Neighborhood Corporation Chooses Panel to Plan Ashby BART Village

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday May 09, 2006

A 12-member board will outline the plans for a major development at the Ashby BART parking lot, according to an announcement released late Friday. 

Jesse Anthony, chair of the South Berkeley Neighborhood Development Corporation (SBNDC), announced the selection in an email. 

Ed Church, the consultant picked by the board to ramrod the development of a major housing and commercial complex at the BART parking lot, had refused to say how many would be picked. 

The project would feature up to 300 units of housing, presumably condos, built above commercial space. 

The selections surprised Frank Davis Jr., a long time South Berkeley resident and activist in the Black Property Owners Association. 

“I am very concerned,” he said. “This seems to be a selection of those who will be supportive of whatever is proposed there.” 

Anthony said the task force will be formally announced at a May 15 meeting at 7 p.m. in the South Berkeley Community Center. 

“Our intent will be to set the basic parameters and operational procedures for the task force, while encouraging significant creativity and latitude in the process,” Anthony wrote. 

Anthony referred all questions to Church. 

The group will hold its first meeting May 22 at the center, featuring a presentation by Church and Jeff Ordway from BART. 

Those named to the task force include: 

• Dmitri Belser, president of the board of the Ed Roberts Center, which is building its own major project on the Ashby BART eastern parking lot. 

• Dan Cloak, an environmental consultant. 

• Andy DiGiovanni, who works at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and who has written skeptically of the project.  

• Jiane Du, an architect. 

• Frankie Lee Fraser, a West Berkeley resident and member of the San Pablo Park Neighborhood Council. 

• Mike Friedrich, a member of the board of the Livable Berkeley lobbying organization, who was active in the campaign which defeated Measure P, an attempt to set a height limit for Berkeley buildings. 

• Marcy Greenhut, a city transportation commissioner. 

• Toya Groves. 

• Mansour Id-Deen, the executive director of the Inner-City Services job training program and the tenant of an SBNDC-owned building. 

• Jeffrey Jensen, a North Oakland resident and BART employee. 

• Maryann Sargent, film production manager. 

• Berkeley Unified School District board member John Selawsky. 

Davis said he was particularly concerned because the list didn’t include Robin Wright of the Lorin Neighborhood Association, a prominent area activist who has expressed her concerns about the project. 

“It would have been much better if they had included her,” Davis said..