Liquor Store Appeal, Brower Plaza Lead City Council Agenda By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday January 24, 2006

Berkeley city councilmembers will hear an appeal Tuesday by the owner of Dwight Way Liquor, who wants to overturn a Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) decision declaring the store a public nuisance. 

ZAB began proceedings against the 2440 Sacramento St. store in August, conducted a public hearing on September, and voted to declare the store a public nuisance in October. 

David Dryden, attorney for the partnership that owns the store, appealed the ZAB decision to the City Council, charging that the ruling was unconstitutional and an unlawful taking of property rights. 

Instead of ordering a shutdown, Dryden argues, the city could have taken less radical actions, including limiting hours, hiring security, ordering the store to pick up litter in the area and making them use branded bags. 

Along with the appeal, Dryden submitted petitions signed by 56 people urging the city to keep the store open. 

Store operator Abdulaziz Saleh Saleh has been cited repeatedly by the city for violating the terms of the store’s liquor license, and a large number of neighbors turned out for the public hearing and the meeting where ZAB voted to order the shutdown. 

A ZAB staff report prepared for the August hearing recounted 27 liquor law violations found by Berkeley Police and the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and 12 violations of the city Zoning Ordinance. 

City staff had suggested that ZAB set conditions on the store—those cited by Dryden in the appeal—but the board voted instead for closure. 


Brower Center votes 

The council faces two votes involving the David Brower Center and Oxford Plaza affordable housing complex planned for the site of the city’s Oxford Street parking lot. 

The first vote would commit $45,000 from the city’s General Fund to pay outside legal consultants Goldfarb and Lipman LLP for work on the Oxford Plaza complex and other affordable housing issues, raising their total contract to $69,950. 

The second vote is on a resolution to the federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Loan Guarantee Program to use up to $4 million in Community Development Block grant funds to secure a loan to build the David Brower Center and Oxford Plaza housing complex. 

Unlike most of the new residential complexes being built in Berkeley recently, the Oxford Plaza housing would be reserved solely for poor and working-class families earning incomes well below the area median. 

The council will also consider: 

• A new city ordinance governing the care of “outdoor dogs,” pets that spend most of their days outside the home. 

• An amendment to the city’s Coast Live Oak ordinance banning excessive and damaging pruning. 

• An ordinance to rename the city’s Solid Waste Commission as the Zero Waste Commission. 

• A vote to add $100,000 and one year to the city’s contract with SCS Field Services for post-closure and maintenance monitoring at the now-closed landfill at Cesar Chavez Park. ?