Letter to the Mayor, Council and Commissions from
Norman La Force, February 25 2003
Subject: Re: Marina Plan
Dear Mayor Bates and Councilmembers/Commissioners:
I am in receipt of Paul Kamen's comments. He plays fast and loose with the facts. I will note the following:
Kamen writes: 1) The North Waterfront (Cesar Chavez Park) Plan from '79 that makes no mention of boating facilities one way or the other,
Response: The Cesar Chavez Park Plan from 1979 went through extensive public comment and no one advocated for water access poins on the eastern side of the park for access to the North Basin Cove. When people plan, they plan for what they want. One does not list all of the activities, uses, or facilities that would not be included. Using Kamen's logic, the fact that the plan for Cesar Chavez Park does not specifically prohibit horse racing does not mean that the plan allows for a race track!
Kamen writes: 2) the '86 Waterfront Specific Plan (still in effect) which specifically calls for facilities for sailing, rowing, paddling and small craft rentals at the site in question,
Response: The 1986 Waterfront Specific Plan did not specifically identify a site for the facilities referenced. Moreover, it discussed those uses in the context of ensuring that adequate environmental protections were in place. It would have to do so in any case in order to comply with CEQA. Obviously, under CEQA if it was found that such activities caused a significant adverse environmental impact, the City would have a hard time allowing them. Finally, and perhaps most important, no such facilities were proposed on the North Basin Strip because this was where Santa Fe was going to get its development rights. This is important to keep in mind because this means that people contemplated ONLY one access point for the Cove.
Kamen writes: 3) the '98 -'99 public hearings for the Marina Plan which call for facilities for non-motorized boating at the site in question.
Response: The Sierra Club, CESP, and Audubon also commented in those hearings, expressing the same concerns we expressed now, but they were ignored. Moreover, in putting the marina plan together, the staff chucked, the goal of "Maintain, and where possible, expand open space, park land, and wildlife habitat conservation areas" (May 19,1999 City Staff Report on Marina Plan)
Moreover, again it must be noted that no one discussed at this time siting such facilities along the North Basin Strip.
Kamen writes: 4) the recently adopted '02 Eastshore State Park General Plan which calls for non-motorized boating on the body of water in question,
Response: Wrong. The State Park Plan states that a facility for boat access on the North Basin Strip will be considered, but will ONLY be constructed AFTER the appropriate environmental studies are undertaken and appropriate restrictions based on those studies are implemented. NOTE: the State Park Plan originally had a second dock located on the Meadow. This was removed. The clear intent was to allow for one possible access point, but not two points. It is also around this time that the dock gets put into the Cesar Chavez Plan as a specific dock facility.
Kamen writes: 5) the '02 BCDC policy which calls for prioritizing new facilities for non-motorized boating where feasible.
Response: Only partial right. This is a very misleading statement by Mr. Kamen BCDC also has policies calling for wildlife and habitat protection and has a clear policy of protecting water and shoreline areas that are considered habitat. These policies actually grew out of the battle with BCDC over the Emeryville Crescent and other sites in the late 1970's. At that time, BCDC advocated access Ueber alles and wanted to run board walks through the Crescent and allow access into critical habitat areas. It had to retreat from that position in the face of environmental opposition. Out of that mess came new policies seeking to strike a balance. BCDC is currently in year two of a long term study on the issue of public access vs. wildlife protection.
Kamen writes: 6), the Sierra Club wants to remove any possibility of facilities for kayaks, canoes and small sailboats at this site, serving this body of water, from the Marina Plan. They want to do this before we have a shred of scientific analysis suggesting that these activities at this location would be disruptive to habitat in any significant
Response: To paraphrase a former President, "Mr. Kamen there you go again." The Sierra Club does not want to remove any possibility of such facilities along Cesar Chavez Park. We have scientific analysis already about the impacts of boats, nd have agreed to allow the State to do more analysis.
Most important, however, is this: Right now Cesar Chavez Park access is by a pedestrian perimeter trail with no buildings on the eastern side of the park. Any proposed water access point for boats raises the following questions: (1) How do people get out there? By Car? If by Car, does the City propose to destroy the pedestrian perimeter trail at that location for a roadway of two lanes minium with a turnaround? If note, then do people simply walk out on the perimeter trail or is it to be widened?
What kind of buildings are proposed? How high, How large? How many? What kind of security will be in place to keep homeless from using the buildings at night? How safe will the trail be in the evening with those buildings?
As one can see there are a lot of questions that must be answered before someone just plunks down a dock on a map and notes boating facilities will be built. None of these issues were even noted, let alone discussed, at any time in any planning process. This is what I referred to as the a--backwards aspect of what the staff did here.
Norman La Force