Planning Commission, public get first glimpse of draft Southside plan

By Hank Sims Daily Planet staff
Thursday December 13, 2001

Wednesday’s Planning Commission meeting had to be canceled because of an administrative error by city staff. 

Planning and Development Director Carol Barrett said that a member of the department forgot to post a notice of the meeting at the information kiosk outside Old City Hall. 

In addition, the meeting agenda was not given to the City Clerk’s Office, and was therefore not posted on the city’s Web site. 

The error was noticed by Berkeley citizen Howie Muir, who wrote an e-mail to Barrett asking for information about the meeting, noting that the agenda had not been posted on the Web site. Muir sent copies of his letter to Mayor Shirley Dean and City Manager Weldon Rucker. 

Muir later said he was merely seeking information about an item on the agenda, and did not intend to “torpedo” the meeting. 

“I certainly did not seek for the meeting to be canceled, but my question may have unintentionally led to the discovery of the problem,” he said. 

The Brown Act, which regulates public accessibility to city government, mandates that the agendas of all meetings be posted in a public place 72 hours beforehand. 

“I’m truly sorry for this inconvenience to people, but I couldn’t know that a person didn’t do (their) job,” said Barrett. 

Advance Planning Manager Karen Haney-Owens, the normal liaison between the Planning Commission and the planning staff, recently took an indefinite leave of absence from the department. 

In addition to debuting the latest Southside Plan draft, the Planning Commission had been scheduled to discuss city regulations for awarding developers concessions for providing affordable housing and applications for the city’s Housing Trust Fund.