Downtown Area Plan Proposes New Building Height Restriction

Related Articles »





  • Printer Friendly Printer Friendly
  • Comments Comments (0)

Building height restrictions towered over all other concerns Wednesday as the Downtown Area Plan returned to the Berkeley Planning Commission in its most recent form.

Though Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates sought to appease both developers and community members by strengthening building height restrictions and proposing a "Green Pathway" plan-which would simplify city processes for developers in exchange for additional community benefits-commissioners must still evaluate whether the plan is economically feasible.

The plan's newest restrictions on building heights most notably included reducing the maximum allowable height from 180 to 165 feet. Due to this restriction, no building in the area would be taller than the Wells Fargo building on Shattuck Ave and Center Street.

"Knowing (that buildings) are not going to be any taller than anything else we have Downtown makes people more comfortable with the idea of tall buildings," said David Stoloff, chair of the commission.

Despite these attempts to cater to the public, members of the commission and the Downtown Berkeley Association said development may not be economically feasible for a building at 165 feet.

"I'm surprised and concerned about the change (from) 180 feet to 165 feet," said John Caner, executive director of the association. "I'm concerned about the costs and time of doing business in Berkeley."

According to Commissioner Teresa Clarke, the allowable height reductions could cause a jump in costs for developers that might discourage business in the city.

Developers would not be able to justify building a high-rise at 165 feet because potential revenue would not offset the high costs of increased safety standards, she said. Buildings 180 feet tall would be the minimum to cover this cost, Clarke said.

Clarke also said that the plan, while more than 100 pages shorter than its predecessor, is still missing the clarity needed for voter accessibility.

"There needs to be a simple brochure that's easy to read for everyone that can communicate the plan in a concise fashion," she said.

This version of the plan also lacks implementation measures, Stoloff said, which would necessitate changes to zoning laws if it is approved by voters in November. He added that this process could take more than a year.

Tags: DOWNTOWN AREA PLAN


Contact Daniel Means at [email protected]



Comments (0) »

Comment Policy
The Daily Cal encourages readers to voice their opinions respectfully in regards to both the readers and writers of The Daily Californian. Comments are not pre-moderated, but may be removed if deemed to be in violation of this policy. Comments should remain on topic, concerning the article or blog post to which they are connected. Brevity is encouraged. Posting under a pseudonym is discouraged, but permitted. Click here to read the full comment policy.
White space
Left Arrow
City Government
Image City proposes major cuts to budget
Amid a grim national, state and local economic recovery forecast, the city ...Read More»
City Government
Image Local concern builds over Highway 13 construction
Some community members remain concerned that the ongoing expansion...Read More»
City Government
Image Sit-lie debate focuses on homelessness
Tonanzin Klote sits cross-legged with a feather in her cap and flowers tied...Read More»
City Government
Image Location restrictions could be ahead for Berkeley...
In response to a string of competing drug stores in B...Read More»
City Government
Image Downtown Area Plan takes steps forward
Years of planning, a referendum campaign and ballot initiative later, the m...Read More»
City Government
Image Some customers angered by SmartMeter opt-out plan
After being directed to create a SmartMeter opt-out proposal by th...Read More»
Right Arrow




Job Postings

White Space