Regular Meeting of the Waterfront Commission
October 9, 2000
COMMISSIONERS PRESENT: Cobb, Collignon, Kamen, Kawczynska, Minasian, Smith, Wolgast
The meeting was called to order at 7:00.
Mr. Ted Pierson spoke in support of kite buggies in Cesar Chavez Park. He said that conflict between kite buggies and other park users was largely due to a lack of communication.
Mr. Delmas Davis objected to limiting kite buggies to weekends and holidays because these were the only times that some people could visit the park. He said that the proposed 5 mile an hour speed limit was too slow.
Mr. Roberto Triparga (sp) said that he had been hit by kite material at the Berkeley Kite Festival. He said that the kite buggies raced through the off leash dog area and that he was not convinced that they could slow quickly if necessary. He asked what the nature of the education would be from the proposed Solar Calendar. He said that funding for the project should be raised privately.
Mr. Don Flory said that he used kite buggies and that his experience has been that people generally enjoy the presence of kite buggies in the park. He said that he has asked people not to buggy in the off leash area and that prohibiting buggies in the off leash area would be reasonable. He said that monitoring a speedometer while kite buggying was not very practical.
Mr. Michael Predovic spoke in favor of kite buggies at Cesar Chavez Park. He said that a method for conflict resolution between kite buggy users and other park users was needed, and that the conflict resolution process should precede the drafting of rules. He said that it was a rule among kite buggies to cede the right of way to pedestrians.
Bernie Rosen said that on some occasions some of the buggies reached speeds of 20 miles an hour. He doubted that at such speeds they could stop suddenly and that a speed limit was a good idea. He said that the area planned for the Solar Calendar should not be off limits to off-leash dogs until a final Solar Calendar project had been presented and approved. He said the area should be available to everyone including dog walkers. He said that Friends of Cesar Chavez Park would volunteer to help monitor the area on the four days a year when there is a solar calendar program.
Lawrence Wolfsen said he was pleased that the Solar Calendar was going to be discussed.
Mark Liolios said that he had learned that final design of the Addison Street improvements for the I-80 Freeway Overpass directed by the City Council and various commissions would not begin for another year. He said the campaign for measures S & W had gathered broad endorsements across the political spectrum. He asked people to put up signs in support of measures S and W and invited the public to walk precincts and drop literature in support of the two measures.
Dan Fernandez said that he has enjoyed the presence of kite buggies at Cesar Chavez Park. He said that there were times when he had seen kite buggies going too fast down the western ridge. He said that some consideration should be given to establishing a speed limit and limiting their presence on the western ridge. He said that rocket launching within certain rules should be permitted. He said that plans for a Solar Calendar were still vague and that the western ridge should be returned to the off leash area pending further progress towards adoption of the Solar Calendar project.
2. Approval of August Minutes and Agenda
The agenda was approved unanimously with the removal of the Kite Festival item.
The minutes were approved with the following changes: Commissioner Smith said that at that he had asked for clarification of jurisdiction of the area between Frontage road and the Shoreline, not Frontage Road itself.
Commissioner Kamen said that his suggestion had been to investigate expanding the Marina Zone not in order to collect the bed tax from a possible new hotel but to collect revenue similar to other Marina lessees.
With these changes the minutes were adopted unanimously.
3. Aquatic Park Sound Barrier
Lisa Caronna gave an update on the Aquatic Park sound barrier. She said it was a sound and visual mitigation to the I-80 freeway expansion. She said that the City had developed a design that was presented to Caltrans which is charged with the final design. Caltrans reduced the 3,100 minimal lineal feet that the City had wanted to 1,500 lineal feet due to a costly pile system superstructure. She said that a third party engineer had been hired to review the work that had been done to date and to develop a design that met all seismic requirements and requirements for sound, liquefaction. She said that the engineer had developed two options, neither of which requires extensive “footing”. She said that they were both relatively lightweight structures. The first design was made of concrete vertical cylinders standing end to end, buried in the ground, filled with earth and planted at the top. The second wall design, lighter weight and slightly less expensive, was an interlocking series of curvilinear steel panels. She said that Caltrans still needed to approve the “no foundation” wall system. She said that a final concept would be taken to the October 24th City Council meeting for approval.
4. Rocket Launching
Mr. Paul Campbell of the Rocket Launching Club said that the Club was very informal and that most of the participants are youth. He distributed a copy of the rules agreed to by the Commission in 1996. He said that launchers except for children under the age of 18 accompanied by parents should have membership cards from the American Model Airplane Association to indicate that they were insured. He said that the City required the insurance and that California law required individuals or clubs to have Fire Marshal permission in order to launch rockets. Several commissioners suggested that rocket-launching rules needed to be posted around the Park. Lisa Caronna said that a recently passed “hazardous activity in parks” ordinance could be invoked to stop individuals from conducting unsafe activities in Cesar Chavez Park.
Commissioner Cobb said that general rules could be posted on a sign with more detailed rules made available in a brochure or flyer.
Motion: Smith/Minasian: That staff work with the Rocket Club to post the rules for rocket launching at Cesar Chavez Park within the next six months. The motion passed unanimously.
Kite Buggies in Cesar Chavez Park
Cliff Marchetti said that he had received a “handful” of complaints about kite buggies in Cesar Chavez Park from pedestrians who felt that they were unsafe.
Commissioner Kawczynska said that many people had commented to her that they felt unsafe but would not necessarily tell the users of kite buggies directly. She asked whether there was a licensing procedure.
Commissioner Smith said that he had heard a similar number of complaints about off leash dogs. He said he would like kite buggies to continue to be allowed in the Park.
Commissioner Kamen said that his proposed 5-mile per hour rule was intended for paved paths not unpaved paths. He said wrist worn speedometers were available. He objected to applying the same speed limit to bikes because bikes are more maneuverable. He said that his rules were a reasonable compromise.
Commissioner Kamen he said that beginners probably moved slowly. He said that the appearance of risk must be dealt with. He said that there should be areas where they can go fast but that that a speed limit should be adopted for the paved paths.
Commissioner Collignon said people perceived danger from buggies on the paved paths not off path. She asked what proportion of time they were on paved paths? One buggy user said it was less than 5% of the time.
Commissioner Minsasian asked what the City’s liability was in the event of an accident assuming that the Commission endorsed continued kite buggy activity in Cesar Chavez Park. Lisa Caronna said that it was her understanding that the City was responsible to some extent for unsafe conditions in the Park if the conditions were brought to the City’s attention.
Commissioner Smith said that requiring insurance would be advisable. He said he would like to hear more comment from the public after the public had been further notified of the Commission’s intention to discuss and possibly take action on the topic of rules for kite buggy use.
Staff was asked to meet with kite buggy users and other park users to reach agreement on rules for kite buggy use.
7. Solar Calendar
Motion: Smith/Collignon to table the discussion of the Solar Calendar until the next meeting when Solar Calendar proponents are present to discuss their plans.
Ayes: Smith, Collignon, Wolgast. Noes: Kawczynska, Cobb, Minasian, Kamen. (Motion failed.)
Commissioner Minasian said he did not see the link between the life and work of Cesar Chavez and the Solar Calendar.
Commissioner Kawczynska said that Mr. Casals would address that subject when he appeared before the Commission. She said that an environmental review would eventually be necessary.
Commissioner Wolgast said that it would be unfortunate to make a large manmade structure in some of the most beautiful open space in the City.
Commissioner Collignon said that she was concerned from a budget standpoint that the City would have to do routine maintenance for the structure.
Mr. Ed Bennett said that Mr. Casals had attended a CESP meeting and that he was aware that an environmental study would be necessary.
Commissioner Kamen said that he liked the project but was skeptical that it could be built for $500,000.
8. Service Animals
Commissioner Minasian pointed out that section 10.04.100, particularly the last paragraph, needed to be changed to comport with the American with Disabilities Act. Commissioner Kamen suggested that the first paragraph of the section be stricken
Motion: Forward Commission’s proposal to the City Attorney for evaluation to strike the first paragraph of section 10.04.100; to change the last paragraph to refer to service animals, not guide dogs and to change the BMC to reflect the legality of offleash dogs in the offleash area of Cesar Chavez Park. The motion passed unanimously.
9. Jet Skis Ban at the Marina
The Commission discussed the recently overturned ban on jet skis in Marin County. Staff informed the Commission that the City Attorney believed that the ban on jet skis near the Berkeley Waterfront proposed by the Commission would probably withstand a challenge.
10. Proposed changes by Citizens for East Shore State Park (CESP) to the 1986 Berkeley Waterfront Plan
Mr. Ed Bennett of CESP said that much of the Plan was out of date or redundant. He said that most of the suggested changes did not pertain to the Marina per se but to the meadow and other areas.
Commissioner Smith said that the City Council did not want to change the 1986 Plan. He said the Waterfront Commission had voted to update the plan but the City Council rejected that proposal fearing that opening the Plan to revision would upset the legal status of the privately owned land near the race track.
Commissioner Smith said that he agreed that some of the Plan was out of date but that the Council had explicitly forbidden a revision..
Commissioner Kamen said that although he did not believe the Plan was out of date, CESP had a right to submit a mark up of the Plan and to publicize it. He said the CESP mark up was an attempt to move the Waterfront towards an “open space monoculture” which was not appropriate for the Waterfront.
Commissioner Cobb said that there was an important difference between CESP’s roles and the Waterfront Commission’s role. She said that CESP had the right to raise the issue but that the Commission was bound to follow City Council direction.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:00 PM