ZAB, Planning Commission To Discuss Density Bonus Laws By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday August 02, 2005

Two city panels have meetings this week to address the complexities of the city’s application of the state density bonus laws. 

A Zoning Adjustments Board panel will consider Wednesday alternative ways of calculating maximum allowable building size and increases in mass granted to developers who include reduced-rate housing rentals and condos in new multi-unit buildings. 

The city staff’s current application of the law also allows developers to count tenant-usable roof space areas as part of a project’s open space requirements under the zoning code, and to count every parking space in a garage which uses multi-level auto lifts as a full parking space. 

The ZAB panel will study possible outcomes if the roof area couldn’t be counted as open space or if only surface parking spaces were counted toward a building’s quota. 

The meeting is scheduled from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the second floor conference room at the City Permit Services Center, 2120 Milvia St. 

The Planning Commission, which appointed its own task force on the issue after ZAB set the ball rolling, is playing catch-up from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday. Principal Planner Debra Sanderson will give the task force an introduction to the city’s current calculation process. 

The two subcommittees had been formed before the City Council’s July 19 vote to create an expanded panel containing members of both groups plus chair Jesse Arreguin of the Berkeley Housing Advisory Commission. 

Arreguin’s appointment was later deemed invalid because of lack of public notice, and in a controversial session last week, the council voted to go ahead without him for the moment. Another vote on his membership has been set for Sept. 13. 

Sanderson said Monday that as yet no meeting of the council-created joint panel has been scheduled.e