Landmarks commissioners and citizen planners will meet Wednesday night to decide—for the moment—the role of historic buildings in the new downtown Berkeley plan.
A second land use group, the Design Review Committee, will meet Thursday night to review three projects.
Wednesday’s meeting brings together members of the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) and the Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee (DAPAC) to consider a proposed chapter for the new city center plan.
The new plan was begun after the settlement of a city lawsuit challenging UC Berkeley’s development agenda through 2020, and the committee was appointed by the mayor and City Council to prepare basic policy documents for a plan to replace the city’s current 1990 downtown plan.
While city staff and the mayor had proposed significant increases in downtown population density and DAPAC members have voted their agreement, a key issue remains the fate of downtown’s historic buildings, including both officially recognized landmarks and non-designated structures.
The proposed language drafted by the subcommittee calls for concentrating development at sites without historic buildings, while allowing additions to historic structures if well planned and complementary in character.
The proposal calls for preserving the character of “one of the few basically intact examples of an early-20th-century downtown of its size in California,” while recognizing the downtown as “an incomplete cityscape” with many “under-used and nondescript properties” and a need for more public amenities.
Following the joint meeting, DAPAC members will consider their own Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Subcommittee’s recommendations for comments on the Environmental Impact Report for the new service planned by AC Transit.
Members will also decide whether to transform the BRT panel into a transportation subcommittee with a broader role, and discuss the formation of additional subcommittees to review draft plan chapters prepared by the other subcommittees.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Ave. at Martin Luther King Jr. Way.
While recent attention focused on plans to build a new “green” condo complex at 2747 San Pablo Ave., members of Berkeley’s Design Review Committee will examine plans for another project catercorner from the site.
Two weeks ago, LPC members rejected a proposal to designate the “Googie” style former car dealership at 2748 San Pablo, paving the way for David Mayeri’s condo project.
Thursday night, Design Review will take up the project planned for 2748 San Pablo, located at the northeast corner of the intersection of San Pablo Avenue and Grayson Street.
The four-story project would feature 18 residential units over a 2,624-square-foot ground floor commercial space.
The project is currently slated to go before the Zoning Adjustments Board Aug. 9 for approval of its permits.
City policy targets the whole of San Pablo Avenue for increased population density, and the City Council is scheduled to act on a proposal tonight (Tuesday) to name the thoroughfare as one of the city’s Priority Development Areas (PDAs).
Planning Department staff and the mayor say the designations will help the city win state bond funds for affordable housing and urban amenities.
Other proposed PDAs are downtown Berkeley, Shattuck Avenue south of the downtown, Telegraph and University avenues and Adeline Street.
The project site is currently occupied by Clay of the Land Pottery.
The committee will also look at plans to transform the former gas station at 1441 Ashby Ave.—currently used as an auto detailing shop—into a biodiesel fueling station.
The station, built of brick with distinctive pagoda-style tile roofs over both the station and the pump islands, will be run by a cooperative.
The final set of plans for review are those for a two-story office building designed for the rear of the property at 3237 Ellis St. The front section of the lot will be used for seven parking spaces.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Ave.