To the Editor:
Regarding the proposed project to demolish the Darling Flower Shop at 2008 University Ave. and build housing there, I think we’ve reached a point where, once again, Berkeley risks becoming the laughing stock of the Bay Area. Make no mistake: Designating the current building a "structure of merit," which the Landmarks Preservation Commission wants to do, is an obvious ploy to stop development. With two bus routes on the block and BART an easy walk away, the proposed 35-unit apartment building is clearly the best choice for Berkeley.
What's especially troubling about the latest attempt of Berkeley's arch-conservative NIMBYs to stop any kind of progress in our city is that the particular structure in question is astoundingly ugly. Yes, there appears to be an old-ish house somewhere behind the bland 1950s façade. But even what's left of the house has been completely stripped of any architectural or visual appeal. The whole property should be labeled a "structure of demerit." Demolishing it would do all of us a favor.
This time the NIMBYs are going too far. Saving one of Berkeley's most unattractive buildings in the name of historical and architectural preservation is a travesty. The emperor—in this case the Landmarks Preservation Commission—has no clothes, and it's not a pretty sight.