Letter to the Mayor and Council from Norman La Force, February 3 2003

From: Norman La Force [mailto:n.laforce@attbi.com]
Sent: Monday, February 03, 2003 11:00 PM
To: Spring, Dona; Wozniak, Gordon; Worthington, Kriss; Maio, Linda; Hawley, Miriam; Shirek, Maudelle; Olds, Betty; Breland, Margaret; Bates, Tom; Jerome Wiggens; Zelda Bronstein; David Stoloff; David Tabb; Gene Poschman; Harry Pollack; John Curl; Rob Wrenn; Susan Wengraf; Marchetti, Clifford
Cc: cheastylaw@netscape.net; Arthur Feinstein; Sarah Ginskey; Russ Wilson; Corinne Greenberg; Kristin Ohlson; Peter Rauch; Kitty McLean; Ed Bennett; Teddi Baggins; Traci McCollister
Subject: Planning Issues Related to the Marina Plan

Dear Mayor Bates and members of the Berkeley City Council:

On January 22nd the Planning Commission met with members of the Waterfront Commission and staff to discuss the proposed Marina Plan. At that meeting the Planning Commission proposed some excellent recommendations for fixing the Marina Plan, and we await the publications of those revisions.

At that meeting the issue of a proposed dock and boating facilities on Cesar Chavez Park was again discussed. In that discussion, this issue was whether this dock in Cesar Chavez Park was consistent with the Cesar Chavez Master Plan and the Berkeley Waterfront Plan.

The Sierra Club remains very concerned about this issue not only because of the impacts of docks and watercraft activities in the North Basin Cove, but also because of the radical change this proposal would make in Cesar Chavez Master Plan. The Club requests that this dock be taken out of any revisions to the Marina Master Plan at this time.

The Dock Is Not Included in the Master Plan for Cesar Chavez Park

First, the master plan for Cesar Chavez Park does NOT include the proposed dock and facilities along the eastern edge of Cesar Chavez Park. Hence, this proposal is not consistent with that master plan.

Second, the proposed dock and associated facilities such as boat houses and launch sites, etc. would require a radical change in how Cesar Chavez Park is used. The proposal would place a major group of facilities on a shoreline that now has a pedestrian/bike trail. This perimeter trail allows a person to walk or bike around Cesar Chavez Park. It would have to be moved or interruptedt to allow for the construction of the facilities.

Moreover, the trail would have to be converted to a roadway to allow auto access to the dock facilities in order to make uses and access reasonable. Parking for cars would also have to be provided. None of that is addressed in the Marina Pan.

Third, as stated on several occassions in the past, the dock would create impacts on the North Basin Cove which need to be evaluated.

The Dock is Not Consistent with the Initial documents produced by the consultants for the City on the Marina Plan.

I will be sending by paper mail a copy of this letter with the map that Wolfe Mason Associates prepared regarding, "Open Space and Water Access" in the planning for the Marina. This shows NO dock and facilities in Cesar Chavez Park and identifies the North Basin Cove as, "winter bird habitat." Hence, the orignal planning for the Marina clearly noted that the Cesar Chavez Master Plan did not include such a dock and that the North Basin Cove was a winter bird habitat.

The final draft plan includes the dock and makes no reference to the North Basin Cove as waterfowl habitat. Nor does it even attempt to study the impacts of any proposed water access point on the "winter bird habitat." This is difficult to understand given that the City's consultants clearly and properly identified the North Basin Cove as winter bird habitat. Somewhere in the process this disappeared.

The 1986 Berkelery Waterfront Plan Only Discussed One Dock on the North Basin Strip Which Is Now In and Propopsed for the Eastshore State Park

A review of the summary of the 1986 Waterfront Plan policies that the City put together in August 2002 for the Park and Recreation Commissions shows only one dock and launch site on the North Basin Strip. This dock is included in the Eastshore State Park general plan. Neither Berkeley's plan documens nor the Eastshore Park plan documents show a second dock from Cesar Chavez Park. Hence, only one dock is contemplated for North Basin Cove access.

The Dock and Facilities Should Be Removed From the Marina Plan as Inconsistent with the Cesar Chavez Master Plan and Because the Impacts of the Dock and Facilities Have Not Been Analyzed At All

The Marina Plan should not show a second city dock and related facilities jutting out into the North Basin Cove because it is not part of the Cesar Chavez Park Master Plan, has not been analyzed for its environmental impacts on the winter bird habitat of the North Basin Cove, and, as a second dock, is inconsistent with the one dock in the 1986 Waterfront Plan for the North Basin Strip.

Sincerely yours,

Norman La Force, Chair,
Sierra Club East Bay Public Lands Committee