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Eco-Community a serious alternative to building up

Martha Nicoloff Berkeley
Thursday March 14, 2002



Berkeley residents have patiently considered the messages of prophets in the past. Erhart and EST, Raj-neesh and red clothing have come and gone and now, for all too long, Richard Register and his Ecocity Builders have been making noises. In his public announcements he has been smarting over the rejection of most of his amendments to the city’s General Plan, they considered neighborhood housing as under-utilized land-use. He has now started attacking a legitimate alternatives offered by others. (See March 9 Daily Planet, Opinion Page) 

The “Eco-Community” document, that Register’s partner describes as mockery, is a serious alternative to the vision of towers in the sky they have promoted repeatedly for the BART stations. The “Eco-Community” position paper outlining those alternatives will very soon be posted on the “” Web site. 

Register and his developer cohorts are probably gearing up for a new initiative, the Berkeley Height Ordinance, to appear on the November ballot.  

It will control out-of-scale development in the flat-lands and additions to existing buildings. The Berkeley Height Ordinance will give residents a chance to express their opinion about the bulky, up-to-the- sidewalk, 50-foot high projects that have caused many communities to assemble at countless public hearings. However, several new limitations on speech at these hearings have throttled the opportunity of citizens to have input. Many of us can remember the very large gatherings when the main auditorium at the high school had to be opened for public hearings, and so many speakers wanted to be heard that the hearing was continued for additional nights. 

We are all conscious of the five council seats that are on the November ballot, so it is urgent that neighborhood-friendly representatives be supported and elected. Even though the campaign against the initiative by developers will be fierce, I have no doubt that city residents will vote to support the Height Ordinance that will be in effect for 10 years. The Berkeley Height Ordinance is now finally complete and the city attorney has promised to pass it for publication before March 20, or sooner.  


Martha Nicoloff