City Hall

Who’s in Charge Here?

October 14, 2012
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City Staff Manipulated City Council and Citizens, Resident Adrian McGilly Says

Below is the short video of a statement by Adrian McGilly, husband of Emeryville Mayor Jennifer West, to the City Council at its last regular meeting Tuesday, Oct. 2. He is addressing the controversy over the planned cutting of 33 mature street trees to make way for a park. McGilly  has written to the City Council asking that at least some of the trees be preserved. His letter revealed that city staff deleted two key sections of the arborist report before sending it to the City Council to decide whether or not to cut the trees.

(To comment or to view the comments of others, click on the headline to go to the story page and then scroll to the bottom).

Emeryville City Staff Deliberately Misled City Council on Arborist Report

October 1, 2012
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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.

September 30, 2012
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Quote of the Moment:

“Bike lanes, trees, old houses with character, interesting neighborhoods all attract the types of people who, in turn, tend to enhance the community.  Livable neighborhoods that include the above attributes (and more) are always cited in the ‘best places to live’ surveys.  When the developers and their money are gone and huge housing complexes, busy streets,  and cookie cutter businesses remain, something has been lost that cannot be replaced and your town becomes yet another anonymous, impersonal cityscape.  Think about it before its too late to preserve your town’s character.”

~ Carla Ennis, Emeryville Resident

Saving the City’s Trees: Planning Commission Study Session Tonight

September 27, 2012
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Saving the City’s Trees: Planning Commission Study Session Tonight

Calling all interested residents! There will be a study session during tonight’s Emeryville Planning Commission meeting to discuss the regulations and policies governing the city’s street trees.  The session, and public comment, is expected to begin about 8:30 PM. Emeryville Mayor Jennifer West, her husband, Adrian McGilly, and other residents plan to make statements. West and McGilly, who live with their two daughters at Doyle Street co-housing, opposed removal of mature street trees by the developer of an apartment/retail complex at Doyle and Powell streets.  With the city’s blessing, more than 40 trees, and an historic brick building, will be destroyed to make way for the “Parkside” development. West and McGilly argued that at least some of the trees could have been saved. The planning commission will also consider a request by the owner of the property at 1258 Ocean Avenue to remove one street tree. The owner eventually wants to tear down the single-family house on the property and build “Ocean Lofts,” comprised of two detached 1,700 square-foot residential units. That item is second on the commission’s agenda. The meeting begins at 6:30 PM in City Council chambers, City Hall.

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Say Good-bye to Another Historic Building, and Lots and Lots of Trees

September 19, 2012
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This historic brick building at Powell and Doyle streets will be torn down (with the exception of the south and east outside walls, which will be preserved) to make room for "Parkside", an apartment/retail development. The developer, with the city's blessing, also plans to cut down more than 40 mature trees.

This gallery contains 8 photos.

No Deal for Madison Marquette

September 12, 2012
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No Deal for Madison Marquette

Not in City’s Best Interest to Rush Sale; MM’s Exclusive Right to Develop Land Near Bay St Mall Expires Sept. 30 In a closed session last week, the Emeryville City Council decided not to sell the four acres north of Bay Street Mall to developer Madison Marquette (MM), concluding it was “not in the city’s best interest” to make the sale. After years of delay, MM was rushing to finalize a deal before its exclusive right to develop the land expired on Sept. 30. Mayor Jennifer West said in an email that a “long range property management plan” will be developed as part of the process of dissolving redevelopment in the city. She said the City Council (as successor agency to the redevelopment agency) will decide probably sometime next year what it wants to do with the property. West said the Council’s decision does not preclude MM from purchasing the land at a later date. The Council did not decide whether to allow other developers to bid for the land, known as Bay Street Site B. The Council’s decision officially ends MM’s exclusive hold on the land. Under a deal made between the city and MM back in 2005, MM had

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City Budget: Revenue Up, Spending Down, But Cost of Losing Redevelopment Funds Still Unclear

September 4, 2012
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City Budget: Revenue Up, Spending Down, But Cost of Losing Redevelopment Funds Still Unclear

Finance Committee Recommends Community Input on Priority Projects for Capital Improvement Pool The Finance Committee took a close look at the economic state of the city at its meeting last month.  What did the quarterly figures show?  Eight of the top 10 budgeted revenue sources showed increases over last year.  Sales tax revenues were up 14 percent, hotel occupancy tax revenue up 18 percent, and business license tax revenue up 29 percent.  These are the three biggest income producers for the city, and increases here suggest at least a modest local recovery from the recession.  Only the two smallest revenue producers, fines and vehicle license fees, showed decline, the first down 4 percent, the second 7 percent. It’s too early to start cheering, but the tide of up-ticks in key areas is encouraging. How about expenditures?  Taking the 12 categories of our spending in aggregate and comparing what was spent last year to the same time this year, we find a decrease in spending of about $1.5 million.  Revenue is up, expenditure down, and that helps explain why the city’s credit rating is excellent despite a considerable debt and the cost of financing it. So, what’s to worry about?  Here

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

August 30, 2012
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“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

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Resident’s Plea to City Planning Dir. Charles Bryant: “Save Some of the Trees … That is all I am Asking”

August 30, 2012
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Resident’s Plea to City Planning Dir. Charles Bryant: “Save Some of the Trees … That is all I am Asking”

Below is a letter sent today to Emeryville Planning Director Charles Bryant from Adrian McGilly, who lives with his wife (Emeryville Mayor Jennifer West) and two daughters at Doyle Street Co-housing. McGilly, West, and their neighbor Judy Timmel appeared on KTVU news last night to protest the city’s plan to cut down 33 mature street trees to make room for an apartment/retail development, including a park, on Stanford between Hollis and Doyle streets. These residents are asking the city to preserve some of the trees. Mayor West, who is not allowed to vote on any aspect of the development, known as “Parkside”, because she lives a block away, has noted previously in her blog, “I find it surprising that the park could not be designed to incorporate and enhance the mature trees that are already on the site. When I look at the project, I see that some of the trees … might have been retained with careful planning. If the developer and architect don’t value the trees … at least the city council should …” For a previous Secret News story on the planned tree cutting at Parkside, click here. ___________________ To see last night’s KTVU newscast, click here. _________________

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Seeing the Trees for the Forest

July 17, 2012
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Seeing the Trees for the Forest

If developers have their way, no tree that falls in Emeryville will ever make a sound. Those trees will go away quietly or accidentally or inadvertently, and, in many cases, illegally. But you can bet that if trees impede a developer’s cheaper, faster way to build a strip mall or condo high rise with faux amenities and lots and lots of parking, they’ll come down, one way or another. Believe it or not, it appears that trees even get in the way of making more trees! The developer of the future “Parkside” apartment/retail development on Stanford between Hollis and Doyle streets is going to chop down (with the City Council’s blessing) 33 mature trees to make room for – are you ready? – a park! Emeryville Mayor Jennifer West is among many residents none too happy about developers’ endless assault on the city’s trees. West, who was not able to vote on any aspect of “Parkside” because she lives a block away, said in her blog, “I find it surprising that the park could not be designed to incorporate and enhance the mature trees that are already on the site. When I look at the project, I see that some of the

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