December 2018 City of Emeryville Highlights: Ally Medina takes turn as Mayor, 40th Street Concept Plan Approved

5 mins read

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 meetings conducted during the month of December were the advancement of 2018 Vice Mayor Ally Medina to Mayor as well as the adoption of a plan to redesign 40th street to accommodate a transit lane and two-way bikeway.

Councilmember Medina takes turn as Mayor

Each December, the City Council selects a Mayor and Vice Mayor from among themselves. While it is not explicitly stated in the city’s municipal code, it is understood that the election winner who garners the most votes in the prior election goes to the top of the line by filling the “Vice Mayor” role.

John Bauters, who tallied the most votes in the 2016 election, served as Vice Mayor in 2017 followed by Mayor in 2018. Medina, who got the second most votes in 2016 served as Vice Mayor in 2018 and now takes over being Mayor for a year. Christian Patz, who won with the third most votes in 2016, will likely assume being Mayor next year followed by Dianne Martinez, then Scott Donahue.

The Mayor position comes with no additional voting power but gets to set the meeting agenda and influence priorities. It represents an opportunity for an aspiring politician to add to their political resume and make appearances along with other local dignitaries.

Previous Emeryville Mayors and the primary accomplishment of their term:

Medina has verbally expressed interest in the idea of establishing formula retail bans in parts of our city and has questioned Emeryville’s business license taxes as being lower than neighboring cities. Vacancy Tax laws have also become a popular tool among “progressive” policy makers including San Francisco and Oakland.

Regulations on Single-use utensils are another trending policy as The City of Berkeley just implemented by creating 25 cent tax on disposable cups and other regulations. We should get a clearer picture of Medina’s agenda items at the January 29th meeting when our council is scheduled to discuss City Goals and Priorities.

40th Street Concept Plan Approved

Our council also approved a plan to redesign 40th Street that would create a transit only lane for buses as well as a two lane cycle track. The creation of the transit lane is intended to address ongoing delays with Emery Go-Round and AC Transit Transbay services because of gridlock at the San Pablo Avenue intersection.

The contentious part of the plan is that it calls for the removal all parking along the north side of 40th (the south side is already red-curbed). This would include the removal of the loading area in front of the Bayside Park Assisted Living Community as well as the long-established parking spot of Tacos El Rey (FKA Tacos Jerez). The popular and economical taco truck has been a preferred spot for over a decade by neighbors and employees to grab a quick bite.

Neighborhood favorite “Tacos El Rey” will be displaced if The City of Emeryville follows through on its plan to remove all parking along 40th.

One member of the public stepped forward to express concern over the removal of parking noting that visitors and employees of Rudy’s Can’t Fail, Granite Depot and Bayside Park would all be negatively impacted.

The city undertook a lengthy and expansive Parking Management Plan in 2018 but received substantial backlash from the community and have not followed through on implementing it. A paired-down version of this plan is expected to go before council on February 19th.

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

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December Highlights of The Month

The City Council approved a draft concept plan for 40th Street with a two-way bicycle facility on the north side and bus-only lanes in both directions. A traffic analysis, detailed cost estimates, and final concept plan will now be prepared.

The Planning Commission held a study session on a revised proposal for Public Market Parcel B that includes 150,000 square feet of office/lab space, 14,000 square feet of retail space, and 565 parking spaces.

The Commission also held a study session on the proposed Onni Christie Mixed Use Project, which includes a 54-story residential tower with 638 units and a 16-story office tower with 238,000 square feet of office space. The project has generated great interest from the public and the press. If constructed as currently proposed, the residential tower will be the tallest building in California outside San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The Public Art Committee held a reception in City Hall on December 13 to unveil the 2018 Purchase Award, a collection of black earthen vases entitled Silhouette by artist Sara Paloma, and to celebrate other accomplishments of the Art in Public Places Program in 2018.

A building permit has been issued for the first tenant improvement in the EmeryStation West/Transit Center building, for Zogenix on the fifth floor. Zogenix is a pharmaceutical company that develops transformative therapies for rare diseases.

Significant progress was made in December towards abatement of the blighted “Nady Site” at 6701 Shellmound Street. A Compliance Agreement was signed by the developer, property owner, and City, effective December 19. The demolition permit was approved on December 18 and is ready-to-issue. Meanwhile, lead-based paint and asbestos removal activities got underway in preparation for demolition of the buildings on the site.

Two Emeryville companies, Gritstone Oncology and Kikoko, have been named as finalists for the 2019 East Bay Innovation Awards. The awards will be presented on March 28 at the Fox Theater in Oakland.

View the entire progress report on Emeryville.org →

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December 10th Council Meeting

Election (Ceremonial Item)

The Council certified the results of the November 6 election, including the re-election of Councilmembers Donahue and Martinez, and then elected Councilmember Ally Medina as Mayor and Councilmember Christian Patz as Vice Mayor. They were sworn in by the City Clerk.

The presentation for this item can be viewed above at [36:55].

Committee Appointments (Action Item)

The Council appointed themselves to various committees. Regarding committees staffed by the Community Development Department, the Council appointed Councilmember Bauters as liaison to the Housing Committee (the committee had not previously had a Council liaison), and converted two seats on the Housing Committee from Community Representatives to Business Representatives, one effective immediately and one effective June 30, 2019.

The presentation for this item can be viewed above at [58:13].

Building Division Consultant Contract (Consent Item)

The Council approved a first amendment to the Professional Services Agreement with West Coast Code Consultants (WC3 ) for fiscal year 2018-2019 for plan checking and field inspection services. The amendment added $1,198,893 to the contract to cover expanded services for projects not previously included, for a total amount not to exceed $2,255,847. The Council also made corresponding appropriations to the Building Division expenditure and revenue budgets for fiscal year 2018-2019.

Winter Shelter (Consent Item)

The Council approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Oakland to fund the 2018-2019 Winter Shelter in an amount not to exceed $30,000 and appropriating $15,000 from the Affordable Housing Fund to the fiscal year 2018-19 Economic Development and Housing Division budget for Homeless Programs to cover the expense.

Download the December 10th Council Meeting Agenda →

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December 18th Council Meeting

Emery Go-Round Watergate Express Grant (Consent Item)

The Council appropriated $238,819 from the Grant Fund to the “Emery Go-Round Watergate Express Service 2018” project to implement funding agreements with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the Emeryville Transportation Management Association for Emery Go-Round Watergate Express service in calendar year 2018.

40th Street Concept Plan (Action Item)

The Council reviewed plans for the redesign of 40th Street from the Oakland border east of Adeline Street to the IKEA entrance, prepared in response to their direction at the October 16 Council meeting. The plan includes a two-way bikeway on the north side of the street created by removing parking, and two bus-only lanes: an eastbound lane created by narrowing travel lanes and the median, and a westbound lane created by converting a mixed-flow lane to bus-only. The Council approved the plans with one set of changes: reconfiguring the median between Horton and Hubbard Streets to eliminate the left turn lane from 40th Street into the Target parking lot opposite Hubbard Street and to lengthen the left turn lane from 40th Street into Horton Street. Staff and consultants will now prepare a traffic analysis, detailed cost estimates, and a final concept plan that can be used for grant applications.

The presentation for this item can be viewed above at [24:30].

Download the December 18th Council Meeting Agenda →

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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.

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