This edition of my Emeryville community blog is designed to provide some high-level updates around issues important to the Emeryville community. As always, please feel free to contact me on this blog's contact page if you have a topic you would like to see appear as a feature story in a future post.
Over this past year I've had the privilege of meeting with residents (including many of you) to learn about the issues of greatest interest or concern to you and our community. To date, this has included over fifty 1-on-1 meetings with residents and local business owners, as well as more than twenty meetings with resident groups. Just this past week I held my regular meeting at Watergate with over 30 residents to discuss traffic, parking, sewer lateral replacements, homelessness, cannabis, air pollution, ferry service, the city budget and more. These meetings serve as an opportunity for residents to get information on upcoming events in Emeryville, provide input on the policies the city is considering, and learn more about the status of pending projects.
I also had the pleasure of meeting with a group of young parents with children living on the peninsula recently. We discussed the opportunity for adding children's play equipment on or near the marina park and ways to enhance transit options for parents with small children who wish to better access our city. It was great to hear from young parents about what they love about our community and what we could do to make it even better for everyone.
If you and a group of your neighbors would like to schedule a time to discuss issues that are important to you and learn more about your city, please do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected].
Some of you have contacted me about the notice in the city bulletin regarding parking meters. The city is going to undertake a deliberate process for examining parking regulation over the next 6-12 months. The goal is to provide a balance of resident-only parking, small business parking and metered parking to create some parking equity within our community. The city council directed staff to conduct listening sessions to gather input from residents and businesses about parking needs across our community. We secured a $930,000 grant from the Alameda County Transportation Commission earlier this year to implement a parking program that will ease the burden the residents while also discouraging drivers from outside our city who are not working or shopping here from parking their cars on city streets all day to take buses or other rides to Oakland or San Francisco (ask any Park Ave. District or Christie Ave. Corridor resident what this is if you're not familiar!).
The first community input sessions will be held on November 16th (see invite below). YOU CAN LEARN ALL ABOUT THE PLAN AND FOLLOW OUR PROGRESS HERE.
EMERYVILLE CENTER FOR THE ARTS
At the end of the October 17th council meeting, with unanimous support of council, I requested a future agenda item to review the status of the already-approved site design for the Emeryville Center for the Arts. We have asked staff to bring back information that includes the potential for project phasing, modifications to the project design, and opportunities for public-private partnership, among other things. Staff will be bringing this study session forward in January 2018. I encourage all community members, especially supporters of the arts, to turn out and share your feedback with us. I will post additional information about this item when it becomes available.
Congratulations to all the amazing folks at the Emeryville Celebration of the Arts for pulling off another fantastic show. Thank you to everyone who volunteered to work the bar with me again this year. Special thanks to Ruby's Cafe, the Townhouse Bar & Grill and The Broken Rack for their steadfast support of our artists and the event!
The 31st Emeryville Celebration of the Arts bar staff
The council conducted a full study session for updating the city's smoking ordinance on October 3rd. Thank you to the members of the public who turned out for that important discussion. Council expressed a desire to regulate cannabis smoke in the same manner as tobacco smoke. Additionally, council stated its support for expanding the spaces within multi-family developments where smoking is prohibited to include areas not currently covered by our ordinance, such as balconies. Finally, the Alameda County Health Department, who was on hand to answer questions for council and the public, offered to assist with enforcement of the ordinance. Staff will be working on revisions and we hope to have a revised smoking control ordinance to review and adopt in the next few months.
Consultants and staff have collected sound data from multiple locations around the city and are compiling it into a comprehensive report that can be used to help the city review and discuss potential revisions to the city's noise ordinance. While we had hoped to have this ready for December, the council study session to review this data is likely to occur in January 2018.
HOMELESSNESS & HOUSING
On October 17th, the city council did a comprehensive review of homelessness services provided here in the city. You can watch the council meeting and see the presentation and discussion of homelessness services beginning at (26:30) and continuing in totality until (1:43:57) on the video. The staff presentation and discussion included the following items:
- The provision of outreach services to people experiencing homelessness by Berkeley Food & Housing Project, our contracted nonprofit partner.
- Explanation of the process undertaken by both city staff and contract service providers for engaging and working with someone who is homeless here in Emeryville.
- Discussion of the Alameda County Coordinated Entry System.
- Review of Emeryville's contribution to the regional solutions to homelessness.
- Discussion of the request from Bridge Housing to provide more than $1 million in financial support to the Berkeley Way Project, a combined shelter, transitional housing and permanent supportive housing project under development review in Berkeley. (The council has referred this item to the Budget Committee for further review)
After taking community input and having discussion, the council approved three resolutions authorizing financial grants that fund outreach services, assist in the launch of the north county's coordinated entry system and provide five winter shelter beds for people from Emeryville who are experiencing homelessness at shelters in Berkeley and Oakland. I want to thank all of my council colleagues for their steadfast support of investments that help us end homelessness - their support for these important initiatives is outstanding.
The city celebrated the groundbreaking of Estrella Vista, an all-affordable housing project located at 3706 San Pablo that will provide 86 new units of affordable housing for low income families. The city is working to bring an all-affordable senior housing project to the former Rec site located at San Pablo and 43rd Streets next.
October 11, 2017 Estrella Vista Groundbreaking Event (credit: EAH)
Speaking with Mary Murtaugh, Exec. Director of EAH, Developer of Estrella Vista (credit: EAH)
The city has undertaken a deliberate process to put a full ordinance and regulations in place that will allow for the operation of a cannabis dispensary within the city of Emeryville. Staff have received a number of applications for a dispensary permit and has reviewed and scored them based on criteria council established back in September. On November 21, 2017, the staff will present their scoring to the council at a meeting set to take place at 5:30pm. The council will hear from staff, applicants and the community and may award a cannabis dispensary permit at that meeting. Proposition 64 takes effect January 1, 2018.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful week.