Public Meeting Called on Plan for High-Rises Around Lake Merritt

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Tuesday January 30, 2007

With proposed high-rise building around the outskirts of Oakland’s Lake Merritt a growing concern among residents, two Oakland City Councilmembers are holding a public meeting this week to discuss the matter. 

District 3 Councilmember Nancy Nadel and District 2 Councilmember Pat Kernighan, both of whom represent districts which border on parts of the lake, are co-sponsoring the Lake Merritt high-rise development meeting on Wednesday, 6-9 p.m., in the Vista Room of the Lake Merritt Garden Center, 666 Bellevue St. in Oakland. The Garden Center is located near the Fairyland children’s park. 

Among other things, the purpose of the meeting is to identify areas around the lake where high rise buildings are and are not appropriate and to discuss possible impacts of high-rise development on existing lake-area neighborhoods. 

“How do you envision the long-term skyline around our jewel of Lake Merritt?” Nadel asked in a statement released in the Grand Lake Guardian online newspaper. “A solid ring of 30-plus story towers? An undulating line of old and new architecture? Gradations of building heights stepping back from the lake? As a pedestrian walking the lake, will your walk be mostly in shadow? Will you be blown about by gusts of wind coming from between the towers like walking some streets in San Francisco, New York, and Chicago? Currently, zoning for this area could allow a solid ring of high-rises around the lake. We want you to help us craft the crown of our jewel with more thoughtful artistry.”