Council to Discuss Crime, Blood House

By Judith Scherr
Tuesday February 26, 2008

In addition to the discussion of the Light Brown Apple Moth and Councilmember Gordon Wozniak’s item to hear resolutions from the Peace and Justice Commission twice (see page one), the council will be looking at a number of other critical issues at its meeting tonight. 

A 5 p.m. workshop will look at the police chief’s quarterly crime report, which covers October through December 2007. The report indicates that an increase in robbery is of particular concern. The report also shows an increase in traffic fatalities for 2007. At the same workshop, the city manager will discuss new taxes for police, fire and youth services. 

At 7 p.m., the council will look at an appeal for the move of the Blood House from its location on Durant Avenue, the Condominium Conversion Ordinance, a proposal to condemn construction of a border wall between the United States and Mexico, a letter to the Canadian prime minister to ask for sanctuary for U.S. military resisters and support for the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to continue its downtown shuttle. 


Blood House move 

The Zoning Adjustments Board voted to certify the final environmental impact report on the relocation of the Blood House, a city of Berkeley Structure of Merit, currently at 2526 Durant Ave. 

Developers Ruegg & Ellsworth plan to build a five-story development at that location. The approval is being appealed by the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association, which argues, among other concerns, that the EIR did not take into consideration the “significant cumulative effects upon the historic resources affected in the Durant Avenue area” and that the removal of the Blood House would significantly diminish the historic context of the area.  


Condo conversion 

After hearing from the council, the staff has prepared changes to the condominium conversion ordinance, aimed at facilitating conversion. The changes include: 

• Processing applications on a first-come, first–served basis. 

• Reducing requirements that the unit be brought up to code, requiring only that life safety standards be adhered to. Other violations of code would be disclosed but there would be no mandatory correction. 

• Extending tenant protections to Section 8 voucher holders.