Zoning Board to discuss demolition of large, rent-controlled building Thursday June 25
BTU Appealed This Demolition — City Council November 17
The proposed demolition at 2631 Durant includes 18 rent controlled units which have traditionally been 100% occupied by students and were occupied until May 2014. This is the building next door to the Art Museum and across from the dorms near College on Durant.
One of the most sensational aspects of this application is that developer Cliff Orloff claims he cannot get a fair rate of return because of the costs if he rehabilitates the existing building – but Orloff invited the Berkeley Fire Department to conduct trainings in his building, and when they were done there were holes in the roof and very few interior walls, according to a Building Inspector report that is part of the City record.
The other extremely disturbing aspect of tonight’s hearing is public perception that the process may have been manipulated:
1) City packed the Zoning agenda with two controversial issues – demolition of 2631 Durant and the EIR for 2211 Harold Way, the first downtown high-rise. This will limit discussion time for both projects.
2) City scheduled a different public meeting at virtually the same time on another aspect of Harold Way. Many BTU members want to speak at both meetings but cannot endure 4 or more hours of meetings just to have their one or two minutes to comment at each.
3) CITY STAFF SENT AT LEAST ONE LETTER FROM A CONCERNED CITIZEN TO THE DEVELOPER well before this correspondence was available to the public or even to ZAB Commissioners. (see Supplemental Communications Page 5) Having communications before the rest of the public seems to give the developer more time to refute or refine arguments than the time any other member of the public would have to comment on correspondence.
4) This building was 100% student occupied but the hearing is scheduled when students are away – see the letter from ASUC External Affairs linked below.
BTU is asking folks to come tonight, hold signs, and speak against demolition of rent controlled units as well as in favor of increased affordable housing requirements from downtown high-rise builders.
BTU Letter to ZAB About Durant
Communication from the Public Forwarded to Developer, Page 5
Link to All City Documents Regarding this Application: