The "First Draft" is dated September 8, 2000, and was distributed to the members of the Marina Planning Subcommittee in mid-October.

The current version is not intended for public review, but my comments on the plan follow. It's not difficult to surmise the content that is being critiqued.

Excerpts from the plan itself will be posted as they become available. Hopefully, corrections and additions will render most of my comments mute when the final version of the Marina Plan goes to press.

Marina Plan & Waterfront Overview

Comments on the First Draft - 10/21/2000

Do these resolutions include the council action blocking economic development?

We're off to a confusing start. "Introduction" doesn't appear in the table of contents 'till it's the header for section 2.0. But this is an unlisted sub-heading that should be under "1.0 -summary" according to the TOC. No heading by that name, though.

What about the non-profits? This was a consensus item at the subcommittee level. Was anyone paying attention, or were the subcommittee meetings a waste of time?

This is important because, in the face of tight finances predicted over the next 20 years, non-profits and clubs are likely to be the only way to get any meaningful programs implemented. Successful examples already exist. Leaving them out does a great disservice to both the future of the waterfront and the planning process.

No, many of the commercial uses clearly do not "support the overall marina function" (other than providing a revenue stream). How does Radisson support the marina function?

Uses not directly related to "marina function" are still valuable as mixed-use amenities, etc., etc. Is the value of mixed use considered to be a concept that's too subtle for this report?

Again, the subcommittee suggested that programmatic guidelines for non-profits were an important part of the waterfront plan, but these seem to have been left out, even by reference. In view of fiscal constraints, non-profits offer the best hope for actually accomplishing something of value to the community.

What happened to non-profits? Again, the proven alternative for supporting water-related activities at low cost has been conspicuously omitted.

This is not a 2-way, one-dimensional "balance" between "commercial" and "open space." Non-profits can enhance both access and open space, with some of the best attributes of both. (Commerce can also enhance access tp open space, so even without non-profits the "commerce v. open space" dichotomy is oversimplified).

Error or inconsistency in the the drawing titled "Open Space and Water Access:" All major parking lots are labeled as parking lots, but the large Radisson lot is lumped into the Radisson "commercial zone." This is not consistent with the treatment of other parts of the marina that have both parking and commercial activity.

In all drawings in this set, the label "Eastshore State Park" appears to straddle the boundary of the Measure Q lands. One of the maps suggests a trade-off of a narrow strip along the waterfront for some turf inside the Measure Q boundary. Needs an explanation and a plan of these boundaries at a larger scale.

In the drawing labeled "Planning Considerations," the location of "water-related uses" in the north sailing basin was supposed to be moved away from the constricted circulation point. This needs to be reflected in the map.

Huh? When was "consolidation of marine services" ever identified as a goal or policy? The marina by its basic layput is a place where services need to be distributed, unless we want to re-design the docks to have only one central entrance gate.

There is one known example of services which should probably be consolidated, and that's the proposal to move the bait shop and charter boats to the north side, where the common needs of the fishing community can be combined. Possibly the marina office should move too. But the comment about "consolidation" makes no sense in general terms, considering the distributed nature of marina activities.

Are sailboats condired "unslightly" in this document? (A glimpse, perhaps, into the mindset of planners who have no real interest in water-related activities. Why are they responsible for a project involving a marina?)

A lot of us think cars are unsightly. How about "screening them from public view?"

It would be interesting to see if there's any actual data to support the statement that Shorebird Park is a "valuable wildlife habitat area" relative to any other area of the waterfront. These words might affect future policy decisions involving intensive use by humans or pets, and we shouldn't make the "habitat" claim without at least some cursory research and definition of terms.

In drawing titled "Marina Plan Study Areas," location of docks in north basin do not match locations in earlier maps. This map probably reflects the most recent recommendation of the subcommittee, but other maps do not.

In drawing titled "Master Plan:"

South sailing basin: "Expansion of winsurfer area, consider public access…" Where is the end of the sentence? It was supposed to read "Consider public access club or co-op." Why do thse words keep getting filtered out?

"Support low-cost water activities and education" needs to mention the club/co-op model for achieving this. There's no other proven way to implement this goal. It's vital to differentiate the privately run (but open to the public) organizational structure from the heavily subsidized publicly funded alternative.

North Basin docks: Should also mention applicability of clubs/co-ops as low-cost way to provide access with little or no public subsidy.

This reads very strange, putting lighting on top of the list of essential infrastructure upgrades

Why burry all the most essential big-ticket expenses in the shortest item on the list? . I'm afraid that someone unfamiliar with the marina finances, and who chooses not to do the math for themselves, will come away with the impression that lighting, paving, vegetative screening, and similar discretionary expenditures are the only issues driving the marina's so-called "financial crisis."

Gives the impression that all parking lots are now unpaved. This could be used to attack the whole document as being unnecessarily alarmist.

Ferry pier or fishing pier? Ferry pier has little or no historical significance.

Again, non-profits have been totally omitted, despite consensus of subcommittee, despite emphasis at public workshops, and despite long track record of success in fulfilling exactly this stated goal.

Not true, except for the one example of fishing-related services. Docks and launch sites are distributed all over the marina, and "one-stop shopping" does not offer any advantage for most marina services.

This was not discussed at the subcommittee level, and makes little sense. A fuel dock at the launch ramp would create a traffic jam, especially as the larger boats that are not trailer-launched attempt to use it. Are we proposing two fuel docks? The economics are bad enough just trying to keep one fuel dock staffed.

These three relocations make some sense. The last two because they support fishing, and the first because the marina office should have a better view of the harbor entrance and be closer to the fuel dock to better serve new transient arrivals. But you can't generalize this to mean that other services should be "consolidated."

Ignores reality. Seabreeze market already serves the area very well and very economically (because it has frontage road traffic for support). It will be very difficult to come up with a better model for a viable café or deli at the marina.

The City barely "supports these efforts" as it is. Why no mention of the non-profit, co-op, club organizational structure that makes these activities possible at such low cost to the user? What about making allowances for more organizations like them? And what about recommending a policy of writing longer-term leases with high-performing non-profits on more favorable terms?

Finally! First use of the word "club," after 20 pages of text.

Longer lease terms for non-profits need to be an important part of this policy. It's hard to borrow money against a 3-year lease! Or even against a 25-year least with only 12 years left to run, especially when the improvements become city property (situation facing Berkeley Yacht Club).

Drawing labeled "Detailed Design Concept (South Sailing Basin): The arrangement shown leaves a long and difficult path from boat storage areas to boat hoists. Remember, these boats are pushed to and from the hoists by hand, not towed by cars. (These are major access points - didn't anyone bother to watch them in operation?)

How do we know that these are "needed?" The "sense of entry" is better provided by views of the harbor and of San Francisco Bay, not views of the landscaping in the marina. It's the water that gives the waterfront its identity - not some plants. (It's been suggested that views of boats also signal "arrival" at a marina, but the authors of this plan already appear to be on record as stating that the boats at Cal Sailing Club and Cal Adventures need to be blocked from public view.)

Nonprofits are finally given a role: Landscaping.

Shouldn't piling and dock replacement be a much higher priority than things likekey cards and lighting? Should they even be in the same category?

Only some of the docks were built in the '60s. Most are from the '70s, some are from the '90s. Again, we are open to charges of exaggerating the financial difficulties of the marina if we're not accurate with these details.

(Note that phone lines to docks have become very much less important in the last few years due to widespread use of cellphones by live-aboards. A large portion of phone hookups now are for computers. We don't have to look too far in the future to see cable and DSL being more important than a voice-only phone line.)

Not true that all docks need to comply with ADA, as long as some of them comply. Dock replacement is still a high priority, but let's not exaggerate in ways that leave the argument vulnerable.

Foghorn is low priority and inexpensive, and increasingly irrelevant with GPS recently enhanced. Removing pilings at the marina entrance is very low priority, as they are well clear of the channels.

One of the most expensive and most necessary expenditures. Why is it listed last, and given so little ink? Do the writers of this plan understand why it's so important? Can they explain this in the supporting text?

Another role for non-profits: benches and picnic areas. This, and landscaping, are the only roles given to non-profits anywhere in the document. One might conclude that this is intended as an insult to those who have worked so hard for so many years to make active water-related uses available to the public at extremely low cost.

Or one might conclude carelessness, lack of functional familiarity with the project area, and a disregard for the process.