With little ceremony, the City Council dismissed three development appeals Tuesday night, clearing the way for 179 new units of housing in Berkeley.
The council voted on the appeals after approving a controversial resolution opposing a ballot initiative that would put new height limits on future developments. Councilmembers said the height initiative’s restrictions would hinder the construction of much-needed housing.
The Zoning Adjustments Board had previously approved use permits for the three housing projects discussed. All projects were proposed by Berkeley-based Panoramic Interests.
The projects include a 44-unit project with 3,000 square feet of commercial space at 2119 University Ave. near Shattuck Avenue; a 100-unit project with 8,500 square feet of commercial space at 2471 Shattuck Ave. near Haste Street; and a 35-unit project with 5,200 square feet of commercial space at 2700 San Pablo Ave. near Derby Street.
Based on staff reports that found little basis for the appeals, the council upheld the ZAB’s approvals.
The appeals had cited too little parking, too dense of development and a lack of conformity to the neighborhood aesthetics regarding height and design.
One appellant, Douglas Press, who lives near the San Pablo Avenue project, was shocked that City Council dismissed the appeals without input from the neighbors.
“We submitted this appeal with over 400 signatures and the council chose not to hear those people,” he said.
Panoramic Interests Project Manager Chris Hudson said he wasn’t surprised by council’s decision.
“These are all very reasonable projects,” he said. “We hope to begin building them in March.”