Downtown Area Plan Votes Will End Commission’s Role

By Richard Brenneman
Friday May 08, 2009 - 04:47:00 PM

Planning commissioners are scheduled to hold what may be the final meeting on the downtown plan Wednesday, May 13.  

During the 7 p.m. session, commissioners will consider endorsing the plan’s environmental impact report and discuss any last-minute policy changes they might wish to make.  

Commissioners will also conduct a public hearing on general plan amendments needed to make the plan consistent with the changes in land use, parking, density and other policies in the new plan.  

A link to the meeting’s agenda will be available on the city’s Planning Commission website at www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/ContentDisplay.aspx?id=13072.  

Wednesday’s meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Ave. at Martin Luther King Jr. Way.  

After the commissioners finish, the plan goes to the City Council for a May 19 workshop session, with formal action set for June 2.  

The council ordered the plan as the result of a settlement ending a city lawsuit contesting UC Berkeley’s Long Range Development Plan 2020, which calls for 850,000 square feet of new off-campus construction in the heart of the city.  

That figure doesn’t include the Golden Bear building, an existing structure on University Avenue the school purchased after the agreement was signed.  

The plan was initially crafted during a two-year effort by a 21-member Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee (DAPAC), consisting of three planning commissioners and two citizens appointed by each of the nine councilmembers.  

The commission made significant revisions to the DAPAC plan, removing many of the committee’s green building mandates and boosting the height and number of high-rises allowed.  

Both versions of the plan will go to the City Council.