Top-secret public meeting revealed!
April 4, 2008
Numerous downtown residents and interested parties have complained that the Downtown Zoning Update has featured a remarkably poor public input process. First, councilmembers Nancy Nadel and Pat Kernighan, who represent downtown, convened two meetings to get input on zoning around Lake Merritt. Both of the meetings were held outside of downtown as defined by the General Plan. Then the city staff, with the assistance of Councilmember Nadel, held two meetings specifically on the downtown Zoning Update, again outside of downtown. After members of the public (and a City Council candidate) complained that “nobody downtown knows about this process,” the Planning Commission ordered the planning staff to hold one more public input meeting, actually inside downtown this time. While nothing has been added to the official Zoning Update page or the Yahoo! Group created by Councilmember Nadel, I have learned that there is in fact a meeting scheduled.
On Monday April 7 Councilmembers Chang and Kernighan and the planning staff are holding an outreach meeting, starting at 6p, a Restaurant Peony in Chinatown. The forum is organized by the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce. This was revealed only by a neighborhood services coordinator who spotted the email on the “Asians in Oakland Government” group and then shared it with her neighborhood group.
Though Old Oakland, SOBO, Uptown and Downtown Lake Merritt don’t seem to merit the notice of city planners or Councilmembers, at least there will be one meeting on the downtown zoning update that’s actually inside the affected area. Too bad few people will know about it.