Gaia Building Back Before Zoning Board

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Wednesday April 08, 2009 - 06:59:00 PM

Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board will take up the long-standing issue of whether the Gaia Building in downtown Berkeley is conforming to its use permit. 

In September, the board tried to determine whether the building was in violation of a condition of its original use permit which required the cultural activities to take place in the space in exchange for two extra stories above what area zoning ordinarily allows.  

The board gave give Equity Residential, the building’s owners, six months to hire a marketing firm to promote the Gaia Arts Center for cultural events.  

Planning staff are scheduled to present a report on Equity’s marketing efforts at the Thursday meeting, and will also inform the board about Gaia Arts’ activities, including the number of cultural events and police incidents in the past six months.  

According to the staff report, Equity is “discussing arrangements for a resident theater group to take over use and management of the facility,” therefore prompting staff to advise the board to postpone the discussion by a month. 

The report also provides an update on two recent out-of-control parties that took place at the building, and recommends that a public hearing be scheduled for abatement proceedings.