ASUC executives sent a letter to Berkeley City Council earlier this month thanking them for their decision to foreclose on the lien for the vacant lot on the corner of Haste Street and Telegraph Avenue.
ASUC President Vishalli Loomba and External Affairs Vice President Joey Freeman sent the letter to members of the City Council Tuesday, Oct. 4 — a month after the Sept. 6 special meeting in which the council voted unanimously to foreclose on the lot’s nearly $641,000 lien.
The passage of ASUC senate bill 14 prompted Loomba and Freemans’s letter. SB 14 acknowledges the council’s efforts and thanks them for finally forcing the owner of the lot to either pay the lien owed for the property or submit plans to begin developing the site. The bill also asks the council to “stay strong in urging the owner to build housing in this location.”
In the letter, Freeman and Loomba acknowledge that the site “has become an eyesore in the Berkeley community, attracting noise, trash, rats, and other associated problems… it adds no value to the Telegraph area or the Berkeley community.”
The lot was formerly home to the Berkeley Inn, which burned down about 20 years ago. Since then, the site has remained empty, despite efforts by the city to encourage the owner — local business owner Ken Sarachan — to develop affordable housing and a public toilet.
No word has been given yet as to whether Sarachan has made any kind of response to the council’s decision.
ASUC senator and UC Berkeley junior Andrew Albright authored the bill. Albright has also been involved in efforts to promote affordable student housing on Southside.
Adelyn Baxter covers city government.