Landmark Ordinance, Seagate Project On Land Use Meeting Agendas: By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday September 07, 2004

Two major issues come before Berkeley’s land use agencies this week, when the revised municipal landmarks code comes up for consideration by the Planning Commission Wednesday night and the Zoning Adjustment Board conducts its final hearing Thursday on a use permit for the Seagate Building. 

Many in Berkeley’s sizable community of preservationists worry that the measure, which comes before planners during their 7 p.m. meeting in the North Berkeley Civic Center, 1901 Hearst Ave., will weaken the city’s protections for older builders. 

Not all in the pro-development community are all that happy either, and the debate is expected to be lengthy. 

The Seagate Building, a nine-story structure planned for Center Street just west of the Well Fargo Annex building, has drawn some fire as well, stemming from its height—bigger than anything constructed in downtown in recent years—and for the placement of the units reserved for low- and lower-income tenants. 

Civics Arts Commission members blasted the developer, Marin County-based Seagate Properties, for reneging on an agreement to have a city employee in charge of selecting the artworks to display in a public corridor and for giving control of the large ground floor performance space to one already-well-funded theatrical troupe. 

The combination of the inclusionary housing units and the cultural space allowed developers to tack on four more stories than would be normally permitted. 

The ZAB meeting begins at 7 p.m. Thursday in the second floor City Council Chamber, 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. 

Yet another land use-related meeting is scheduled for the same hour Thursday evening, the West Berkeley Project Area Commission, which will gather in the West Berkeley Senior Center, 1900 Sixth St.