The City of Emeryville held three council meeting during the month of May. Among the highlights that emerged from these meetings were discussions of the 2019/20 Budget, our Capital Improvement Program and a Minimum Wage Ordinance Amendment (since passed and repealed).
The City adjourned the May 7th meeting in honor of the passing of Eleanor Letchaw. Letchaw founded The Emeryville Child Development Center (ECDC) in 1979 and helped it transition to its current location on 53rd street in 1991. The inspiring history of the organization is posted on the Friends of ECDC (a non-profit created to help fund its programs) website.
May 2019 Highlights of The Month
The City Council amended the Minimum Wage Ordinance to “pause” the minimum wage increase for small independent restaurants to make the rate in fiscal year 2019-2020 the same as the prior year, with gradual annual increases so that the minimum wage will be the same for all businesses by 2027.
The City Council reviewed the proposed Capital Improvement Program for fiscal years 2019-2020 through 2023-2024, and the proposed operating budget for fiscal years 2019-2020 and 2020- 2021, and made no major modifications. Both are scheduled to be approved on June 4.
The Council approved a $21 million construction contract for the South Bayfront Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge; this missing link in Emeryville’s circulation system that has been in the General Plan since 1987 should be under construction by the end of the summer.
At a continued regular meeting held on May 14, the Planning Commission unanimously reapproved the Marketplace Parcel B office/laboratory building, which had been remanded back to the Commission by the City Council on March 19 after having been appealed by Wareham Development. Subsequently, on May 21, the City Council called the Commission’s re-approval of the project for review, and, on May 29, it was again appealed by Wareham.
The Planning Commission held a second study session on May 23 on the Onni Christie Mixed Use Project, which includes a 54-story residential tower with 638 units and a 15-story office tower with 238,000 square feet of office space.
A community workshop on the 40th and San Pablo Bus Hub redesign project was held on May 22, followed by a Planning Commission study session on May 23. The conceptual design is scheduled to be considered for approval by the City Council on July 9.
On May 1, the State Department of Finance released its official population estimates; according to DOF, Emeryville’s population, as of January 1, 2019, is 11,885.
May was Bike to Work month, and once again City staff participated in the Bay Area Team Bike Challenge, with 10 members on two teams pedaling a total of 391 trips covering 2,660 miles.
View the entire progress report on Emeryville.org →
May 7th City Council Meeting
Safe Routes to School (Consent Item)
The City Council appropriated $126,933.14 from the General Capital Fund (Fund 475) to the fiscal year 2018-2019 budget for the Safe Routes to Schools – 43rd, 45th, and 47th Streets Project and reimbursed $3,625.00 to the Measure B Streets and Roads Fund (Fund 240) and $123,308.14 to the Grant Fund (Fund 254). The Project was completed in 2017, but due to coordination issues with Caltrans and unforeseen increased construction costs, additional funding was needed to close out the project.
Planning Regulations Amendment for R&D in the MUR Zone (Public Hearing)
The Council unanimously passed the first reading of an ordinance amending the Planning Regulations to allow Research and Development uses in the Mixed Use with Residential zone with a conditional use permit.
The presentation for this item can be viewed above at [15:41].
4045 Horton Street Red Curb (Action Item)
The Council voted 4-1 to deny a request for a red zone along Horton Street opposite the Bon Motif loading dock, with Vice Mayor Patz voting against the denial. The Council indicated that they would be willing to consider a yellow loading zone along the same side of the street as Bon Motif. This is in conjunction with the Rug Depot Redesign Project, as further discussed below under “Planning Division, Current Planning Projects”.
The presentation for this item can be viewed above at [27:28].
Capital Improvement Program (Action Item)
The Council discussed the draft five-year Capital Improvement Program for fiscal years 2019-2020 through 2023-2024. Community Development projects in the CIP include the Art Center, 40th/San Pablo Transit Hub and 40th Street Redesign, the Public Art Master Plan Mural Program and Marina Project, and seven housing projects. The Council expressed support for the CIP, including funding the South Bayfront Bridge project and interest in finding ways to develop new parks, including the Mayor’s suggestion for “pop-up” parks as a separate CIP project. The final CIP will be considered for adoption on June 4 in conjunction with the operating budget.
The presentation for this item can be viewed above at [52:43].
Business Conditions Survey (Action Item)
The Council heard a presentation on business conditions based on a report recently completed by Mills College, reflecting business owner reactions and related impacts of the City’s labor standards. The report indicated that small independent restaurants were hardest hit by the City’s Minimum Wage Ordinance. Following lengthy public testimony and Council deliberations, the Council passed a motion to direct staff to bring an ordinance amendment to “pause” the minimum wage increase for small independent restaurants to the May 21 meeting, and to consider taking action on May 21 to add a meeting to the Council’s regular meeting schedule on Wednesday, May 29 to accommodate second reading of the ordinance, so that it can take effect prior to the next scheduled minimum wage increase on July 1. The vote on the motion was 4-1, with Vice Mayor Patz voting “no”.
The presentation for this item can be viewed above at [1:28:14].
May 21st City Council Special Meeting
Budget (Special Meeting)
The Council heard a presentation on the proposed City budget for fiscal years 2019-2020 and 2020-2021, and made no modifications. The budget is due to be adopted by the Council on June 4. Changes for the Community Development Department include the addition of a second Housing Coordinator in the Economic Development and Housing Division, to be funded out of the Measure C housing bond, and additional support for the public art program, to be funded out of the so-call “boomerang” property tax revenues. In addition, a Parking Manager would be added in Public Works and 1.5 full-time equivalent Police Service Technicians would be added in the Police Department to implement the Parking Management Plan.
The presentation for this item can be viewed above at [3:36].
Planning Regulations Amendment for R&D in the MUR Zone (Consent Item)
On the consent calendar, the Council passed the second reading of an ordinance amending the Planning Regulations to allow Research and Development uses in the Mixed Use with Residential zone with a conditional use permit. As noted above, the ordinance was introduced on May 7; it will take effect on June 20.
Minimum Wage Ordinance Amendment (Action Item)
As noted above, on May 7 the City Council directed staff to prepare an amendment to the Minimum Wage Ordinance to “pause” wage increases for small independent restaurant businesses. On May 21, the City Council approved first reading of an ordinance that initially pauses the minimum wage rate at $15.00 per hour for small independent restaurants (i.e. restaurants with 20 or fewer locations and less than 56 employees), with future increases in the minimum wage rate expressed as an increasing percentage of the wage rate applicable to businesses that are not small independent restaurants. The result will be one minimum wage rate applicable to all businesses beginning on July 1, 2027. The vote on first reading of this ordinance was 3-2 with Mayor Medina and Vice Mayor Patz voting “no”.
The presentation for this item can be viewed above at [1:35:41].
City Council Meeting Schedule (Action Item)
The Council modified their schedule of regular meetings in 2019 to add a regular meeting on May 29, to accommodate second reading of the ordinance noted
South Bayfront Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge (Action Item)
The Council approved several resolutions related to the South Bayfront Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge, including authorizing a $21 million construction contract with Ghilotti Construction Company. Construction will hopefully be getting underway by the end of the summer.
The presentation for this item can be viewed above at [1:32:20].
Marketplace Parcel B (Department Head Report)
Following the Planning Director’s report on Planning Commission actions at the May 14 meeting, the Council voted to call for review (i.e. appeal) the Planning Commission’s re-approval of the Marketplace Parcel B project. The motion was made by Council Member Bauters, seconded by Vice Mayor Patz, and passed unanimously. A date for the Council’s review has not yet been scheduled. [As noted below, the Planning Commission’s re-approval of the project was also subsequently appealed by Wareham Development.]
The presentation for this item can be viewed above at [3:35:10].
May 29th City Council Special Meeting
Minimum Wage Ordinance Amendment (Action Item)
The Council passed the second reading of an ordinance amending the Minimum Wage Ordinance for small, local, independent restaurants, as discussed above. The vote was 3-2 with Mayor Medina and Vice Mayor Patz voting “no”, and Councilmember Donahue participating from the East Coast via teleconference. The ordinance will take effect in 30 days, on June 28.