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Berkeley Marina Meetings

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2021 3:23 pm    Post subject: Berkeley Marina Meetings Reply with quote

As you will note in the email copied below, I've chosen to start this new Topic. However, the "WETA Berkeley Ferry & Pier Planning Meeting" topic remains relevant, at least for historical purposes.

I hope that the October 27th meeting info links are active, but if not, just ask.

Also, I expect the email's attached photos and document will not appear. It's a real pain to manage that on this site. If you want them sent to you via separate email, just ask.

Cheers, David


Dear Berkeley Marina & HLS Cove Launch Users,

First, please note that I’m starting a new iWindsurf Forum topic on this subject (will post this email there shortly - probably not with photos/docs though). My initial, related Topic/Thread was titled "WETA/Berkeley…”, which doesn’t cover all the developments potentially impacting windsurfing and other water recreational activities at Berkeley’s Marina. That topic has 27,000+ views to date, so apparently there’s interest.

Two relevant meetings occurred just this week. Also, a third Public meeting regarding the WETA Pier/Ferry proposal is now scheduled for October 27th (details noted below). All via Zoom.

The first meeting this past Wednesday (small group - invitation only) was to discuss recreational access at the His Lordships (HLS) Cove. Attendees included one foiler (winger?), Lynne Olinger (sp?), who seemed to concur with the concerns many of us raised about access to and use of that site.

The HLS restaurant at 199 Seawall Drive has been closed for several years. Zoom meeting was organized and run by the same group of City of Berkeley (CoB) staff and consultants managing the WETA/Pier/Ferry study, but without WETA staff attendance given narrow focus on HLS Cove. I’ve copied (far below) the meeting summary email I sent to the consulting/planning architect (Kent Royle - with cc’s to CoB staff). He has already responded - and appears appreciative of that input.

The second meeting Wednesday was a public Zoom of the CoB Parks & Waterfront Commission, chaired by Gordon Wozniak and including member Jim McGrath. Turns out that there is a potential HLS site lease in the works (also as noted in my email to Kent Royle). The agenda for the Commission meeting has links to the proposed lease terms (on page 5):

Although my expectation remains that the restaurant would be prohibitively expensive to renovate, the concept of using some of the HLS parking lot for a “Food Truck & Events Site” could be quickly implemented. Apparently a similar operation at China Basin in SF has been quite a success (that site's url below). Revenue to CoB and enhanced marina utilization would be the CoB’s reason for doing this.

The third meeting, upcoming on October 27th, will again focus on the WETA Pier/Ferry study (meeting access info copied below). However, I now belatedly realize that some of the graphics and information conveyed in the second Pier/Ferry public meeting was related to that Food Truck & Events Park proposal (see screenshots below).

As in the past, I’d encourage you all to attend the 10/27 Zoom, but also to sign up for the BMASP mailing list and/or send your own emails of concern to the BMASP website where they are collected and retained. I definitely have the impression that all our input has been changing the WETA Pier/Ferry plans in a positive way.

However, constant vigilance and assertive agitation remain essential, particularly given the relative lack of familiarity with recreational uses evidenced by many of those involved with the planning, as well as the potential parking/access impact of a new Food Truck & Event Site on HLS Cove use.

Finally, the existing launch pathway at HLS has deteriorated, with several large riprap chunks right in the way (photo here from my Thursday session):


Given that it’s the end of the season I’m not overly anxious to arrange a work party to deal with this, but additional caution advised. Also good to note that the large boulders in the rebuilt jetty at Pt. Isabel are not moving, even after three years.

Cheers, David


Please especially note in Christina’s email copied here (hope the links shown are active):

a. FAQ link - important to read, as many questions raised and addressed (although a few out-dated).

b. Pier/Ferry Project Website link - VERY informative.

c. BMASP mailing list access and comment referral link (if you don’t choose to speak at the Zoom).

From: "Quesada, Christina" <>
Subject: Berkeley Municipal Pier and WETA Ferry Facility Planning Study
Date: October 15, 2021 at 4:03:06 PM PDT
Cc: "Ferris, Scott" <>, "Endress, Alexandra" <>, "Lam, Nelson" <>, "Miller, Roger" <>

Hello Berkeley Pier-Ferry Project Stakeholders,

We look forward to seeing you at our third public workshop on the Berkeley Municipal Pier and WETA Ferry Facility Planning Studyon Wednesday, October 27, 2021 at 6:30 P.M via zoom. At the workshop, we will share the latest concept for the project based on all the community feedback we have received over the past year. Please share this meeting announcement with everyone in your community. For background on the project, please read the Frequently Asked Questions (Pier-Ferry Project FAQs) on the City’s Project website

Meeting Details – Zoom Link and Dial In:
Berkeley Municipal Pier & WETA Ferry Facility Planning Study Community Workshop #3
Date: October 27, 2021
Time: 6:30pm-8:30pm
Zoom: (Copy and Paste to internet browser)
Phone: +16699006833,,82683370448#
Mail your comments, questions, and mailing list requests to:
Flyer: Pier-Ferry Workshop #3 flyer


“Food Truck & Event Site" Proposal:

These next two screenshots from the Pier/Ferry Workshop #2 on 8/10/21 show potential parking areas and impact from siting of a “Food Truck Park & Event Site” in the southern portion of the HLS lot. Now I understand the genesis of this.

The second screenshot appears to show Seawall Dr. reconfigured to have parking only on east curb side.

Depending on user restrictions and enforcement, all this could prove quite problematic for recreational use of HLS Cove.

Although both slides show the “surprise” wind-surfer/kayak launch dock in the HLS Cove, my expectation is that near-unanimous concerns raised during the 10/13 Zoom will ensure this proposal is deleted (including from the CoB staffer who is serious kayaker). Still not sure how it even got proposed. Trying hard to head off future “mistakes from good intentions” via all this input.

Also important to again note that this sort of event pop-up site use could be installed almost immediately. There could well be pressure to do so in terms of potential revenue generation for CoB.

The “Spark Social” url here is for the SF China Basin site, similar to approach that is being considered as part of the CoB/IPG 199 Seawall Drive lease negotiation.

Screen Shot 2021-10-16 at 11.32.59 AM.png


Screen Shot 2021-10-16 at 11.33.51 AM.png


Here is my “summary” email for the first, invitational Zoom meeting (hope its size doesn’t preclude transmission/receipt). Note the underlined caution regarding access designs to be avoided.

It is far easier to get a project done right initially than to try and correct planning/construction mistakes in retrospect (as at Albany Beach).

From: David Fielder <>
Subject: His Lordships Cove Access Meeting - Followup
Date: October 15, 2021 at 3:27:19 PM PDT
To: Kent Royle <>
Cc: "Ferris, Scott" <>, Nelson Lam <>, Alexandra Endress <>, Roger Miller <>, Craig Lewis <>, Peter Bluhon <>, David Fielder <>


Wednesday’s Zoom meeting (by invitation only) regarding His Lordships (HLS) Cove recreational access issues was both informative and positive from my perspective.

My impression was that you are the architect involved with related planning for that area (Wong/Logan), in conjunction with the WETA Pier/Ferry study? In any case, thank you for your appreciation of the concerns and complexities surrounding recreational water access at the HLS Cove.

Overall, my sense is that with proper site evaluation and sensitivity to the various user constituencies, developing even an ADA-compliant access at the Cove is both doable and relatively inexpensive. However, as at Pt. Isabel Shoreline Park (PI - read more below), it may prove most efficient to have two access ramps, one ADA-sloped (5%) and one for most recreational users (20%).

As I mentioned during the Zoom meeting, I have logged many hours evaluating HLS Cove access (including WS launching), relying particularly on my experience with the EBRPD's Pt. Isabel Launch project, completed January, 2019. One important component of that PI effort was educating park staff and their engineering consultant, Kyle MacDonald (coastal engineer - Foth Engineering), regarding the nuances of wind-powered recreational gear usage, as well as access designs to be avoided (several PI project-related photos below).

At the conclusion of the PI project, I invited the owner of Sandstone Environmental Engineering, Martin Castillo (an experienced City of Berkeley contractor), over to HLS Cove to evaluate how an ADA access ramp might be constructed. We walked the site and he was confident as to construction feasibility. He also gave me a “back of envelope” estimate of less than $150K for an 8-foot wide asphalt pathway (asphalt for cost & modification flexibility) with a 5% grade, starting roughly from the shoreline fire hydrant on Seawall Drive (photo below), located to the NW of the restaurant.

However, several important issues remain regarding design of such an access pathway/ramp, including:

1. How to construct the final water approach if the ramp terminates at high tide line (tide level varies by up to 6 Ft there). I believe that the elevation drop from street level to high tide is roughly 6 feet (eyeball estimate). This is critical consideration given the hazard of green slime buildup (more photos).

2. Adjacent shoulder treatment along the pathway - a concern for gear handling while transiting.

3. Wind/wave action within the Cove during southerly winter storms, and their effect on pathway design and survivability (photo). [Note: another reason to keep any WETA ferry dock to the north of the recreational pier]

4. Strong desire to avoid use of pathway steps and railings (photo).

5. Possibility of having two ramps for “separating user groups” while still conforming to all code requirements - as at the PI project.

6. Although I would assume no jetty rebuilding, still the relocation/securing of some of the attendant riprap would be strongly desired for navigational safety (several photos).

7. Development of professionally accurate site design drawings, at least for discussion and financial support-seeking purposes.

I was further encouraged by Scott’s comments that the proposed IPG lease for 199 Seawall Drive (aka HLS), and attendant property use/restoration will not threaten recreational use of the Cove and user access/parking needs.

I’d be pleased to walk the area with you at your convenience, as I did with Scott, Nelson, and Jim McGrath last year. Ideally before the next Public meeting on this issue. Since I’m retired, my schedule is quite flexible.

Sincerely, David

P.S. I’ve also included url links to the SF Bay Water Trail Design Guidleines I referenced, along with the Water Trail's Boardsailing Plan. I worked with Ben Botkin to ensure the water access concerns discussed above were addressed in both documents.

P.P.S. I’ve also attached below the somewhat relevant 2004 Bay Trail Extension design document - with the important caveat that its HLS Cove launch access approach is not desireable. However, having access to it might facilitate addressing item #7 above? Hope its size doesn’t prohibit transmittal/receipt of this email (so rsvp appreciated!).






Potential launch access pathway to HLS Cove (stakes are for 8 ft wide path).
Note that a 20% grade ramp could begin roughly at these foreground stakes.


Potential initial start point for ADA-grade pathway (5%) - near the fire hydrant.
Note multiple site users including picnickers, runners, and a windsurf foil board.

#9-HLS-Rig Areas+FireHydrant copy.jpeg

Cove high tide markers (taken at low tide):

HLS-Staked-LowTide/face North9449.jpeg

Riprap/beach transition - a challenge remaining to be addressed.


Potential pathway and landing demarcation at high tide (stakes):


Pt. Isabel - original pre-project launch conditions (circa 2018):

PI-old launch.jpeg

Not exactly ADA-grade….


Demonstration of windsurf gear issues at Pt. Isabel for EBRPD staff on 9/29/15 - well before
final design stage (Jeff Rasmussen at right):

PtIsabel_Botkin_29Sept2015 (1).jpeg

New Pt. Isabel ramps' co-terminus at high tide. No slime after 3 years.


Good PI Launch Photo.jpeg

PI & Ramps/WSers.jpeg

HLS Cove approach area - efficient access to cove for gear now blocked by new gate:

HLS Circle+Sketch9918.jpeg

HLS Cove Launch/jetty at high tide:

HLS 10/20-Carol.jpeg

Launch/jetty at low tide:


Launch access in southerly winter storms and high tide - problematic!


Cal Sailing Club webcam-shot demonstrating “wind line”.
A key factor regarding the relative value of HLS Cove launch vs. SSB docks.

#3-CSC-WindLine-2020-06-06 at 3.41.17 PM.png

Another reason not to rely on SSB docks for water access - unless/until dredged at least:


Slimed “stadium steps” at Edwards Park in Pt. Richmond:


Slimed steps at Shimada Park in Richmond.


Slimed ramp at Coyote Pt. in San Mateo. Note that the ramp's
waffle construction is also not desirable.


Inaugural opening of the new Pt. Isabel Launch December, 2018 (one happy user):


Ongoing riprap relocation efforts at HLS Cove:


Riprap continues to relocate from the jetty - photo taken yesterday: 10/14/21:


Earlier HLS Cove site tour (11/1/20): Ferris; McGrath; Lam; Fielder


HLS restaurant garbage bins prior to restaurant closure. Bins definitely
impacted launch access (and aesthetics).


Active sewage spilling into Bay from main HLS sewer line (6/25/17 - note brown plume).
Another facilities-related problem with the site.


SSB “ADA” dock. Clearly NOT watercraft-user friendly….


Original HLS Cove access plan from 2004 (NOT desirable):

Screen Shot 2021-10-14 at 2.29.26 PM.png

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2021 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your hard work Dave.
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Location: Berkeley, California

PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2021 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For those interested in this project, here are the standards that must be met in order for a ferry terminal in Berkeley to be built.


Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, now codified as US Code Section 1344, set up a permit process for dredging and filling of water. It is implemented by the Corps of Engineers with oversight from the Environmental Protection Agency, and guidance is provided by a set of regulatory guidelines. The most relevant provision in those guidelines when considering a new project like a WETA terminal is Section 230.10, which provides:

(a) Except as provided under section 404(b)(2), no discharge of dredged or fill material shall be permitted if there is a practicable alternative to the proposed discharge which would have less adverse impact on the aquatic ecosystem, so long as the alternative does not have other significant adverse environmental consequences.

It would seem that an alternative located within Berkeley marina would avoid dredging a new channel in the Bay, some of the fill associated with construction of a terminal on a pier, and all of the fill associated with any required breakwaters.


Section 4(f) of the Federal Transportation Act established a presumption that parks should not be used for transportation facilities constructed with Federal Funds. It requires:

49 U.S. Code Section 303, states:

(c)Approval of Programs and Projects.—Subject to subsections (d) and (h), the Secretary may approve a transportation program or project (other than any project for a park road or parkway under section 204 [1] of title 23) requiring the use of publicly owned land of a public park, recreation area, or wildlife and waterfowl refuge of national, State, or local significance, or land of an historic site of national, State, or local significance (as determined by the Federal, State, or local officials having jurisdiction over the park, area, refuge, or site) only if—
there is no prudent and feasible alternative to using that land
; and
the program or project includes all possible planning to minimize harm to the park, recreation area, wildlife and waterfowl refuge, or historic site resulting from the use.
Again, it seems that a site within the established marina would be a prudent and feasible alternative.


The Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) has jurisdiction over any project that would place fill in the Bay, and has established policies that are specific to the question of whether or not a ferry can be permitted in a designated park. The Berkeley marina has been designated by BCDC as a waterfront park, and the relevant policy provides:

Ferry terminals may be allowed in waterfront park priority use areas and marinas and near fishing piers and launching lanes, provided the development and operations of the ferry facilities do not interfere with current or future park and recreational uses, and navigational safety can be assured. Terminal configuration and operation should not disrupt continuous shoreline access. Facilities provided for park and marina patrons, such as parking, should not be usurped by ferry patrons. Shared parking arrangements should be provided to minimize the amount of shoreline area needed for parking. (emphasis added)

The City of Berkeley has also established a special protection standard for its parks and open space areas, Measure L. That measure was approved as a citizen initiative on November 3, 1986, and includes the following standard:

That no public parks (hereinafter defined) or public open space (hereinafter defined) owned or controlled or leased by the City of Berkeley or agency thereof, shall be used for any other purpose than public parks and open space, without The Berkeley City Council first having submitted such use to the citizens for approval by a majority of registered Berkeley voters voting at the next general election.
The definition included in the ordinance is certainly broad enough to include the marina.

Public open space shall be defined as all City of Berkeley parks, public school playgrounds, and vacant public land, whether dedicated formally to park use or being used de facto as open space with recreational use or potential use on or after January 1, 1985.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2021 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Latest info/update:


Several items to note, mostly having to do with the ongoing WETA Pier/Ferry planning process.

1. UCB Graduate School of Journalism has chosen the Marina for “class project”. Several of us have been interviewed at length. First result was the publication this week in Berkeleyside of article by Julietta Bisharyan. I was concerned about the usual flak/harrassment that would result, but the Comment section for that article turns out to be excellent way to convey additional information - rather than just snotty rants.

2. I also suspect that her article has triggered additional support for our MoveOn.Org Marina petition. We were stuck at 411 sigs for weeks, but now suddenly rising again (442!). Please read it for additional background, plus sign if you haven’t already done so?

3. The third public Zoom on this project is slated for this coming Wednesday. Hope you will join and perhaps even comment.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Berkeley Municipal Pier & WETA Ferry Facility Planning Study Community Workshop #3 at 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Teleconference: 1-669-900-6833 Meeting ID: 826 8337 0448
Mail your comments, questions, and mailing list requests to:
AGENDA: Preferred Waterside and landside conceptual designs for Pier-Ferry Planning Study.
Berkeley Municipal Pier Website:

4. Reminder that City is hoping to lease the HLS restaurant. Prior to any real activity they plan to run a “food truck park” in the HLS parking lot. This will almost certainly have an impact on recreational use of the area, if only for parking. I’m sure it will be discussed further at Wednesday meeting.

Cheers, David
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2021 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been casually following your posts on this issue but it has been really hard for me to understand exactly what the issue are since these posts are really really long (I have heard the same from others). I learned how to windsurf at Cal Sailing Club back in the 1990's and the institution has a really special place in my heart. Any chance you can summarize the issues in a short post? I saw that Berkeleyside article and it seems like the terminal is a fairly modest proposal. Most windsurfing occurs in the cove at and below His Lordships. Is the biggest concern parking?
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2021 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


First, would be helpful to know your name in case we “run into each other”?

I appreciate your concern re length of these posts.

However, we have learned that the "Devil is in the Details" - while hoping that City Staff and consultants learn the same lesson one of these years.

After all, this isn’t our first “Berkeley ferry rodeo” - 12 years following the first go-around.

The only reason this is again happening is WETA’s “bribe offer” to pay for the first 600 feet of rebuilt pier.

The main issues are:

1. Restrictions on actual recreational use of the Bay: From relocated pier, attendant breakwater(s), and Homeland Security water-side restrictions.

2. Restrictions on access into the Bay: primarily due to egregious parking requirements for WETA’s commuter hub.

3. Environmental Impacts: Dredging; pollution from uncleansed diesel boats; noise - etc.

4. Economic Impacts: This is HIGHLY subsidized, small-scale commuter operation compared to BART/AC Transit. All planning reliant on WETA guesses as to future ridership. Anyone can view their actual ridership on the monthly WETA Board’s agenda/reports - go for it….

5. Regulatory Implications: Numerous permits/agencies control Marina use and development. Many of those restrictions are being discounted or ignored by staff and consultants - particularly Berkeley’s Measure L.

6. Ferry will be primarily a sight-seeing amenity - as acknowledged by Mayor Tom Bates back circa 2009.

7. Taxpayer Impact: Is this the best use of $50 Million from our pockets - better alternatives abound.

Some of these concerns would be mitigated IF WETA would simply base a smaller “water taxi” operation within the main Marina Harbor.

Hope this helps and that you join this evening's Pier/Ferry Zoom.

Sincerely, David
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