Dueling Land Use Meetings Set for Wednesday Evening

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday May 08, 2007

Telegraph Avenue quotas, West Berkeley car sales and new quotas for Berkeley housing top the agenda for Wednesday night’s Planning Commission meeting. 

And while the planners meeting in one room, another panel will gather in another room in the same building to mull the fate of historic structures in the future of downtown Berkeley. 

Both meetings begin at 7 p.m. in the North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Avenue at Martin Luther King Jr. Way. 

The Planning Commission is considering new rules that will allow for the creation of more and smaller spaces for new business to operate in the Telegraph Avenue Business Improvement District. 

The proposal would also expand the current quota system, which limits the size and types of businesses allowed in the district, by easing the rules allowing for change of use and the breakup of larger commercial areas. 

The commission will also consider amendments to the city’s Zoning Ordinance that will enable car dealers to set up shop in West Berkeley, a plan backed by Mayor Tom Bates as a way of capturing more sales tax dollars for the city. 

Berkeley has lost dealerships in recent years, and automobile manufacturers say they want their dealers to locate near freeways, where access is easier for potential customers. 

Commissioners will also discuss an evaluation of Berkeley’s performance in filling Association for Bay Area Governments (ABAG) quotas set for market rate and affordable housing between 1999 and 2006. 

Meanwhile, members of a joint subcommittee formed of members of the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) and the Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee (DAPAC) will be discussing how historic buildings will be treated in the new downtown plan which DAPAC is slated to give to the Planning Commission in November. 

Wednesday’s meeting will be the subcommittee’s ninth, and could conclude with the formalization of its recommendations to DAPAC.