Berkeley Honda dealership zoning permit to be automatically upheld

Jasmine Valencia/Staff

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A permit allowing a full-service Honda dealership to move into a new space in South Berkeley will be automatically upheld after Berkeley City Council did not approve an appeal filed against the project at its Tuesday meeting.

The dealership, proposed to be located at 2777 Shattuck Ave. and 2747 Adeline Ave., has prompted community concern about how it may impact noise and safety in the surrounding neighborhood. A motion that would have continued the discussion of the appeal to a later date failed to pass. If no action is taken on an appeal to a zoning permit after 30 days, the permit is upheld, according to the City Clerk Mark Numainville.

The council fell one vote short of passing a motion that would have directed the Zoning Adjustments Board to consider issuing a permit allowing sales at the dealership, but not auto service. Mayor Jesse Arreguín noted at the meeting that the majority of public complaints were related to the potential auto service component of the dealership.

“At the expense of the applicant, any issues (with the project) that are identified by staff will have to be mitigated,” said Councilmember Susan Wengraf at the meeting. “That gives me … some reassurance that if there are serious problems, they will be addressed.”

Additionally, items establishing new short-term rental regulations and directing the development of the Deep Green Building Initiative were both adopted. The item on short-term rental regulations passed with six votes, while the item on the Deep Green Building Initiative passed unanimously.

The new short-term rental regulations will develop a framework to allow property owners to rent accessory buildings for periods of 14 days or less. City law previously prevented accessory buildings from being rented out in any capacity.

Councilmember Wengraf expressed concern over the proposed regulations and called them “overly complicated.”

Matthew Lewis, chair of the ASUC Housing Commission, however, said the regulations would help to safeguard the long-term rental market in Berkeley.

“We need strong enforcement,” Lewis said at the meeting. “We need a strong ordinance to protect the housing supply.”

The city also directed the city manager to develop policies for the Deep Green Building Initiative, which has been discussed by the council for more than six months. It is a program that aims to make Berkeley buildings more environmentally friendly and protect the health and safety of Berkeley residents, the agenda item states.

The policies will be informed by the Deep Green Building proposal, which calls for zero net energy at the individual building and community scale, the use of sustainable building materials and water conservation, according to the agenda item.

“We’re so fortunate we have such amazing leaders in our community who are willing to volunteer their personal time to building a greener and more sustainable community,” Arreguín said at the meeting.

Edward Booth covers city government. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @Edward_E_Booth.