Berkeley Waterfront Commission

Report from the Chair, May 9, 2001

Subcommittee Reports

First a procedural note: as you can see on the agenda, I'd like to begin with subcommittee reports. Sometime there will be nothing to report from each subcommittee, and sometimes the report will be deferred to a later agenda item that deals with that subject.

Berth Rate Proposal

Congratulations are due to the Commission (ex myself and Janet) for passing the badly needed berth rate proposal. We still need to address houseboat berth rates.

The Marina Ordinance Revision

It's now 12 months since we approved the revisions…

[defer to agenda item]

We approved a fairly extensive set of revisions to the marina ordinance, and I was hoping to have the corrected text in the packet for this meeting so we could take final action on it and move it back to the City Council for approval. This is of immediate concern for several reasons, one of which is boat length. The current ordinance only allows two feet of overhang, but the Commission's recommendation is for ten per cent and sometimes as much as 20 per cent. There may be a problem adjusting billable length as per Marina's stated intention until this is settled.

Section 6.20.160 Marina restrictions.

J. …Length of the vessel may not exceed the length of the berth by more than two feet, and may be measured at any time. No part of any vessel may at any time extend over any portion of any dock in the Marina.

There are also some non-navigable boats that should be made to upgrade or leave, and we can't do much until the new procedures and definitions spelled out in the new ordinance are in place.

We also need to start thinking about the next round of Marina ordinance revisions.

Off-The-Grid Option for Berthers

This is mainly symbolic at this point, but it would be a very nice thing for the Marina to lead the City in putting wind and solar to work.

[defer to agenda item]

The City's ABAG electricity contract runs out at the end of the year, and rates could skyrocket. We'll have to pass these costs on to berthers who use unmetered power, and it might be critical to have the off-the- grid option in place.

Here's how it would work: Any berther who chooses not to pay the unmetered electricity surcharge would be able to change to "off-the- grid" status. That would mean that they could never leave anything plugged into any dock electrical outlet, with the possible exception of a small hand-held power tool. They would use solar panels, wind turbines to keep their batteries charged. These are very mature technologies for cruising boats, and the hardware is inexpensive and reliable.

Enforcement is an issue. Staff would have to walk the docks to check for power cords at some reasonable time interval, and if an "off-the grid" baot is found to be plugged in, then they should be charged for the unmtered power surcharge since the last dock check. The mechanism for doing this needs to be worked out.

But there are other reasons for Marina staff to walk the docks at regular intervals, not the least of which is just checking for registration numbers and vacancies. Checking for the power connection would integrate well with these other tasks.

Long-term, the solution will be to send only metered power to the docks. But this will take time and money, and the off-the-grid option offers a alternative for berthers who might be hit hard by an increased power surcharge.

Eastshore State Park

Yesterday Joan Collignon sent me a copy of a fax from Norman LaForce of the Sierra Club East Bay Public Lands Committee and Chapter Legal Committee. It was directed to the Mayor and City Council, and he points out that when the State bought the property for the park, it also bought 80% of the 565,000 square feet of development rights that remained on the Catellus properties. Various City agencies have evidently been assuming that all 565,000 square feet are still available to the owner of the Measure Q lands for development at the north end of the North Basin Strip. He might be right, and it has some interesting implications for how that end of the park shapes up.

I have copies of his letter and my response.

[defer to agenda item]

The ESP workshop was attended by about 150 people, but it wasn't a workshop at all. The planning consultant, and various subcontractors, presented their "Resource Inventory" and took questions and comments, but there was no real interaction with maps or budgets.

There were large contingents of off-leash dog walkers, windsurfers, and sailors, but in sharp contrast to the mix of users posting on the ESP website, no kayakers. By the way, the ESP website is still getting very light traffic, so we should all post on it. It's at, click on the "get involved" button, and maximize the window to see the instructions for registering.

The absence of interaction with the consultants or with each other is probably the real reason that there are perceived conflicts of interest among the various advocacy and user groups. Once we actually have a real proposal to look at, and a chance to move things around on a map and start thinking spatially, the terms of the debate could change radically.

May 21 is the date for the first joint meeting of the Waterfront Commission with the Parks Commission to discuss the Eastshore State Park. The planning consultants will offer a "local briefing" to the combined commissions.

There might be a meeting with Lisa Caronna and other interested Commissioners prior to this, let me know if you want to be in on it.

One issue that I'd like to discuss tonight, to get a sense of the Commission's collective position, is the prospect of ESP taking over Cesar Chavez Park. State Parks seem to have fairly rigid rules about dogs and leashes, and a State Parks takeover might threaten the off- leash area. Does anyone think this would be a good idea?

Report for Cal Sailing Club

Berkeley Bay Festival was a big success by all appearances. The Cal Sailing Club asked me to report that they gave rides to 165 people in just a few hours, with all five keelboats in operation.

Occupancy Report

I'm seeing discrepancies between the occupancy reports and what I see on the docks.

[defer to staff report]

On H and I dock, for example, only two vacancies are shown on the report. But there are 11 empty or under-utilized slips. Some of these empties are rented by houseboat owners, but not all of them. Today I counted six berths that are totally empty and have room for a large boat, three that have small floats on them (presumably rented by houseboat berthers), one 23' sailboat in a 48' berth on I-dock, and one dock that is crowded by a houseboat that extends more than half-way across a double berth. Can staff verify that nine of these berths are being paid for?