To: Berkeley City Councilmembers
From: Paul Kamen
RE: Waterfront Planning, item 20 on the consent calendar for 5/11/99
It was with considerable surprise that I learned of the proposal brought by Councilmembers Spring, Olds, and Wooley regarding hotel development in the Berkeley Marina. Here we are near the end of a lengthy planning process, and the Council is being asked to suddenly preempt this process by calling for the removal of what is potentially one of the most important elements of the master plan from consideration.
Why did we undertake a rigorous planning process in the first place?
Because we sometimes find that after the process we have progressed from our original position.
We set out on this process with initial goals and values based on public input - we explored land use options - we worked through the economic and architectural details - and at the end of the process we believe that we know some things that we didn't know when we began.
The planning process is also valuable because it results in a better understanding of the costs and benefits of specific options. The possibility of hotel development is a case in point.
Excluding hotel development from the plan will probably require one or more of the following options:
I am baffled by the "FINANCIAL IMPACT: NONE" that appears on the written resolution.
It should also be noted that measures P and Q from 1986 applied to the contested waterfront lands once owned by Santa Fe and not to the marina proper.
I understand that the motivation for the "no hotels" resolution is valid and worthy, but I fear that the end result will be a marina moving in exactly the opposite direction from what we would all like to see. We will be too strapped for funds to run diverse public programs, we will have much higher, if not exclusionary, berth rates, and we will ultimately have marginal restaurant and retail development taking priority over access programs and parks as we struggle to keep the marina afloat financially.
Please reconsider this resolution, or at least delay action until after the results of the planning process have been carefully reviewed.