City Agrees to Preserve 7 “Parkside” Trees

December 24, 2012
By
City Agrees to Preserve 7 “Parkside” Trees

The City Council  voted unanimously on Dec. 4 (Council Member Jennifer West recused) to approve a new design of the soon-to-be-built Parkside Development on Stanford Avenue between Doyle and Hollis streets. The new design retains seven of the mature trees currently on the site along Stanford Avenue. There will be no moving or transplanting of the trees, as previously contemplated by the City Council. The new design, put forth by Public Works Director Maurice Kaufman, keeps the trees where they are, while doing away with 10 new street parking spaces that were going to be added to the north side of Stanford. I think the City made the right decision and the park will be a nicer space because of it. I and many others look forward to sitting in the shade of these 20-year-old Chinese Elms. I thank the city staff and the City Council for being open-minded and for valuing the preservation of mature trees. (To comment, or to read the comments of others, click on the headline to go to the story page, then scroll to the bottom.)

Read more »

City Should Provide Design and Approval Histories for all Development Projects

October 29, 2012
By

At the Oct. 16th City Council meeting, at the request of Councilmember Jac Asher, the City Council discussed the Parkside Park design and in particular the Council’s decision to approve the removal of all the trees in the new public park.  The discussion began with a presentation from Planning Division Director Charles Bryant who gave a full history of the park’s protracted design and approval process. During his presentation, Mr. Bryant shared a lot of interesting information including these two points: Although the current park design drawings show replacement trees being planted very close to where the existing trees are, there are significant grade differences between the current topography and the topography called for in the park design. The trees are located on a raised mound (“the berm”) and keeping them there would require significant changes to the current design. According to Archstone, redesigning the park to accommodate the existing trees could cost up to $100,000 Mr. Bryant’s presentation was followed by public comments from residents, a discussion among councilmembers and finally two motions and two votes. The first motion, put forth by Councilmember Jac Asher, directed the city staff to find the most cost-effective way to retain some of

Read more »

Basic Research Reveals Some Trees Easily Preserved; City Council Needs to Step Up

October 16, 2012
By

Attention all interested residents! Preservation of the trees at Parkside will be discussed at tonight’s (Tuesday) City Council meeting. Anyone wanting to make a public comment on the matter should attend the meeting. Public comment on the tree issue will begin at approximately 8 pm. ___________________________ In recommending the removal of all the trees in the Parkside park, Archstone, the developer, and the city staff tried to pull one over on the City Council and the residents of Emeryville. The City Planning Division has finally revealed the real motivation for the tree removal: Archstone needed the space as a temporary staging area for construction equipment, and for a temporary parking lot for PRC, the medical facility across the road. This information can be found in the attached staff report (see section entitled “Southwest Quadrant”). The big question is, has this temporary parking lot been approved by anybody other than Planning Director Charles Bryant? Was it ever put before the planning commission or the City Council? I’ve seen no evidence of that. It just suddenly appeared in this staff report. And this is no minor project after all: it involves the removal of a dozen trees, the leveling of grades, the

Read more »

City Willing to Trade 20-Year-Old Trees for Temporary Parking

October 15, 2012
By
City Willing to Trade 20-Year-Old Trees for Temporary Parking

Council Member Jac Asher has put on the agenda for the next City Council meeting (Oct. 16th) a discussion of whether the city should change the design of the Parkside park to include some or all of the existing trees. Council Member Asher’s willingness to do this shows her commitment to transparent government. It shows that she wants the freedom to cast her votes on the basis of complete information, not partial information cherry-picked by city staff. It shows that she values the right of Emeryville’s residents to receive proper notification (i.e. signs posted on the trees) when the city is contemplating the removal of its trees. Her actions have already yielded results. In response, Charles Bryant, Planning Director for the City of Emeryville, has issued a staff report which finally reveals the real motivation behind the removal of these trees. It has nothing to do with landscape design. It has nothing to do with drip lines and root damage and berms and “maintaining open spaces in the park.” Here is what the report says: “Most of these trees will need to be removed to accommodate the temporary PRC parking lot during construction of their permanent lot at the eastern

Read more »

Emeryville City Staff Deliberately Misled City Council on Arborist Report

October 1, 2012
By
When the city failed to post notices on the trees to be cut down, resident Adrian McGilly took it upon himself to do so. While such notice is required under the city's Urban Forestry Ordinance, the city is exempt. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

This gallery contains 3 photos.

“Parkside” Developer Will Cut Trees in Violation of City Ordinance, Resident Says

August 30, 2012
By
“Parkside” Developer Will Cut Trees in Violation of City Ordinance, Resident Says

Below is a follow-up article by Adrian McGilly to a letter he sent yesterday to City Planning Director Charles Bryant. The letter, which was printed in The Secret News, asks the City to save some of the mature trees on the future site of an apartment/retail development – that also includes a park – on Stanford between Doyle and Hollis streets. The plan is to cut down 33 mature trees. McGilly is joined in his plea by his wife, Emeryville Mayor Jennifer West, who could not vote on any aspect of the new development because she lives a block away. ______________ I got a response from Mr. Bryant. He assured me that the park design went through all the proper public noticing and hearing processes, that everyone had ample opportunity to weigh in on the fate of these trees, that not very many people did, and that now it’s too late because wheels have been set in motion. It was a very thorough, detailed and respectful response and I am grateful to Mr. Bryant for his time and attention. But that’s not the end of the story. There is an Urban Forestry Ordinance (UFO) in this city that includes provisions

Read more »

Upcoming Events