The City of Emeryville held two council meeting during the month of March. Among the highlights that emerged from these meetings were our council pursuing the elimination of off-street parking minimums and the regulation of the increasingly omnipresent electronic scooters.
Eliminating Minimum Parking Requirement
Emeryville is exploring the idea of the elimination of off-street ‘parking minimums’ required for new development projects. The elimination of street parking has been a hallmark of so-called Transit Oriented Development projects or ‘TODs’.
Advocates for these policies have pointed out that younger generations are increasingly eschewing driving and car-ownership and streets will be better served by transit lanes and policies that discourage the use of single occupancy vehicles. Countering this argument is the lack of off-street parking that has been cited as the reason some projects have had difficulty leasing to new tenants such as Park on Powell that remains largely vacant.
“We can induce the type of residents we want by building and encouraging the construction of people who want that lifestyle,” noted Councilmember John Bauters who recommended the item be added to the agenda. Council voted to bring the idea before the Planning Commission for review.
Dockless Shared Mobility Systems Ordinance
In addition, the city is exploring the regulation and permitting of electronic scooters and bikes referred to wonkishly as “Dockless Shared Mobility Systems.” The city is looking to tax operators and also regulate them.
Some of the regulations are centered around preventing the nuisance they have become in some communities as users abuse the devices and recklessly park them on sidewalks often blocking the public right of way. Disability groups in southern California have in fact sued Lime and Bird for obstructing sidewalks.
Emeryville is clearly not the only city grappling with how to deal with the proliferation of these scooters that are generally considered a welcome mode of ‘last mile’ transportation for commuting from transit hubs to final destinations. Indemnification, or releasing the operator from liability issues, was an important consideration and debated by council. After discussion, the council voted to approve the ordinance with modifications.
The presentation and discussion for this item can be viewed on the March 19th meeting at [30:25].
Please note that the summaries provided below are taken directly from the text of these reports.
March 2019 Highlights of The Month
The City Council held a study session on parks and open space and concluded that funding for future park acquisitions and improvements should be prioritized, with particular emphasis on open space within the Ashby interchange and future Greenway expansions.
The Council reviewed Wareham Development’s appeal of the Planning Commission’s January 24 approval of the Marketplace Parcel B office/laboratory building and remanded the project back to the Commission for reconsideration.
The Council directed that an ordinance be prepared to eliminate all minimum parking requirements, while maintaining the maximum allowances. A public hearing on the ordinance is being scheduled for a future Planning Commission meeting.
The Planning Commission approved a one-year extension of the entitlements for Adeline Springs, a new, five-story building at 3637 Adeline Street with 29 rental residential units and 4 to 6 live-work units.
Staff held a kick-off meeting with the applicants and consultants for the Environmental Impact Report for the Onni Christie Mixed Use Project, which includes a 54-story residential tower and 15-story office tower, and staff attended a meeting of Residents United for a Livable Emeryville (RULE) to answer questions about the project.
BioMed Realty, a developer of life science campuses, announced that they have purchased the Novartis property for approximately $135 million.
Two Emeryville companies were nominated for East Bay Economic Development Allianc Innovation Awards, including Gritstone Oncology in the biotechnology category, and Kikoko in the food category. Staff and Council Members attended the awards ceremony at the Fox Theater in Oakland on March 28.
We bid a fond farewell to Housing Coordinator Catherine Firpo, who is retiring following eight very productive years creating affordable housing and providing homeless services in Emeryville.
View the entire progress report on Emeryville.org →
March 5th City Council Meeting
Economic Development Advisory Committee Annual Report (Special Meeting)
The Council heard a presentation by Alexandria LaRoche, Chair of the Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC), on the EDAC’s accomplishments for 2018 and priorities for 2019.
The presentation for this item can be viewed above at [36:45].
Public Art Committee Annual Report (Special Meeting)
The Council heard a presentation by Public Art Committee (PAC) Chair Sharon Wilchar and member Melody Kozma-Kennedy on the committee’s accomplishments for 2018 and priorities for 2019.
The presentation for this item can be viewed above at [7:39].
Parks Ordinance (Action Item)
The City Council introduced an ordinance amending the provisions for parks in Title 5 of the Emeryville Municipal Code to allow leashed dogs to be in all Emeryville parks and to allow off-leash dogs in designated areas. For both on-leash and off-leash areas, the amendments include a limit of four dogs per handler. In addition, the ordinance includes modifying the closing hours for parks from 9 p.m. – 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. – 6 a.m. to reflect current patterns of usage. In introducing the ordinance, the Council modified a provision so that failure to clean up after dogs will constitute an infraction instead of a misdemeanor.
The presentation for this item can be viewed above at [2:07:51].
Cannabis Ordinance (Action Item)
The City Council introduced an ordinance amending the provisions for cannabis in Title 5 of the Emeryville Municipal Code to allow cannabis products to be visible from the exterior.
The presentation for this item can be viewed above at [2:14:27].
Development Bonus System (Action Item)
The Council discussed an informational report that they had previously requested, and directed staff to schedule a study session on ways to mandate Project Labor Agreements for development projects, including adding it to the Development Bonus System among other possibilities.
The presentation for this item can be viewed above at [2:18:31].
Parking Requirements (Action Item)
The Council discussed an informational report that they had previously requested, and directed staff to prepare an ordinance to eliminate all minimum parking requirements, while maintaining the maximum allowances. Because this will be a change to the Planning Regulations, it will be scheduled for a public hearing at a future Planning Commission meeting.
The presentation for this item can be viewed above at [2:35:37].
Download the March 5th Council Meeting Agenda →
March 19th City Council Special Meeting
Housing Committee Annual Report (Special Meeting)
The Council heard a presentation by Vickie Jo Sowell, member of the Housing Committee, on the committee’s accomplishments for 2018 and priorities for 2019.
The presentation for this item can be viewed above at [1:15].
Study Session on Parks and Open Spaces
The Council held a study session on the Parks and Open Space provisions of the General Plan, and on the Parks and Recreation Strategic Plan. Following public testimony and Council deliberations, the Council concluded that funding for future park acquisitions and improvements should be prioritized, with particular emphasis on open space within the Ashby interchange and future Greenway expansions.
The presentation for this item can be viewed above at [30:53].
Download the March 19th Special Council Meeting Agenda →
March 19th City Council Regular Meeting
Greenway Crossings (Consent Item)
The Council authorized the City Engineer to advertise for bids for the Greenway Crossing Improvements, which will construct raised Greenway crossings at 65th, 66th and 67th Streets.
Traffic Signals (Consent Item)
The Council appropriated funds and authorized a contract for the construction of new traffic signals at 40th and Harlan Streets, and at Doyle and Powell Streets. The former will improve pedestrian access between the Park Avenue District and the East BayBridge Shopping Center, and the latter will provide a protected crossing of Powell Street for the Doyle Street Bicycle Boulevard.
Sherwin Williams Park Public Art (Consent Item)
The Council approved the placement of a piece of privately funded public art in the proposed public park to be developed as part of the Sherwin Williams project. The artwork, entitled Your Way, is by Jeppe Hein and will consist of a highly polished stainless steel “mini-labyrinth” of seven-foot-tall walls in a 10 by 14 feet area.
Donation of Public Art (Consent Item)
The Council accepted the City Manager’s donation of the artwork entitled Cosmology 4 by Emeryville artist Ann Holsberry purchase at the 2018 annual Emeryville Celebration of the Arts exhibition. The artwork is on display in the City Manager’s office in Old Town Hall.
General Plan Annual Report (Consent Item)
The Council approved the 2018 General Plan Annual Report, including the Housing Element Annual Progress Report and the Housing Successor Annual Report, for submittal to the California Housing and Community Development Department and the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. The report was due to the state by April 1, and it was submitted the week of March 25. Parks Ordinance. The Council passed the second reading of the ordinance that had been introduced on March 5 amending the provisions for parks related to dogs and closing hours.
Cannabis (Consent Item)
The Council passed the second reading of the ordinance that had been introduced on March 5 to allow cannabis products to be visible from the exterior.
Noise Waiver Request, 1400 65th Street (Public Hearing)
The City Council held a public hearing for a Noise Waiver request to conduct a crane lift at the EmeryTech building at 1400 65th Street on Saturday, March 23, 2019 with a back-up date of Saturday, March 30, 2019, to replace 18 air conditioning units on the roof. The applicant explained that the dates of the Noise Waiver request needed to be modified to April 13, 2019 and April 20, 2019 to accommodate construction delays. The City Council directed that the item be continued to the next City Council meeting on April 2, and that notices of the continued hearing be distributed with the correct dates of the Noise Waiver request. However, the applicant withdrew their request for an April 2 hearing in favor of having an April 16 hearing for a work day request of April 27, 2019. This item is now scheduled for the April 16 City Council meeting.
The presentation for this item can be viewed above at [16:35].
Marketplace Parcel B (Action Item)
The Planning Commission’s January 24 approval of the Marketplace Parcel B office/laboratory building was appealed by Wareham Development on February 8. On March 19, the City Council reviewed the appeal and determined that certain issues raised in the appeal letter had not been adequately addressed by the Commission. Therefore, the Council remanded the matter back to the Commission for reconsideration. The reconsideration is scheduled for the Commission’s April 25 meeting.
The presentation for this item can be viewed above at [22:08].
Download the March 19th Council Meeting Agenda →
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Awesome that raised crossings at greenway intersections is under consideration.
Seriously. Some drivers simply refuse to yield there. I would add a series of speed bumps approaching the crossings as well.
“We can induce the type of residents we want by building and encouraging the construction of people who want that lifestyle,” noted Councilmember John Bauters
We’re going to construct people, eh?
Freudian slip by John. It sounds like he wants to build a wall around Emeryville.
Perhaps a developer promised a campaign contribution – eliminate the requirement they provide expensive parking spaces to counteract the disastrous affordable housing requirements and they will start building again. Park on Powell is vacant because there isn’t enough off street parking? Or because earners are tired of subsidizing non earners.
Or is John trying to increase the number of potential customers for his parking meters – i.e. another progressive tax?
John wants to “encourage” carless residents – by over-regulating and taxing scooters.
Unrelated – anybody notice the bikers do not use the Horton Street bike lanes anymore now that they have been protected by channelizers? Now bikers use the middle of the street.
The street units at Park on Powell are probably mostly vacant due to lack of street parking. Honestly we should just reduce Powell to one lane in each direction, and convert the curb side lanes to metered parking. It would increase short term parking for small business customers, generate meter revenue for the city, and hopefully reduce the number of cars flying down Powell like its their own personal highway.
“The street units at Parc on Powell are probably mostly vacant due to lack of street parking.” If you were paying attention, you would know Emeryville requires developments to facilitate intimate relationships on the sidewalk between front doors and the edge of streets. Allowing cars to park there will defeat this intent and creating a few metered spots will not save that development.
Sorry, the article states: “Countering this argument is the lack of OFF-STREET parking that has been cited as the reason some projects have had difficulty leasing to new tenants such as Parc on Powell that remains largely vacant.”
I see a few people parking in the Honor restaurant lot across Hollis and jay walking across to buy sandwiches at Ikes that cost too much due to the minimum wage. Eventually Ikes will close but in the meantime Honor is going to need to hire a security guard to monitor parking in their own lot. Not only are most of the retail units vacant at Parc on Powell but so are the apartments above. If Powell became one lane the Ubers and Lyfts that suddenly stop in the road along there to disgorge will bring the entire road to a standstill. If minimum parking requirements are eliminated for future developments tenants will be unable to welcome out of town visitors or family to visit them. Might as well put a wall up around the city. Emeryville police need to start ticketing these sudden Uber / Lyft stops and also bicyclists in the middle of the road when a protected bike lane is already provided.
BTW – cars use their personal highway since their registration and gas taxes pay for them. Maybe it’s time for city council to start taxing bicycles and shoes so their coveted millennials can pay for bike paths and sidewalks so they have their own personal highway.
This city council is way too busy trying to impose their personal values on the rest of us. Eventually, they learn the outcomes are disastrous and “pause” their implementation. Dianne Martinez suggested giving bonus points to developments that use Project Labor Agreements (i.e. restrict competition to union workers only) to encourage quality buildings and quality jobs. Bypassing any discussion or evidence that this is true or not, they immediately transitioned to studying how to MANDATE the use of PLA’s. They lauded their ability to use “ambiguous words to our advantage” and bragged they knew of “other ways to get PLA’s.” Next they will force us to employ only union workers to renovate our homes, fix our sandwiches at Togo’s, operate the cash registers at Marshalls and sell us recliners at La-Z-Boy. The majority of union construction workers can’t afford to live in Alameda County so it’s ironic that this city council is considering encouraging mandating something that will increase traffic and improve the lives of union workers who live in Contra Costa, San Joaquin, and Stanislaus counties and even further. All this so city council can continuing accepting bribes from union organizers.
The flexibility to go from not having enough parking and needing a city wide parking plan one week, to having so much that we need to eliminate parking minimums the next is what makes progressivism so great.
There is nothing better than a political ideology that is so inconsistent and so attractive to ideologues that the flock moves without thinking wherever the money tends them.
The great thing about being an ostracized driver is my car can take me to other places to spend my money.
Should be interesting regarding removing parking requirements, it will be a disaster for all areas surrounding these buildings, take a look at any Equity Residential property on the peninsula and you will find thousands of cars clogging the surrounding streets. I’d prefer for the parking requirements to stay and for Emeryville to streamline its permitting process by removing all the bureaucratic costs if the goal is to lower costs for developers. Removing parking would also work really well for Emeryville who are planning on taxing residents for owning cars in their city.
Regarding the minimum wage reconsideration, I truly feel for the restaurant owners at places like Public Market. I’ve experienced some of the worst customer service there and to think that some people are getting $15/hr must be hard for the owners to stomach.
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I hope all these folks who are complaining or commenting actually show up at city meetings to have some real impact. I have gone many times with some impact.