The residents of 1722 Ninth Street will have to wait another two weeks to find out whether the Berkeley City Council will decide to evict them from their residence.
Following a public hearing at its meeting Tuesday, the council voted to uphold the original Zoning Adjustments Board recommendation declaring the property a public nuisance and will decide on a final resolution — including whether to evict the occupants — at its next meeting on May 29.
The zoning board deemed the property a public nuisance in February and recommended the council evict the residents due to housing use permit violations and the fact that the residence is believed to be a source of crime in the neighborhood, according to the recommendation.
The residence, which has been home to the Alcala family for more than three decades and is owned by Roberto Alcala, was the topic of the special hearing at which multiple neighbors spoke about the property’s negative impact on the neighborhood.
The council did not vote to evict the Alcala residents at the meeting but did support a number of recommendations from the zoning board that advises Alcala to obtain necessary building permits in order to maintain the property and also cease all illegal activity that has brought police enforcement to the property.
Tom Turman, a neighbor of the property, brought a sign that was posted on his back door that read “Fuck You,” which he said was signed by all of the residents of 1722 Ninth Street.
Other neighbors who spoke at the hearing said they had been subjected to loud music, fighting and public alcohol and illegal substance consumption over the years.
Alcala spoke at the hearing and said he had gotten the police to issue restraining orders to three people who had caused most of the disturbances at the property. He also said there was no illegal or violent activity involved in the home as the neighbors had claimed during the hearing.
“They didn’t find no drugs or bullets,” Alcala said after the hearing. ”It’s just a bunch of lies. (The neighbors) hate us.”
Roberto Alcala’s granddaughter Lisette Cooper spoke during the public hearing and asked the council to consider allowing her grandparents to keep the property because the public nuisance issues were not their fault.
“Regardless of what the grandchildren have done, our grandparents are well deserving of their place on 1722 Ninth Street,” Cooper said during the hearing. “It’s unfair that my grandparents are being forced to move from somewhere that is their home and that is all they have worked for.”
Though council members informally agreed the house was a public nuisance, they will not adopt a final resolution on its status until their next meeting.
“We shouldn’t be flexible right now,” said Councilmember Gordon Wozniak. “There have been violations for 20 years. We could have been fining them for decades — it could amount to trillions of dollars.”
Anjuli Sastry is an assistant news editor.
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