Ed Roberts Campus Administrators Ask Zoning Board to Allow Offices in Residential Zone

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday July 10, 2008 - 09:40:00 AM

Almost four years after the Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board approved plans for the Ed Roberts Campus at the Ashby BART station, the nonprofit will return to the zoning board Thursday to request a use permit modification to allow offices in a residentially zoned neighborhood. 

The result of years of hard work by many disability organizations, the Ed Roberts Campus is a two-story, 86,057-square-foot building planned for 3075 Adeline St. straddling two different zoning districts in South Berkeley—residential and south area/commercial. 

The original use permit allows only community centers in the residential area along Adeline, while offices can be located in the south area/commercial zone, which en-courages high density.  

However, campus adminstrators now want the project to have several offices, including a family clinic called Through the Looking Glass. 

According to a report by the zoning staff, Through the Looking Glass would include a 2,425-square-foot child-care center located mainly in the commercial district and partially in the residential district, and 5,020-square-foot office space, located entirely in the residential district. 

Both the City Council and the zoning board in their original condition of approval mandated that office space should be located in the commercial district, the staff report said, since an office was inconsistent with the use of a community center and thus not allowed in a residential district. 

The report states that high construction costs made the Ed Roberts Campus need to lease space to a broad range of tenants in order to finance the project, instead of limiting its focus to the disabled community.  

The campus is looking for tenants to fill seven empty spots totaling about 24,000 square feet. 

ZAB meets today (Thursday) at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chamber.