Mayor proposes relaxing quotas on local businesses

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Mayor Tom Bates will propose temporarily relaxing a quota system that limits the number of businesses on Telegraph Avenue at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.

Currently, the city has quotas in place limiting the number of each type of business — such as restaurants, barbershops and gift shops — that can operate in the Telegraph Avenue commercial area.

Thirty-four local restaurants, including Gypsy’s Trattoria Italiana, C.R.E.A.M. and La Burrita, have signed a petition opposed to relaxing these quotas for three years.

Alex Popov, manager of Pappy’s Grill and Sports Bar, created the petition and the Telegraph Restaurant Association to organize the thoughts and concerns of local restaurant owners.

“We’re concerned with the general appeal of (Telegraph Avenue),” Popov said. “We don’t want (visitors) to think of Telegraph Avenue as just a place to go when they’re hungry.”

The current city quotas specify that 19 carry-out and 30 quick-service restaurants may operate in the area, yet the petition counted 72 carry-out and quick-service restaurants in operation.

Some restaurant owners said there are too many restaurants operating in the Telegraph area and that they desire more retail diversity. According to Popov, 17 of the 18 stores on Center Street in Berkeley are restaurants.

City Council members will discuss the quota issue in a meeting Tuesday night at 7 p.m.

Gladys Rosario covers academics and administration. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @gladysrosario93.