ZAB Continues Hearing On Milo Foundation

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday November 03, 2006

The Zoning Adjustments Board decided last week to continue Milo Foundation’s hearing for a use permit to allow neighbors more time to mediate with the Solano Avenue pet adoption store.  

Staff also requested a continuance so that the item could be taken to the Planning Commission for guidance in applying the zoning ordinance in light of a last-minute report from the city attorney. 

The staff report indicated that the mediator who is working with about 15 neighbors and Milo representatives reported that the sides have made good progress in resolving their disputes regarding the adoption store’s operations and requested more time for discussion. 

Milo approached ZAB on Sept. 14 for a use permit to authorize existing dog/cat adoption services and create a dwelling unit in its existing two-story commercial building. 

On Thursday, City Attorney Manuela Albuquerque deemed the adoption store’s current use a “kennel” under the zoning ordinance, which is prohibited on Solano Avenue.  

Albuquerque stated that although Milo had said that many of the dogs on the premises did not stay there overnight, they were being regularly cared for on the premises, resulting in impacts on the neighborhood which were “materially indistinguishable from those of a kennel and appeared to include most elements of boarding,” which was “expressly forbidden.” 

The report further explained that even overnighting as few as four dogs as part of a commercial use was equivalent to kenneling since all boarding was forbidden in the district. 

The report stated that if city staff wanted the Planning Commission to consider amending the zoning ordinance to permit kenneling in this or other districts, the matter would have to be reviewed and approved by the Planning Commission. Any changes would be subject to environmental review before they were adopted. 

Albuquerque urged that Milo and its neighbors be immediately notified of this legal opinion so that their discussions could proceed with it in mind. 

Staff will discuss with the Planning Commission whether the zoning ordinance should be amended to permit a pet adoption center at its Nov. 8 meeting. 


Iceland and other properties 

East Bay Iceland’s appeal to install a temporary outdoor refrigeration system on the southern side of 2727 Milvia St. for the existing ice skating rink was also continued at the ZAB meeting. The rink has installed a temporary cooling system with a variable speed motor that has greatly decreased the noise neighbors had been complaining about. ZAB asked for a report on the current noise level  

till the issue is brought up at the next meeting.  

The ZAB also continued the hearing for a use permit modification for 2076 Ashby Ave., which would change from stucco to horizontal siding on east side of an existing three-story mixed-use building The attorney for U.S. Smog and Gas, which operates nearby, is refusing to let the applicant build on the property because they claim that it would be encroaching on the public right of way. 

The board asked the applicant to  

conform to his original plans or rework them so that the insulation of the water meter and the gas meter is aesthetically pleasing. 

The hearing to modify the use permit to allow the expansion of the South Berkeley Police Substation for employee lockers and vehicle storage was also continued to Nov. 9. The applicant told the board that they required more time to meet with the neighbors and would be coming back to the next meeting with a report. 

The board approved a request for a use permit to expand Chester’s, a restaurant on 1508 Walnut St., into the adjacent lease space and add the sale of hard liquor to the existing sale of beer and wine.