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Landmarks, Creeks on Council Agenda By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday February 14, 2006

Three important meetings are slated for this week on documents that will play a central role in shaping the city’s future: the Landmarks Preservation Ordinance, the new Downtown Plan and the Creeks Ordinance. 


Landmarks hearing 

The City Council will hold a public hearing on the controversial Landmarks Preservation Ordinance during a special meeting tonight (Tuesday) at 7 p.m. 

The council conducted a workshop on the ordinance last week, featuring presentations from the Landmarks Preservation and Planning commissions, which have offered rival drafts of a new ordinance that has been requested by Mayor Tom Bates and the council.  

The ordinance is the only thing on the agenda for the meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. in the second floor City Council Chambers at the Maudelle Shirek Building (Old City Hall), 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. 

The council is expected to hear more from the Planning Commission about its version of the ordinance, which differs from the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s version by reducing protections for the structure of merit, one of two categories of landmarks recognized in the current ordinance. 


Downtown plan 

The Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee (DAPAC)—charged with drawing up a new plan for Berkeley’s city center as a result of the settlement of a city lawsuit against UC Berkeley’s expansion plans—meets Wednesday night to talk process and goals. 

The issue of landmarks also figures on their agenda in the form of appointments to a subcommittee that will be comprised of DAPAC members and others appointed from the Landmarks Preservation Commission. 

Called the Subcommittee for Process on Historic Assessments, the resulting panel will recommend guidelines for including historical resources in the downtown area that should be included in the planning process. 

Also on the agenda is a segment on developing the committee’s work plan, another on downtown demographics and economics, and a third during which individual members can outline their “three overarching goals for the Downtown Area.” 

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Sitka Spruce Room on the second floor of the city’s Permit Service Center at 2118 Milvia St. 


Creek hearing 

At the same time as DAPAC is meeting, members of the divided Creeks Task Force will conduct a public hearing on their conflicting proposals to craft a new law governing property located on or adjacent to the city’s open and buried waterways. 

Unless the panel submits a new ordinance to the Planning Commission in time for it to act and refer the draft to the City Council by May 1, the existing ordinance governing construction on or near the city’s miles of buried (culverted) creeks will expire. 

The task force, which consists of homeowners and creeks activists, has deadlocked on many key issues, panel chair Helen Burke reported to the Planning Commission last week. 

Wednesday’s meeting will allow members of the public to offer comments. 

The session begins at 7 p.m. in the North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Ave.™