My Comments, May 19 2001:

The full text of Measure Q is available on request from the City Clerk's office. It's in the 1986 Voter Guide, which they will make available for copying. I haven't had the opportunity to scan it, but a few key points will be quoted here.

The Sierra Club's letter states that "Measure Q provided for a maximum of 565,000 square feet of development on all of Santa Fe's waterfront holdings in Berkeley" and that "the State and Park District purchased around 80% of Santa Fe's waterfront property subject to Measure Q. That means that they bought 80% of the development rights…"

While it's true that 565,000 square feet is the maximum amount allowed on all of Santa Fe's wterfront holdings, what measure Q actually says is that the 565,000 square feet is to be entirely within the North Basin Strip and Horse Barn area, north of Virginia Street.

Here's an excerpt from the text of Measure Q:

c) North Basin Strip and Horse Barns.

(1) That portion of the Berkeley Waterfront north of the Meadow, east of the Bay, and South of Gilman Street, commonly known as the North Basin Strip, and that portion of the Berkeley Waterfront north of Gilman Street, east of the Bay, and south of the Albany city line, commonly known as the Horse Barns area, shall be designated for development.

(2) The total amount of development allowed in this area may not exceed 565,000 square feet. No building may be constructed which exceeds two stories, or which exceeds 25 feet in height above the current (1986) ground level, except that up to 50,000 square feet of this amount of development may be placed in a third story, in a building or buildings not to exceed 35 feet in height above the current (1986) ground level, if the appropriate city design review board determines that a plan which includes such increase in height is desirable both for aesthetic reasons and to carry out the policies set forth above. Permitted uses in this area are limited to the categories of uses for this area set forth in the draft Waterfrton Specific Plan of May 9, 1986 (which categories include lodgings, conference center, restaurants, retail shops, recreational uses, and open space uses) plus buildings appurtenant to any opens space use of the Meadow or Brickyard.

The measure goes on to allow some of this development to be south of Virginia street only if it is "economically and legally infeasible to place all the development described in Section 3(c )(2), above, in a location north of Virginia street…"

According to the City Attorney's analysis at the time, this provision was intended to allow development to proceed even if the long-term lease to the race track (which ended in 1997) made development north of Virginia infeasible. Since the new race track owner now owns the Measure Q lands too, this provision appears to have no applicability.

So, the measure clearly limits the entire 565,000 square feet of development to the North Basin Strip and Horse Barn area, north of Virginia.

I don't have the exact acreage numbers, but most maps showing the park acquisition indicate that no more than half of the developable area was purchased by the State. This would mean that even if the sale was intended to buy down development rights in proportion to land area, as the Sierra Club maintains, the allowable development would still be at least half of 565,000, or 282,500 square feet.

Unfortunately this weakens the City's position somewhat in negotiating the terms and the nature of the development. It also implies higher market value of the property, which could affect the feasibility of acquisition.