Regular Meeting of the Waterfront Commission
Chair Wolgast called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
1. ROLL CALL
COMMISSIONERS PRESENT: Kamen, Smith, Kawczynska, Minasian
Windham, Wolgast, Cobb, Wozniak
2. PUBLIC COMMENT
Steven Buckley from the First Presbyterian Church introduced himself, and said he wanted to listen to the discussion concerning the leasing of 80 Bolivar Drive at Aquatic Park. He offered to answer questions regarding his church’s offer to donate a church-owned building to Aquatic Park.
3. APPROVAL OF AGENDA AND MINUTES
The use of Jet Skis near the Marina was made an action item. A report on the planned Bicycle/Pedestrian Overcrossing at Aquatic Park was moved from information to a discussion item.
Commissioner Wolgast said that Mr. Mike Barnett’s statement, recorded in the minutes of the June 9, 1999 meeting, that the expansion of Hs Lordships would not change the existing footprint or sight lines of the restaurant applied only to phase one – the interior remodeling of dining space, not to subsequent phases. Commissioner Wolgast asked that the minutes correctly reflect this. Commissioner Kamen said that the June minutes pertaining to the Commission’s motion to recommend that the City Council grant the Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors a free berth should indicate that the berth should be one of the organization’s choosing, chosen from among available berths. Commissioner Kawczynska moved approval of the June minutes with these changes. Commissioner Kamen seconded the motion which passed 7-0-1-1 with one abstention and one absence.
Commissioner Cobb moved approval of the minutes for the joint Planning/Waterfront Commission meetings of June 23rd and April 28th. Commissioner Kamen seconded the motion which passed 8-0-0-1 with one absence
Commissioner Minasian introduced a proposal that the Commission take action to curb dumping and littering along Frontage Road. He said that the current fine was too low and did not sufficiently discourage violations of the litter laws. He said that the maximum fine for littering is currently $103, and that in many instances it is in effect cheaper to be fined for littering than to dispose of refuse properly. He said that the scope of the problem overwhelms the City departments responsible for shoreline clean up. Cliff Marchetti said that because of the high volume of refuse dumped along Frontage Road, including furniture and trash, it takes an entire workday for a Public Works Department crew to haul away refuse in a dump truck. Commissioner Wozniak asked if the current fine is enforced. Commissioner Minasian suggested because the penalty was so low it may not be among the Police Department’s high priorities. Commissioner Cobb said that she drives along Frontage Road twice a day and rarely sees a police presence. She noted that parking is prohibited along Frontage Road in Emeryville. Commissioner Minasian said that he would be willing to ban parking along Frontage Road in order to solve the dumping and refuse problems. Commissioner Wolgast said that enforcement of the littering law is critical to discouraging littering.
Mr. John Shively said that the problem might be solved if the City of Berkeley could convince Caltrans to complete the rebuilding of Frontage Road. He said the current appearance of the area invited disrespect. Commissioner Minasian said that it may be a lengthy wait until completion of the Bay Trail, Overpass and Marina Plan, and that an interim solution is necessary.
Cliff Marchetti updated the Commission on the Bay Trail. He said BCDC requires the use of concrete seawall similar to Emeryville. He said that a soil report, design review and updated cost estimate are expected soon, and that the project will go out to bid in late October so that construction could begin in the spring. Commissioner Kawczynska asked who would maintain the trail. Cliff Marchetti said the City would have to maintain it but that the City was attempting to establish a three-year maintenance agreement with the contractor.
Commissioner Wolgast asked if there are any trashcans or signs prohibiting littering posted along Frontage Road. Commissioner Minasian said that if camping were only an infraction the fine would be too low to discourage violations and encourage police enforcement. He said he regularly counts between 60 and seventy cars a night camped or parked along Frontage Road. The owner of Sea Breeze market said that Regional Park Police officers told him that they would be willing to enforce no camping laws along the waterfront if it were determined that the area is in their jurisdiction.
Commissioner Kawczynska said that littering is a problem throughout the city Commissioner Minasian agreed. Commissioner Smith said that the issue had a lot of interacting parts. He suggested that the Commission first ask staff to research the questions of jurisdiction and ordinance changes and then prepare a set of recommendations. He said that as a first step it would be helpful to understand what workable solutions are available. He said that the Commission should not decide on a solution before a more significant examination of the problem, and that the Commission would be in a better position to influence the City Council if they first asked staff to research the issue interdepartmentally. He said he had reservations as to whether an increased fine would be uniformly enforced.
Commissioner Cobb questioned whether Frontage Road is within the Marina’s jurisdiction. Cliff Marchetti said that the shoreline was an interdepartmental area whose jurisdiction for purposes of enforcing the litter law was problematic. He said he would research the topic and determine who had responsibility for enforcement of the litter law.
Commissioner Kamen said that he is hesitant to ban parking entirely because some people park and fish along Frontage Road. He said that the littering ordinance should be more actively enforced and the fine for littering increased. Commissioner Cobb said that consumption of the Bay’s fish was unhealthy due to their high chemical toxicity, and that convenient access to fishing was insufficient reason not to prohibit parking along Frontage Road. Commissioner Kawczynska asked whether it is clear that the people camping in cars are the ones who are littering. Commissioner Minasian said that he had heard the arguments for preserving the rights of the homeless who camp on Frontage Road but that other people are deprived of the use of the area by its present condition. He said that the City might wish to provide people who use their vehicles for housing a designated car camping area but that it should not be at the Waterfront.
Commissioner Minasian said that he doesn’t expect much immediate action but hopes the Commission’s recommendation will spur an interim Council action.
Motion: Commissioner Kamen moved to recommend that the City Council consider a significant increase in the littering fine for littering along the Berkeley waterfront. Commissioner Wozniak seconded the motion which passed 7-0-1-1 with one absence and one no vote.
Motion: Commissioner Kawczynska moved to recommend to the City Council that it address the problem of litter along Frontage Road through increased enforcement and increased clean up. Commissioner Cobb seconded the motion, which passed 7-0-1-1 with one absence.
Motion: Commissioner Minasian moved to ask staff to report to the Commission on the broader issues raised by the Commission relative to litter at the Waterfront. Commissioner Smith seconded the motion, which passed unanimously with one absence.
Ed Murphy presented a recommendation to select Mr. Teklu Neway’s proposal to operate a mobile food cart at the western entrance to Cesar Chavez Park, and to run electric service to the site at a cost of between $3,000 and $4,000. Mr. Teklu described the foods and beverages he would offer. Commissioner Kawczynska asked whether he could make espresso drinks and whether he could move the cart further into the park for special events. Mr. Teklu said he could make espresso drinks, and that he would be available for special events in the park.
Motion: Commissioner Smith moved approval of the proposal. Commissioner Kawczynska seconded the motion which passed 8-0-0-0.
Ed Murphy briefed the commission on progress in leasing 80 Bolivar drive. He said that he is waiting a termite report, a cost estimate for refurbishing and architectural sketches. He said there might be a need for a financial contribution from the City. Commissioner Kawczynska asked Berkeley High School girls crew coach Molly Mugnolo if the team planned to remove any of the vegetation in the courtyard area. Coach Mugnolo said it is the team’s intention to maintain the area in its current state. Commissioner Kamen asked if there has been any progress in obtaining a 10-knot electric coach’s launch. Coach Mugnolo said that she is researching 40-horse power Honda engines.
Steve Buckley of the first Presbyterian Church spoke about his church’s offer to donate a 9000 square foot building currently located at 2419 Haste Street. Commissioner Kawczynska requested photographs of the building and suggested that the Aquatic Park subcommittee review the offer.
Ms. Saunders, principal of Berkeley High School, urged the Commission to support the return of the girls’ crew team to Aquatic Park. She said it would simplify life for them and their parents by eliminating the need to commute to Lake Merrit. She said practicing at Aquatic Park would make the team more competitive because the lake at Aquatic Park is better configured for racing than Lake Merrit.
Commissioner Kawczynska asked if there would be any scheduling conflicts with the Rowing Club. Coach Mugnolo said that their schedules do not conflict.
Mr. John Shively, a berther at the Marina, made a presentation of his proposal for a Hill Water Fire Fighting System as an alternative to the proposed Saltwater Fire Fighting System. He said that his system would involve the capture and storage of hillwater to be stored above the threatened area. Commissioner Minasian asked if there would be a negative effect on Strawberry Creek and said that the creek may be under FERC jurisdiction. Mr. Shively said that fire hoses often spray on power lines and that the use of saltwater presented a greater potential for electrocution than a freshwater system. He said that a saltwater system in San Francisco did not operate properly when tested. He said that he did not think the saltwater fire fighting was legal under measure G. He said the question of its legality has been referred to the City Attorney’s Office for an opinion but the opinion has not yet been issued. Commissioner Minasian requested environmental expertise on what effect the fresh water fire fighting system would have on Strawberry Creek.
8. KITE FESTIVAL
Mr. Tom McAlister briefed the Commission on the Kite Festival which was held July 24 and 25th. He said that one of the reasons that parking was a problem this year was that the salmon season was good bringing extra visitors and their vehicles to the Marina. Cliff Marchetti said that the event would be better planned next year. Commissioner Kawczynska noted the large number of boat trailers parked along Spinnaker Way. The Commission agreed to discuss the issue at greater length at its next meeting. It was noted that the boat trailers pay the launch fee regardless of where they park
Commissioner Kawczynska asked that an ordinance amendment to ban boat trailers along Spinnaker Way and the issue of boat length vs. slip length as the basis for determining fees be put on the agenda for the next meeting.
9. JET SKIS AT THE MARINA
Commissioner Kawcyznka distributed information from the EPA concerning the pollution and nuisance caused by jet skis. She asked the Commission to consider banning jet skis off the Berkeley shoreline. She said that Jet Skis have been banned from Lake Tahoe, San Francisco and other municipalities.
Motion: Commissioner Kawczynska moved that the Commission recommend to the City Council that the use and operation of personal motorized watercraft be prohibited within a special use area that extends 1200 feet from the shoreline under the jurisdiction of the City of Berkeley. There shall be a 200-foot wide access corridor for the personal watercraft use from the launching ramp to the special use area. The prohibition shall not apply to the use of personal motorized watercraft for emergency search and rescue or by fire or police departments or Coast Guard personnel.
Commissioner Kamen seconded the motion.
Discussion: Commissioner Minasian wondered whether the 200-foot corridor was wide enough for passing vehicles. Commissioner Kamen suggested that a chart demarcating the corridor and special use area would be useful. He said that although he “detests” jet skis they are not a significant problem as long as they are used away from the immediate shoreline. He said that although they cause pollution there are too few of them to cause a major problem. He said his major concern is keeping them out of the south and north basins. He suggested that a better definition of personal watercraft was also needed.
The motion was tabled to allow staff to research the issue more completely.
10. COST OF BOATING FACILITIES AND FEE INCREASES
Cliff Marchetti proposed a schedule through the month of November by which the Commission will discuss fees and a possible fee increase. The Commission adopted the schedule. Hampton Smith presented a cost analysis of the maintenance and operation of boating facilities. He pointed out that the Marina earns less from berth fees than it spends on the boating facilities. Commissioner Wolgast noted that F& G had been closed during the period in question. Commissioner Kamen pointed out that other docks would probably be closed for repair over the course of the next several years.
Commissioner Smith asked staff to prioritize capital improvement projects. Cliff Marchetti offered to bring a schedule for implementation of Capital Improvement projects to the next meeting.
Commissioner Kamen said that the only rational basis for setting Marina rates is the market. Cliff Marchetti said that he wants to spend time at the next meeting discussing and determining a methodology for setting rates. Commissioner Kamen invited the other Commissioners to visit his web page to review his position on setting fees. The web page URL is www.well.com/user/pk/waterfront.
11. SECURITY AND ELECTRONIC KEY SYSTEM
Cliff Marchetti described the new electronic key system now in use at F & G docks and planned for other docks and restrooms. Chair Wolgast asked whether there was any proof from other marina’s that the system improves security. Cliff Marchetti said that it allows staff to deny access for lost keys and for temporary keys that are not returned and to extend access to all areas that a berther has a need to access. Commissioner Kamen said although he is not concerned that the system would be misused, there is a perception among berthers that the electronic system could be used to monitor them. He said that berthers need to be assured in some credible way that the system will not be used to monitor them. Chair Wolgast suggested that information about the use and need for an electronic key system be included in the mailing of next berth bill. Commissioner Kamen suggested that in order to alleviate berther’s privacy concerns that the information gathered by the electronic system be purged on a regular basis.
The topic was moved to an action item.
Motion: Commissioner Cobb moved to proceed with implementation of the electronic key system throughout the Marina. Commissioner Minasian seconded the motion which was adopted 8-1-0-1, with one abstention and one absence.
12. Chair Wolgast presented an alternative design for the bike and pedestrian overpass Aquatic Park touchdown plaza at the north end of the Aquatic Park lagoon. His design moved park benches away from the bicycle path and made other changes which he said would leave the area more natural than in the current plan. He asked the Commission to consider his alternative design. Chair Wolgast said that he would approach the Council with his concerns himself, if necessary, due to the limited time before getting bids for construction. Cliff Marchetti said the design could be discussed at the next meeting.
Chair Wolgast adjourned the meeting at 10:15 p.m.