ALBANY -- The City Council took care of filling its empty seat on July 21, then turned its attention to the Albany Bulb and preparations to turn it over to the East Bay Regional Park District as part of McLaughlin Eastshore State Park.

The council approved a request for proposals for consulting work on preparing the transition of the Bulb, a former city dump that contains construction debris, concrete and rebar among other material that must be removed or dealt with in some other way before the EBRPD will accept the land.

The city recently removed the last of the homeless campers from the property, where people had been living for close to two decades.

Albany has received a grant of $168,000 from the California Coastal Conservancy to develop an improvement plan for the Bulb. According to a staff report, the plan would be used to create an agreement on what improvements and modifications would be needed and how to fund them.

Specifically, the RFP asks for a Hazards Assessment and Mediation Plan, an analysis of the Bulb's vulnerability to the effects of climate change, a detailed "concept" plan for EBRPD discussions and public comment, a final plan sufficient to prepare bid documents for the first phase of work, a phasing plan, a cost estimate, a schedule and budget for operations and maintenance and a CEQA review.

The staff report specified that the RFP would not exceed the $168,000 grant.


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The council also approved an ordinance reversing its approval of digital/electronic billboards in the city. The council in February had approved digital/electronic billboards in the commercial mixed use zone near the freeway, with the idea that the revenue could be used to help construct a new public works center. However, neighbors objected vehemently to the idea.

The city has reduced the size of the new public works center to reduce the cost.

The ordinance was a first reading, meaning the council will have to vote on it a second time at a future meeting. It was approved 4-1 with Michael Barnes voting against it.

The meeting opened with the swearing in of Rochelle Nason to the City Council seat held by Peggy Thomsen, who died in June.

Nason, appointed an interim councilwoman at the July 7 meeting, will serve through November, when voters will elect someone to serve the final two years of Thomsen's term. Two full four-year term seats will also be on the ballot and Nason has said she will seek election.