What Happened?

July 8, 2014 Council Meeting

Meeting Notes

Item #41 ZAB appeal 3264 Adeline

Staff Report

ZAB upheld by 9 – 0 vote.  Restaurant will be 1/3 of a mile from BART station so it is appropriate for parking waver

Appellant

(Vault Restaurant)  Pedestrian safety are always in question.  Farmers Market is a great asset even though it impacts parking.  Many concessions are being made to allow Dominos Pizza to move in.  There will be 6 delivery cars and seating for 26.  Large delivery trucks.  Will impact existing establishments and social service agencies.  Patrons of The Vault state what a resource the restaurant is to the community.  It is a gathering place.  It will be endangered and will be harmed by the opening of Dominos Pizza as it will negatively impact the parking.

Applicant

Have won many awards for their business ownership and management.  Serve on many non-profit boards.  Will work to support the community and ensure that residents benefit from their service.  Very proud of who we are and what we stand for.  Majority of our business takes place at dinner time.  Most businesses will be closed by that time.  Most of the customers are close by and walk.  We can utilize pizza runners.  Delivery drivers do not need to park during peak hours.

Not right to squeeze out a business because of competition with existing businesses.  We should not have empty store fronts.  We need good viable businesses.

Public Comment

In support of project  Total 2

In opposition of project   Total 8

Need to support local businesses not multi-national corporations Total 1

Councilmember Comments

Anderson:  What was the result of the parking studies?  This represents an opportunity for families to come out and walk Adeline and enjoy.  Also I can see why existing businesses are concerned about the competition.  Agents have been working diligently on renting this space which has been vacant for over 2 years.  The parking issue is a red herring.  I have studied that area very closely.  Growth has to be balanced to have lasting vitality.  Very little has been addressed to the project and the process.  There are no quotas in the Lorin District.  With a 9 – 0 vote in favor by ZAB and with no real rebuttal to the appeal, I cannot vote against approving the AUP.  Move to approve ZAB recommendation.

Wozniak:  The City doesn’t have a chain ordinance.   I appreciateTthe Vault. I have a concern about the parking for delivery.  Can this be monitored?  Can the employees use the city parking lot near by?

Arreguin:  I also share the concern about the parking. I encourage the applicant to find parking elsewhere for employees and delivery personnel.  I will support the motion

Wengraf:   I will support the motion but am concerned about the distance of the handicap space.  I would like to see if it can be moved to the block where the new Dominos will be located.

Anderson:  We need a couple of more handicapped spaces in that area.

Maio:  I will also support the motion and the arguments are persuasive.  We do need to look at increasing handicapped parking for the local health care providers.

Vote:

Unanimous approval of ZAB recommendation

Absent:  Bates and Moore

 

Item #42    Berkeley Unified School District Letter

Maio:  How would you amend the recommendation?  The school district has already incorporated many of the recommendations.

Capitelli:  Has the councilmember done research on the work that has been completed?  Has there been an analysis?

Public Comment

We need to revisit the 20/20 vision  Total 3

Berkeley needs to lead the nation

Councilmember Comments

Wozniak:  If we have not been meeting our goals then we need to work on that but the language in this letter does not acknowledge the work that has been done.

Maio:  I think the school board is trying hard to do this correctly.  I suggest we need to acknowledge the work that has been done but that they continue to fund the program so that continued progress can be made.

Capitelli:  There is a an element of chastising in the original letter and yet, the school board has been paying attention.   I don’t like writing letters on the dais.  Perhaps we should say “continue to broaden and expand our efforts”.  We need to soften the opening statement.

Anderson:  A couple of years ago we had a report on Vision 20/20, I said we need to push this into the community for compliance.  There has been only one public meeting since then and we have all bought into this and all of us are lacking in engaging the community.  Until we do that it will slip.

Wengraf:  There is really no rush to finish this letter.  I suggest we hold it over so the letter can be revised into one that we are all comfortable with.  I move to hold over.

Arreguin:  I think the letter does well, but the issue is the second paragraph.  And I would like to make some recommendations,

(Amendments read into the record)

Worthington:  Move item as amended

Vote:

Unanimous

Absent:  Bates, Moore

 

Item # 43  Regulation of E-Cigarettes

Staff Recommendation

At a critical junction.  E-Cigarettes are turning around the progress made to reduce cigarette smoking.  Without regulating e-cigarettes people can smoke them anywhere.  It is a health issue for our community.  Over 40 counties have regulated these cigarettes.  Only place that the Commission and Staff differ is the use of e-cigarettes in multiunit housing.  Commission wants it banned in all multiunit buildings.  Staff wants this to be consistent with current smoking ordinance.  Regarding medical cannibus it is ok within the dispensary or within the vicinity of the dispensary but not out in the general public and it should be ok in a person’s home, even if a multi-tenant building.

Public Comment

In support of the ban:  Total 6

Concerned about impact on medical cannibus users:  Total 2

In opposition of the ban – vapor and ignition are different:  Total 1

Councilmember Comments

Arreguin:  The current ordinance does not carve out an exception for medical marijuana dispensaries.  The language needs to be modified to exempt those locations.

Wozniak:  I want to address second-hand smoke in multi-tenant buildings.  There is no difference between smoke and vapor.  I support the Health Commission recommendation that smoking vapor in multi-tenant buildings be banned.  It’s important that the city do something soon.

Anderson:  It is always important when we have an opportunity to close a loophole in the law. Especially when it is a health risk.  We need to carve out an exception for medical cannibus use.  There is a difference between the two types of smoke.  I move the Community Health recommendation and move the ordinance in 43 (1)

Arreguin:   My understanding is that it is ok to use medical cannibus in individual dwelling units, dispensaries etc.  You cannot use it in commercial districts and in parks here in Berkeley.  It is important that we allow for the lawful use of medical cannibus that we specifically include language that supports Measure T and the most recent ordinance we have passed. I am not prepared to vote on this tonight as an ordinance.  Staff should come back with revised language.

Wozniak:  I think we need to be consistent as to e-cigarettes and smoking cannibus.  E-cigarettes do have particulants.  There are not combustion products but there are chemical reactions that can occur.

Wengraf:  Why did the City Health manager vote against the Commission proposal?  Seems like the multi-units should not allow smoking or electronic cigarettes.  Medical cannibus should be allowed in these venues and we should allow vaporizers for this delivery too.  If patients need to use medical marijuana then how can they use it in their homes if they live in multi-unit buildings.

Arreguin:  Motion to continue to Sept 9 and have language be consistent with new medical mariguana ordinance.  People can smoke and vaporize medical cannibus in multi-unit buildings but cigarettes and e-cigarettes should be banned in multi-unit buildings.

Vote on Motion

Unanimous approval

Absent:  Bates, Moore

 

Item # 44  NAACP Housing recommendations

Maio:  Move forward on workshop as recommended by staff and HAC, agree with the vacant HAC positions, refer the R-4 parking deletion to Planning Commission,

Housing Commission presentation

Thank you for strengthening the HAC recommendation.  There has been much discussion and a vote on each of these recommendations.  What we meant by “parking is the lowest priority”:  We were asked to prioritize, housing, social service needs for the homeless and parking and parking was lowest on this priority.  We want the project to continue to be feasible so 200% of existing parking could be reduced to 125% so the project can be feasible.  We are also working to get people in housing that they can afford to maintain diversity in Berkeley.

Public Comment:

There are changes being suggested that have not had time to review.

Want Council to support zero parking on Berkeley Way parking lot or go to very minimal as this supports low to very low income residents.

Proposal doesn’t adequately address what HAC wanted related to #2 of the proposal.  What is the “accessory” unit and how does it help affordable housing?

What is the grant for affordable housing and what is the plan?

The workshop need is urgent.  When will it happen?

Only 17% of employees live in Berkeley.  Diversity is lessening in Berkeley.  It is urgent to get affordable housing in Berkeley.

Price is determined by the developer.  Should not be developing the Berkeley Way lot without parking.  It is not just for new residents but it is for the people who use the downtown.  UC is taking over our downtown so residents cannot park there.

Parking is needed in downtown.  We cannot give up the parking at Berkeley Way.

Councilmember Comments

Maio:  It will be important to keep the parking but move the project forward.  We need some substitute language to move this forward.

Wengraf:  I realize that it was a 5 -4 vote for #1.  Also item #2 was a 5-4 vote so some look like they were controversial.

Arreguin:  I support all these recommendations.  Also I want to thank the NAACP on helping with these recommendations.  I move the Vice Mayor’s recommended changes.   Councilmember Anderson will help me develop the workshop.

Maio:  Councilmembers Arreguin and Capitelli will monitor the progress of the Berkeley Way project.

Anderson:  Second

Wengraf:  Did we agree to move forward with an RFP on this project?  When will this come back to council?  In the fall?  Should we wait until September then to vote on this?  What does “monitor” mean?  Who will be following the reports?  Are there any issues with moving forward with this tonight?

Worthington:  Thanks to Maio for putting the amendments forward.  It is an important step in the right direction.  Also diversity on commissions does not reflect the community.  I think a homeless shelter should not subsidize parking for other uses.  The HAC takes a stronger stand than we have compromised with the language tonight.  But this is a significant step forward.  I want to continue to separate out the parking issue.

Capitelli:  What am I going to monitor over the next 2 months?  So will it be consulting with staff during this time and reviewing the RFQ?

Worthington:  I would like to assist with the workshop.

Vote on HAC recommendation with amendments by Maio

Unanimous approval

Absent:  Bates and Moore

 

Item #45 Water Conservation Measures

Arreguin:  Move 45 a

Vote:

Unanimous

Absent:  Bates, Moore

 

Item #47  Variance for Setback for downtown Hotel projects

Arreguin:  This would refer to the Planning Commission an amendment to the variance part of the code that would grant that a variance for setbacks could be deferred to allow for a hotel project.

Wengraf:  Does ZAB currently have the ability to allow a variance to setbacks?  If the initiative passes, what takes precedence?  The referendum or what we pass?  Will this do anything if the referendum passes?

Capitelli:  I want to confirm that if we went ahead with the recommendation and nothing else happened to the zoning ordinance, this would require a variance and not a use permit.  It seems premature to amend the zoning ordinance if the initiative passes.  To resolve this then it would take a court of law.

Arreguin:  There are not the votes to pass this.  This is a policy that needs to be discussed.  This doesn’t make any sense.  I don’t understand the logic that if the initiative passes it would negate this change to the code.  I don’t understand why it is in conflict.  It is a modification and not an interpretation.

Maio:  We cannot have this conversation here.

Public Comment:

We need to look at the total package that is being proposed and not just look at one component of the project.

Hotel is on hold due to the initiative that is on the ballot.  The zoning change is not needed.  ZAB can deal with it under current law.

Capitelli:  Hold over until the first meeting in September

Arreguin:  I agree to hold over.

 

Item #16 – Community Choice Aggregation Education

Wozniak:  Board of Supervisors is looking at community choice aggregation without accounting tricks.  I don’t know why we are spending $10K for education while we don’t know where we are going.  This is premature.

Worthington:  This is a prudent use of funds on one of the biggest items in our climate action plan.  It might have the highest impact.

Arreguin:  I thought this was part of a budget allocation already approved.

Worthington:  Is it appropriate to switch how we spend funds?  Is it legal?

Wengraf:  I am going to stick with my “fix it first” position.  And I want the funds go to the Ecology Center on our zero waste goals.  This is a substitute motion.

Anderson:  Other cities and the county are moving ahead and we are languishing on taking care of the environment.  We all agreed that this was one way to do it and now we are undergoing “approach avoidance”.  This is a reasonable investment.  I am going to support the item.

Capitelli:  I agree with Councilmember Anderson.  I would like to hold this over so I understand exactly how this money is being spent.  We are not meeting our zero waste goals and we need education around this.  I move we hold it over until September.

Vote on substitute motion to hold over:

Abstain:  Anderson

No:  Arreguin, Worthington, Maio

Vote on main motion to adopt the item as written

Yes:  Anderson, Arreguin, Worthington

Abstain, Wengraf, Capitelli,

No:  Wozniak

Item failed.  Will need to be brought back by writer.

Item #51  Produce Telegraph Channing Mall Rent Report

Worthington:  The historical information was provided but there are people here who want to give additional information.

Public Comment

My rent has increased 60% since 2002 our rent should be reduced by 25 – 40% due to vacancies in the building.

Basic issue of fairness on how the City treats its tenants.

This has been going on for the last year – we need to come together to figure something out for these loyal tenants.  Need comprehensive proposal.

Councilmember Comments

Maio:  What we have before us is a referral to the City Manager for a report and a comprehensive proposal for rent reduction

Anderson:  I am not a big fan of the City being in the real estate business.  But if we are we must take into consideration that we are dealing with small business owners and they want fairness.  The City has been put in a bad light as a landlord.  We are not setting a good example.  There is no equity or fair evaluation going on.  There is no published criteria or standards.  There is no predicability for the owners of these businesses.  I am for a more comprehensive approach.

Worthington:  The comments from the store and their supporters are addressed in the item.  There are options for equitability.  What motivated me to put this forward was a fear from the businesses that they would never get a fair disposition of the issues.  People are being met with one-on-one and there is not a comprehensive conversation.  I am not advocating for setting a specific rent I am advocating for a comprehensive proposal.

 

Item #32  Protect Antique Fairs and Flea Markets

Public Comment:

Opposing ACR 101.  We are not pawn brokers – we are should not be aligned with pawn brokers and included in their data base.

Councilmember Comments

Anderson:  Move the item

Arreguin:  Second

Capitelli:  Is this a time critical issue?  Is the legislation still in session?  My only concern is that I would like some discussion and review from the Police Department and the PRC.

Vote

Yes:  Anderson, Arreguin, Wengraf, Worthington, Maio, Capitelli

Abstain:  Wozniak

Absent:  Bates, Moore