Tag Archives: Kriss Worthington
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 »
The Berkeley City Council held a special meeting Tuesday night to discuss proposed changes to parking pricing in three of the city’s business districts.
The temporary changes are part of a new pilot program, called goBerkeley, designed to link metered parking pricing to supply and demand, and free up spaces for customers downtown, on Telegraph Avenue and in the Elmwood District.
The council has yet to vote on proposed changes, which would use a range of approaches to free up one to two spaces per block in the affected areas. Strategies include a “progressive” rate, to make parking more expensive the longer a driver parks; a “peak period” approach, which would result in more expensive rates when demand is highest; and “premium vs. value” areas, which would offer higher rates in more convenient spots and lower rates in areas, such as parking garages, that are further away. … 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 »
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 »
Mayor Tom Bates, State Senator Loni Hancock, Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, and just about a full complement of Berkeley councilmembers gathered on the steps of the city’s main post office this morning to protest its planned sale.
Bates, Hancock and Skinner jointly signed a letter appealing the decision by the U.S. Postal Service. Bates said it was the beginning of a long fight that will include a lawsuit and appeals to the U.S. Congress.
“We’re not going quietly. We’re going to fight this every step of the way,” Bates said. “We are against it and the people of Berkeley are against it.” … Continue reading »
After a heated public comment period Tuesday night before the Berkeley City Council — which led police officers to drag a man from the room and caused Mayor Tom Bates to shout for order after CopWatch supporters refused to cede the floor — participants in the fight for “justice for Kayla Moore” may be one step closer to discovering what happened the February night Moore died in police custody. (See Berkeleyside’s videos of the incidents below.)
Family members of the deceased Moore told the council they have received no information or communication from police or the city since the death, which took place Feb. 12. The Berkeley Police Department released a preliminary statement on the incident in February, but has otherwise declined to comment while the Alameda County coroner’s office completes its report on the death investigation. … Continue reading »
A student-majority district in Berkeley moved a step closer with the release of redistricting plans on Thursday. Six individuals and community groups submitted redistricting plans, with most of them concentrating on creating a student-majority district 7, which currently is represented by Kriss Worthington.
Berkeley’s redistricting is spurred by the 2010 census, which showed a population increase of nearly 10,000 to 112,580. Population changes and demographic shifts had made the existing council districts highly unequal in population, from D5 (Laurie Capitelli’s district) with 12,709 to D7 with 16,623. The other vital wrinkle in the current redistricting was the passage of Measure R last November, which removes the severe geographic constraints mandated in Berkeley since 1986. … Continue reading »
Berkeley City Council agreed on Tuesday night to raise the cost for the annual residential parking permit from $34.50 to $45, a 30% increase. The increase was a compromise following a recommendation from city staff that a 60% increase was necessary to cover the full costs of the Residential Preferential Parking program (RPP).
The RPP is projected to have revenues of nearly $1.6 million for the city in the 2013 fiscal year. But that barely covers the cost of parking enforcement, while the $311,000 cost of permit issuance and $105,000 cost for the transportation to administer the program results in overall losses. When the city council considered overall budget shortfalls in January, it instructed city staff to find ways to cover the RPP program losses. … 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 rainbow flag, a symbol of diversity and inclusiveness, was raised over Berkeley City Hall on Tuesday, to mark arguments in the US Supreme Court on Proposition 8. It will also fly tomorrow, during arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act.
“Berkeley is joining cities all around the country to show support for full equality,” said Judy Appel, a member of the school board, and executive director of Our Family Coalition, which promotes social justice and inclusiveness of LGBTQ families. … Continue reading »
Three food truck vendors who were displaced by UC Berkeley’s construction at Sproul Plaza have been found a new location at the corner of Bancroft and College. According to an announcement from Mayor Tom Bates, the vendors will be able to renew their permits to operate in the new location for an additional two years.
Michael Koh, owner of Dojo Dog, Ann Vu, owner of Healthy Heavenly Foods, and Jack Huynh, owner of Kettle Corn Star, were forced to vacate their previous location near the intersection of Telegraph and Bancroft in December, when construction started.
Koh spoke at the Telegraph Avenue brainstorming convened by the mayor last month, and local councilmember Kriss Worthington had asked the city manager to assist in the relocation. Worthington’s referral is on the City Council’s action agenda for tonight’s meeting.
Worthington’s referral points out that, although the Lower Sproul project construction has been planned for years, the food vendors were given just two days’ notice to vacate their locations. … Continue reading »
Last October, Berkeley held a Sunday Streets event for the first time, and an estimated 40,000 people flocked to Shattuck Avenue to stroll, bike and skate the length of 17 blocks enjoying the car-free environment, al fresco eating, music, yoga and chess playing. By most accounts, the event was a success, but to make it happen again this year and going forward, the organizers are asking officials to stump up the funds to cover city costs.
At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, officials expressed their support for the event, but were hesitant, given Berkeley’s tight budget, to commit to the full amount needed to cover city costs for a 2013 repeat performance, as well as funds for future years. They also said they were uncomfortable making financial decisions separate from the context of the rest of Berkeley’s events. … Continue reading »