The City Council meets Tuesday Sept. 27. Items on the agenda include:
• A proposal from city staff for the council to appoint a Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee to guide city staff in establishing new land use rules for downtown Berkeley in partnership with UC Berkeley.
In his report to the council, Planning Director Dan Marks presents several public participation programs for council consideration, but advises against having the Planning Commission lead the discussion and against holding public workshops on the plan.
Many city commissioners have objected to Marks’s proposal to limit participation. Last week members of the Planning Commission and a unanimous Landmarks Preservation Commission demanded that their members and the public be allotted a greater role in the downtown plan formation. The Transportation Commission asked the council to allow it to appoint one of its members to any advisory committee.
Marks says in his report to the council that the Planning Commission “already has a full plate of other issues.” He recommends against public workshops saying that the format wouldn’t allow for in-depth discussion or consensus building, and says that the committee should be held under 20 people to keep it manageable. Marks also calls for the university to be allowed to send representatives to the committee, and asks that the council allow staff to establish a technical advisory committee composed of public agencies with a stake in downtown, such as BART and AC Transit and perhaps professional planners, architects, and designers.
• A request from Councilmember Kriss Worthington that Berkeley review its laws regulating newsracks. Several local publications, Worthington wrote in his report to the council, have had their newsracks removed from city streets without notice.
• A recommendation from the Homeless Commission that the council establish sites where homeless residents can park their cars. The commission also asked the council to waive time limits for homeless people to work off vehicle fines and keep fines from compounding so the homeless would be at less risk for having their cars impounded for unpaid fines.
• A proposal to make nonprofit tenants of the Veterans Building pay for a portion of building maintenance costs.
• A request from Councilmembers Linda Maio and Darryl Moore that the city ensure that a fuel pipeline running along the Union Pacific Railroad in West Berkeley is structurally sound enough to withstand an earthquake.
• An appeal of a use permit granted by the zoning board to demolish a live/work unit and add a fourth floor with two apartment units at 2750 Adeline St.