Draft Minutes of July 12, 2021 Virtual Commission Meeting

  1. Call to Order and Meeting Procedure Review. Design Review Board (Board) Chair Jacinta McCann called the teleconference meeting to order on Zoom, at approximately 5:00 p.m. 

    Andrea Gaffney, BCDC Senior Bay Development Design Analyst, called the roll and confirmed the presence of a quorum. 

    Other Board Members in attendance included Board Vice Chair Gary Strang and Board Members Bob Battalio, Kristen Hall, Tom Leader, and Andrew Wolfram. Board alternates in attendance included Karen Alschuler. 

    BCDC staff in attendance included Cody Aichele-Rothman, Andrea Gaffney, Yuriko Jewett, Brad McCrea, Ashley Tomerlin, Anniken Lydon, Schuyler Olsson, and Rachel Cohen. 

    The presenters were Greg Boro (Director of Finance and Business Operations, Sphere Institute), Karen Verpeet (Project Manager, HTC Harvey), Luke Tillman (Project Team, Sphere Institute), William Johnson (Project Manager), Richard Sinkoff (Director of Environmental Programs and Planning, Port of Oakland), Jan Novak (Environmental Planner/ Scientist, Port of Oakland), Linda Gates (Principal, Gates and Associates), and Ramona Dixon (Middle Harbor Shoreline Park Manager, Port of Oakland). 

    Also in attendance were Tamera White (Prescott resident), Tara Ridertson (naturalist at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park since 2007), Jennifer Hayes (5th grade teacher at Bella Vista), and Megan Jankowski (Golden Gate Audubon member). Public comment via email was submitted by  

    Ms. McCann reviewed the meeting protocols. 

  2. Staff Update. Ms. Gaffney updated the Board on projects reviewed by the Board that have been permitted by the Commission since the April Board meeting: 
    1. The Commission approved the regulation changes for the DRB which include the five-year term limits renewable up to 15 years of service and the ability to appoint alternate as new or former board members. Before the regulations are enacted, the staff office is reviewing and approving administrative law. Staff will provide future updates to the DRB.  
    2. After a lengthy discussion and public comment, the Commission voted to postpone for four months the initiation of a Bay Plan amendment process to revise the boundary of the waterfront park prior to use area for Point Molate in Richmond (a project reviewed by the DRB project in November 2020). The postponement will allow the Commission’s questions regarding the site development to be addressed by Staff. 
    3. The Commission has welcomed its first cohort of six Environmental Justice Advisors who were selected to participate in the Commission’s Environmental Justice Working Group. They are Selena Feliciano, Julio Garcia, Anthony G. Khalil, Violet Saena, Marybelle Tobias, and LaDonna Williams. Their participation is funded by a grant from the Resources Legacy Fund. The Advisors will work with BCDC’s EJ Program Manager and the BCDC’s EJ Working Group on topics including guidance on how potential projects on the Bay shoreline should best engage with community-based organizations and increasing community awareness about shoreline adaptation planning and projects. The EJ Advisors will help BCDC integrate with community leaders’ expert insights to the agency’s EJ related work. The EJ Advisors will not constitute a formal committee established by the Commission, will not work on individual project permits, and will not have regulatory authority, but BCDC is interested in finding ways they can collaborate with BCDC’s advisory boards. 
    4. Staff Updates: Anniken Lydon, who was BCDC’s Bay Resources Permit Analyst was promoted to the Bay Resources Permit Program Manager, and we are now looking to fill the permit analyst position. Marc Zeppetello, who used to be BCDC’s Chief Counsel, retired at the end of June. Greg Scharff, a former Commissioner, has become BCDC’s new Chief Counsel. Rachel Cohen, BCDC’s Planning and Sediment Secretary, will be filling in for the Court Reporter to generate meeting minutes for April and December 2021 and future meeting minutes. The board may have multiple sets of meeting minutes to review and approve at the next few DRB meetings.  
    5. The upcoming August 9, 2021, DRB meeting’s tentative agenda includes a first review of residential development at 505 East Bayshore Road in Redwood City and a briefing on the Bay Adapt Joint Platform by staff.  
  3. Park At 410 Airport Boulevard, Burlingame (First Pre-Application Review). The Board held their first pre-application review of the proposal by the SPHERE Institute and San Mateo County Resource Conservation District to develop the 9.4-acre, State Lands Commission-owned site at 410 Airport Boulevard on the Anza Peninsula in the City of Burlingame, San Mateo County. The project would consist of an eco-park and associated amenities covering the entire parcel. Public access improvements at the eco-park would include improved Bay Trail access, a waterfront promenade, an EcoCenter, water-oriented recreation opportunities, and other amenities. Additionally, the park would include the creation of a small tidal marsh and ecotone levee, as well as other more formal landscaping around the public access areas. 

    1. Staff Presentation. Anniken Lydon, BCDC Senior Environmental Scientist, introduced the project, showed a series of slides, photos of the site, and described points of interest. She summarized the issues identified in the staff report. 

      1. This project is proposed by the sphere Institute and the San Mateo resource conservation district. The project is early in the planning and development phases. It received Measure A funding as a BRITT project. 
      2. The site is approximately 9.4 acres of primarily undeveloped weedy upland and seasonal wetland habitats with non-native trees and shrubs. Majority of the site is currently fenced off from the public. 
      3. Majority of the land was once water and historic tidal flats located near Ssaison, the unseeded ancestral homeland of the Ramaytush Ohlone people.   
      4. The peninsula was created in the 1950s through the 1970s by the placement of illegal fill over approximately 150 acres of the San Francisco Bay. The project site is owned by the State Lands Commission.  
      5. Based upon census data and BCDC’s social vulnerability mapping tool, the project area has low social vulnerability. However, some areas to the southeast of the project site have high social vulnerability.  
      6. The project is using the low risk aversion planning scenario for the park design, and medium to high rise aversion planning scenario for the education center and Bay Trail.  

        Ms. Lydon asked the Board to focus their review on making high-level comments on: 

        1. Usability and circulation 
        2. Public access and wildlife compatibility 
        3. Sea level rise resilience for public access areas 
        4. Views to the Bay 
        5. Outreach 

        Board members asked a series of clarifying questions: 

        1. Members asked to clarification on the site and whether Sanchez Creek is included. Ms. Verpeet stated that legally, the boundary does extend across the creek, but logistically, the work will be done mostly on land.  
        2. Members asked whether there is a large office building or hotel being built nearby. Ms. Verpeet stated that there is some unrelated development happening to the southeast. 
        3. Members asked of the status of the parcel to the east of the site, just across Sanchez Creek, and whether improvements were being made to that parcel. Ms. Lydon stated she believed Ashley Tomerlin has been involved in some discussions with the state lands Commission related to public access at Fisherman's Park. 
        4. Members asked what the design life is for the project in terms of number of years and if there is a design event such as an annual water level for the park.  
    2. Project Presentation. Greg Boro, Director of Finance and Business Operations, Sphere Institute, introduced Karen Verpeet, Project Manager, HTC Harvey. Ms. Verpeet provided an overview, with a slide presentation, of project goals, background, local context, existing site conditions, and a detailed description of the proposed project. 
    3. Board Questions. Following the presentation, the Board asked a series of questions: 

      Mr. Battalio stated that the different sea level rise criteria selected for the different parts of the project made sense and asked for clarification on and the project life. Ms. Verpeet stated that the year 2100 was used for sea level rise calculations. The state lands lease is a maximum of 49 years, with the hope that if the park was constructed, the lease would be renewed and that the site wouldn’t be developable for many other types of uses. The project team has thought of different adaptation strategies, including making the lower boardwalk out of wood because it will be vulnerable the soonest. When the boardwalk needs replacement, the team would look to reuse the concrete footings to raise the boardwalk up over time to keep its accessibility. To ensure stability of the wave break, an 8-foot flattop is needed before the marsh. The team envisions an initial spur trail to give a gap for wildlife, however the wave break trail is sacrificial over time. The kayak dock and abutment will become more accessible over time with sea levels rising.  

      Mr. Battalio stated that today’s performance shouldn’t be compromised too much for future conditions and he liked the adaptive approach discussed. He asked what elevations the team was targeting for features close to the waterfront, and if the project team considered wave run up in those elevations. He stated that the project team should be able to indicate how the design would handle more extreme conditions.  

      Luke Tillmann, Project Team, stated that a hydraulic 3D model of the Bay was used to simulate 100-year events to help design the project to be adaptable.     

      Mr. Battalio asked if the team had considered the wave overtopping the wetlands and the mouth in terms of how their future sediment balance will evolve.  

      Mr. Tillmann stated that that hasn’t been done to date, but the next phase of the design process will look at shear stresses and scour potential. Long-term sedimentation is difficult to predict, but a recent SFEI study showed that this area is predicted to resist sea level rise well.  

      Mr. Battalio stated that the suspended sediment concentrations when it’s windy would be good data to gauge the potential estuarine sediment supply. 

      Mr. Wolfram asked whether the restrooms in the education center would be open to the public when the center is closed.  

      Ms. Verpeet stated that two of the six restrooms will be accessible from the outside from 7:00am or 8:00am until dusk when the parking lot closes.  

      Mr. Worfram asked about whether there was a programmatic requirement regarding circulating completely around the education center.  

      Ms. Verpeet stated that the circulation is such that visitors cannot walk all the way around to minimize human disturbance to the wetland, and because the deck will be closed off in the evening for safety and security reasons. It also allows an unobstructed northwest view of the Bay from the education center.  

      Mr. Strang asked whether there was a landscape architect on staff. 

      Ms. Verpeet stated that she is a landscape architect and there are nine on staff. The architect is Sera of Portland.   

      Ms. McCann asked for elaboration on the types of events that will be hosted at the education center.  

      Ms. Verpeet stated that events will vary across the day and evening. Ms. Verpeet added that in a nonevent setting, the western gallery would likely include educational exhibits open to the public from 9am-5pm, with a lounge area.  

      Mr. William Johnson, Project Manager, stated that events would range throughout the daytime and evening on weekdays and weekends, using the entire gallery space or half of it, with potential spillover into the eastern outdoor flex space. There would be a mix of educational events, business conferences, weddings, anniversaries, and more, because it is a flexible space.  

      Ms. McCann asked about if the project team’s intention was to increase the vegetation on the western part of the park.  

      Ms. Verpeet stated that that was the intention because the the high point of the demonstration berm, which blocks views from the roadway, allows a viewpoint to demonstrate sea level rise and changing elevations over time. The lower line topography in the southeast corner is more bay-oriented. 

      Ms. Alschuler asked how people will arrive at the site due to the gap between this site and the neighborhoods it will service.  

      Ms. Verpeet stated that the Bay Trail from Kincade’s going south will be improved such that people will arrive to this destination by bicycle. There are adjacent office buildings and hotels, so many people will arrive on foot. People coming from nearby neighborhoods would probably arrive by car.  

      Mr. Boro stated that there is no ____ bus route servicing this part of the peninsula. There is a commute.org shuttle that runs from the Burlingame train station and the Millbrae Bart and Caltrans station. As part of the Burlingame Point development, there was a recognition of the need to increase the shuttle service and recently they’ve proposed breaking the shuttle up into two routes: a northern part of Airport Boulevard and a southern part of Airport Boulevard, for better efficiency.  

    4. Public Comment. No members of the public provided comments.  
    5. Board Discussion. The Board discussed how the project addresses the seven objectives for public access as follows: 

      Ms. Alschuler stated there is an opportunity and responsibility to make this site a public regional destination that models public access with it being Measure AA funded. The entire general surrounding area should be reached out to because it is an opportunity to witness and learn about the evolution of the Bay. Sanchez Creek also should be looked into in future review because of the importance of creeks.  

      Mr. Wolfram stated that the project proponents should think about the size of the education center in terms of usability. These buildings are very expensive to build and may be more usable when smaller. It feels imposing at its current proposed size and should have the smallest footprint possible for efficiency and maintenance.  

      Mr. Wolfram added that the project proponents should think about public access when the building is closed because visitors using the desk after the café closes may feel unwelcomed. It is important to have buffer space from the café, but maybe there’s more opportunity for public space adjacent to that. Maybe the café could be lowered or smaller.  

      Ms. McCann stated that it would be helpful to see how the anticipated events would play out because the size of the building needs to respond the nature of the use. 

      Mr. Strang was curious whether the project team anticipates that the site would be irrigated in perpetuity, or planted and allowed to naturalize, or maintained to find new stability in unnatural anticipated conditions. He was interested in what kind and quantity of topsoil will be used. Some of the trees on the site are already stressed due to very low rainfall. Oaks and Buckeyes might have a hard time in these difficult environmental conditions in a relatively thin cap of soil.  

      Ms. McCann asked about connections and continuity with the Bay Trail, adding that it’s an interesting adaptive proposal to bring the Bay Trail back from the Bay edge.  

      Ms. Hall stated that the choice to restore the wetland was a good use of Measure AA funding. It still feels as though the waterfront access is being kept. It is important that the trail is still accessible in 100 years. The way the project creates areas for human habitation away from the habitat is well conceived. The brow of the education center that extends over the Bay Trail helps create public and open feeling. The project team should think about where bike racks will go, where will a bus stop be, etc.  

      Mr. Battalio stated that the choice to move the Bay Trail inland was a great one. Access to the water by people who don’t have boats or small crafts is missing. It’s unclear where cyclists would go when looking to rest if they don’t want to go into the education center. The upper ecotone transition area to sit and look at the water is good but it’s unclear where people who weren’t going for water related uses would go. He also questioned whether people could get into the maintained wetland space.  

      Ms. McCann stated that this could become a destination to experience the Bay and that it is an impressive proposal from that standpoint.  

      Ms. Alschuler stated that there is an opportunity to open the space to school children to give hands-on experience in sea level rise adaptation. She suggested adding bus parking. The education center blocks the view of the marsh from Airport Boulevard. She also questioned whether this was restored marsh, confirming with Ms. McCann that it was Bay. It takes a long time to create marsh, and this history and plan should be included in the messaging.  

      Ms. Hall stated that the entry loop off of the road was good. She questioned whether a one-way parking was the best option and stated that double loading a portion could lead to more park space.  

      Mr. Strang stated that vacant parking in the neighborhood is an opportunity to reduce parking in the park, and that perhaps an agreement could allow for that. The road serving only one side of parallel parking is inefficient.  

      Mr. Battalio stated that he would like to see a projection of how this site evolved over time with sea level rise. He is interested in the sediment balance since historically sand moved through this area. Crissy Field showed that adding tidal flow deflected some sand offshore that was otherwise moving along shore. If there is sand, you can form ebb and flow shoals. He added that the sea level rise criterion could be developed more including what the index is designed for.  

    6. Applicant Response. Ms. Verpeet thanked the team for their feedback and stated the project team will take the Board’s comments into consideration and will come up with an improved design. She added that this will fall into the public trust doctrine and that the state requires the site to serve a regional and statewide audience with SFO nearby. She added that school, youth, and community groups are welcome with bus parking spots, and that more information on how folks will arrive will be added next presentation. Regarding the one-way parking loop, the goal was to avoid a big chunk of concrete. While it creates some inefficiency, it being tucked behind the berm allows more enjoyment once inside the park.  

      Mr. Boro responded positively to the Board’s comments and expressed gratitude.  

    7. Board Summary and Conclusions. The Board made the following summary and conclusions: 
      1. There was positive feedback that the views to the ridge have been retained. The configuration of the views to the Bay and the approach to planning within the historic district and preservation of views are both well done.  
      2. The grading plan strategy would be helpful to see more detail on, to better understand that more in relation to view lines and view corridors. 
  4. Middle Harbor Shoreline Park Master Plan and Management Plan Update, Port of Oakland (First Pre-Application Review). The Board held a pre-application review of a proposal by the Port of Oakland to update the Master Plan and Management Plan of the approximately 40-acre Middle Harbor Shoreline Park in the City of Oakland, Alameda County. The Port has organized their proposed Master Plan updates around five key areas: facilitate connections with nature, nurture physical well-being, support socializing and gathering, share cultural heritage, and enhance outdoor education opportunities. The physical structure of the park would stay largely the same, with the most significant changes occurring to the beach (which would be approximately doubled in size above the high tide line) and the landscaping (including replacement of large areas of poor-performing lawn with native vegetation more suited to local conditions). Other changes including improving the trail and interpretive signage system, creating wind-protected areas for gathering, building an outdoor education hub, and adding or modifying other park amenities. 
    1. Staff Presentation. Schuyler Olsson, BCDC Shoreline Development Analyst, introduced the project, showed a series of street view photos of the site, and described points of interest. He summarized the issues identified in the staff report: 
      1. Majority of the site was once underwater and located on or near Huchiun, the unseeded ancestral homeland of the Ohlone people. In the late 1900s the site was a U.S. Navy fleet industrial supply center, before it became a park in 2004. This site is 38 acres.  
      2. The Port conducted a two-year community engagement process. The surrounding communities have high social vulnerability and contamination risk and have been subject to significant health and environmental impacts.  
      3. The park’s large open beach area was shrunken by added lawn and dunes. In 2009 the Port terminated its management contract with the East Bay Regional Parks District. Inadequate irrigation causes grass to die in the summer. Trails are deteriorated and the observation tower’s elevator has been broken for more than 15 years. Deep soft mud in the beach makes swimming and wading unsafe, which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is addressing. 
      4. The Port does not have a BCDC authorized process for holding larger special events such as music festivals, which are not permitted since they disturb public access. Between 2005-2019 the Port held numerous large events with caused significant or complete park closures. Other park amenities that were permitted, such as an educational building, a research field station, and two docking stations, were never built. 
      5. Pursuant to BCDC and Port staff negotiations, the Port initiated a public process in 2020 to update the park’s master and management plans to resolve its outstanding issues and redesign portions of the park.  

        Board members asked a series of clarifying questions: 

        Mr. Strang asked whether the sand was naturally occurring or if it was imported.  

        Mr. Novak stated that the sand was imported as a part of Vision 2000. Sand is the dominant soil type throughout the Middle Harbor Shoreline Park site.  

        Mr. Wolfrom asked whether the master plan update would include+- additional funding and how the park’s maintenance will be funded.  

        Mr. Olsson stated that he understands that plan update will include maintenance funding, but this question should be addressed by the Port.  

        Mr. Battalio stated that the USACE’s plans for the offshore sand are important relative to the master plan because it impacts park visitors’ option to swim.  

        Ms. McCann asked whether the management plan would be seen by the DRB.  

        Mr. Olsson stated that the intent was for the DRB to review the master plan rather than the management plan, but he can discuss more with BCDC staff offline.  

        Ms. Hall asked whether BCDC will issue a master permit for events or specific event permits.  

        Mr. Olsson stated that BCDC hopes to amend the current permit so the Port would have ongoing authorization for special events, subject to certain limitations and constraints. This would also be incorporated in the master plan.  

    2. Project Presentation. Mr. Richard Sinkoff, Director of Environmental Programs and Planning, Port of Oakland, introduced the project team. Mr. Sinkoff provided an overview, with a slide presentation of the background, context, existing site conditions, and a detailed description of the proposed project. Jan Novak, Environmental Planner/ Scientist, provided planning overview and park access. Linda Gates, Principal, Gates and Associates, provided overview on the design concept. Ramona Dixon, Park Manager, answered questions about the status of the management plan. 
    3. Board Questions. Following the presentation, the Board asked a series of questions: 

      Mr. Battalio asked the purpose of the training walls, especially the one near the channel. He also asked why the shoreline was armored next to the training wall.  

      Mr. Sinkoff stated that the training walls were included as a reference and mitigation for the historic 19th century dry-stone masonry USACE training walls that were on the channel itself, which they had to remove to widen to channel to accommodate new births. The area between the training wall and the mole is intended for a demonstration marsh as part of the Middle Harbor Enhancement area.  

      Mr. Wolfram asked whether the park’s maintenance budget would be different than the past, out of concern from the elevator being out of service for more than 15 years.  

      Mr. Sinkoff stated that the design direction is to move toward more durable and sustainable materials and any features proposed for the park will be screened for durability. A new and different management protocol makes the contractor responsible for maintenance of the elevator. A difficulty with the elevator is that it’s interior to the towers.  

      Mr. Wolfram asked if the management plan would consider allowing leashed dogs into the park, given nearby shoreline parks allow leashed dogs and a goal is to increase a visitor’s experience and access.  

      Mr. Sinkoff stated that some Oakland residents have expressed desire for this, and it is being considered closer to the parking lot. There is rich birding activity at the site and it is an active issue the project team is working on.  

      Mr. Wolfram asked about accessibility via shuttles and how more people will get to the park.  

      Mr. Sinkoff stated that an AC Transit bus stop was subsidized when the park first opened, but it was discontinued due to low ridership. The project proponents will be revisiting this option. The 7 Street Class 1 access will be looked into, including better lit sidewalks to encourage pedestrians and cyclists.  

      Ms. Hall asked for insight into how the area would be used for larger events, and how these events would be accessed.  

      Ms. Ramona Dixon, Middle Harbor Shoreline Park Manager, Port of Oakland, stated that starting in 2011, small events had 1,000-4,000, larger events had 4,000-12,000 people, and each type of event happened once per year. The plan now is to partner locally to have more small events in the future. Parking is not allowed for large events. There are only 184 parking spots. Promotors were required to offer rideshare options like Uber and Lyft through a parking management company, and Shuttle services from BART.  

      Mr. Strang asked how the planned replanting would result in an improved outcome given the limitations of the sand currently there. 

      Ms. Gates stated that the soil type must be amended in the limited lawn areas. The soil structure in the other areas might also be amended, but plant types will be chosen that work in a sandier environment.  

      Mr. Strang stated that the massing of the plants looked like what was there before and plants that grow in pure sand would require a reconceptualization of the aesthetic.  

      Mr. Novak stated that the team is considering importing topsoil to replace the sand.  

      Mr. Strang agreed and stated that importing topsoil is worth considering. 

      Ms. McCann there are a lot of benefits of widening the beach and asked how the team is approaching the design changes in the dunes and bird habitat regarding the beach expansion.  

      Mr. Sinkoff stated that the beach has lost its presence over time. A goal is bringing back the prominence of the beach by widening it and pulling the dunes back. Widening the beach will bring visitors upland and away from bird habitats. In the mid-tidal zone, birds tend to roost and rest on the shoals that have emerged.  

      Mr. Novak stated that raising the sand berm would allow more roosting habitat for birds. The birds do tend to move where they have fewer human interactions. 

      Ms. McCann asked about the three future governance options to ensure adequate future maintenance.  

      Mr. Sinkoff stated that the management plan focuses on reanalyzing the different governing options. Budget issues forced discontinuation of the relationship with the East Bay Regional Park District. The Port’s major business is running the seaport and other possible entities could also manage the park successfully. The Port wants to ensure the best possible management approach for the park going forward.  

      Ms. Alschuler asked about water-based recreation options and limitations and whether there people can arrive by water, if there will be a place for water taxis, marine science vessels, ferries, etc. 

      Mr. Sinkoff stated that the beach is the best location for kayak launching, one of the activities mentioned in focus groups. Connection to the Bay Water Trail will be analyzed in the consulting process. The project team will consult with the Bay Area Sea Kayakers Group. The plan does include a kayak launch on the beach. The Notch would have been that place, but it’s not an option given ships. The notch was initially envisioned for water taxi and marine science vessel access, but the currents and container ships make this unviable.  

      Mr. Strang asked whether the DG paths were a problem due to settling or erosion of the surface material.  

      Ms. Gates stated erosion of the surface level was the primary cause, and a little bit of settling has occurred. The paths are deteriorating over time due to erosion.  

      Mr. McCrea asked whether eroded granite was ever used. He thought sand was used to stabilize the DG paths.   

      Ms. Dixon stated that cement slurry (some granite and some cement) was used but it breaks up over time, so it is continuously added. It continues to be a safety issue with it becoming slippery. Asphalt started to be used which was more stable.   

    4. Public Hearing. Four members of the public provided the following comments: 
      1. Tamera White, a resident of Prescott, stated that any seating designed should be higher than standard seating for better accessibility. She looks forward to using the park more and hopes for an area for dogs as she would use the park more.  
      2. Tara Ridertson, a naturalist at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park since 2007, asked if someone could speak more to the education. She is open to working with people on public education and encourages project proponents to reach out to her to discuss wind block for educators working with kids, as well as sea level rise. She added that a fenced dog park could be nice to keep them in one area, possibly the port view area. The notch area wouldn’t facilitate a bridge well, especially if the mole is slumping because of the notch. She added that kayaking and swimming should be placed over by the port view building on a dock instead of on the beach because it’s always deep there. If the beach should not be made only for human enjoyment because importing sand reduces mud which is habitat for shrimp that feed the birds.  
      3. Jennifer Hayes, 5th grade teacher at Bella Vista, took a class here on a fieldtrip and brought 65 children, breaking up into small groups and dredging mud to see silt. The ability for the kids to have large grassy space to run around and picnic on, and she enjoys the grassy area especially if it’s close to picnic tables. Taking the information back to class allowed students to write essays on the ABCs of the shoreline. Signs educating about the watershed and trash would be nice since this is a topic of the kids’ instruction. Some students have never been to the beach despite living in Oakland. She stated that the plan looks great.  
      4. Megan Jankowski, member of Golden Gate Audubon, leads bird walks at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park in the winter. She thanked the project team for removing the vegetation by the birding outlooks because visitors can see the birds in the mudflats now. Mudflats should be maintained as much as possible because they are important feeding habitat for shorebirds. The training walls used to be very important for roosting shorebirds during high tide, but they use the mud flats more now. Some water recreation activities like stand-up paddleboards and kayaks might disturb birds like ducks in the winter. The kayak launch might be better suited to the right of Point Bernal because it tends to always have high water. Ms. Jankowski supports maintenance and improvement of the lawns. Spotted sandpipers like to rest on the rocks by the cut out on the mole. An enclosed dog area would be good, or maybe people could walk their dogs between Point Arnold’s to Port View Park. 
    5. Board Discussion. The Board responded to questions from the staff report: 
      1. Does the arrangement of the development between Stenmark Drive and the shoreline result in the best possible configuration in terms of circulation and views to the Bay? 
      2. What additional improvements does the Board advise to improve the water-based recreation at the park and beach?  
      3. What kind of transition between the lawn and beach does the Board advise to make the two spaces better connected and inviting to the shoreline?  
      4. What is the appropriate balance of planting and landscape changes needed to meet the goals of park visitors, enhance native habitat value, and reduce maintenance costs?  
      5. What advice does the Board have on improving the notch area at the UP mole for the public’s use and enjoyment?  
      6. What advice does the Board have concerning the facilities that were not built and the proposed outdoor programming that would substitute the indoor facilities?  
      7. What advice and considerations does the Board have on holding special events (larger concerts) at the park?  
      8. What advice does the Board have for designing the public access areas and amenities to be resilient and adaptive to sea level rise, including provisions for the management plan? 

        Mr. Strang stated that soil should be discussed. Soil tests could be done to determine exactly what the team is working with. Typical park plantings will not work here as they are proposed, or a tremendous amount of organic material will be needed. The project team should embrace the natural conditions and think about coastal scrub, informal landscapes, and clusters of trees. He suggested multi-trunk ground-hugging shrubs instead of formal canopy trees. Changing the soil would take a serious commitment. Current extreme environmental conditions would make maintenance of typical park plantings very difficult. 

        Ms. McCann agreed with Mr. Strang and asked his thoughts on using artificial turf.  

        Mr. Strang stated that this is common. It’s essentially a paved surface, but it is better than pouring water, fertilizing, mowing lawns, etc. Natural landscapes in Baja and San Diego should be used as a reference due to continuous drought. Southwest techniques and plants are coming north rapidly. Succulents that are growing in San Diego or Alcatraz Island should be looked at. Less or localized areas of lawn might be necessary. It’s a design opportunity and doesn’t have to be a loss.  

        Mr. Battalio stated that back dune wetlands often occur, and plants grow and create their own organic matter, reducing permeability significantly. Water comes in from fog and wind. Dunes, back dune wetlands, and drainage swales might be more sustainable.  

        Mr. Strang added that the erosion control and grasses at Ocean Beach are an example. It’s a soil building exercise.  

        Mr. Battalio stated he has experienced native dune plants not needing any irrigation and working as a natural coastal infrastructure adaptation approach. 

        Ms. McCann stated that the mole area that has been left to establish habitat looks very good with its range of native plants.  

        Ms. Hall asked about the wisdom behind trying to move dunes and asked whether moving them was healthy. She also asked about the quality of bird habitat. This being Oakland’s only beach, waterfront access is important, but maybe the beach will have to look different from ideal.  

        Mr. McCrea stated that the dunes were moved to accommodate public desire to have a beach again. The Port and BCDC staff are aiming for a compatibility and balance between wildlife and public access. Many years ago, BCDC entertained the Port’s proposal to implement the dunes, but their placement wasn’t well thought out. Now the template needs to be reset for the next 20 years. The beach is a critical goal for this park, and room should be left to make decisions down the road. 

        Ms. McCann stated that the Board and project team need to keep incremental sea level rise in mind because it will likely overtake a lot of what is currently the beach and thus it needs to be widened. 

        Mr. Wolfram stated that a lot of money is going into replacing all the pathways with concrete and suggested fewer pathways on the mole side to keep that side focused on bird habitat and the other side for people. Dogs could be on the north side connecting to the Port View Park. He suggested using the least expensive solution for the notch and spending money on trying get people to the park with adequate programming and shuttles.   

        Ms. McCann stated that there might be an opportunity to take out some of the park features, such as excess seating and waste bins. Access and ADA considerations for seating must be made. Everything you put in the park becomes a maintenance item, and the project team needs to be thoughtful. Ms. McCann agreed with Mr. Wolfram that the least expensive option should be used for the notch. Effort needs to go into improving the outdoor educational area, perhaps something more sheltered could be useful. The bathrooms are poorly maintained and unwelcoming.  

        Ms. Alschuler envisioned this site being a weekend destination instead of a once per year destination. She envisioned a program of events, some that have a cost that potentially helps support the park, but the majority of which are not expensive and even give away tickets to some Oakland residents. There’s no other place like this in the world. Something tight and focused should be done perhaps not on the full acreage. The 7th Street connection is a vital key to bring people by various modes of transportation. The project team should envision what a higher frequency of events would look like. Every schoolchild in Oakland should go to this park at some point, who would have fun learning about the Port and enjoying the beach. Some vertical plans should be made to allow visitors to see the incredible activity from a height. A lot of different stories combine here and could help with media attention. One idea is to partner with Universities or tech giants to have education on what’s entering and exiting the Port in live time. Cultures of indigenous people could be displayed. Perhaps this could be a hot spot for food trucks.  

        Ms. Hall stated that focusing on education and enabling events are the two big standouts for this project. She suggested working with Oakland Unified School District or Tara (public commentor) to brainstorm educational programs. She reiterated that there needs to be basic infrastructure for educators to be heard in the wind. The Port should also think about electricity hookups to help with events, potentially some that can create a revenue stream for the park. Ms. Hall stated that driving to the park is frightening due to all of the trucks on the road, and the project team should focus on how cyclists could get to the park more safely, even with something like k-rail to create a physical barrier. The project team should consider taking advantage of the opportunity to engage with the crane action from the park.  

        Ms. McCann stated that the tower is not necessary to enjoy the view. The interpretive material needs to be revamped. One thing missing from the plan is big sculptural moves. A creative person could reuse Port structures in a sophisticated way. Wi-Fi should definitely be brought into the park. Another idea is to access the Port radio so visitors can get a sense of action in the Port. If new bike paths are made, maybe banners on light poles can be used to inspire people to come into the park via bicycle. This should be made a true regional destination with more frequent events.  

        Mr. Battalio suggested that boats and other small crafts come in at the Point Arnold wharf area instead of the notch with a transient dock or a hoist. In terms of programming, there’s enough space for orient people to natural spaces and create educational opportunities. Perhaps kids could explore tide pools in the shallow subtidal and intertidal rocky habitat, and the project team should consider adding a rock garden that would reflect well off the training wall.  

    6. Applicant Response. Mr. Sinkoff responded positively to the Board’s discussion and suggestions. He stated the staff report was well done. The project proponents discussed that the focus is not on adding features. He appreciated Mr. Strang’s feedback about changing landscapes. The project team will take the Board’s comments into consideration and will come up with an improved design. 

      Ms. Gates, Mr. Novak, and Ms. Dixon stated their appreciation for the Board’s insights and will come up with an improved design.  

      Mr. Olsson stated that the Board addressed the applicant’s questions well, had some creative ideas, and that it will take time for staff and the Port reflect on the feedback.  

      Ms. Gaffney asked if the Board would like to review this project again.  

    7. Board Summary and Conclusions. The Board made the following summary and conclusions: 
      1. The Board concluded that they would like to see the project again for a secondary review. 
      2. The project team should consider ways to make this site a regional destination: 
        • Increase the frequency of events, using some of them to create a revenue stream for the park. 
        • Increase accessibility by different modes of transportation, especially considering a protected bike lane and shuttle services, emphasizing the 7th Street access.  
        • Think about engaging with the Port activity so that visitors can learn in live time what’s coming in and out of the Port. 
        • Focus on supporting educational opportunities within the park. 
      3. The project team should consider embracing the natural landscape conditions and planting coastal scrub instead of typical park plants.  
  5. Adjournment. Ms. McCann asked for a motion and a second to adjourn the meeting. 

    MOTION: Mr. Wolfram moved to adjourn the July 12, 2021, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission Design Review Board meeting, seconded by Mr. Strang. 

    VOTE: The motion carried with a vote of 6 yes, 0 no, and 0 abstain with Board Members Battalio, Hall, and Wolfram, Board Vice Chair Strang, and Board Chair McCann voting approval. 

    There being no further business, Ms. McCann adjourned the meeting at approximately 9:15 p.m.