Election Section

ZAB OKs Otis Street Popup, Derby Street Renovation By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday June 28, 2005

With only member Carrie Sprague voting in dissent, ZAB members Thursday gave the go-ahead to the popup conversion of a single floor Victorian cottage at 2901 Otis St. into a three-story condo. 

The project had drawn considerable fire from neighbors at ZAB’s last meeting, but the project clearly fits within the limits in the South West Berkeley neighborhood, which is zoned for buildings as tall as six stories. 

ZAB member and architect Bob Allen had raised concerns at the June 9 meeting that the design failed to include the charm of the original cottage’s front porch. The new design before ZAB Thursday incorporated the porch on the first floor and used its roof as a floor for a balcony on the second story. 

Principal Planner Debbie Sanderson said the plan was consistent with neighborhood zoning, adding that the city attorney’s office concurred. 

Members also approved a project at 2235 Derby St., despite protests of one tenant in the three-unit building and neighbor Peter Mutnick, who vowed to sue if construction dust and chemicals triggered an asthma attack which landed him in the hospital—which he declared a near-certainty. 

Sara Nicoletti, the only tenant who elected to fight eviction for the remodeling, is currently involved in litigation with the owner over the threatened loss of her rent-controlled apartment. 

ZAB members rejected language submitted by the property owner and the two opponents, declaring it inappropriate for a permit.