vacant for almost 25 years near the Fruitvale Bridge, a neighborhood considered a gateway to the Island.
The grassy field at Fernside Boulevard and Versailles Avenue borders Tilden Way and was once an Exxon oil distribution facility. State and Alameda County agencies, however, say the 1.29-acre property -- which is also near the Bridgeside Shopping Center -- does not have toxins and is safe to build on, which has helped prompt the owner to submit the proposal.
The Planning Board unanimously approved a tentative map for the lots on July 23, though the board also called for a possible pathway near the bridge linking Tilden and Versailles as a way to improve pedestrian access.
The tentative map calls for splitting the property into parcels that range from 4,050 square feet to 5,289 square feet.
A single developer could end up behind the entire project, or the parcels may be sold individually, according to Andrew Thomas, a city planning services manager.
Officials still must review the design of any of the future homes, even if the council decides Tuesday to approve the tentative map, which is what city staff are recommending.
The property is just blocks from where crews recently demolished the former Good Chevrolet dealership on Park Street -- adjacent to the Marketplace shopping center --
Two of the proposed homes would border Tilden Way, a key thoroughfare that links Oakland with downtown via the Fruitvale Bridge, although the homes would not have access to the street. Most of the homes would front Fernside Boulevard and Versailles Avenue.
Property owner Clifford Mapes also must provide one residence designated as low-income and one designated as moderate-income.
Among the issues that have sparked concern among neighbors was a condition imposed by the Planning Board to allow access across the property to the intersection of Marina Drive and Versailles Avenue.
The idea behind the condition was to make it easier for pedestrians on Marina Drive to reach the Fruitvale Bridge. But some neighbors maintain limiting access would make the neighborhood safer.
The council could receive a petition on Tuesday asking for the condition to be scrapped, according to a background report by Lori Taylor, the city's community development director.
Neighbors have also said they are worried townhouses would be built on the property -- which is zoned for duplexes -- and that they would not match the nearby existing homes.
The tentative map approved by the Planning Board in July, however, was just for single-family homes.
After Exxon closed the oil distribution facility on the property, buildings and underground storage tanks were removed between 1986 and 1988. Around the same time, city officials approved 15 units for the site, but that project fell through, and since then the property has been vacant.
Reach Peter Hegarty at 510-748-1654 or follow him on Twitter.com/Peter_Hegarty.
The City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Ave.