Emeryville Measure O, Transportation, Housing & Environmental Updates

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Hi E’villains!

I hope you have had a wonderful summer and are ready for an exciting fall season full of fun! This post is full of exciting updates and information on the progress of important city projects, updates on recent and upcoming events, and details on a very important city ballot measure on the November 8th ballot.

EMERYVILLE MEASURE O

There is a local ballot measure for Emeryville voters to consider this year. Emeryville Measure O modifies the city’s existing Real Property Transfer Tax (“RPTT”). Emeryville voters overwhelmingly approved the RPTT in 2014 and the City Council has placed this on the ballot to allow residents to make the rates more equitable, requiring large, commercial property owners to pay their fair share for city services like fire, police, environmental/trash services, public works, and transportation safety.

The RPTT is a one-time tax paid only when a property is sold. This is not an annual tax or property tax.

Under Measure O, there will be NO CHANGE to the tax rate for properties that sell for less than $1 million. This excludes almost every single residential property in Emeryville.

There will be a small increase in the rate for properties that sell for between $1 million and $2 million. Properties that sell for more than $2 million will see a larger rate increase.

Read the Measure O Fact Sheet here.

Read the FAQ about Measure O here.

This brochure was mailed to registered Emeryville voters for your information before you vote.

This tiered system is more equitable as it allows the city to collect more revenues when large office buildings or shopping centers change ownership, providing funding for key city services residents currently enjoy without increasing the resident obligation to fund those services.

The city polled the public about several potential measures to help shore up the city’s finances in the aftermath of COVID, and residents strongly favored this approach as the best way to help us continue providing excellent city services with little to no impact on residents. The measure was discussed at each of the city’s residents advisory committees, and the city council held several study sessions as well. I held a citywide virtual town hall in spring to hear from residents and answer their questions as well. The council considered all this resident and business input before approving Measure O for the November election.

VOTE YES ON MEASURE O!

RAILROAD SAFETY PROJECT/FEDERAL QUIET ZONE

The long-awaited project to improve the safety of the city’s at-grade street crossings of the Union Pacific Railroad on the north side of the city broke ground in June. You can now track the timelines, design elements and other info on the Quiet Zone establishment here. The construction will include new traffic signals on Hollis and Shellmound, double-armed gates, safety fences and bike/ped improvements. Once completed next year, the city will submit a request to the federal government to create the Quiet Zone that allows train conductors to withhold pulling their horn as they come into our Amtrak Station. Special thanks to Senior Civil Engineer Ryan O’Connell for all his work on this project!

Image Above: Mayor Bauters and staff from the Alameda County Transportation Commission break ground on the Emeryville Quiet Zone Project at 65th Street. The project is almost completely funded by a grant from the California Transportation Commission.

POINT EMERY RESTORATION PROJECT

In August, the city broke ground on an environmental protection and shoreline restoration project at Point Emery. Natural tidal activity has been eroding the point. In order to preserve a bayfront park space popular with kitesurfers, walkers, cyclists and families, the City Council funded a restoration project to restore shoreline, install “rip-rap” protection along the coast, install a new, groomed path, add ADA-accessible parking, and bench seating for visitors. The project also includes monitoring of an eelgrass bed off the north coast of Point Emery to protect fish and other wildlife during construction. You can read about the restoration project here. The city anticipates the park will reopen before the end of 2022. Special thanks to City Senior Civil Engineer Mike Roberts for his work on this project!

Image Above: Councilmember Dianne Martinez, Mayor Bauters and Vice Mayor Ally Medina on Point Emery at the groundbreaking event in August, with the Emeryville Peninsula in the background.

SEA WALLS EMERYVILLE

Many of you may have noticed one of the most magical things taking shape over the past ten days in Emeryville. PangeaSeed Foundation selected Emeryville as one of its global sites for a weeklong art mural installation project that coincided with International Climate Action Week. Artists from across the Bay Area and around the world installed 15 new public art murals around the city. These pieces depict the life of SF Bay, depicting themes like endangered and local species, oceanic pollution, the Ohlone, and more. The Public Market hosted a panel last Friday evening that more than 100 people attended to hear about how art, science, business and policy-making intersect in protecting our oceans. On Saturday, I had the privilege of leading an urban hike to see most of the murals, meet the artists and learn about their work. You can learn more about PangeaSeed Foundation, Sea Walls Emeryville, the new art, and more here. Special thank you to Emeryville residents and artists Alexandra Underwood and Joey Rose for securing and spearheading this amazing event in our city, and to local businesses Stasher Bag and the Emeryville Public Market for being lead sponsors for the event. Thank you also to all the building owners who graciously participated in this public art project by offering their buildings up for murals.

Images Above: (Top) Emeryville residents and visitors hear from artist Taylor Reinhold (Santa Cruz, CA) about his mural on 66th Street that depicts a River Otter whose tail has the braiding of a traditional Ohlone basket. River otters used to flourish in the Bay Area but only a few remains. The calligraphy around the otter say “We were here before. We will be back.” (Bottom) Artists and art hikers on Horton Street to view three murals at Park and Horton.

THE 36TH ANNUAL EMERYVILLE CELEBRATION OF THE ARTS

While on the topic of art, now is great time to remind everyone that the city’s signature annual event - the Emeryville Celebration of the Arts - will be open throughout the month of October. The venue this year is the old Urban Outfitters location at the Public Market, located at 5905 Shellmound Street. The opening night gala is free and open to the public. The event is 6-9pm on Friday, October 7th.

After missing last year due to my annual hiking expedition, I am back to serve as your head bartender for the 6th time in 7 years. Tell me you read about the Celebration of the Arts in this blog post for an extra-generous wine pour. ;)

You can read more about the Celebration of the Arts here.

HOUSING UPDATES

The Emery

Residents have been moving into the first two buildings at the Emery since early July. The remaining two residential buildings are slated to be completed in spring 2023. The new city park, playground, dog park and community garden, as well as the Emeryville Greenway extension are currently scheduled to be finished by fall 2023.

The “Christie Sites”

Earlier this summer, the City Council approved for release a Request for Proposals (“RFP”) for development on three city-owned properties on Christie Avenue behind the Public Market hall. These sites were purchased with Redevelopment Funds many years ago and under Redevelopment Law, must be used for affordable housing. The city is putting some of the Emeryville voter-approved Measure C funds (2018) toward the development of this project. Proposals were received and they will come before the City Council this fall for selection of a development partner and a concept for the site.

San Pablo Avenue

Two affordable housing projects on San Pablo Avenue are currently in the process of securing funding to move toward construction. 3600 San Pablo (“The Nellie Hannon Gateway”) will involve leveling the building on the eastside of San Pablo between 36th and 37th Streets and replacing it with over 90 units of housing, including some for people experiencing homelessness who need supportive housing services. 4300 San Pablo Ave, the city’s old temporary Rec Center site, will become close to 70 affordable apartments, of which about 80% will be for lower income seniors and 20% will be for young adults who have aged out of foster care services. The city is very excited for both of these projects.

Bayview Apartments

The apartments at 6701 Shellmound Street, near the Ashby interchange, are well into construction and should open next year. This is a market-rate project with some affordable units in the building. The city will open the application list for those affordable units through the Below Market Rate rental program closer to when they go online for lease.

SF BAY SIERRA CLUB VISIONARY AWARD

This past week, I was deeply honored to be the inaugural recipient of the David McCoard Visionary Award from the SF Bay Sierra Club. In my six years since first being elected, I have fought to make Emeryville and the Bay Area more sustainable, resilient, and environmentally just. Be that people-oriented and car-free places for pedestrians and cyclists, reducing our city’s carbon footprint, or recent work I’ve championed at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to pass the most stringent emissions regulations on refineries in the United States, and my current efforts to have the Bay Area pass the first zero NOx emission standard for furnaces and water heaters in the world, I am proud to represent a city whose residents are environmentally conscientious, just, and supportive of protecting the resources we have for our children.

Image Above: Melissa Yu, Mayor Bauters and Igor Tregub of the SF Bay Sierra Club at the David Brower Awards Dinner, September 2022.

MENTAL WELLNESS & NATURE

As many of you may recall, last year I hiked the Superior Hiking Trail from Pigeon River, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin over roughly 3.5 weeks. The 300+ mile hike is something I do annually to promote and support my own mental wellness and restore my energy so I can return to my family, my job, and the Emeryville community as the best person I can be.

This year, I hiked across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on the North Country Trail throughout the month of August while the council was in summer recess. My solo wilderness journey included a lot of amazing sites and adventures. I stumbled upon a large, sleeping porcupine one day, waded through a swamp in the Rock River Canyon Wilderness another day, and had several swims in crystal clear waters on Lake Superior. I ended my trip at the Mackinac Bridge and took a ferry to Mackinac Island for two days of saltwater taffy and cycling on one of America’s few car-free islands. Below are a few photos from the many I took during my hike. My goal in sharing these is to encourage everyone to go outside. Spending time outside in nature - even 20 minutes a day - has been shown to improve health, happiness, and mental acuity. Whether you’re going 300 miles or 3, may the trail you take be one that brings you joy.

Have a wonderful week. Please contact me with any questions at [email protected].

Cheers,

John

Images Above (top to bottom):

  1. Laughing Whitefish Falls State Park, Michigan
  2. Tahquamenon Falls (Upper), Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Michigan
  3. Culhane Lake, Michigan
  4. Naomikong Pond Grasslands, Michigan
  5. Grand Portal Point, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan
  6. Hiawatha National Forest, Michigan