Blog Archives

City Should Provide Design and Approval Histories for all Development Projects

October 29, 2012
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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

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

October 16, 2012
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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

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Cut Spending, Save the Trees at Temescal Creek Park

October 16, 2012
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Cut Spending, Save the Trees at Temescal Creek Park

Below is an open letter to the City Council from Emeryville resident Eric Gascoyne. The Council is expected to vote on the tree cutting and other Temescal Creek redesign plans at its regular meeting Tuesday (tonight). The meeting starts at 7:15 pm. Dear Honorable Mayor and City Council Members, I am writing to you in regards of your important upcoming decision you will be making for the removal of 3 very large Eucalyptus trees at Temescal Creek Park .  The following are a few points that I would like you to consider when you make you decide to remove or let these trees remain at our park: These Eucalyptus Trees a.)  Are the longtime homes to mating Red Tailed Hawks.  These birds are beautiful and awe inspiring.  There are no guarantees if they are removed that they will make Emeryville their home in the future. b.)  The trees themselves are magnificent.  They are some of the tallest trees in Emeryville.  In my opinion, the City has done a great job in maintaining these trees and the pruning of them looks good.  I don’t think the number you have been given of $25,000.00 of a one time pruning is accurate.  At

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

October 15, 2012
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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

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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).

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