Will Growth-Averse Berkeley Go High-Rise?

<p>In response to meeting regional housing demand requirements stipulated by the Association of Bay Area Governments, the Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee of Berkeley, California, considers a high-rise development plan proposed by city staff.</p>
February 26, 2007, 8am PST | Irvin Dawid
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"Should downtown Berkeley sprout a highrise-studded skyline, complete with 14 new 16-story 'point towers' as a solution to regional government demands that the city add new housing?"

"That was one of the solutions offered by city planning staff at Wednesday night's meeting of the Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee."

"The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) has issued preliminary figures that will form the basis of a new mandate that would force the city to prepare the way to add 2,700 new housing units over the next seven years."

"ABAG has decreed a 'smart growth' policy that mandates cities with major transportation facilities and job access to accommodate the lion's share of regional development."

"Under the proposed guidelines, the city would have to prepare for a total of 5,450 new housing units by 2035. Failure to comply could mean the loss of some state funding and programs."

"The high-rises-called 'point towers' because they are set back from lower street-frontages" -would each be as tall as one of the tallest buildings in the city.

"Looking at the point tower scenario, (Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee) member and architect Jim Novosel said 'density for density's sake sucks,' agreeing with fellow member Juliet Lamont that any plans should include greenery. Winston Burton agreed, and stressed the need to include larger, three-bedroom units among the affordable housing to be created."

Thanks to ABAG-MTC Library

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Published on Friday, February 23, 2007 in The Berkeley Daily Planet
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