City Council to Look at Condo Conversion Law

By Judith Scherr
Tuesday May 16, 2006

Today’s (Tuesday) City Council meeting includes a budget update at 5 p.m., a Redevelopment Agency meeting at 6:30 p.m. and a regular council meeting at 7 p.m. 


Condo conversion 

The City Council will vote on a proposal reinstating part of a condominium conversion ordinance that lapsed in January. The part of the ordinance which sunsetted caps a conversion fee at 12.5 percent of the sales price when occupants have lived in a unit for less than seven years. 

For those where occupants have lived in the unit seven years or more, there continues to be a fee of 5 percent of the salesprice. The fee is paid by the owner of the building that will be converted. 

Preceding a vote on the ordinance, the council will hold a workshop session that will address various alternatives to the fee structure that lapsed in January. Among the alternatives offered the council is one that would reduce the 12.5 percent fee by 1 percent for each year a unit has been occupied by the same person. Another alternative is to raise the 12.5 percent cap. 

The ordinance is designed to allow conversion to condominiums of 100 rental units each year. The fee goes into the city’s Housing Trust Fund to support affordable housing.  


Brower building 

Also on the council agenda is a public hearing on the transfer of public land to Oxford Street Development, LLC, followed by a vote on the project, which has been in the works for several years. 

The proposed $60 million development is to include the Oxford Plaza with 97 rental units of affordable family and workforce housing, retail space and 41 spaces of parking for residential tenants housed in a six-story building. It will also include a four-story environmental center, the David Brower Center, and will include a below-grade 105-space parking garage. 


Black and White Liquor 

The Zoning Adjustments Board decided on March 23 that Black and White Liquor, located at 3027 Adeline St., was a public nuisance and imposed conditions on it. The storeowners are appealing those conditions to the City Council. The council will hold a public hearing and decide whether those conditions should be approved. 

Among the conditions are restricted hours of operation, a mandate for the owner to be present in the store two days each week, the use of clear plastic bags with the store’s name to package purchases and the requirement of the owner and employees to police all disturbances in the vicinity of the store.  


Military leave compensation 

The city supplements military wages paid to its employees who are ordered to active military service. The original council resolution took single deployments into consideration, but city staff have been deployed involuntarily two times and continue to be subject to being called up for military service. The council will be asked to approve wage supplements for those deployed multiple times. 


Supporting unionization  

The council will be asked to support unionization of private non-union security guards who work for the city. 



Appropriate development of the city-owned parcel at 1631 Fifth St. will be the main topic on the Redevelopment Agency’s agenda.