Planners to Consider West Bowl, Landmark Changes By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday December 14, 2004

Planning Commissioners will get their first look at plans for the proposed new Berkeley Bowl at Ninth Street and Heinz Avenue during a special meeting Wednesday night. 

The session begins at 7 p.m. in the West Berkeley Senior Center, 1900 Sixth St. at the corner of Hearst Avenue. 

Designed by West Berkeley architect Kava Massih, the 91,060-square-foot 40-foot-high steel-clad structure will sit atop an underground parking lot. A semi-detached 7,070-square-foot structure will offer prepared food for eating there or take away. 

Because the West Berkeley site is currently zoned for light industrial use, the Planning Commission must approve both a zoning change and an amendment to the West Berkeley Plan before construction can begin. 

Massih’s plans drew raves from the city Design Review Committee during a Nov. 18 meeting in which members proposed only slight modifications, largely connected with landscaping. 

Meeting with project neighbors on Oct. 26, Massih heard criticisms largely centered on traffic flow in and out of the facility. The option favored by neighbors calls for closing all access to the store from both Heinz Avenue and Ninth Street on the north. 

The main entrance to the site, Massih told Design Review Committee members, would be from the south via the traffic light-controlled intersection of Ninth Street and Ashby Avenue. 

Also on the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting is a discussion of the workshop held the week before on proposed amendments to the city’s Landmarks Preservation and Zoning ordinances. 

The proposals, the fruit of four years’ labor by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, would transform the way the city handles alterations to and demolitions of buildings 50 years and older. 

Under the new proposal, all such structures must be evaluated for their landmark potential before the city can issue permits, and once permits are issued attempts to landmark would then be prohibited.  

Many hurdles remain before an effective ordinance can be crafted, most notably a means for property owners to learn about the history of their properties. 

One possibility is a city-wide survey of all eligible properties, a process that could take years and a $1 million expenditure, said Deputy City Attorney Zach Cowan. 

Other items on the agenda include a discussion of the impact of the City Council-approved task force on revising the municipal Creeks Ordinance as well as minor changes in grammar, syntax and code references to several sections of the city code.