Regular Meeting of the Waterfront Commission

January 12, 2000

Hs Lordship’s Restaurant

Berkeley, Marina


1.         CALL TO ORDER


Chair Wolgast called the meeting to order at 7:10 p.m.


2.         ROLL CALL


COMMISSIONERS PRESENT:            Cobb, Kamen, Kawczynska, Minasian, Smith, Wolgast,


COMMISSIONERS ABSENT:            Windham, Wozniak, Ang


STAFF PRESENT:                              Marchetti, Smith, Gross


3.            PUBLIC COMMENT


Mr. Stephen Bales, a charter fishing vessel operator, objected to the revision in the Marina Ordinance that would require all charter fishing vessels to book their passengers through the Bait shop.  He said he receives no service from the Bait Shop.  He said he finds his own customers and opposes having to pay for services he does not want or receive.


Mr. Mark Chow said that although he is not a charter boat operator he agreed with Mr. Bales that charter vessels should not be forced to book customers through the Bait Shop.  He agreed with the proposed ordinance change that would give the harbor master discretion to allow overhang greater than 2 feet in some areas.


Mr. Allan Maris, a berther, said that in some parts of the Marina even two feet of overhang is too much.  He asked that the Marina Supervisor be selective in where overhang greater than the current two feet is allowed. 


Ms. Lillian Fujii of the Golden Gate Audubon Society spoke on the wildlife value of the area known as the Meadows.”  She said by providing habitat for many small mammals and raptors the meadows had tremendous wildlife value.  She said that several important bird species had been sighted there including the burrowing owl, the northern harrier and the western meadowlark.  She said that the drawing in the draft Marina Plan labeled Open Space Hierarchy indicated picnicking which she said is inconsistent with wildlife habitat because it would require removal of the brush and cover, which provides the habitat.


She said that the presence in the Native Planting Area of Cesar Chavez park of sub species of sparrow whose breeding populations have declined significantly is an indication of the success of the Natural Area and an indication that the meadows could also serve as a breeding grounds for these species.


She said that any changes to the meadows should be done only after careful scientific study of the impact of the changes.


4. Approval of the Minutes and Agenda


Commissioner Smith moved that the Commission address Marina Ordinance revisions in the following order: 620.330d (the Bait Shop), 6.20.160 j (Overhang) and 6.20.330 (Charter Vessels at private docks).  Commissioner Kawczynska seconded the motion, which passed unanimously. Commissioner Minasian moved approval of the minutes.  Commissioner Kamen seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.


5. Audubon Society discussion of wildlife habitat in the “meadows”


Commissioner Kawczynska asked Ms. Fujii when and where the burrowing owl was sighted.  Ms. Fujii said she had received a call that the bird was sighted in the pumpkin patch.


Commissioner Kawczynska said the predation rate for sparrows was high in nature, but that they quickly renest.  Ms. Fujii said that this was true provided that habitat is available.


Commissioner Minasian asked if bird populations were bothered by freeway’s noise, pollution and cars.  Ms. Fujii said they were not.  Commissioner Minasian asked whether there was an argument in favor of mitigating the impact of the freeway with some revenue generating development that isolates the area from the freeway’s noise and pollution.  Ms. Fujii said that one such mitigation might be a significant expansion of Natural Area in Cesar Chavez Park. 


Commissioner Kamen said that as far as allocating land between human use and animal habitat, the area nearest the freeway has the least value for people.


6.     Marina Ordinance


Bait Shop

Cliff Marchetti described the proposed revision to the Marina Ordinance requiring charter fishing vessels to book passengers through the Bait Shop.  He said that the Bait Shop’s profit margin was so narrow that unless all fishing vessels booked passengers through it, it would fail.  He said that without the cooperation of the boat owners, the Bait Shop cannot operate, and without the Bait Shop the Marina staff would be forced to assume its function.  He said that the proposed revision was satisfactory to almost all of the charter boat operators in part because in the past, some charter boat operators had “stolen” customers previously booked on another boat.  Commissioner Kamen objected to giving the Bait Shop exclusive control of booking.  He said it appeared that the operators were simply competing on price and services..  Commissioner Minasian said he was concerned about the “regulatory implications”.  Commissioner Cobb suggested credit card reservations so that the Bait Shop could collect money in advance and thus prevent charter operators from taking each other’s customers.  Mr. Bales said that this is not an on-going problem and that it involved only one boat owner who is now gone.


Brad Gross said that the Marina needed to set guidelines for the operating of sports fishing vessels instead of allowing the boats to set their own parameters.  Mr. Bales agreed that a bait shop and guidelines were necessary.  But he still objected to paying the shop even though he doesn’t use their services.  Brad Gross said that it would be unfair to the Bait Shop if they were to build a clientele for a particular boat and then the boat stopped booking through them.  Mr. Bales agreed that this would be unfair.


Commissioner Kawczynska asked whether a fee could be structured such that charter operators who do not use the Bait Shop pay a higher fee to the City than operators who do not.  Those paying the higher fee would essential subsidize the Bait Shop.


Commissioner Wolgast suggested a two tiered system in which boats that did not book passengers through the Bait Shop would pay half the booking fee.  Mr. Bails said he could agree to this arrangement.


Commissioner Smith asked Cliff Marchetti and Brad Gross if a two-tiered system would work.  Cliff Marchetti said he would discuss this idea with the Bait Shop operator.

Brad Gross said that under a two-tiered system the shop would continue to get some payment in the event it helped a boat establish its business and the boat later went independent.


The Commission directed staff to ask the City Attorney to review section D rewritten to establish a two tiered system.


6.20.160. J (Overhang)

Commissioner Wolgast proposed limiting the Marina Supervisor’s discretion to grant permission for overhang greater than two feet to only certain areas.  Commissioner Smith said that he was very comfortable leaving this to the discretion to the Harbormaster.


Motion: (Smith/Kamen) that the Marina Ordinance be revised to permit overhang by an amount determined by the Marina Supervisor to allow for safe navigation in the harbor up to a maximum of 10%, or, at the discretion of the Marina Supervisor, up to 20% in cases where there is no opposite berth or the berth is an inside corner.

Ayes: Cobb, Kamen, Kawczynska, Minasian, Smith, Wolgast; Noes: none; Absences: Windham, Wozniak, Ang



(Charter Vessels at Private Docks) The Hornblower

Mr. Joe Wyman of the Hornblower said that the Hornblower brought a number of economic benefits to the City of Berkeley.  He asked for more specificity as to the services on which the fee will be based.


Commissioner Kamen said the hornblower is essentially a fairly large restaurant that uses the Marina’s infrastructure including parking, sewage and dredging of the harbor, and that the Marina is justified in charging more than the current 5% of Hornblower’s rent to the Radisson.  Commissioner Kawczynska said that the Hornblower makes use of the Marina’s resources but pays very little for them.


Commissioner Kamen said the paragraph should not state the purpose of the fee since the Ordinance does not state the purpose of any other fee.


Motion (Smith/Kawczynska) to recommend to the City Council adoption of 6.20.330 section E to read “Charter vessels which use or operate from private docks in the Berkeley Marina shall pay a marina use fee established by resolution of the City Council.”


Ayes: Cobb, Kamen, Kawczynska, Minasian, Smith, Wolgast; Noes: none; Absences: Windham, Wozniak, Ang


7.     Adjournment


The meeting was adjourned at 10:00 p.m.