March 8-14 Oakland Political & Community Events

7 Mar

Monday, March 8th – Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board Meeting

This month’s Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board (LPAB) meeting has several items of interest on the agenda. First, there’s the report of the initial staff research into view corridors. Staff analyzed 5 corridors across the lake — 3 views to City Hall and 2 views to the Tribune Tower. Staff will present on their determined maximum heights that could be allowed to preserve the view corridors. Next, there’s an item on proposed heights in historic districts as part of the commercial corridor zoning process. Also, there will be a sub-committee report on the Broadway-Valdez Specific Plan. This is important because there will be a full LPAB review of the plan for April and public input can help guide the process. The meeting takes place at 6pm at Oakland City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Hearing Room One. You can also watch it on KTOP. For more information, see the meeting agenda.

Monday, March 8th – Oakland LGBT Roundtable

Topics will include:
– The Survey Committee will give an update about the status of the needs assessment survey.
– Oakland Pride committee will give an update on the developments of East Bay Pride.
– Presentation about the history Oakland’s 1879 “Immoral Dress Code.” And update on getting this ‘cross dressing’ law ended in 2010.
– Councilmember Kaplan’s intern, Stephanie McLeod, will give a presentation about her trip to Washington DC’s LGBT Community Center.

This meeting takes place from 5:30-7:30 pm in Hearing Room 4, Oakland City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza. Contact Ada Chan in Councilmember Kaplan’s office at 510-238-7083, or Achan1@oaklandnet.com, if you have any questions about the roundtable.

Wednesday, March 10th – Public Meeting to Discuss Options for Setting Bay Area’s Target For Curbing Greenhouse Gases from Cars and Light Trucks

MTC and ABAG will host a public meeting to learn about and comment on options for setting a “target” or goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks for the San Francisco Bay Area. To reduce greenhouse gases, a major goal set by state legislation, regions will be given specific targets by CARB to meet for reducing vehicle-related emissions. Senate Bill 375, signed by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2008, requires that CARB set such a target by September 30, 2010. A draft target is expected by June 30, 2010. The law also, among other things, calls upon regional agencies to develop a Sustainable Communities Strategy, or SCS, in conjunction with the long-range regional transportation plan. That effort is slated to begin this spring, with an SCS and updated transportation plan adopted in 2013. This meeting takes place from 2-4pm at Joseph P. Bort MetroCenter, Lawrence D. Dahms Auditorium, 101 Eighth Street (across from the Lake Merritt BART Station).

Thursday, March 11th – Mix It Up East Bay

Join us for a monthly happy hour bringing together young activists, organizers and leaders in the East Bay. Oakland City Councilmember At-Large Rebecca Kaplan will be the featured speaker, giving a talk entitled, “It’s the Economy, and We’re not Stupid: Creative Approaches to Job Creation.” Free Snacks! Drink specials ’til 7 pm! Speaking program begins at 7 pm. Mix It Up East Bay is held every 2nd Thursday of the month from 6-9pm at Shashamane at 2507 Broadway. It’s accessible by 19th Street BART station or by AC Transit lines 1/1R, 51, 59. For more info and to RSVP, visit the event’s Facebook page.

Friday, March 12th – Estuary Art Attack

First Fridays are not the only day of the month to check out art galleries. Jingle Town and Alameda artists have joined together to start the Estuary Art Attack, a monthly event held on second Fridays to showcase the area’s galleries, restaurants, and bars. The Art Attack will be held from 6-9 pm throughout Jingle Town and Alameda. Check out their website for more details.

Saturday, March 13th – Screening of FRESH:  New thinking about what we’re eating

Come see a screening of FRESH the MOVIE, food-friendly documentary. Sign up for a CSA that delivers fresh food in your neighborhood like Eatwell Farm featured on the History Channel or Shooting Star CSA located only 40 miles from Berkeley. Talk to Farm Fresh to You about having a CSA box delivered to your door, or sign up for a special heirloom tomato CSA with Tomatero Farm of Watsonville. Volunteer for a community garden like Funk Town Farm or meet urban farmers from Phat Beet Produce, a North Oakland non-profit. Enjoy food from Oakland vendors like Taco Grill, proudly serving Neiman Ranch Beef in Fruitvale. Free Valet Bike Parking! Doors open at 6pm for “DIGEST” an Art Show , Food Vendors, CSA Info booths, community garden booths and other Oakland food organizations. The event takes place at Regeneration Church, 238 E 15th St. Oakland. Suggested Donation at the door: $5-$10. Proceeds will subsidize CSA food boxes for low income families.  For more info and to RSVP, visit the Facebook event page.

32 Responses to “March 8-14 Oakland Political & Community Events”

  1. Daniel Schulman March 8, 2010 at 9:09 am #

    Becks, thanks for including the Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board in this week’s round-up of events.

    Highly encourage people interested in one or more of these issues to come to the meeting and speak.

  2. John Klein March 9, 2010 at 6:49 am #

    I thought the comments of commissioner Schulman at the LPAB last night were ill conceived and unnecessarily devisive. He actually claimed that I had misled the City Council last year about the need for a view corridor study. He is wrong.

    First, at III.F-9 of the EIR for the Land Use and Transportation Element of the General Plan, in the section called “Effects of High-rise Buildings on Views and Vistas,” it reads:

    “Mitigation Measure F.2c reads, “Define view corridors and, based upon these views, designate appropriate height limits and other requirements. Views of Lake Merritt, the Estuary, and architecturally or historically significant buildings should be considered.”

    That’s pretty clear language about studying and defining view corridors. I’m not sure what part of this Mr. Schulman doesn’t get or how this “fools” anyone, especially the City Council. Further, our interest and support for implementing this mitigation is not part of any so-called “anti-development” agenda, as Mr. Schulman also claimed.

    Second, Mr. Schulman commented that I somehow mislead the City Council regarding the Cincinnati View Corridor study. Last year, I did in fact provide council members with several view corridors studies including those of Cincinnati, Seattle, Sacramento, and Austin. The point of doing so was to provide council members with exemplars from other cities to show what other cities have done.

    Mr. Schulman complained that I was somehow advocating that Oakland should do exactly what Cincinnati did. This is incorrect, also. The contexts of the two cities are completely different, as he also noted. I provided council members with background information as to the methodologies, types of recommendations that may be crafted, and, from Cincinnati, their collection of studies from other cities found in their reference section. I wanted the council to know view corridors aren’t new – they are just new to Oakland.

    The material provided to the City Council last year for the CBD rezoning did not contain a single photograph or reference to either the Tribune Tower or City Hall. The City Council agreed with us about the need to understand how these two buildings will fare with additional new high-rises in the CBD. This is what the general plan and the EIR both say that city planners are to do.

    We’ve had the policy discussion about whether Oakland will conduct a view corridor study – it will. Now it is hoped that those same planners will “catch the vision” of the study. In the studies done by other cities, there is often a public statement by the a mayor or local body, expressing support and openness toward view corridor studies as a vehicle for increased civic pride and for capitalizing on existing resources. I hope we can get to support for our view corridor study here in Oakland.

  3. Daniel Schulman March 9, 2010 at 3:19 pm #

    John, I don’t want to get into a back-and-forth with you, so I’ll make one detailed response and let you go to town.

    First, your calling out my comments to try and make me look like an extremist is just another example of your selective rhetorical style. While I was on the short end, the final vote to move forward on the view corridors was 4-3.

    Last year we discussed the inaccuracies of your portrayal of how Oakland was somehow behind the times (you said “Oakland isn’t there yet”) compared to other cities. Your proposal for view corridors is like nothing any other city has adopted. See http://www.abetteroakland.com/hopefully-the-final-update-on-the-cbd-zoning-update/2009-07-07 for full discussion.

    Instead I’ll focus on your mischaracterization of Mitigation Measure F2.c from the LUTE EIR (page III.F-9). You take this completely out of context. The LUTE is organized by

    Areas of Focus
    |
    +–Objectives
    |
    +–Policies
    |
    +–Impacts
    |
    +–Mitigation Measures

    The Area of Focus mitigation F2.c falls within is the “Downtown Showcase (D).” The potential view corridors it is referencing are FROM downtown to the Lake, the Estuary, and possibly some buildings. It does talk about surrounding neighborhoods for views of the skyline, but there is no specific mitigation measure for views from the lake.

    The Objective mitigation F2.c falls within is D2 -“Enhance the visual quality of downtown by preserving and improving existing housing stock and encouraging new, high quality, development.” Your view corridor proposal is completely counter to this objective; you seek to limit downtown development for goals outside of the area of focus.

    There are several policies to meet this objective. They get summed up by the LUTE “encourages high-rise development in Downtown Oakland … coupled with policies that discourage high-rise development elsewhere in the City.”

    These policies can lead to Impacts F.2 — “Such development could potentially block views, cast shadows, appear visually incongruous with adjacent low-rise development, and block views of the City skyline from adjacent neighborhoods.” Several points here:

    1. Section F Impacts are to “Visual and Aesthetic Conditions.” They are NOT impacts to historic resources. View Corridors are NOT mentioned in the Historic Preservation Element. If the city wants to discuss the merits of view corridors, the Landmarks Board is not the appropriate venue. Historic buildings are included with architecturally interesting ones because they are pleasant to look at, not because there are preservation issues.

    2. Evaluation of aesthetic issues needs more community input. It is an entirely different type of study than the one presented by staff. How can any small group arbitrate community taste. Take a look at how Vancouver goes evaluating which views should be preserved http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/planning/capacitystudy/. Aesthetics involve surveys of people, not landscapes.

    3. Development is supposed to precede impacts. You seem to be putting the cart before the horse.

    4. Before going into mitigation measures, the LUTE EIR says, “The policies listed above may not fully mitigate Impact F.2.” In other words, they might, we don’t know until they are put into effect. There may be no need for further mitigation measures.

    Finally, we get to the additional mitigation measures. You keep referencing F.2c. Well there are also an “a” and a “b.” These involve developing a step-back ordinance and analyzing the desired height of downtown office development. These have already been done and might take care of any left-over adverse impact from the policies.

    For F.2c it does specifically call out views of “Lake Merritt, the Estuary, and architecturally or historically significant buildings.” The first two of these reinforce that we are talking about views from downtown and only possibly surrounding neighborhoods. None of the proposed view corridors have anything to do with preserving views of the lake or the estuary which seem to be the most important of the set.

    Further, we are only directed to consider these views. Well we did that, and I found the ones proposed lacking. Views of City Hall and the Tribune Tower from across the lake are very far away and not all that prominent. IMHO, they are not defining features of the lake. I believe the more important features are the lake itself, the court house, the Bellevue-Staten, the overall skyline (not individual buildings), the Kaiser Convention Center, etc. If you do want to press these views, then you raise all of the equity issues commented on by others.

    What you have done John is taken one reactive measure and made it the planning goal instead of the clearly stated objective. The LUTE aims for a visually interesting attractive skyline, you want to circumvent the process.

    A final word of advice – if you don’t want to be saddled with an anti-development image, you might consider a re-branding process. Calling your organization CALM tends to give people the wrong idea.

  4. John Klein March 9, 2010 at 3:46 pm #

    You waste your time, Schulman.

  5. Naomi Schiff March 9, 2010 at 6:04 pm #

    I like both of you, Dan and John, and think smart and knowledgeable people can differ and still discuss things.

    It is not exaggerating to say that without CALM there would be no Measure DD improvements, which are greatly improving public facilities, and are drawing people to Lakeside Park. I think healthy public discourse is how we made it through the Lake Merritt Master Plan, as acrimonious as it sometimes got, and it is how we will get through this discussion. But there isn’t any reason to let civility lapse. I hope everyone will take a deep breath and continue to debate, and understand that it needn’t be personal and that a friendly tone can be productive. We all care about our city and want it to be a successful place which is also a pleasing one in which to dwell. I don’t doubt anyone’s sincerity. Let’s find agreement through debate, and move forward together.

  6. Max Allstadt March 9, 2010 at 7:46 pm #

    I don’t think that the fact that View Corridors passed the Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board by a one vote margin is a particularly strong endorsement.

    Remember, The Chair of the Board, Kirk Petersen, prefaced his statement in support of the measure with a caveat: In his role on that particular board, he said he couldn’t consider externalities like economic impact and growth. He said that all the Board had in it’s purview was landmarks.

    That, to me, does not make this vote a clear win. The Zoning Update Committee has to consider the LPAB’s recommendation from a broader perspective. If the narrow perspective was only passed by a bare majority, I don’t think we can expect the ZUC to leave the LPAB’s suggestion unchanged.

  7. John Klein March 10, 2010 at 6:11 am #

    During the entire CBD rezoning in 2008-09, CALM lost on the height limits all the way from the ZUC, Planning Commission, CED cmte until City Council. Max Allstadt, and others, danced on our graves more than once during the process. We expect no new converts this time around.

    “…why do some people seem forget the City Council agreed with CALM about heights and the view corridor study? It’s a rather strange myopia, they have,” one blogger mused…

    You can paint the LPAB vote anyway you want, that’s just politics, as is Schulman twisted story. The fact is his arguments, aside from being absurd, are too late. We had the policy discussion a year ago. There will be a view corridor study. At the end of study, we believe it is likely that the City Council will set aside certain views of the Tribune Tower and City Hall from across Lake Merritt.

  8. John Klein March 10, 2010 at 6:55 am #

    My advice to you, Mr. Schulman, is to stop using your position on a City Commission as a forum for airing your personal disagreements with specific individuals in the community regarding the business of the City. Your comments and actions at the last LPAB meeting were the most juvenile and petty I’ve ever witnessed from any City Commissioner.

    I’ve already contacted Chair Peterson about your behavior and asked for a full apology from the LPAB. The grossly partisan and personal nature of your attacks on me were unquestionably rude and disrespectful – no member of the public should ever be treated like that by a City official. And that is what you are, Mr. Schulman, a City official, and your performance was an utter disgrace. You should be ashamed…better yet, you should resign.

  9. Max Allstadt March 10, 2010 at 10:01 am #

    John,

    Reign it in a notch. Dan’s a mayoral appointee speaking on matters that are entirely within his purview.

    I am not entirely opposed to view corridors. What I am opposed to is the way in which CALM and OHA make bad-faith demands.

    What CALM, and much more so OHA, are doing is employing a flagrant straw demand tactic. You are asking for much more than is actually needed to meet your goals, and as such, the city shouldn’t take your demands at face value.

    Regarding the commercial corridors photo sheet that Naomi Schiff handed out at the LPAB meeting. She explicitly stated that the photos weren’t editorialized. A very narrow avoidance of an outright lie. The photo sets weren’t editorialized: true. There was no commentary written on them. They were however, edited: the tallest buildings on Telegraph were omitted from them. That is not a good faith study. It’s a manipulative study intended to encourage downzoning.

    But John, lets go back to view corridors, ’cause that’s much more your issue.

    I have taken a long hard look at the view corridors, and there are a few places where they actually make sense. The 18th street pier, for instance, is the strongest case of all of them.

    However, a 55 foot height limit is much lower than is needed in that location, and if we are truly looking at corridors, and not at downzoning the entire Lakeside Apts. District, any height limit shouldn’t be blanketed over an area, but rather imposed by requiring that views be unblocked from very specific locations.

    So, back to the 18th street pier. According to my research, if you want to maintain views of the Tribune tower there, here’s how we should do it: mandate that the tower be visible from the pier itself, and that it be visible from the bottom of the neon “Tribune” sign on up.

    In order to do that, you only have to impose that language, not a height limit. As far as I can tell, that view can be preserved by limiting heights on two parcels on lakeside drive to 70 feet. The parcels in the corridor behind lakeside could be build progressively taller as they near the Trib tower. But it’s still only a short swath of land, one to two parcels across.

    Downzoning the entire neighborhood is entirely unnecessary to preserve the view. If that’s what people ask for, they’re exploiting views for another agenda.

    Demanding five different viewing locations that create overlapping corridors is also somewhat bad faith. We don’t need, necessarily, to restrict building in order to preserve views. Here’s how:

    If we pick locations where what’s between the Trib Tower and the east side of the lake are existing short buildings, we can create a no-impact compromise. If there’s an existing 5 story building on Lakeside drive and we can see the Trib tower over it, we’ve found an excellent place for a view corridor.

    A five story building is unlikely to be demolished or redeveloped, so it doesn’t hurt growth to protect the view above it. On the other hand, if OHA and CALM decide that they really want to preserve a view corridor that runs over a one story garage or a parking lot, they’re picking a fight with pro-growth folks.

    There is compromise to be found here. As long as the corridors aren’t being identified as wide swaths of developable parcels, we can have views AND growth. Assuming you’re OK with growth, John…

  10. Naomi Schiff March 10, 2010 at 12:41 pm #

    Max, OHA did not provide complete views of whole corridors because we didn’t have the resources to do so in the time available. We provided photos of the areas our group is concerned about, which are in ASIs, and which showed properties we think should be discussed as to heights, from the point of view of historic preservation. When the city showed the murky google shots of some of those parcels it seemed it would be helpful to see something clearer. I once again invite you to meet to discuss these issues. Do you only speak in public meetings, or are you willing to have an informal chat?

    You might have noticed that our comments on view corridors were very limited, as in fact they have been all along, so I don’t see why you are peeved. We simply asked the LPAB for their priorities. OHA has not yet taken a position on which of these view corridors we think are worth pursuing. We aren’t saying we want them all. We have not sent in a letter. We’d be happy to discuss further with anyone and everyone. When this came up at landmarks board before, I was one of the ones advocating for narrow view corridors, precisely not wide swaths. We don’t need all this acrimony.

  11. Max Allstadt March 10, 2010 at 1:49 pm #

    Naomi,

    I don’t think I’m being acrimonious. I think it’s totally legit to say you omitted the tallest buildings from your photo set. Some these buildings are directly across the street from building which were featured in your photo set. The extra time to turn 180 dregrees and snap a digital photo is insignificant.

    Then, on top of having omitted taller buildings from your presentation, you advocated for downzoning various blocks based on their historic character, without accounting for the character of the opposite sides of the street, or the character of adjacent blocks.

    Further, it seems to be your contention that in all cases, the height limit should be equal to the tallest thing that is already there. I completely disagree. Growth means taller stuff needs to be there.

    Want to preserve a historic buildings impact on the street? I think that having it be shorter than an adjacent modern building actually emphasizes it’s history. If you want the old building to pop out a little more in an infill, lot line context, perhaps imposing an 18 inch setback for adjacent buildings would help.

    We don’t need to stifle growth to preserve our history. I want history preserved where it’s significant, but the regulations you’re proposing go too far.

  12. Max Allstadt March 10, 2010 at 2:51 pm #

    What time and resources does it take to turn around 180 degrees and snap a picture? Many of the photos you took of blocks along telegraph are of buildings where the opposite side of the street is something tall.

    John Mervin’s 85 foot building at 23rd and Tele: no image. But the stuff across the street was there.

    The old YMCA, over 90 feet tall: No image. Sears (both of them) are over 60 feet tall. No images. The newer CCI owned 5 story building at 25th and telegraph: no image. The back of the Paramount, which is well over 65 feet tall: no image.

    All of this stuff was easily within your field of view when you took other pictures.

    Look, there are buildings in this area which should probably be preserved, but I absolutely reject one premise that OHA seems very attached to. I reject he notion that in order to preserve historic buildings, we must set a local height limit that matches the tallest existing building in an area.

    In fact, historic buildings look older and more precious when they’re somewhat shorter than adjacent modern buildings.

    The one speaker from the Northgate area who spoke at that LPAB meeting in favor of your strict height limits also blatantly admitted an ulterior motive. She angrily declared “and NO CONDOS”. Tough. That’s not the LPAB’s role.

    We can preserve and maintain historic buildings without onerous height limits. There are all sorts of little things we can do, and big things too. Updating the demolition rules is the single most important act in recent years.

    I’d even support an 18 inch setback requirement for new buildings adjacent to historic buildings, so that the old buildings “pop out” in the eyes of pedestrians. In an infill context, doing this would go a lot further to honor old buildings than any mandate that keeps new buildings short.

    I believe in historic preservation and growth, at the same time. It can happen. I cannot, however, stand back and allow historic preservation to be used as an excuse to stunt growth.

    On Telegraph, on MLK, and on San Pablo, I will fight tooth and nail to create opportunities for expansion and growth. These areas are struggling, and height limits will stifle them.

    These areas are also what I consider to be my home turf. I walk around these avenues all the time. I encourage you and Mr. Buckley, and the entire LPAB to take a walk up San Pablo and get to know the conditions there in more detail prior to the next LPAB meeting.

    If you’re not walking around and experiencing the neighborhood, I think that making pronouncements about how it should or shouldn’t grow becomes an academic exercise, and that’s a real travesty. My San Pablo Avenue and my MLK are very real places which must be experienced to be understood.

  13. Robert March 10, 2010 at 4:35 pm #

    Back to the view corridors, I found one part of the staff report to be almost amusing in its illogic. As one of the criteria for ensuring that the view of the historic building was maintained, the staff suggested that all new buildings would need to be set back far enough to maintain clear sky on either side of the historic tower. Which makes sense to isolate the tower from the surrounding buildings, if you believe in view corridors. The amusing part is that when you look at the photos in the report, only one of the corridors (City Hall from 18th St. pier) meets that requirement currently. All the other proposed corridors have the sky on one or both sides of the historic towers obstructed by buildings in the background. So only one of the proposed corridors is in any way eligible according the criteria defined by staff for a view corridor.

  14. Naomi Schiff March 10, 2010 at 5:16 pm #

    Max, we had substantial agreement about some of the areas you mention. We were working with reference to specific areas and particular maps of ASIs. I think we agree more than we disagree. Let’s talk.

    Robert, the staff was trying to present a number of alternatives. They asked the LPAB to make priorities. That would be a better use of time than discussing whether they should do the study at all in the first place, since they had already done it, right? So it sounds like you think the 18th St. view would be the highest priority. The staff’s job is to present the information and ask the various policy people to weigh in. I think they did that.

  15. Max Allstadt March 10, 2010 at 5:34 pm #

    The fundamental problem with the view corridors issue is that to set aside all five of those corridors would create height limits directly east of the Trib Tower that would be less than half it’s height. All in the heart of downtown.

  16. Naomi Schiff March 10, 2010 at 6:33 pm #

    Many people think we should prioritize and choose some but not all of those views.

  17. Robert March 10, 2010 at 8:33 pm #

    Naomi, The staff report actually contains a proposal to limit the heights, not just a neutral analysis of options. If they actually wanted to be somewhat neutral, then they would have pointed out that the existing views do not meet the proposed criteria in 4 of the 5 corridors.

  18. Robert March 10, 2010 at 8:37 pm #

    And my pint was really more that staff, and maybe the LPAD, failed to see the logical disconnect between the proposed corridors and the proposed evaluation criteria.

  19. Naomi Schiff March 10, 2010 at 8:50 pm #

    It would indeed have been better to discuss the actual views, the comparative values of the views, and what actual height limitations each would entail in designating each corridor, rather than getting sidetracked into a time-consuming dispute about whether to discuss views at all. I hope the ZUC discussion will be about evaluating the views, not about whether to have the discussion.

  20. John Klein March 11, 2010 at 12:07 am #

    I should take this opportunity to thank Jonathan Bair, aka dto510, for disclosing all of this business and financial interests in downtown Oakland when he spoke at the LPAB.

    I don’t remember them all, but there were certainly more than I thought, including consulting and real estate interests. Mr. Bair has consistently refused to disclose any of those interests on his blogs or online postings in which he routinely blambasts people for suggesting limit heights or historic preservation. This is exactly why such disclosures are necessary, and it is unethical to refuse. It lets everyone know the true motivations of those they deal with.

    While Mr. Bair is always the first to cry “NIMBY” regarding any sort of height limits or preservation, I note that in the CBD rezoning in 2008-09, Bair supported height limits in one area of downtown. That was in Old Oakland, the historic neighborhood where he lives. If that’s not NIMBY, I don’t know what is.

  21. Max Allstadt March 11, 2010 at 8:21 am #

    John,

    Jonathan disclosed his FORMER real estate consulting work. He doesn’t have any vested interests in downtown real estate whatsoever right now. He was speaking as a concerned citizen.

    Naomi,

    I think the ZUC is the right place to discuss what you’re talking about. The reason there was a discussion about whether or not to have the discussion at LPAB is pretty straightforward: Dan Schulman is right. There is a strong case that long distance views are not within the scope of a board tasked with historic preservation.

    As for the height limits, if the ZUC decides to protect view corridors, they should only impose height limits on the corridors themselves, and even then, only as low as is necessary to preserve the views chosen as most significant. I don’t think all 5 are significant.

    I also positive that a 55 foot height limit on lakeside drive, as proposed by CALM, is way lower than needed to preserve these view corridors. All that would be necessary is a few height limits of 70 to 95 feet on two or three selected parcels on lakeside.

  22. Naomi Schiff March 11, 2010 at 9:04 am #

    CBD zoning has been passed by city council. The general height discussion is over. The thing about Lakeside is that there is case law against “spot zoning” which does not allow cities to zone individual parcels. That is one factor in why the conversation gets a bit complex. I agree with you that the height limits in view corridors should be along the corridors, and hope you will review the details of the staff work as to how and what parcels are affected. It seems upon a closer look that more than prohibiting tall buildings,a developer would have some design constraints that could lead to more interesting buildings, adjusting the massing to keep views, but not prohibiting development. You will find, I think, that you can still build pretty substantial stuff even with some view corridors. As you know, you don’t have to reveal the entire height of a tower, and there is a rising line of view to the objective.

  23. dto510 March 11, 2010 at 12:58 pm #

    John, I know you would like to restrict discussion of planning to the unemployed, but it many circles, experience with business development and the renovation of landmark buildings is considered a good thing to bring to the table.

    Regarding Old Oakland, I supported the staff proposal that was changed after significant input from the neighborhood. I also urged the ZUC to support the entire proposal as a rough compromise. It was CALM and the OHA that attempted to sandbag the process with last-minute appeals for further downzoning at the City Council. I doubt that those supporting Smart Growth will continue to be interested in compromising with untrustworthy adversaries.

    • John Klein March 12, 2010 at 12:52 am #

      Yes, you didn’t want tall buildings in your neighborhood. That is NIMBY. Stop lying!

      • dto510 March 12, 2010 at 9:51 am #

        Calling me a liar, John? This from the guy who lied to the City Council about what view corridors are and how other cities do them.

        • Max Allstadt March 12, 2010 at 10:11 am #

          OK, I’m not getting into the liar liar thing, even if John started it.

          However, John, about the “NIMBY” allegation, FYI: DTO lives across the street from one of the tallest construction projects in the CBD. And I think at design review, he commented that it should be taller! NIMBY my ass.

  24. Max Allstadt March 11, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

    Actually Naomi, as far as I can tell, the five view corridors create a host of problems. If the city decides to observe all of them, we will see the following consequences:

    A ban on any new highrise apartments on Lakeside Drive.

    Serious restrictions of heights on many parcels downtown that need redevelopment. There are a lot of vacant lots, garages and blighted lowrise buildings inntgeae corridors – that’s precisely why we can see through these spaces!

    We’d also have to restrict heights in a core area of downtown. Many of the parcels which would be affected are in the area where the Council recently voted for zoning which allows very tall buildings.

  25. Naomi Schiff March 11, 2010 at 1:51 pm #

    Let’s look at the maps together.

    • Max Allstadt March 11, 2010 at 2:32 pm #

      Naomi, I think your desire to get people together and look at maps is good. It supports something Dan said at the Landmarks Board on Monday: Since this is an aesthetic and a zoning issue, and not a preservation issue, the City should be doing public outreach and stakeholder meetings.

      Going on a walk around the lake with three people, two of whom don’t live in the area to be downzoned… That really isn’t enough of a public process for something this impactful.

  26. Naomi Schiff March 12, 2010 at 9:56 am #

    The staff was given its marching orders by the city council. It is a general plan, lute, historic preservation, parks, aesthetic, zoning, and planning issue. Nobody claimed that the walk around the lake was the public process. The staff people wanted to know what the main (up to then) stakeholders thought the areas for study were, and they hoped that folks would agree on what was to be studied. Not on what the conclusions were, just on what the staff should look at. I would like to suggest that some informal (i.e. not in public meetings where your speaking time will be limited) conversation would be useful. Public meetings tend to polarize rather than generate consensus, due to time limitations, but I believe we may be able to reach consensus without a lot of time-consuming bluster and combativeness.

  27. Max Allstadt March 12, 2010 at 10:08 am #

    I’m totally willing to look at maps, but frankly I’m much more interested in the commercial corridors than the view corridors. I think a walk up Telegraph and San Pablo, including a look at the side streets, would be a very useful thing to do.

  28. Naomi Schiff March 12, 2010 at 11:57 am #

    Sure. please email me with some suggested time.

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