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Condos, Landmarks Liquor Store Crowd City Council Agenda By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday February 21, 2006

Berkeley’s city councilmembers face an array of business tonight (Tuesday), starting with a workshop on condo ordinance changes, then moving on to a regular meeting that will feature landmarks, a liquor store and ADUs. 

The workshop begins at 5 p.m. and the regular council meeting starts two hours later. 

One item conspicuously absent from the regular agenda is Councilmember Max Anderson’s resolution calling on the City Council to reaffirm its vote to support a state grant application to fund planning of a controversial development at Ashby BART. 

A proposal to build a large housing project with ground floor commercial space on the BART station’s western parking lot has aroused concern and opposition from neighbors and development critics. 

The council approved a resolution in December that endorsed an already filed grant application for state funds to do a project proposal. 

After a heavily attended Jan. 17 meeting called by project critics, Anderson had called for the council to re-endorse the application, a vote that was delayed once and rescheduled for tonight’s meeting. 

Anderson did not return calls about why the item is not on the meeting agenda. 

The council will also hold another discussion of the city’s Landmarks Preservation Ordinance. 

During a public hearing a week ago, the council majority seemed willing to make changes in parts of the ordinance challenged by developers and their attorneys, who claim the law is being used as a means of blocking their projects. 

Only councilmembers Dona Spring and Kriss Worthington have voiced strong support for the current ordinance and the structure-of-merit designation which developers say has been their particular bane. 

Preservationists say the category and its protections are needed to protect historic homes and the character of neighborhoods in the Berkeley flats. 

The council is also scheduled to hear an appeal from the owners of Dwight Way Liquor at 2440 Sacramento St., asking them to overturn an Oct. 27 Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) decision to declare the store a public nuisance and order its closure. 

The council will also look at accessory dwelling units, so-called “mother-in-law apartments,” often garage conversions. The ordinance would allow demolition of the units or their conversion to previous uses so long as the actions didn’t require eviction of a tenant.  


Other business 

City councilmembers will also consider: 

• A proposal to hike the price of a flat-rate space at the city’s Oxford Street parking lot from $2 to $5. The move would bring the price in line with rates at other city-owned lots. 

• Two resolutions asking UC Berkeley to name three representatives to serve as ex-offico members of the Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee (DAPAC). 

While DAPAC simply asked for UC representatives to work with their committee, an alternative resolution from Councilmember Kriss Worthington asks for three DAPAC members to serve as ex-officio advisors to the university on their plans for development in Berkeley. 

And while the city staff’s proposal asks the university to appoint three senior faculty members and/or administrators, Worthington’s resolution asks for one of the representatives to come from the student body and another from UC staff. 

• Two resolutions supporting applications for federal funds to build the Ed Roberts Center at the eastern parking lot at Ashby BART, each for $2.5 million. One would come from the federal transportation budget and the other from the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education budget. 

To date, supporters of the center—which would provide homes for agencies and programs serving the disabled—have raised $30 million of the estimated $47 million construction costs. 

• A lease approving a major increase in the rent the city pays to UC Berkeley to lease space for storage of city records at the Marchant Building at 6701 San Pablo Ave. 

The city had signed a $1-a-year lease with the university in 1990 for 10,000 square feet at the building as a condition for accepting the accepting the university’s 1990 Long Range Development Plan. The agreement had been extended through the end of last year. 

The university now says it eventually wants the space back, and the new agreement covers $24,000 in rent plus $1,490 in other expenses—to cover the period from April 1 to Dec. 31. 

• An update on crime in the city from Police Chief Douglas M. Hambleton. The report includes figures on crimes for the first six months of 2005 showing that of seven East Bay cities (the others are Oakland, Richmond, Fremont, Hayward, Vallejo and Concord), Berkeley had the highest rate of property crimes and ranked third in violent crimes, though at 26.3 incidents per 10,000 residents, the rate was well below the 64.2 per 10,000 for Oakland and the 60.5 per 10,000 in Richmond. Fremont was the lowest at 13.8 incidents per 10,000 residents. 

Berkeley’s property crime rate was 379.1 per 10,000 residents, compared with 291.9 in Richmond, and 254.2 in Oakland. Vallejo ranked lowest at 80.7›