The city’s Zoning Adjustments Board evaluated proposals Thursday for the construction of a mixed-use building on Adeline Street, along with a 16-story hotel project on Shattuck Avenue.
The proposed building at 2902 Adeline St. would include 50 dwelling units, four of which would be affordable units for low-income households. The structure would also have 56 bicycle spaces and 24 parking spaces.
The city has been developing the Adeline Corridor area, where the proposed project would be located. If approved, the project would be one of the largest in the area.
The session included extensive public commentary from 19 Berkeley residents who live near the proposed site of construction. Their three primary areas of concern were the structure’s six-story height, low parking availability and the limited number of affordable units.
After public comment, several commissioners suggested that builders offer additional affordable units as a concession for the structure’s height, which Berkeley resident Ross Blum said would cause the building to be an anomaly in the neighborhood.
“People will accept a building that they feel is too big for the community if they feel it’s for the community good,” said ZAB Commissioner Sophie Hahn at the meeting.
Board members also discussed the issue of parking, because the building will not provide a parking space for every unit. ZAB commissioner Bob Allen said he was disappointed by the lack of parking because he believed it would mean fewer that families would move into the units. ZAB vice chair Denise Pinkston, on the other hand, said this was a positive feature of the building, as it would compel residents to bike or use public transportation instead.
The board also held a public hearing on a proposed 16-story hotel and commercial development at 2129 Shattuck Ave. in Downtown Berkeley. Commissioners noted approval of its environmental impact report draft and the changes made by the architects in response to both previous ZAB meetings and public commentary.
During the public comment session, Berkeley resident Elisa Cooper said she approved of the building of a new hotel in the city because she thought it would take pressure off Airbnb, which provides short-term housing rentals. Commissioners’ main concerns stemmed from stylistic elements of the building.
The next steps would be for the architects from Taecker Planning & Design and JRDV Architects to further develop their design in light of new feedback and present an updated design plan to ZAB in the future.
Action was not taken on a proposed project at 2631 Durant Ave., which would entail demolishing an existing three-story rent-controlled apartment building and replacing it with a five-story unit. Berkeley City Council had originally discussed the project but returned it to ZAB in December to review staff recommendations and the city Rent Stabilization Board’s property analysis.
Under city ordinance, if ZAB does not act within 90 days after an appeal is remanded to it by City Council, the item will be placed back on the council agenda for further discussion.
At the end of the meeting, ZAB chair Prakash Pinto gave his farewell to the board, as he is stepping down in order to focus more on his urban-design-planning practice and teaching, and to spend more time with his family. He is to be succeeded by current ZAB vice chair Denise Pinkston. Igor Tregub will replace Pinkston as the new vice chair.
“I’ve enjoyed ZAB tremendously, and I will miss it greatly,” Pinto said.