The Berkeley Planning Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to increase the hours of operation to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday and midnight Sunday through Thursday for businesses on Telegraph Avenue that do not involve alcohol sales. These hours may be exceeded with a city administrative use permit.
The commission voted to extend the “by right” hours of operation for businesses on Telegraph that involve alcohol sales or service to midnight from 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. A permit is required to extend beyond 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and midnight Friday and Saturday.
These items—along with several other parts of a Telegraph Economic Development Assistance Package—passed after four public hearings over a six-month period.
The nine-point Telegraph Avenue package was put together by the city in 2006 to revive the ailing commercial strip. UC Berkeley students and members of the student advocacy group ACCESS lobbied for longer business hours on Telegraph.
“The time has come to pass this item onto City Council, which has been waiting for you for nearly a year to send them a proposal,” said ACCESS founder Igor Tregub. “Please, for students, for residents, for Berkeley, do it today.”
Members of the Willard and LeConte Neighborhood Associations requested a 30- to 60-day continuance to discuss concerns about the Telegraph Zoning amendments, especially with respect to the changes to the quota system.
“We would like to support the neighborhood associations but we have had this issue on the agenda for a while. I am sure someone was watching the agenda,” said commissioner Harry Pollack.
“Out of deference to all the neighborhoods, If you can’t do everything to help Telegraph tonight, at least do something,” said District 4 councilmember Kriss Worthington, who represents Telegraph. “The businesses in that area need your help.”
The board agreed to give the neighborhood associations a 30-day time period to discuss the hearing on allowing the quotas for restaurants, beauty and novelty shops to be exceeded with a use permit where a variance was previously required.
The Alliance to Preserve the Strawberry Creek Watershed opposed the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) and draft environmental impact report (EIR) at the meeting during public comment.
The Alliance took issue with the following details of the lab’s plans:
• 17 acres in total of new impervious surfaces that have the potential to increase flooding in the Berkeley flatlands along Strawberry Creek.
• Earthquake Faults: The EIR fails to present a detailed map showing all the active and inactive faults within the LBNL boundary
• Landslides: The EIR’s slope stability map is deficient in that it does not show all the landslide areas within the LBNL boundary and vicinity. Landslides have blocked Centennial Drive for lengthy periods thereby blocking ingress and egress to, for instance, the lab’s Hazardous Waste Handling Facility, by the Berkeley Fire Department’s Hazardous Materials Team at the Berkeley Way Fire Station, in case of fire and/or earthquake
• Soil contamination: The EIR does not show that new buildings are proposed in areas contaminated with radioactive and hazardous materials.
The public hearing for the lab LRDP and draft EIR has been set for March 14.