ZAB Revisits “Flying Cottage” By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday May 06, 2005

Reports of an imminent soft landing for South Berkeley’s “Flying Cottage” have been greatly exaggerated, says Dave Blake.  

Blake said he and his colleagues on the ZAB find little to like in Christina Sun’s ungainly edifice at the southeast corner of Shattuck Avenue and Essex Street. 

While city staff told ZAB members last Thursday that the three-story height is suitable for the location, Blake said design and parking problems make it unlikely that approval will come any time soon—if ever. 

Blake, who also sits on the Design Review Committee (DRC) said that whatever the city staff approves is subject to review and appeal. 

The DRC had panned architect Andus Brandt’s proposal for revisions to the structure. Brandt came late to the project, after Sun’s previous designer had created the plywood-walled shell that now stands at the site, capped by the remnants of the cottage that once stood there. 

“We will insist that Sun either restore the building to what it was before, or that she puts up a decent design,” Blake said. 

The second issue is parking. While city staff had originally okayed the installation of two parking spaces at the rear of the structure, ZAB members made it clear they didn’t look favorably on the notion and directed Sun to find dedicated spaces elsewhere on private property. 

Sun’s announced to intent to use the ground floor for a cafe raises additional unanswered questions. The original structure housed a two-car garage, which was not replaced when the structure was raised. 

Robert Lauriston, who spoke for neighbors of the project, was misquoted in the Daily Planet’s story Tuesday. He did not challenge the right to build three-story structures along Shattuck Avenue, south of Ashby; he did challenge city staff’s contention that rear yard parking was also allowed by right—noting that lots were so small that finding required parking for mixed-use buildings would be impractical. 

The discussion of the project didn’t begin until ZAB members were into the seventh hour of a meeting that had started at 6 p.m. with the preview of a proposed development at University Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Way.