Frequently Asked Questions

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Traffic Issues

What is this project doing to address impacts on traffic?

We are aware that traffic is a concern for many people who live in neighborhoods surrounding the Oak Knoll project; the area has long suffered from a lack of traffic improvements. In reality, the traffic problems already exist and Oak Knoll is a minor contributor to these problems, and it is required to build its portion of improvements or pay its fair share of traffic impact fees to accommodate the project's impacts. More importantly, Oak Knoll will construct 100% of the traffic improvements that are identified in the City's traffic study, of which only a small portion is attributed to Oak Knoll, in exchange for a credit toward the traffic impact fees that cover the full cost of these improvements. In this way, the full improvements will be installed early to benefit local residents. Again, it is important to note that our project will be a minor contributor to the area's existing overall traffic problems. Under this circumstance, the full improvements identified in the traffic study will be installed and the City may retain reimbursements from other developments that are responsible to share in the cost of improvements, for use elsewhere.

The City's traffic study identified the following improvements to intersections and ramps that require upgrades:

Traffic signals will be installed at the Kuhnle Avenue/Seminary Avenue on-ramp and the Kuhnle Avenue/Frontage Road off-ramp. The 580 Eastbound off-ramp at Fontaine Street/Keller Avenue will receive a new traffic signal; the Mountain Boulevard/580 Westbound off-ramp/Shone Avenue will receive a new traffic signal, and the ramp will be re-striped to provided one left-turn lane and one shared left-turn/right-turn lane.

Mountain Boulevard/Keller Avenue will receive re-striping of the eastbound Keller Avenue approach to provide one shared through/left-turn lane and through/right-turn lane; re-striping of the westbound Keller Avenue approach to provide one shared through/left-turn lane and one right-turn lane; re-striping of southbound Mountain Boulevard to provide one left-turn lane and one right-turn lane; and installation of a new traffic signal.

Additionally, the 580 Eastbound off-ramp at 98th Avenue/Golf Links Road will receive extended off-ramp storage capacity; re-striping of the eastbound Golf Links Road approach to provide one left-turn lane and one shared through/left turn lane; and traffic signal timing will be optimized. The 580 Westbound ramps/Golf Links Road will receive widening of the off-ramp to provide one shared through/left-turn lane and two right-turn lanes; and optimization of the traffic signal timing.

At Mountain Boulevard/Oakland Zoo Driveway/Golf Links Road, there will be re-striping of the eastbound Golf Links Road approach to provide one left-turn lane and shared left-turn/through/right-turn lane; and a traffic signal will be installed.

What is being done to address traffic on the 580?

Traffic on the I-580 Freeway itself is a matter under the jurisdiction of Caltrans and not within the scope of our project or the City of Oakland. However, our project will bring mitigations to several 580 ramps and key traffic points among our off-site transportation improvements. (See previous response for details).

Why is it so important to have a roadway accessing Oak Knoll on the back side of Keller?

The access at the top of Keller Avenue is an important contributor to the safety of residents within and around Oak Knoll in the event of a fire or other catastrophe. The community design has been thoroughly planned and considered with emergency access requirements in mind.

How many points of access will there be?

There will be six access points into the completed community. Two main entries on Keller and Mountain; one secondary entry on Mountain; one secondary entry on Keller; one entry into the retail center from Mountain; and one Emergency Vehicle Access at Barcelona and Sequoyah Hills.

Is Mountain Boulevard going to be repaved completely?

Oak Knoll is required to improve the frontage along Mountain Boulevard and nearby intersections, but other property owners and the City will be responsible for the greater overall improvement of this roadway, as it extends beyond the project's boundaries.

Will there be a single lane in each direction at Mountain?

Mountain will remain as a single lane in each direction based upon the results of the traffic study. In addition, the property ownerships and design constraints along the areas not fronting Oak Knoll present difficulties for future improvements.

Have traffic studies addressed increases to traffic coming from Campus to Keller?

Yes, this and other area streets have been thoroughly studied by the City of Oakland, and their traffic engineers indicate that under normal conditions, traffic is unlikely to use this route. In addition, we are prepared to make any adjustments necessary to discourage use of this route. We also had extensive discussions with the City regarding area-wide traffic patterns.

Will Keller be torn up for underground work?

We may have limited construction trenching that crosses Keller, but no major work is anticipated along the length of Keller. The trenching across this roadway will be done to make connections to utilities serving surrounding residents.

What's the plan for the Keller community entryway?

The current traffic study requires that four stop signs be installed at this location and there will possibly be advance-warning signage indicating to drivers that a stop is being approached.

Who is making the decisions about traffic improvements?

The traffic improvements were identified in the City of Oakland's EIR traffic report for this project, and an independent traffic engineering firm determined the proper improvements. The cost, reimbursements and credits for installing the improvements, and their timing, were determined during the entitlement process for the project.

Construction Topics

When will construction on the site resume?

Work activity will resume on April 16, 2019. Construction throughout the property has paused temporarily from October 15 to April 15 due to a City ordinance prohibiting grading during the rainy season.

Are the proposed EVAs going to be used for construction?

Oak Knoll is anticipated to be developed in three phases over a number of years; this means that construction for the entire site will not take place all at once. The first phase will include the main entry at Mountain Boulevard. There will be very little need for development traffic to be coming and going from the property. It is possible that traffic may use the EVAs during the initial drop-off of construction equipment and materials, although it is anticipated that the main and secondary entries can serve that purpose more effectively. Oak Knoll is committed to being a good neighbor to local residents, both during and after construction.

When the construction starts, will the construction vehicles go onto Campus to get to Keller?

It will not be necessary for construction vehicles to travel on Campus to reach Keller Avenue because the development work is almost exclusively confined to the project site itself. The exception for the initial development/construction may entail the equipment, material and the construction workers, which is better accomplished via Mountain Boulevard.

Who will do the construction of the community?

Oak Knoll is anticipated to be implemented in two main stages: land development and home building. The current owners will conduct the land development. Thereafter, as individual neighborhood tracts are sold to builders, they will construct the homes.

Is Oak Knoll contracting buildout of the retail center to a third party?

It is currently anticipated that a commercial builder will construct the retail center on an Oak Knoll parcel.

What is the timeframe for total buildout?

The community will be constructed in phases, with total buildout anticipated to be completed in approximately 10 years. Development of the site will take approximately seven years, with homebuilding continuing until about a decade from the time of Oak Knoll's initial ground-breaking.

General Community Topics

Is this going to be a gated community?

Currently, there are no plans to place gates at the community entryways. The homebuilders, particularly those of the townhomes, may want to have controlled access in their individual neighborhoods and could install gates leading to those areas.

If the homeowners are responsible for the clubhouse, is there going to be an HOA?

Regardless of the existence of a clubhouse, there will be an HOA for the operation and maintenance of community facilities and features. Also, home builders may want to create their own HOAs for individual residential neighborhoods.

How many parking spaces at the commercial center?

There are approximately 350 parking spaces planned at the retail village.

Are all of the streets private or public?

Oak Knoll's streets will be public.

When will the property be open to pedestrian traffic?

For security and safety reasons, the property is not currently open to the public. As each phase of the community is developed and the homes in that section are sold, then that phase's adjacent trails will become open to the general public.

How is parking within the entire site, such as visitor parking, retail center, etc.?

Ample parking is provided throughout the master plan and the number of spaces in the various areas conforms to specific planning requirements set forth by the City of Oakland. Residences are planned with a minimum two-car garage whereas guest parking will be located on streets, in residential driveways, in townhome neighborhoods and in the retail center.

What is the final vision of the Oak Knoll neighborhood?

When completed, Oak Knoll will be a pedestrian-friendly, high-quality community oriented around a restored creek. Situated in Oakland’s southern foothills, abundant pathways and open space will connect family-oriented neighborhood enclaves. The community will include features such as shops, restaurants and public meeting spaces to allow neighbors to interact with each other. Oak Knoll will have the feel and character of neighborhoods such as Piedmont, Montclair and Claremont with a laid-back small-town atmosphere.

How many homes will be built on the site?

Oak Knoll will consist of a total 918 single-family and town homes.

Who will build the homes?

The developer is in the process of reviewing and determining which home builder firms will construct the homes at Oak Knoll.

What will be the price range of the homes?

Since the home builders have not yet been selected, this information will not be known until the guest builders have announced their designs, floorplans and pricing. However, it is known that all of the homes will be priced at market rates.

Will houses be built on the prominent ridge top along Keller Avenue?

Only in a very small section and not on the highest point. Oak Knoll will include homes on the ridge, but there will be no homes on the knoll itself. The majority of the ridge will be preserved as open space for passive viewing opportunities, walking and hiking.

Will Oak Knoll feature any parks or trails to make the community walkable and pedestrian friendly? Will trails link to East Bay Regional trails?

Yes, the project is being designed with a walking, hiking and biking trail system that traverses the entire site and connects to the East Bay Regional Parks system. Along that system will be pocket parks, the community center, village center and other features.

What will be included in the Oak Knoll community center?

The Oak Knoll community center will be home to the home owners association (HOA) for the project but will also be available for events for residents and the general public. The center is being designed to be the gathering spot of the community and could be used for events such as birthday parties, weddings and social gatherings. We are currently analyzing the other features that would potentially serve for recreation and entertainment.

Will there be more than one Home Owners Association at Oak Knoll?

We anticipate that there will be one HOA to help maintain Oak Knoll but it is possible that some home builders may want to create their own HOAs for individual residential developments.

What will be included in the Oak Knoll village center?

The village center will be designed as a lifestyle center and will include approximately 80,000 square feet of retail space that reflects the desires of the local community. The center will provide for daily support needs such as a grocery store, specialty shops and restaurants that are preferred by the local surrounding community.

How will Oak Knoll’s housing options accommodate people in all stages of life?

The 183-acre Oak Knoll development will feature a variety of home styles and sizes including estate homes, single family homes and townhomes. The homes will have a range of pricing to provide residents at all stages of life the ability to move up during the different stages of their lives.

Will the plan created by SunCal in conjunction with the community be the final plan approved by the City?

Working with the general community, interest groups and other stakeholders, SunCal submitted a plan that the City Council approved in November 2017.

Will the Oak Knoll development be required to have market rate housing?

We will have market-rate residence for sale to the public. Oak Knoll is contributing approximately $20 million in affordable housing fees and it will be the City’s decision to determine how and where in Oakland to use these funds to best address the affordable housing needs of the City.

What is SunCal doing about the expected increase in traffic in the Oak Knoll Community area?

SunCal will construct the required traffic improvements that were identified in the City’s traffic study. We will be constructing improvements within the community and in the surrounding area which will include a traffic signal, intersection upgrades, new paving, curbs and gutters. These improvements will be constructed during the project development or funded by fees paid to the City for implementation at an appropriate future time.

What effort is SunCal making to control the noise increase during construction?

New development is required through the entitlement process to address potential noise with permanent and temporary measures depending upon the source of the noise. We will make every reasonable effort to minimize noise during the construction process. In addition, existing City ordinances limit the days and times that construction may take place.

What are the plans for Club Knoll?

Club Knoll is badly deteriorated from years of vandalism and neglect, and as a result of two studies we commissioned, we believed it was beyond rehabilitating and of limited historic value. However, after our conversations with the City and the Oakland Heritage Alliance, we carefully reviewed the structure’s condition and studied ways to preserve it. Our goal now is to integrate the Club into Oak Knoll so that it will one day return to service as a community center.

When will construction begin?

A groundbreaking ceremony took place on September 12, 2018, so work is officially underway on this exciting new community.

Will there be new schools, fire stations and police sub stations built nearby to accommodate the new population of residents?

Studies showed that Oak Knoll is not required to include a school, fire station or police sub-station and these are therefore not part of the master plan.

Will homes in the Oak Knoll development be equipped with solar panels?

We are a community developer and install the utilities, streets and amenities; and create the neighborhoods for future homebuilders. Within the entitlement documents are provisions to enable homebuilders to install solar panels or other alternative energy sources. Alternative energy is a priority and a serious consideration, and this topic will be discussed with the homebuilders selected for Oak Knoll. Also, under state laws pertaining to solar energy, a homeowner is able to install solar panels on his or her residence.

Can nearby residents walk and hike on the undeveloped Oak Knoll property?

For safety and security reasons, the Oak Knoll property is not currently open to surrounding residents and other persons.

Why doesn’t the proposed planting palette for Oak Knoll include more redwoods?

Coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) forests are generally restricted to a narrow band along the coast of California from just north of the Oregon border south to Monterey. The redwood forests of nearby Redwood Regional Park and Joaquin Miller Park are relative outliers of the otherwise coastal distribution that are made possible only by a unique combination of topography and weather patterns. Coastal fog blows in to the East Bay through the Golden Gate and eventually settles in topographic bowls or basins. The redwood forests of the East Bay are typically restricted to these fog-drenched bowls or basins as well as north-facing slopes that stay cooler and moister than the surrounding oak woodlands, scrublands and grasslands. The majority of the Oak Knoll site has a southwest-facing aspect that makes it warmer and drier than the nearby redwood forests to the north. Other tree species such as coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia) are more tolerant of the dry, warm conditions found on the site and would not need supplemental irrigation following initial establishment. In addition, redwood trees are known for their very shallow root system, which increases their risk of falling and can create a hazard in urban areas. Due to their ability to quickly reach large sizes with supplemental irrigation, this is of particular concern within the planned development.

Water Management

Who is responsible for monitoring water discharge at Oak Knoll?

All water runoff control at Oak Knoll during construction is being managed on an ongoing basis by our storm water and erosion control specialists, Emerald Site Services, Inc., to conform with the State Water Resources Control Board Construction General Permit Order and San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board’s discharge permit regulations. This is a state-licensed firm that is an industry leader in erosion and sediment control.

What agency do they report to?

Multiple public agencies have authority over water discharge at Oak Knoll and Rifle Range Creek. They are the Environmental Protection Agency, Regional Water Quality Control Board, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the City of Oakland. These agencies previously reviewed and approved Oak Knoll’s Erosion and Sediment Control Plan under the California General Permit for Construction.

Who’s monitoring the monitors?

Oak Knoll’s construction managers work with the water specialists to monitor and maintain the water control measures and make adjustments as needed. But beyond this, officials from the Regional Water Quality Control Board and the City have inspected Oak Knoll. In addition, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has conducted unannounced inspections.

What measures are being employed to manage the rain runoff?

A variety of methods are being used to control sediment and erosion on the site, including but not limited to: erosion control straw wattles on slopes; a combination of silt fencing and wattle along Rifle Range Creek to retain sediment; geotextile fabric installations; sediment silt sifter bags around drain inlets to minimize silt/debris infiltration; drain inlet filter bags to catch sediment; a check-dam system to slow water flows; and ponded sediment traps. This program is being managed on an ongoing basis by our water specialists in conformance with the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board’s discharge permit regulations, and our specialists actively work to mitigate any issues that may arise. This team also samples the water turbidity (water cloudiness) at various locations to comply with water quality regulations.

What are the ponds of water that are visible on the property?

These low areas along Mountain Boulevard are defined as a ponded sediment trap area the Erosion and Sediment Control Plan. They accumulate water and sediment during rainstorms. They have been seeded, but remain dirt areas as they cannot grow vegetation due to being covered with water during rain events.

Are the ponds permanent features?

No, they are temporary as the land here will eventually be raised with fill dirt after grading work resumes in the spring. Further, a system of buried storm drains will be installed throughout the property to support the new development, as specified in the master plan.

Do these ponds hold contaminated water?

No, the water in the ponds is not contaminated with any toxins or chemicals; it is only rainwater that holds some sediment.

How is water discharged from these ponds?

The ponds’ purpose is to slow runoff from the property, allow the particles to settle and trap sediment. If the water is within permit discharge allowance limits for clarity, it is allowed to discharge from these ponds to Rifle Range Creek. If water requires more settling time, it is pumped to trucks and dispersed on upper vegetated areas of the property for further filtration before reaching the creek.

When pumping water out of the ponds, what is the acceptable procedure?

The ponds are dewatered via multiple methods that are in compliance with the California General Permit for Construction. The primary method is to pump the ponds to an uphill location, use a filter bag and allow vegetation to filter the sediment before a comingled discharge. The entirety of the Oak Knoll site runs off to Rifle Range Creek and the site is well stabilized.

Why have water tanker trucks been used to remove water from the holding basin? 

These trucks help carry out the dewatering of the ponds and this is an accepted industry practice. They carry the water to an uphill location on the property and empty the tank, using a filter bag and allowing vegetation to filter sediment before a comingled discharge takes place farther down on the property.

Is the water leaving the property clean?

Yes, it is. Some turbidity or water cloudiness in rain runoff naturally occurs as water flows across soil, despite mitigation measures that are in place, but testing has shown that the turbidity is below the permitted discharge limit.

What is the industry standard for testing water turbidity, which is more simply described as water cloudiness?

The official system of measuring the turbidity or cloudiness of water is Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU) which measures the visible suspended particulates. This is a key test of water quality. The instrument used for measuring turbidity is called a nephelometer or turbidimeter, which measures the intensity of light scattered at 90 degrees as a beam of light passes through a water sample.

Is some turbidity of runoff water acceptable during construction?

Measures are in place to trap and filter sediment before it reaches Rifle Range Creek, but some limited rainstorm turbidity in discharge water, up to 250 NTU (Nephelometric Turbidity Units), is permitted during a project’s construction period.

What levels are acceptable?

If the property discharges rainwater at the corner of Sequoia and Mountain when the ponds are full, our water specialists have repeatedly sampled this water with similar results: it is below the 250 NTU discharge limit of the California General Permit for Construction; NTU is a standard measure of turbidity or visible suspended particulates in water.

Are the filter bags at drain inlets being maintained?

Yes, the sediment filter bags at the drain inlets are monitored and cleaned as necessary on a continuing basis to ensure they are doing their job of catching sediment from the water that goes into the drains.

What will the future situation be for Rifle Range Creek?

The Navy paved over much of the creek, but Oak Knoll’s development will see it restored to a natural condition. After the paved areas are removed, the waterway will be planted with native vegetation typical of such creeks, and rocks and boulders will be placed along the creek bed. This restoration will be carried out in conformance with the plans that were reviewed and approved by various public agencies.

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