Two important events for kiters are coming up, and it is critical for the users of Albany Beach ("RaceTrack") to be well represented:
- City Hall Discussion - on May 16, 2017, 6:30-7:30 pm, at the Albany City Hall 100 San Pablo Avenue, is to discuss the East Bay Regional Park District’s plans for beach restoration and the Bay Trail.
- BCDC Design Review Board Meeting - on June 5, at the Bay Area Metro Center, 375 Beale Street Yerba Buena, San Francisco, First Floor
- These two meetings are crucial for making sure that the Park District’s design enhances, rather than detracts from access for kiteboarding. Kiters - Please be there to represent the kite community, or there is risk of diminished access on the racetrack
There are two issues that are critical to the kiteboarding community. First, there are some groups in Albany that are opposed to the amount of parking proposed. While 20 new spaces are proposed, in addition to the 40 spaces now available on Buchanan Street, only 13 of those spaces are available for the length of time kiters and kayakers would be out on the Bay. Second, while the design proposes to enlarge the beach, it also proposes to fence off a section of the dunes with a 4 foot-high fence that might prove to be hazardous to the launching of kites.
Now for a little more background. There are folks who have opposed the designation of Albany Beach for access to the Bay. Norman LaForce of the Sierra Club joined with another group to sue the park district, arguing that kite boarding and windsurfing would destroy eel grass. Ultimately they lost that lawsuit. Second, there is a group called Albany Strollers and Rollers that appears to oppose parking. They have an article on the upcoming meeting http://www.albanystrollroll.org/event/public-meeting-on-albany-bay-trail-and-beach-restoration/?instance_id=8206
Third, we missed the first meeting of the Design Review Board of BCDC, and should follow up with the staff. The meeting was held April 17, and the staff report can be found here: http://www.bcdc.ca.gov/drb/2017/0417AlbanyBeach.pdf. It would be helpful if you reached out to Andrea Gaffney (415-352-3643) and talk with her about how that meeting went and what our concerns are.