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Flash: ZAB Approves EIR, Issues Permit for New Bowl in West Berkeley

By Richard Brenneman
Friday May 12, 2006

Zoning Adjustments Board members ruled on three controversial projects Thursday night, approving the environmental impact report and the permit that will enable construction of a new Berkeley Bowl at 920 Heinz Ave., denying a permit for a new Quizno’s sandwich shop and approving installation of a new odor-control system for Pacific Steel Casting, 1421 Second St. 

In a marathon session that lasted until 2:14 a.m., members devoted most of the meeting to the Berkeley Bowl, hearing public comments and devoting much of their own discussion to the store’s impacts on already congested West Berkeley streets. 

In the end, the board voted 6-3 to approve the project, with David Blake, Dean Metzger and Andy Katz voting against the project, citing concerns that the document failed to give enough attention to the major increase in traffic on thoroughfares and neighborhood streets. 

On a 5-4 vote, the board approved the use permit enabling construction, with the additional condition that the city should impose the proposed Transportation Services Fee if that measure is enacted by the city council, up to a maximum amount of $1.8 million. 

The fee would be appealable to the City Council. 

Voting against the permit as amended were Allen, Jesse Anthony, Raudel Wilson and Metzger, with the first three voting their disapproval of the fee addition. 



Parking was the decisive issue in the case of the proposed Quizno’s, whose owners had sought a reduction of two of the five parking spaces required by ordinance. 

Project neighbors turned out to oppose the reduction, citing existing congestion in the neighborhood cause by Summit Alta Bates Medical Center, Whole Foods and medical offices in the immediate area. 

A move to deny the project carried on a 5-4 vote, with Allen, Anthony, Katz and Rick Judd voting against the measure. 


Pacific Steel 

The proposal to install a $2 million carbon air filtering system as Pacific Steel Casting was opposed by most of the facility's neighbors who managed to persevere until the board took up the item at 1:15 a.m. 

Union workers and company officials came out in support, as did representatives of the San Francisco Bay Area Air Quality Management District. 

The board approved the project on a unanimous voice vote at 2:12 a.m. 

The board also gave their OK to a permit that will create a new tattoo and body piercing salon at 2599 Telegraph Ave. 

Allen and Metzger voted against the project.