Council moves forward on economic development plans, adopts five-year redevelopment plan at Feb. 7 meeting
The City Council took steps Feb. 7 in its efforts to make
the city more attractive to business. The council voted unanimously to
establish an Economic Development Commission, accept a task force's economic
develop strategy and action plan, and direct staff to begin defining the
role of a planned economic development manager.
"If we don't do something definitive now, we're going
to lose momentum," said Councilman Larry Damon.
Mayor Mark Friedman said it is important for the city to
move ahead while the economy is strong.
While the council accepted the task force's plan, it made
it clear that details of carrying out the many recommendations of the
commission still need to be worked out.
Later in the meeting, the council also adopted a five-year
plan for the city's Redevelopment Agency.
Goals of the city's economic development plan include increasing
and diversifying tax revenue, and increasing shopping and employment opportunities
in the city.
Recommendations in the 40-page report include:
* work with other agencies to address traffic and parking
* review city policies and organization to make them more
* develop a marketing brochure for the city;
* improve the city's web page;
* build on the revitalization of the Plaza and the existence
of the Plaza BART station to develop Fairmount Avenue as a "Main
Street commercial environment."
* work with BART to build the BART parking garage provided
for in Measure C;
* develop the mid-town area around El Cerrito Mill &
Lumber, and the Del Norte area;
* launch a Shop El Cerrito campaign;
* work more closely with the schools.
Councilwoman Gina Brusatori said the city needs to have
a plan that shows that the city will get its money back on what is spent
on the economic development program -- estimated in the task force's report
at $350,000 for the first year.
Raymond Miles, chairman of the Economic Development Task
Force, said for other cities the pay off from economic development has
taken 10 years or more. But Brusatori said, "We don't have 10 to
15 years. We have maybe three to seven years."
She cautioned that El Cerrito has several "fatal flaws"
it must overcome to enhance development in the city including small lots,
lots that the owners are keeping underdeveloped, congested traffic, and
vocal opposition to development.
Other council members echoed the concerns about traffic
and talked about the need to work with other agencies, including Richmond,
since the problem is not El Cerrito's alone.
In other action, the council:
* voted to establish a four-hour restricted parking zone
in west El Cerrito. The restrictions would apply to both sides of the
street on School Street, Cypress Avenue, South 53rd Street, South 55th
Street, and a portion of Potrero.
Residents of the area have asked the city to restrict parking.
Casual carpoolers use the area -- south of Potrero Avenue and west of
Interstate 80 -- to park.
Residents of the neighborhood will be able to get parking
permits exempting them from the limit.
*endorsed state Proposition 12, the State park bond ; Proposition
13, the water bond; and Proposition 14, The California Reading and Literacy
Improvement and Public Library Construction and Renovation Bond Act. The
council opposed Proposition 28, which would repeal the Proposition 10
* as the governing board of the Redevelopment Agency, asked
staff to gather additional information on parties interested in leasing
agency-owned property at 11335-11341 San Pablo Avenue .
Run dates: 2000-02-07 - 2000-03-07