Tag Archives: Jesse Arreguin
As the school year winds down and the temperature rises, some members of the Berkeley City Council are setting up shop in popular spots around town to ensure they’re accessible to city residents.
Earlier this month, Councilman Jesse Arreguín hosted his first summer “office hours” at Berkeley’s North Shattuck farmers market, a public meeting he plans to continue to host monthly through the summer.
“Every time I have visited the farmers market in the past I run into many constituents. So I thought, rather than having people come to City Hall to meet me, it would be better to go to a place where people are,” said Arreguín. ”I really enjoy the farmers market office hours because I hear from people firsthand who otherwise do not have an opportunity to interact with their representatives.” … Continue reading »
Tuesday night, the Berkeley City Council upheld a March decision by the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board to allow developers to move ahead with plans to build a 78-unit rental apartment complex in downtown Berkeley.
The building, called “The Durant,” is set to have frontage on both Durant Avenue and Channing Way; it’s set mid-block between Shattuck Avenue and Milvia Street. The south side of the building is proposed to rise to four stories, and the north side to six. The architects are Johnson Lyman Architects of Walnut Creek.
The zoning board decision was appealed in April by Stephen Stine, who cited “severe detriments” related to noise, air quality and sunlight reductions that would affect residents, including his mother, who live in a senior housing complex — Stuart Pratt Manor at 2020 Durant — next door to the project site. Appellants also said the city hadn’t followed proper notification rules when zoning in the neighborhood was changed during the Downtown Area Plan process. … Continue reading »
Greenleaf Wellness Group, which had been operating a medical cannabis collective at 1515 Dwight Way since Jan. 2012, was declared a public nuisance and in violation of various city statutes by Berkeley City Council at its meeting last night.
Cannabis collectives are allowed in Berkeley in residential areas provided that the collective is incidental to residential use. At a public hearing in Dec. 2012, the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) determined in a unanimous vote that Greenleaf was operating in a commercial building and that the collective use was primary, not incidental. The council on Tuesday night concurred with the ZAB decision and approved a staff recommendation to enjoin and terminate Greenleaf’s use of the building. Councilmember Kriss Worthington was the only dissenting vote on the council.
“Not only is this not allowed to be a collective, because it’s not entirely in a residential zone, but even if it was in a residential zone, it’s not a residential use,” said Councilmember Jesse Arreguín. “That just right off the bat clearly prohibits it from being a collective. … Continue reading »
The city of Berkeley is considering relaxing quotas on Telegraph Avenue for three years to let market forces play more of a role in what businesses open on the avenue.
Advocates for the change say it will breathe new life into the street, which has struggled in recent years. Opponents say the shift could threaten existing independent mom-and-pop businesses, many of which are minority-owned.
(Councilman Max Anderson abstained from the vote, and council members Kriss Worthington and Jesse Arreguín voted against the motion.)
A recent staff report noted the neighborhood’s 48% decline in retail sales since 1990, an “increasingly edgy street scene,” and a rapid decline in recent years in sales of books and music, which made up 43% of the district’s sales in 2007 and now make up just 21%.
There are currently both numerical and size limitations on the number of barber and beauty shops, food service establishments, and gift and novelty shops that can open in the Telegraph Avenue Commercial District. Businesses in the categories limited by quotas can still open if granted a special permit or through a public hearing; if quotas are relaxed, those steps would not be needed. … Continue reading »
Parts of Gilman Street and Fourth Street in West Berkeley may be re-zoned from light industrial to commercial uses after a majority vote by the Berkeley City Council on Tuesday night.
The changes, depending on who you ask, will either serve simply to legitimize existing and planned commercial uses, or are an end-run around the failure of last November’s Measure T campaign that could put pressure on the neighborhood and threaten its character moving forward. (Measure T was focused on six specific sites, but opponents said it would open the floodgates to much broader development.) Proponents of the new zoning proposals say the changes would boost the city’s economy via increased revenue possibilities. … Continue reading »
The owners of one of Telegraph Avenue’s most popular ice cream spots have asked Berkeley officials to revoke the permit for a new ice cream take-out window set to open right across the street, at Rasputin Music.
Tuesday night, Berkeley City Council members heard the appeal, by Cream ice cream parlor, 2399 Telegraph, against Rasputin’s Dream Ice Cream, which won approval in September from the city’s zoning board.
Problem was, a city staff member said the city failed to notify nearby businesses about the proposal. If Rasputin’s permit is ultimately approved, the two businesses would essentially stare each other down across Channing Way. … Continue reading »
A local couple has added an ample splash of spice to Berkeley’s food scene with a new shop downtown devoted to hot sauce and all things chili.
There are Atomic Fireballs, spiced nuts and fiery chocolates; mango lollipops covered in chili powder; and small bags of dehydrated chilies from a family farm. There are “warming” fruity beverages spiced with capsaicin, the ingredient that makes peppers spicy. And there are crushed and powdered peppers in a range of varieties.
Then, of course, there’s the hot sauce: more than 200 varieties from producers around the country, and around the world, many of which are small businesses.
“The ones that are widely known tend not to be as good as the ones made in small batches by the people who are really passionate about it,” said Heat co-owner Dylan Keenen. Keenen, 23, has been in the process of opening Heat Hot Sauce Shop — at 1922B Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Berkeley — with girlfriend Becky Gibbons, 22, since early December. The Oakland-based couple will celebrate the shop’s grand opening Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. with a 10%-off sale. … Continue reading »
A 205-unit apartment complex planned for downtown Berkeley is going back to the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board after an appeal before the City Council on Tuesday night.
Acheson Commons, at 2133 University Ave., was approved by the zoning board in December, but appellants questioned numerous aspects of the project and the council voted unanimously to ask the board to take another look. (See project materials on the city website. The complete administrative record is available here.)
According to the staff report prepared for Tuesday’s special session, the project is set to increase annual tax revenue by $57,000 and bring in $360,000 to support the city’s Streets and Open Space Improvement Plan. (Update, 1 p.m.: A representative for the developer, Mark Rhoades, said the per-year tax basis increase is closer to $600,000. Scroll down to see a chart of the five-year financial projections he provided.) … Continue reading »
The Berkeley City Council adopted a resolution Tuesday night to ask the U.S. Postal Service to press the pause button on its plans to relocate its downtown services and sell the Allston Way facility — for at least one year.
Members of the public who hope to keep the post office open were more subdued than those who attended a meeting in late February, with just a handful of people speaking about the historic building’s importance and why it should maintain its postal services. But they cheered and clapped throughout the meeting as council members expressed unanimous support to fight to keep the building open.
The postal service has said, in a written statement, that the building will likely be sold because of a “26-percent drop in total mail volume over the past three years, brought about by the diversion to electronic communication and business transactions.” … Continue reading »
The view from the L-shaped deck off the penthouse apartment at 2055 Center St. is spectacular. One side looks west toward San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. Another side offers a sweeping vista of Berkeley’s downtown and hills.
For $6,300 a month, the amenities ought to be top-of-the-line, and at the recently opened Berkeley Central — formerly known as the Arpeggio Building — they are. From Bosch appliances and stainless steel designer lights to the wood floor (dark or light, depending on the unit), the six penthouse units on the ninth floor promise an urbane, urban lifestyle.
The building, which the developer CityView acquired in a fire sale in July 2012 for $60 million, has been open for about seven weeks, and about 35% of its 143 units have been leased, according to Natasha Moses, a property manager for Riverstone Residential Group, the leasing agent. … Continue reading »
On Wednesday this week, 233 volunteers fanned out across Alameda County and approached 2,000 people at soup kitchens and food pantries, on the street and in parks, with a view to securing 1,000 interviews with homeless people. The resulting data is used to compile a census of how many people are without homes in the county, and also what types of people they are — be it vets, singles, families or minors.
People’s Park in Berkeley was one of 33 service points at which interviews took place. The count is orchestrated every two years by EveryOneHome, a government agency that coordinates homelessness efforts countywide. At the last homeless count which extrapolated Berkeley data, in 2009 Berkeley’s total homeless population numbered 680. That compared to 2,091 for Oakland. The latest total for the county, in 2011, was 4,341. The 2011 count showed a 13.6% drop in the overall homeless population in Alameda County over 2007. (All the data for the counts, including breakdowns, trends and regional comparisons is available on the EveryOneHome website.) … Continue reading »
After an acrimonious battle last year over Measure S, which sought to prohibit sitting on commercial sidewalks, Berkeley’s City Council pointed the way on Tuesday night to a more consensual approach to homelessness.
Councilman Jesse Arreguín’s Compassionate Sidewalks plan calls for a working group on homelessness to “conduct a series of focused workshops and discussions on a wide range of issues related to homelessness and to develop an action plan with policy, program, and funding recommendations around ending homelessness.” (Arreguín wrote about his proposal in a Berkeleyside op-ed on Monday.) … Continue reading »
Berkeley City Council last night unanimously approved both the Downtown Streets & Open Space Improvement Plan (SOSIP) and a schedule of fees that will help fund the proposed projects. SOSIP aims to help create a more pedestrian-oriented neighborhood downtown, and will help guide the design of parks, plazas and streetscapes in the area.
The SOSIP is the first concrete action on the streets and open space provisions of the Downtown Area Plan, which was approved by the council in March 2012.
“I’m very excited about a lot of the projects put forward,” said council member Jesse Arreguín, whose district includes downtown. ”If we can do even a fraction of these projects, it would really make a difference in making downtown a much more pedestrian friendly and vibrant environment.”
The major projects identified in the SOSIP as priorities are: … Continue reading »