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Council Preview: The Downtown Plan (Again, and Again, and Again)

Monday June 28, 2010 - 05:06:00 PM

The Berkeley City Council will be presented with three competing versions of what might be a new Downtown Plan Tuesday night, if all goes according to the published agenda: Here’s what they’ll be trying to do. 

14. New 2010 Downtown Area Plan
From: Mayor Bates and Councilmembers Moore, Capitelli and Maio (PDF)
1) Discuss the placement on the 2010 Ballot of a measure for voter approval adopting a Green Vision for the downtown, designating the Downtown Plan Area, adopting certain policies for the downtown, and stating the voters’ intention that the Council adopt a Downtown Area Plan that implements that green vision and voter-adopted policies and,
2) Direct the City Manager to return with necessary CEQA Resolutions for final action on July 6, 2010.
Financial Implications: Unknown
Contact: Tom Bates, Mayor, 981-7100 

b.From: Planning Commission (PDF)
Recommendation: Provide direction to staff as to any modifications to the draft of the New 2010 Downtown Area Plan, by working from Planning Commission’s draft DAP recommendations and noting changes desired by the Council. At Council’s request, Planning Commission’s draft DAP focuses only on goals, policies, and key development standards/actions, to provide a more accessible ballot-friendly Plan. In providing direction to staff, the Council should note staff’s preliminary analysis as to the adequacy of the 2009 DAP EIR, specifically that additional CEQA-related analysis and findings will be needed if the DAP is placed on the ballot. Staff will return in July for further Council discussion and possible action.
Financial Implications: See report
Contact: Dan Marks, Planning and Development, 981-7400 

c.From: Councilmember Arreguin (PDF)
Recommendation: Place the community-developed Downtown Area Plan on the November 2010 ballot for voter approval.
Financial Implications: Unknown
Contact: Jesse Arreguin, Councilmember, District 4, 981-7140 

At a glance, 14a might well not qualify legally as a real plan. It seems more like a statement of purpose, leaving out only motherhood and apple pie as goals. If you want lots of details, 14b is the version that the planning commission and the planning staff claimed they were writing at council direction--but now that they've done it, the council seems to be changing its mind. 

And the one which represents the two years or more that a citizens' commission, DAPAC, put into drafting, as updated by members of the DAPAC majority, is up for discussion as 14c. 

How the decision will be made is anybody's guess.The council recess starts mid-July, so councilmembers need to make up their minds by then.