Oakland’s Angstadt to be Berkeley’s new planning director

Eric Angstadt, Berkeley's new planning director. Photo: Oakland North

Update, 8:00pm: At the public comment part of a closed session of the Berkeley City Council tonight, Mayor Tom Bates said that no-one had been hired as director of planning for Berkeley. He said the council would be interviewing Angstadt in the closed session and “our decision will be made after that”. Councilmember Kriss Worthington added that the vote on whom to hire would not take place tonight, the general public would see the candidate’s name, and the council would vote in public.

Original story: Eric Angstadt, currently deputy director of planning and zoning for the City of Oakland, is expected to be confirmed tonight as Berkeley’s new director of planning and development. The City Council will make the appointment in closed session tonight, and the official announcement is scheduled for tomorrow.

The directorship has been vacant for nearly a year, since Dan Marks retired last July 1. Wendy Cosin has been acting director in the interim.

“Eric is a very creative, visionary person who takes a very pragmatic approach to his vision,” said Joél Ramos, a member of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board and community planner at the Great Communities Collaborative for TransForm. “He’s very talented at working with people. We’re confident that if there’s a way to get something done on a project, Eric will find the way.”

Ramos cites three major projects in Oakland where he believes Angstadt’s contribution was crucial: the Upper Broadway corridor plan, the International Boulevard transit-oriented development, and the commercial corridor zoning update.

John Protopappas, president and CEO of Madison Park Financial, one of Oakland’s largest developers, echoes Ramos.

“Oakland’s loss is Berkeley’s gain,” Protopappas said. “I’m sorry to see it. He’s been able to figure out solutions to problems that didn’t seem like they could be resolved.”

Angstadt will arrive to a crowded set of issues in Berkeley’s planning department. A new downtown plan seems set to be passed by the City Council in the coming month, and the new West Berkeley plan is at an advanced stage.

As development projects have slowed through the 2008 recession and its aftermath, the city’s revenues from developers has dropped, leaving the Permit Service Center in deficit. The center’s fund started the 2012 fiscal year with over $2 million in fund balance, but an operating shortfall is projected through fiscal year 2013. The expected shortfall between revenues and expenditures in FY 2012 is $566,144.

Taller buildings, open spaces on cards for downtown Berkeley [03.09.12]
City takes first step towards adopting West Berkeley plan [03.24.11]

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  • Zelda Bronstein

    Hi, Lance:  What’s your source on this story? Or is it just a rumor?

  • It’s based on more than one source.

  • Julie

    I’m so glad the public had a lot of input to this decision.  Way to go ( again ) Berkeley!

  • Kevin

    What input could you possibly have that would be of value?  His record in Oakland speaks for itself. 

  • Zelda Bronstein

    Just got back from public comment at the council’s special meeting today. The mayor stated that no decision on planning director has been made, nor will any be made today. In any case, it’s customary for journalists to cite the sources of their news, or else to describe what they’re reporting as rumor. So far, the Angstadt hire is a rumor.

  • Julie

    I’ll quote from the Daily Planet: ” under previous city managers the planning director nomination was reported to the City Council in the closed session and then voted on by the council in subsequent open public meetings.

    If the appointment is made in closed session, it will be a departure from previous practice. If the city’s announcement of the name is made after the appointment has already taken place, the public has no opportunity to comment on the decision. And it appears that in this case the deal has already gone down, so the public is firmly out of the loop.”

    It’s the process, and I’m tired of the council changing the rules when it suits them. 

  • Durelleali

    I supposed “congratulations” are in order here, Mr. Angstadt — Godspeed and all; from many years of experience here, I’m can’t help but be struck by the irony of the first five letters of your last name….

  • Kriss Worthington

    The proposal to hire a Planning Director is scheduled to appear on the April 3 City Council agenda. There will be time for public comment on this subject at that meeting. People can also send emails or make phone calls to provide information or opinions to the City Council on or before that date. I welcome any insights people care to share.

  • clearvision

    Read the first paragraph.

  • Completeley Serious

    You know, the Council just hates it when the citizens find out about the sweetheart deals beforehand.  Hence Bates’  denial.  Bet:  Angstadt gets the appointment come April 3.  Then watch Wendy Cosin retire.

    On the plus side, if they give it to Angstadt, it will be a departure from picking a city insider (Cosin), although I personally think Cosin is pretty good and ought to be given a chance. 

  • Julie

    I’m confused. Did the Mayor slip when he said he’d only met him for two minutes– was that on Friday? Something seems not quite right in Berkeleyland.

  • Julie

    What I mean to say is the timeline is wrong here. The Mayor meets with  Angstadt on Friday.. he let that slip out. But the closed council meeting about this issue was Monday and then there was public comment…What’s wrong with this picture. And this person  who the mayor wants to choose  will further his downtown plan, and developers plans that are most likely not good for the majority of Berkeley citizens… I’m tired of drinking that darn “Kool-aid”. What I don’t get is the comments about Bates in another piece that Berkeleyside ran, about the Mayor running again, most people don’t even like him. What gives?

  • 3rdGenBerkeleyan

    Because Oakland was doing so well…we need to bring someone in from somewhere has has success not failure!