January 29, 2013 – Council Meeting

Item #A Compassionate Sidewalk Plan
Councilmember Arreguin Presentation
Direct City Manager to form a core group and set parameters for discussion. Will incorporate input from City Councilmembers from tonight’s discussion.  Need specific info from staff prior to April 2nd works session.

Public comment

  • BOSS:  As a reminder, in 2001 Council passed a homeless civil rights resolution.  Homeless service providers must be included in the discussion - from the youth through and including older homeless.  Since Measure S was defeated discussion should begin before April 2nd to coincide with budget process.
  • AB 5 may help with conflict on dealing with the homeless.
  • Need public input. Feeling excluded has cost significant money to the city.  This will give someone else a try to fix our homeless issue.
  • YEAH!:  In complete support of the plan.  Important to move forward.  Should be a compassionate persons plan. YEAH! provides transition age youth service and shelter 6 months out of the year.  Need rich discussion so good decisions can be made.  Must include persons who will be affected by these decisions
  • People’s Park Forever Committee: Want to be part of working group.
  • Against Measure S leader:  Measure S was counterproductive.  It is not a yes or no decision.  Service providers and businesses agree in many ways.  Bringing all these groups together can deliver a solution.
  • Need money for affordable housing.  Multiplex layered housing for all.  Allow tents for homeless in City parks.
  • East Bay Community Law Center: Excited about the discussion and bringing all the voices together will yield many opportunities for common ground.  Need to bring in legal/benefit providers as part of the committee.
  • Spirit of bringing people together is of primary importance.  We need to show compassion to the homeless who, for a number of reasons, find themselves in such a situation.
  • Support this process and hope that we utilize the commission system that can help with addressing this issue instead of privatizing our sidewalks.  Sidewalks should be available to ALL our citizens.
  • Glad City is moving beyond criminalizing those in need.  Smoking ordinances are targeting the homeless in downtown.  It is similar to prohibition.
  • Mayor promised at one time to sleep outside with the homeless.  Suggested that the mayor do this again to experience what it is like.
  • Thank you for opening a process for a deeper dialog.
  • In support of proposition. Important that the process be opened up to all people who are not generally included in conversations.
  • Youth Spirit Artworks: Really support this issue and realize that we need to work on supporting youth service issues.

Councilmember Comments
Bates:  Is the City Manager comfortable with this?  I realize this is much work.  We need some way to focus.
City Manager:  Could we have an action item after the work session to discuss directive council might give to provide form and function around the process?
Bates:  I will just put this on the agenda
Arreguin. I believe it should be voted tonight that this should be a community based process.  To endorse tonight that this will be a community process then we can adequately prepare for the workshop.  My goal is to move forward with the process and that we vote for that tonight and not wait until April.
Wozniak. We do need to tackle this issue.  This is only part of the issue and Measure S was also about behavior.  Need to expand on demographic data.  There are seasonal variations.  How/how long, did the people become homeless?  What kind of housing is deemed appropriate?  There is some subset of people that want to live in the street.  Want to add an item to address the behaviors and enforcing current laws.  How can we measure progress?  Were there any economic impacts?  We have nfinite needs and finite resources.  Need metrics on how we are spending our money and is it being effective.  How many resources are needed and what is available out there?  We also need a regional approach and that needs to be part of the discussion.  Need a broader view regionally or it won’t work.
Wengraf:  Expand workshop comment to include just a list of wants and policies but also where there are gaps in the programs we provide.  How do we measure the effectiveness of the services that we provide?  What are we talking about in financial resources on how much this process would cost?  We need an estimate up front on what this will cost.  Should draw on University resources also there is much expertise there.  Don’t want to define process until after April 2 workshop and it should inform the process.
Anderson.  I am hoping that those that put up the money to support Measure S will help fund finding a solution.  This is an opportunity for council to redeem itself on how we frame the discussion and the issues that impact our homeless population.  I am encouraged by this.  I hope we don’t dally – we really need to get started.
Maio.  We have done a lot well.  We have our service provider network now that was in response to an issue that began years ago and we get better all the time.  We have not failed, we keep struggling, we have less money to work with, but we do get better.  I am glad we are going to do more and we also need to address mental health issues as part of this.  Need to define the process after the workshop. All of us are committed to moving forward.
Arreguin.  I get the commitment to move some start of process forward and I will work with the mayor to bring some structure to the workshop.  But we must have a format to begin this process.
Worthington.  We need to drop the constant reference to the past political campaign and who was to blame.  Need to focus on the positive steps to move forward both actual and visionary.
Capitelli.  Need to stop demonizing both sides of the campaign.  I support moving this process forward after the April 2 workshop.
Wozniak.  We need a timeline, cost and definition of the process, and staffing resources.
Bates.  I was part of the legislature in the 1970s and this is a very complex issue.  In order for us to fully address these issues our community needs federal and state resources to help us and it needs support on a broader scale.  When we do things like this for people then we get more people wanting the services.  We can embark on this but it will cost a lot of money and take a long time and it will require services from all our community to make any difference.

Vote
Move the process forward
Unanimous

 

Item #13 & 14 Downtown streets and Open space improvement plan (SOSIP) and SOSIP Impact fee
Staff presentation

  • This is the transition from planning to the project side.
  • SOSIP is an outcome from the downtown plan and the fees that will be allocated to the new developments on behalf of downtown improvements.  Came out of the downtown plan (DAP) and relates to transit, art, open space and downtown capital improvements such as adding more green space, widening sidewalks, creating open spaces etc.
  • Has been reviewed by related commissions and comments were made and either incorporated or addressed.  This went into a revised SOSIP that went back to the Planning Commission and SOSIP recommendations were made and approved.
  • Staff recommends approval of the SOSIP, the impact fees, and the prioritize projects.  Some commissions recommended revising priorities.  Staff does not recommend changing priority due to previous process approvals and projected development projects that would relate to capital improvement projects.
  • $17 million in public improvements are necessary.  SOSIP would raise 1/3 of the money (upfront costs) which then leverages grant money (MTC, ABAG, etc).
  • The fees have been set at the max that the Nexus study recommended.  $2.23 for residential, $1.68 for commercial, $1.12 for new institutional use.  Hopefully, the University will pay the recommended fee.  Some smaller spaces would be exempt if the use permit stays in place and there is no net new square footage added.

Councilmember Comments
Bates:  It is a plan that can be modified and can be prioritized based on opportunities.

Public Comment
Sierra Club:  On the whole very pleased with the fee and the possibility of the outcome.  Daylighting of Strawberry Creek was not included but might be in Phase 2. Concerned about the fee gap and additional dollars that will be needed to bring this to fruition.
Downtown Business Association:  Berkeley Way to Shattuck Square is low hanging fruit and making it a slow street will make this safer.  Center Street:  Have concern about closer – making it a slow street as Phase One is a good start.  Bart Plaza needs to be refurbished and connected to Center Street Plaza
This was a good honest process that took 8 months and 8 meetings.  The plan is both visionary and practical that will incrementally get us where we want to be

Councilmember Comments
Arreguin. Many of these ideas were presented 8 years ago and it is good to get this moving.  Center Street has been reinforced in SOSIP.  All of these improvements will make a huge difference in the downtown and make it a much more civic and pedestrian friendly environment.  Move to approve SOSIP and fees.
Worthington.  This was a compromise.  It is not what I would have written.  If I made corrections now it would delay the project.  Don’t agree with Nexus study.  Don’t agree with who uses downtown and how to define them.  In spite of the flaws and the fact that is does not bring in enough money I will approve it.
Capitelli.  Does the fee in lieu for open space go into the SOSIP fee?  When do these fees go into effect?  Bart Plaza and Ohlone Parkway improvement are already pursuing the OBAG grant funds so we might see this happen sooner.
Wozniak. Happy with the way SOSIP turned out.  The plans of the park blocks look fantastic.  There is another possible opportunity which would be Harold Way.  It would be great of a pedestrian block.  Daylighting Strawberry Creek would equal daylighting and diverting and may have environmental impacts down stream.
Bates.  Thanks for the hard work in putting this together, we are working closely with BART on the downtown station so we can make an application to get this funded and the work started.  We are looking at other funding opportunities for getting dollars through entertainment grants.
Wengraf. Thanks to everyone and I hope that the University will participate in the fees.
Moore. Move Item14 to accept the impact fees

Vote on # 13
Unanimous

Vote on #14
Unanimous