Developer Can Count to 3
Ready to Invest Millions But He's Not Worried
If a developer came to town hawking a development proposal in which he planned to spend hundreds of millions of dollars and there existed a document at City Hall, a lawful bicycle plan that would massively impact and curtail that development, wouldn't you think the developer would have a keen interest in knowing the details of that document? That's what we thought. But imagine our surprise when we recently asked Sherwin Williams developer Joe Ernst about Emeryville's Pedestrian/Bicycle Plan and it's impact on his project. Mr Ernst said he had heard of the document but he hadn't read it...not in the five years he and his team had planned the development proposal for the Sherwin Williams site. After we told him that the Bike Plan provides for traffic diverters on Horton Street, the major street servicing his project, Mr Ernst told us yes, he would check out this plan of ours.
It seemed like the developer wasn't really interested in something that any rational person in a similar position would know all the details of, front to back before anything else. Surely, we thought, the Planning Department staff at City Hall had alerted Mr Ernst of the Ped/Bike Plan and its traffic calming on Horton Street, but if they did, Mr Ernst seemed happily oblivious.
Then it became obvious: Joe Ernst can count to three. Nora Davis / Kurt Brinkman, Ruth Atkin; one, two, three.
|Sherwin Williams Developer Joe Ernst|
from SRM Ernst Development Partners
Phlegmatic and undemonstrative:
He knows how to play the game in Emeryville.
Mr Ernst doesn't need to concern himself with our pesky Pedestrian/Bicycle Plan and how it would severely limit traffic to and from his project. Mr Ernst it appears, has counted up the three votes needed for his project on the City Council. He knows he can depend on these three council members to amend the Bike Plan (and the General Plan) to get rid of the Horton Street Bike Boulevard.
Why else would a developer take so little interest in such a would be consequential document? Especially since these three Council members have shown they are willing to do what it takes to assuage the interests of developers, be it overturning the Planning Commission, amending the General Plan or removing a bike/pedestrian path.
For years, Ms Davis / Mr Brinkman and Ms Atkin have shown themselves to be pro-developer ideologues. Mr Ernst knows his project is in good hands. The fact he hasn't even feigned an interest in our Bike Plan gives an indication of his comfort with and faith in the Emeryville City Council majority.