March 27, 2007

Fate of the Marina

The City Council discussed the future of boating at the Marina at a special work session held Monday, March 26, 2007. At the meeting, Assistant City Manager Steve Hollister summarized the history of the Marina, information about other marinas in Benicia, Martinez, Emeryville, Tiburon, Richmond and Vallejo, harbor revenues and expenses, and the next steps for the Marina. Click here for the presentation.

The harbor was last dredged in 2001 at a cost of $3 million. In 2006, the estimated cost for dredging was $5.7 million. The cost includes dredging a length of two miles between the harbor and deeper water and disposal of the dredge spoils. Total harbor debt from dredging in 1997 and 2001, along with CalBoat loans is currently $6.8 million.

The City can no longer guarantee that boats can safely navigate to and from the harbor and there are no immediate plans to dredge the harbor to change that. The occupancy rate for the 450 berths is 54% (252) and less than 20% (50) of those are San Leandro residents.

The presentation concluded with the recommended next steps:

  • Develop a transition plan to phase out harbor operations
  • Complete Environmental Assessment
  • Continue efforts to obtain Federal dredging funds, including partial funding
  • Explore other options for harbor development
  • Develop a RFQ and secure a master developer to work with the community to develop a Shoreline Master Plan

Councilmember Michael Gregory noted that federal funding for dredging seemed unlikely based on responses from legislators during a recent trip by the City Council to Washington, DC.

Councilmember Surlene Grant's self-described "radical thought" for the meeting was the concept of having residential houseboats at the Marina. Grant also expressed concerns about the "Master Developer" for the Marina having an exclusive right to negotiate, noting that the City had been burned before.

Councilmember Jim Prola asked whether the City had asked the Port of Oakland for financial support or whether Senator Ellen Corbett and Assemblymember Mary Hayashi had been contacted. Hollister and City Manager John Jermanis responded that the City had not directly asked the Port of Oakland for money and that Hayashi and Corbett had not been contacted. However, Jermanis stated that there was unlikely to be any money available from the state for dredging.

Jermanis noted that the Alameda County Fire Department maintains a rescue boat at the Marina and another boat on a trailer at the Williams Street fire station.

Mayor Tony Santos noted that one element common to the other Marinas was residential housing, which has not been present in discussions of the Marina's future.

Seven people, most of whom supported maintaining harbor operations at the Marina, spoke during the public comment period.

Councilmember Diana Souza suggested that a town hall be held to gather more community input and Santos concurred. Santos said that two town halls would be held: one at the San Leandro Library and the other at Garfield Elementary.

There will be a meeting about the Marina on Wednesday, March 28, 2007, from 6pm to 7:30pm at the Spinnaker Yacht Club. The flyer for the meeting states, "If we want to keep the Marina and have the Channel dredged, it looks like we will have to fight for it." Spinnaker Yacht Club is located at 75 Pescadero Point Drive in San Leandro.

Daily Review coverage

Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at March 27, 2007 11:53 PM | TrackBack
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