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Fire station, organic food on council agenda

By John Geluardi Daily Planet Staff
Tuesday February 13, 2001

At tonight’s meeting the City Council will likely authorize the city manager to enter a contract for an $135,000 Environmental Impact Report for the long-awaited new fire station in the Berkeley Hills.  

In November 1992 voters approved Measure G, a general obligation bond that provided $55 million over 20 years to seismically upgrade all of the city’s fire stations and build a new, jointly funded and operated, fire station in the Berkeley Hills with Oakland. 

Oakland later bailed out of the plan and Berkeley is now on track to build and run its own new fire station near Shasta and Park Gate roads about seven blocks from Station No. 7, in the north hills area. 

In December the city hired an architect to seek community input and begin schematic drawings. Now the city has chosen Oakland consultants Lamphier Associates to carry out the EIR. Lamphier was the only consulting firm to make a bid on the project. 

Organic food program may expand 

Mayor Shirley Dean has recommended the City Council adopt a program similar to the Food and Nutrition Policy for the Berkeley Unified School District for all city programs involving the regular preparation of food. 

Currently the school district has a policy that emphasizes organic food preparation for all meals and snacks. Dean would like to see that program extended to include youth centers, summer camps and senior centers. 

The goals of the school district program include assurance there are hungry students, to promote better eating habits and to ensure served foods be as organic as possible. 

Dean is asking the city manager to determine costs and report back to the City Council. 

Five-year lease for library’s friends 

The city manager has recommended the City Council extend the Friends of the Berkeley Public Library’s lease on a 1,000 square-foot retail space in the Sather Gate Mall. 

In 1998 the city leased the space to Friends of the Library, which sells city memorabilia and used books in the space, for one year with a option for another year for the nominal rent of $1 per month.  

Since that time, the non-profit has raised $113,000 for the Berkeley Public Library. The new lease will be for five years at the same monthly rate. 

Affordable housing proposed for parking lot 

Vice Mayor Maudelle Shirek has recommended the City Council adopt a policy that the Ashby BART Station parking lot be developed with affordable housing and made available for public sector workers. 

According to the recommendation the relocation of the parking lot and Berkeley Fleamarket, which has occurred on the parking lot every Saturday for many years, should be considered if necessary. 

The recommendation says that public workers are unable to purchase homes in the current real estate market and providing housing for them in Berkeley would ease parking and traffic problems because they would be more likely to walk or take public transportation to work. 

The City Council Meeting will be held at 2180 Milvia St. in the City Council Chambers at 7 p.m. The meeting will also be broadcast live on KPFB Radio, 89.3 and Cable B-TV (Channel 25).