The City of Emeryville provides a monthly progress report outlining significant developments and milestones that occurred throughout the period. Among these highlights for March were the passing of a Short-Term Rental Ordinance intended to regulate services like Airbnb, two Cannabis Ordinances, an update on the rollout of Fair Work Week and the withdrawal of Anton Development from the “Nady Site” project. Please note that the summaries provided are taken directly from the text of these reports.
The Short-Term Rental Ordinance
On March 21 the City Council passed an ordinance amending the Planning Regulations to establish regulations for short-term rentals. Following Council adoption of the ordinance, staff informed a local vacation rental company about the ordinance, but they do not list any units in Emeryville.
The Council unanimously adopted the second reading of the short-term rental ordinance that was introduced on March 7; it will take effect on April 20.
The March 7th City Council meeting discussion can be viewed below [1:14:00].
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The Council introduced two ordinances to regulate cannabis businesses, one amending the Planning Regulations to create the Cannabis Sales and Cannabis Manufacturing use classifications, with locational criteria and permitting procedures for each; and one amending Title 5 of the Municipal Code to create an Operator’s Permit. The two ordinances will come back for final passage on April 4.
Two ordinances amending the Planning Regulations concerning the sale, distribution, and production of medical and recreational cannabis, and amending Chapter 28 of Title 5 of the Emeryville Municipal Code concerning Operators’ Permits for cannabis-related businesses, were approved on first reading by the City Council on March 21. The ordinances will come back for second reading and final passage on April 4.
The March 21st City Council meeting discussion can be viewed in the feature area [57:00].
Wareham receives Transportation Impact Fee Credit
On November 2, in conjunction with the payment of over $4 million in building permit fees, Wareham Development submitted a request that the City Council approve a credit and refund of the $728,633.13 Transportation Facilities Impact Fee, based on the fact that the project includes two public facilities that are eligible for funding from the impact fee. This request was considered by the City Council on January 17 and was continued to a future date.
Wareham subsequently modified their request to $500,000, which staff recommended. As noted above, the City Council considered the request at their March 21 meeting and, on a 3-2 vote, approved a credit and refund of $208,420, which represents the developer contribution to the Transit Center Plaza and Platform Extension public facility as documented in the Capital Improvement Program. Staff subsequently processed the refund.
The March 23rd City Council meeting discussion can be viewed in the feature area [1:32:45].
California Arts Council Cultural District pilot program
The California Arts Council introduced the Pilot Program Application Guidelines for a Cultural District program at the end of January. Staff quickly responded to the opportunity, as there was only a 6-8 week turnaround until a Letter of Intent would be due (March 29). To prepare the letter, staff obtained the required partnerships (three were required, five were obtained including Pixar, Bullseye Glass, Wareham, the Emeryville Celebration of the Arts, and the City), and letters of support (three were required, 18 were obtained) and to generate GIS maps of the proposed district.
To provide a legitimate claim that the City is an “Arts Production District”, staff developed a data base using business license data to identify the City’s creative businesses. Townsend and Associates helped Economic Development staff set up a conference call meeting with the California Arts Council staff to discuss the City’s proposal. Cal Arts staff listened to the general framework of our proposal and encouraged staff to submit a letter of intent. They did not seem concerned regarding the small size of our city given its placement in the “urban” cohort and suggested that it may even help our chances in that it would be one aspect that could help set us apart.
Bullseye Glass Resource Center met with Economic Development staff to provide both a tour of their art center type and to discuss their participation in the City’s Cultural District bid as a potential partner. They then agreed to partner with the City and further offered to help provide an art-production activity should Emeryville be invited to apply for the application and a site visit need to be organized. As noted above, the City Council approved the application on March 21, and it was submitted one day early, on March 28. Although there are hundreds of cities competing for the designation, we are cautiously optimistic; staff is already discussing initial site visit planning should we receive an invitation from the State to formally apply for the pilot program.
The March 21st City Council meeting discussion can be viewed in the feature area [2:29:53].
Planning Commission Meeting Recap
The Planning Commission held a special meeting/study session on the Sign Regulations on March 9 and directed staff to prepare amendments to the regulations for future consideration. Christine Scott Thomson, who was appointed to the Planning Commission by the City Council on February 21, was sworn in at the Commission’s regular meeting on March 23. The Commission approved a Tree Removal Permit for PG&E to remove nine street trees that are too close to gas transmission lines; trees in the Novartis campus on 53 rd Street were not included in the approval, and will be subject to further negotiations.
Anton Development cancels “Nady Site” Agreement
Consideration of a request for a two-year extension of a Conditional Use Permit and Design Review for a 186-unit residential development on a 2.27 acre site located at 6701 Shellmound Street was continued to a future meeting at the request of the applicant. The project was originally approved by the Planning Commission on March 24, 2016, and includes a Tree Removal Permit for removal of two street trees.
Just prior to the meeting, it was learned that Anton has terminated their Purchase and Sale Agreement, and the “applicant” is now the property owner, John Nady. Under “Commissioner Comments” at the end of the meeting, it was noted that the site is in bad condition with trash, weeds, and graffiti, and that it needs to be cleaned up before the Commission considers the extension request.
Fair Work Week
Emeryville City Staff is in the process of developing regulations and procuring consultant services to enhance the City’s capacity for implementation and enforcement of the labor standards created by the Fair Workweek Ordinance, Minimum Wage Ordinance, and Measure C.
On January 6, a Request for Proposals (RFP) was mailed to a list of nine municipal consulting firms and posted on the City’s website. RFPs were also available in the City Hall lobby. The deadline to submit proposals was February 6, and five proposals were received.
On February 13, a panel of four reviewers met and scored the proposals using the factors and weights as indicated in the RFP. Based on these rankings, two proposers were selected for interviews, which occurred on February 22 and were conducted by two of the panel members. The two finalists were Management Resources Group (MRG) and Labor Enforcement Consulting. However, MRG subsequently withdrew their proposal, and a key member of the Labor Enforcement Consulting team also withdrew due to conflicts with their other employment.
With the withdrawal of the top-rated firm and a key member of the second-rated firm, staff revisited the pool of applicants with the panelists to seek the next most qualified bidder to take on the work at the same level of diligence and professionalism required by the RFP. Based on this review, it was determined that the quality of work required to most effectively deliver services in the best interest of all stakeholders necessitated dividing the original scope of work contemplated by the RFP into several separate contracts. This, in turn, required a combination of additional vetting of firms outside of the existing pool of proposers while still also evaluating the strengths of the existing proposers’ qualifications for separate components of the work scope.
One of the remaining proposers, Mills College Lorry I. Lokey School of Business and Public Policy (“Mills College”), was determined to be well-suited for the outreach and education portion of the Fair Workweek Ordinance implementation process. Mills College previously conducted a survey of businesses as part of the annual report on implementation of the Minimum Wage/Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, which was presented to the City Council on November 15, 2016. Staff has negotiated a contract with Mills, which will be presented to the City Council for approval on April 18.
Meanwhile, the City Attorney’s Office has engaged the law firm of Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP to assist in drafting implementing regulations, and staff is continuing to review proposals from qualified firms for enforcement and administration. During the month of March, staff received five inquiries by email and phone regarding the plan to implement and enforce the new labor standards.
The March 7th Council Meeting discussion can be viewed below [2:24:26]:
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The Chief Building Official attended that California Building Officials Annual Business Meeting in Newport Beach, and the Economic Development and Housing Manager attended the California Association for Local Economic Development Annual Training Conference in San Diego.
Feature Image: @Shoreditchmedia via Instagram