Commissioners Take Up Revised Downtown High-Rise Boundaries

By Richard Brenneman
Monday March 16, 2009 - 04:51:00 PM

Planning commissioners are scheduled to meet Wednesday night to wrap up their revisions on a critical map that will determine the future skyline of downtown Berkeley. 

The commission has scheduled a special meeting as they rush to finish their revisions in time to hand it off to the City Council next month. 

While the meeting’s agenda hadn’t been posted on the city’s website by 3 p.m. Monday, the commission had previously scheduled the session to wrap up its final touches on the chapters concerning land use, historic preservation and urban design, economic development and housing and community health and services. 

The map before the commission will define where and how many high-rises can be built in the area covered by the plan, and will spell out areas for additional study as locations for more high-rises, which the commission ordered included in the plan’s environmental review. 

The commission is supposed to take up a completed draft of the entire plan April 1. A public hearing on the plan is set for April 6. 

Two days later, the city planning staff hopes to release the final draft of the plan’s environmental impact statement, and a week later, the commission is scheduled to conduct its final vote to hand over its revisions to the City Council. 

The council will take up the nine-member commission’s draft along with the original version prepared by the 21-member Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee. 

After conducting final revisions, the council must approve a final plan by May 26, or risk losing some UC Berkeley funding mandated in the settlement of the lawsuit that led to the entire process for a new plan with expanded boundaries. 

The city’s website for the plan is located at www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/ContentDisplay.aspx?id=832. 

Wednesday night’s meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Ave.