Council to hear 1500 San Pablo Avenue Appeal

Toni Mester
Tuesday July 12, 2016 - 10:31:00 AM

A public hearing will be held on the neighbors’ appeal of 1500 San Pablo Avenue, a 5 story 171-unit residential development between Cedar and Jones, at the City Council on Tuesday July 19 at 7 PM. The application and related material can be found on the project web page: 


The appeal is attachment 2 in the packet of Item 34 on the agenda page: 


An organizational meeting to prepare for the public hearing will be held this Thursday July 14 between 6 and 7 at the West Berkeley Library 1125 University Avenue. The project modifications and traffic mitigations sought by the neighborhood will be discussed, and the alternative plans will be shown. The neighborhood design group’s Plan B features a recessed fifth floor, and new garden apartments at ground level that add to the total units in the project, achieved by a more compact design for the parking garage. 

Many have protested the project’s fifth floor in a four story mixed used zone. A Move-On petition that criticized the mass of the main building garnered 92 signatures but had no impact on the process; the fifth floor and other waivers of the C-W zoning on San Pablo Avenue are allowed under the density bonus state law, an incentive that permits developers to exceed the zoning envelope by including units that would be affordable to lower income renters. This project provides 15 such units. 

A neighborhood design group that included three architects developed two alternatives that reduce the fifth floor. The first Plan A was rejected by ZAB, and so the group has advanced a second idea Plan B that retains a recessed fifth floor and provides more total units for the project to offset the cost of revising the plans and for the additional excavation required to create a more efficient parking garage. 

These and other ideas will be explored at the upcoming meetings. 

Toni Mester is a resident of West Berkeley