The City Council will consider a number of issues during the regular meeting tonight including a study of reduced access to recreation for the city’s youth, approval of $2.3 million for the construction of five affordable housing projects and a schedule for adopting the remaining elements of the Draft General Plan.
Vice Mayor Maudelle Shirek and Councilmember Miriam Hawley are requesting the city manager to determine if middle and high school students have an acceptable amount of access to informal recreation at the city’s parks, school yards and sports fields.
According to the recommendation, parents have been complaining of a decline in recreation opportunities for a variety of reasons – including budget constraints, reduced open space and lack of access to public school sites many of which have prohibited skateboards, bicycles and scooters.
The assessment will include a survey of the Youth Commission, the Parks and Recreation Commission, Berkeley Unified School District and other appropriate groups.
“Access to informal recreation space is particularly important for middle school and high school students because many teenagers are reluctant or unable to joint organized activities,” the recommendation reads. “Both parents and their teenage children benefit if the young people have opportunities near their homes for informal an healthful outdoor activities.”
The council is expected to approve $2.3 million from the Housing Trust Fund for five affordable housing projects. The projects, once completed, will add 27 units of permanently affordable housing for seniors, developmentally disabled children and low-income residents.
Applications for the projects were approved by the Housing Advisory Commission after review by housing staff, the Planning Commission and the Commission on Disabilities, among others.
The Housing Trust Fund, which is distributed once a year, consists of many funding sources, the largest of which is HUD.
The projects include the Adeline Street Apartments at 3222-24 Adeline St. The 19-unit project, which will be developed by Resources for Community Development, received loan approval for $310,000.
Affordable Housing Associates received approval for a loan of $874,000 to develop 38 units called the Outback Senior Homes at 2517 Sacramento St.
Jubilee Restoration will receive $873,000 for developing Jubilee Senior Homes, a 27-unit project at 2577 San Pablo Ave. The transitional housing program McKinley House was approved for $190,000 and a disabled children’s housing project will receive $66,000.
Draft General Plan schedule
The council will likely endorse a schedule to approve the remaining elements of the Draft General Plan. On Dec. 18, the council approved the Land Use, Housing and Transportation elements. The remaining elements are Disaster Preparedness, Open Space and Recreation, Environmental Management, Economic Development, Urban Design and Preservation and Citizen Participation.
The proposed schedule will have the councilmembers submit their proposed amendments on Feb. 1. They will be distributed to the public prior to the Feb. 19 council meeting and then discussion and consideration of the amendments on March 12 and final approval on March 19.
The council is expected to endorse an Alameda and Contra Costa counties ballot measure which will impose a parcel tax of $1 per month on single family homes to raise $8.4 million annually for maintenance of the East Bay Regional Parks.
The EBRP maintains 59 regional parks and more than 1,000 miles of trails on 93,000 acres in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Along with East Bay population growth, park usage has greatly increased. The additional parcel tax will fund environmental maintenance, public safety and public access.
• The council will consider a resolution to ensure the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory clean up sites contaminated by tritium, a radioactive isotope, used by the recently closed National Tritium Labeling Facility in medical research.
• The council will consider a recommendation from the Waterfront Commission to oppose any expansion of the San Francisco Airport that would include filling in the Bay. According to the commission’s recommendation “nearly one-third of the Bay has been filled in and consequently (the Bay Area) has lost an economic, environmental and recreational resource.”
The City Council meeting will be held tonight at 2134 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. The meeting will also be broadcast live on the KPFA Radio, 89.3 and Cable B-TV, Channel 78.