City of Emeryville Feb. 2018 Highlights: $50M Housing Bond, Greenway Mural, Committee Annual Reports

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The City of Emeryville provides a monthly progress report outlining significant developments and milestones that occurred throughout the period. Among the highlights for the two council meetings conducted during the month of February include discussion and approval of a $50 Million Affordable Housing Bond ballot measure, presentation of the annual committee reports and approval of the city’s first outdoor mural as part of its pilot public art mural program.

The Housing Bond Measure proposes to address an abundance of housing issues including homelessness, displacement and affordability. Measure C will assess residential and commercial property owners in the city $49 per $100,000 of assessed value and would cost a typical market rate homeowner in the range of $200-$500 annually. It would likely impact residential and commercial rents by the same amount if this property tax is passed along to tenants.

The Measure will appear on our June Primary Ballot and will need 2/3 approval by voters to pass. More about the measure can be read on the city’s website.

One of the more charged discussions the city has seen recently involved the public hearing over Andre Carpiaux’s demolished home on Ocean Avenue. “What happened to Andre, quite frankly, is disgusting,” noted a speaker who identified himself as Michael Smith. “Andre is an 83-year-old with dementia who survived the holocaust and had his house demolished. I’ve never seen a public agency so incompetent and heartless.” Smith went on to suggest the council delay the public hearing to accommodate the attendance of Carpiaux who was out of town. “There are already nonprofit groups that are willing to rebuild his house with his son because they’re so ashamed of the conduct of this council!” Andre’s son Patrick was also in attendance and noted he lived at the house with his father for 10 years. “I understand it was a nuisance and all that and I dealt with it more than anybody .”

Councilmember Patz called the reasons for the delay “disingenuous” noting it was about the property and not the person and voted against the motion. The motion to continue the hearing to the March 20th meeting was nonetheless approved by council 4-1 when Andre was expected to be available. The impassioned exchange can be watched on the February 20th meeting video at 00:12:32.

Please note that the summaries provided below are taken directly from the text of these reports.

February Highlights of The Month

Work continued on the $50 million affordable housing general obligation bond in February, with briefings for the Housing Committee, Economic Development Advisory Committee, and Budget Advisory Committee, and City Council passage of the required resolution and first reading of the ordinance to put it on the June 2018 ballot.

The Council approved the design proposal by Joey Rose Studio for the public art mural pilot project on the Greenway between Powell Street and Stanford Avenue.

The Planning Commission approved the Final Development Plan for four new buildings at the Sherwin Williams Planned Unit Development site, including 500 residential units and about 3,000 square feet of ground floor retail space.

The Planning Commission also approved a Major Conditional Use Permit for Rochambeau at 3996 San Pablo Avenue, Emeryville’s first Cannabis Retail Dispensary.

The AC Transit/City of Emeryville Interagency Liaison Committee, including three AC Transit board members and two Emeryville City Council members, held its first meeting in almost four years, discussing issues of mutual concern for improving transit service in Emeryville.

Staff attended the Alameda County Summit on Homelessness Solutions hosted by Alameda County, including a panel discussion of Alameda County Mayors moderated by Mayor Bauters.

The Request for Qualifications and Proposals (RFQ/P) for the Art Center was released on February 12, with a mandatory pre-submittal meeting scheduled for March 1, and Phase I qualification submittals due April 13.


Staff assisted with hosting the Alameda County Mayors’ Conference on February 15 and helped with preparation of a presentation by Mayor Bauters.

In response to two devastating fires at the Intersection project at 3800 San Pablo Avenue, the Chief Building Official has promulgated new standards for fire safety during the construction of wood frame buildings.

View the entire progress report on Emeryville.org →



Black History Month (Special Meeting)

The City Council hosted a special celebration of Black History Month, including performances by the St. Columba Catholic Church Choir, remarks by Assembly member Tony Thurmond, proclamations for several honorees, the reading of the winner of an Emery Unified School District essay contest, and the raising of the Pan-African flag in front of City Hall.

Download the Special Meeting Agenda →

February 6th Council Meeting

Introduction of Maggie Mahaffy (Special Order of the Day)

The Community Development Department’s new Administrative Assistant, Maggie Mahaffy, was introduced to the City Council.

The discussion for this item can be viewed above at [0:01:50].

Housing Bond (Action Item)

Direction On Potential Bond Measures For The June 2018 Election.

The discussion for this item can be viewed above at [0:14:09].

Download the Agenda for the February 6th Council Meeting →



February 20th Council Meeting

Applications to MTC and ABAG for Technical and Staffing Assistance (Consent Item)

The City Council authorized the submittal of applications to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) for Priority Development Area (PDA) technical and staffing assistance. The technical assistance application is for $65,000 to assist staff with work indirectly related to parking management efforts currently underway by evaluating various uses of curbside space and developing a “toolkit” to help rationalize the process of determining the best of use curbside space, whether for parking, bicycling improvements, or other infrastructure needs. The staffing assistance application is for $180,000 for several affordable housing initiatives including a unified waitlist for affordable units citywide, a communications strategy to facilitate contact with occupants of affordable units, and materials to facilitate the training of apartment managers in mixed-income developments.

Small Cell Antenna Fees (Public Hearing)

The Council approved an amendment to the Master Fee Schedule to add a fee of $2,500 per pole per year for small cell antennas attached to City streetlights and other City poles.

The discussion for this item can be viewed above at [0:24:06].

Economic Development Advisory Committee Annual Report (Action Item)

The Council heard a presentation by Alexandria LaRoche, Chair of the Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC), on the EDAC’s accomplishments for 2017 and priorities for 2018. The presentation highlighted the EDAC’s role in the establishment of the Business License Fee Rebate Program and the Façade Improvement Grant Program, and the development of the Economic Development Strategy. For 2018, the EDAC’s priorities are to establish a program of business networking events and produce marketing materials.

The discussion for this item can be viewed above at [1:20:43].

Public Art Committee Annual Report (Action Item)

The Council heard a presentation by Sharon Wilchar, Chair of the Public Art Committee (PAC) on the committee’s accomplishments for 2017 and priorities for 2018. The presentation highlighted recent public art commissions including the installations at ECCL and the recently-completed Shellmound Gateway installation under the Powell Street Bridge at Shellmound Street. Priorities for 2018 include a pilot mural program, a new public art installation at Emeryville Marina Park, and monitoring significant public art investments made by private developers at the Public Market development.

The discussion for this item can be viewed above at [0:49:06].

Housing Bond (Action Item)

The Council approved a resolution and the first reading of an ordinance to put a $50 million affordable housing general obligation bond on the June 2018 ballot.

The discussion for this item can be viewed above at [1:36:48].

Greenway Mural Pilot Program (Action Item)

The Council approved the design proposal by Joey Rose Studio for the public art mural pilot project on the Greenway between Powell Street and Stanford Avenue. Joey Rose is a Bay Area resident and his proposal for a mural on the walls of buildings
adjacent to the new Greenway segment was chosen by a Selection Panel and affirmed by the Public Art Committee. The mural is expected to be installed this spring/early summer.

The discussion for this item can be viewed above at [2:23:58].

Download the Agenda for the February 20th Council Meeting →

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Rob Arias

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.


  1. I saw somewhere that the cost to the city of doing this bond measure in June is around $100K. What is the point of doing it in June other than to guarantee low turn out so that special interest groups can have more sway? If it was placed on the November ballot, you would get a vastly higher turn out and truly poll a cross section of Emeryville voters…the people who are going to have to foot the bill.

    It seems this has been rushed through to avoid facing Emeryville’s voters. It is a massive financial burden for a city council member’s pet project. Surely he’d prefer to demonstrate that he has the support of a majority of the community, rather than just trying to sneak it through and stick them with the bill.

    What gives?

    • How about a ballot initiative to ammend the city charter to require all ballot initiatives to be voted on during the November ballot?

  2. Why do we need all projects done all at one time ? I agree “Pet Projects”.
    On the Housing Bond, to me, it sure seems like a double TAX!. We pay taxes now. The City can use some of this money for low cost housing. Talk about RAMMING things through…what City rams things through faster ? Under this leadership…tax increases won’t stop.

      • So our bond issue is going to be a drop in the bucket. There is so much work out there, the amount of money floating out there, contractors/developers are drooling at the chance to name their price. Look for construction to cost of up to $500/s.f., making a 1000 s.f. unit cost $500k. If you use all of the bond money for new construction, it equates to about 100 new units. That’s a real bang for the buck.

      • If a city is so bad at incentivizing the construction of affordable housing (when it controls approval for all projects) that it feels it has to purchase affordable housing itself on the back of its taxpayers during a boom in construction, we truly have the most incompetent city council on the planet.

        Everyone and their brother is trying to build housing as fast as they can before the boom ends. There is no shortage of capital to build. If you can’t figure out how to get affordable housing built when you control the planning and approval process, go hire a business person who can help you. Don’t stick it to the taxpayer just so some politician can put it on his resume.

        It is stupid times 10 to ask for $50M to build affordable housing you could get built on the developers’ dime.

  3. From the most recent mailing it’s a bit difficult from getting the entire picture from what is proposed but here’s one takeaway I’ve heard:

    I wouldn’t trust the current city council to appropriate monies from this bond issue. You have Patz (former school board member) who had been against the ECCL and it’s bond issue (even voting AGAINST refinancing of bonds to save the school district and TAXPAYERS money). Probably three of the remaining members are clueless when it comes to governing and especially spending money wisely.

    Will the monies be spent for long term investment, as in quality construction that lasts more than twenty years (remember we are getting a capital improvement)?

    If the city does in fact build and then rent properties, are they going to be property managers/landlords?

    What properties (vacant, condemned, eminent domain) will be used? Currently, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of open space in the city.

    Will funds go to supplementing current rents? If so, the bond issue will be no more than a credit card.

    The flyer sent out announcing the bond issue, did they photograph current Emeryville residents or was it stock photos?

    I know the city is trying to address the problem of lack of affordable housing but along with their other “feel good” measures (minimum wage, fair work week, developer fees on small projects, their attempt at getting developers to provide family friendly housing), they are severely lacking in basic economics and governing.

  4. I agree this seems rushed and the details are not flushed out. Please read the fine print: This $50 million turns into $92.4 million plus with interest. That’s $184,500 per planned unit.

    In November, City Council has another $10 million parks referendum on the ballot. Between the two, with interest, that’s over $110+million new to the tax rolls or $19,500 per every Emeryville household.

    While taxes always go up, and these are needed items, these plans don’t really seem to have flushed out detailed plans, including the economics. It would seem a public-private solution is more feasible for the taxpayers. This ask seems like a blank check for a blank canvas.

    I hope more details are shared but the election is fast approaching. I would vote no at this time.

      • We’re working on our own Q&A with the city and elected officials that I hope to have published by the end of the month. I hope they’ll be answered in good faith. Let us k ow if you have any specific concerns.

  5. Well looky here, the state is getting into the affordable housing bandwagon. Our own state representative, Skinner has co-authored a bill to provide $2 BILLION in taxpayers money for affordable housing. It’s a private-public partnership. Emeryville could easily be eligible for a portion of that funding. Rather than specifically have the property owners of our city pay for a program to the tune of $50 million, have the entire state pay for it. This way, owners are not paying for a disproportionate amount of a STATE-WIDE issue.


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