Tag Archives: Berkeley planning

John King: Keeping downtown Berkeley’s design distinctive is a tall order

BAM:PFA. Photo- Paul Chinn, The Chronicle
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By John King / San Francisco Chronicle

A walk through downtown Berkeley reveals a treasure of pre-World War II architecture, different styles and materials blending together in comfortable structures that were built for their time but seem to grow in stature with each passing decade.

The newer buildings? Not so much. And the ones on deck — one as tall as anything now there — could be even less satisfying.

The problem isn’t the scale of what’s proposed, or the architectural mishmash in the mix. It’s the way that a confusing process encourages checklists over creativity, while opponents would rather fight to stop nearly all change, rather than find ways to make that change enrich downtown’s sense of place.

Nearly 20 projects are now in the works in the area roughly bounded by Berkeley Way on the north, Dwight Way on the south, UC Berkeley on the east and the Civic Center on the west. … Continue reading »

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Staff recommend denial of proposed Hillegass remodel

2610 Hillegass Ave., Berkeley, CA. Image: Google maps
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A use permit request from a Hillegass Avenue property manager who hopes to convert eight one-bedroom units into two-bedroom apartments has been recommended for denial by the city’s zoning board which meets tonight, Thursday March 13.

The proposal, at 2610 Hillegass, just south of Parker Street, would not change the building’s size, but would result in the remodel of all of the building’s one-bedroom units into two-bedrooms. The 23-unit building currently includes 10 two-bedroom units and five three-bedroom apartments. … Continue reading »

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City could face most dramatic redistricting in 27 years

Berkeley from the air by D.H. Parks
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Berkeley is seeking redistricting plans for the city’s eight council districts. Since 1986, Berkeley redistricting has been constrained to boundaries resembling the 1986 lines. After the passage of Measure R in November, those geographic constraints have been removed.

Redistricting plans must be submitted by March 15. A community meeting and two public hearings will be held in the spring and summer of this year, leading to the City Council considering a redistricting ordinance at its September 10th meeting. If the announced redistricting process calendar is adhered to, the redistricting ordinance will become effective on October 20, 2013, and the new districts will be used in the 2014 election, when seats for districts 1, 4, 7 and 8 will be up for election.  … Continue reading »

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Oakland’s Angstadt to be Berkeley’s new planning director

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Update, 8:00pm: At the public comment part of a closed session of the Berkeley City Council tonight, Mayor Tom Bates said that no-one had been hired as director of planning for Berkeley. He said the council would be interviewing Angstadt in the closed session and “our decision will be made after that”. Councilmember Kriss Worthington added that the vote on whom to hire would not take place tonight, the general public would see the candidate’s name, and the council would vote in public.

Original story: Eric Angstadt, currently deputy director of planning and zoning for the City of Oakland, is expected to be confirmed tonight as Berkeley’s new director of planning and development. The City Council will make the appointment in closed session tonight, and the official announcement is scheduled for tomorrow.

The directorship has been vacant for nearly a year, since Dan Marks retired last July 1. Wendy Cosin has been acting director in the interim.

“Eric is a very creative, visionary person who takes a very pragmatic approach to his vision,” said Joél Ramos, a member of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board and community planner at the Great Communities Collaborative for TransForm. “He’s very talented at working with people. We’re confident that if there’s a way to get something done on a project, Eric will find the way.”

Ramos cites three major projects in Oakland where he believes Angstadt’s contribution was crucial: the Upper Broadway corridor plan, the International Boulevard transit-oriented development, and the commercial corridor zoning update. … Continue reading »

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Urban planning

Mitch Kapor’s Berkeley home: Countdown to appeal

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Item 17 on the agenda for tomorrow’s City Council Meeting is bound to draw crowds. It concerns the appeal to the zoning board’s approval for a new home to be built at 2707 Rose Street. The application was made in the name of Mitch Kapor and his wife Freada Klein.

You can read all about the application and the appeal in Berkeleyside’s extensive coverage of the issue here.

Seventy-three people have submitted communications in relation to the appeal, making … Continue reading »

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