After failing twice before, a proposal for a shared-living style apartment building in Berkeley, California was voted down (7-2) by the city’s zoning board.
When the project was first presented to the ZAB in July 2017, it wasn’t a co-living concept, but called for 44 living units of primarily studios, one- and two-bedrooms. It also called for 17 car parking spaces.
The latest version had evolved to 23 residential units ranging from studios to six bedrooms. A majority of the units were larger including six three-bedrooms, five four-bedrooms, six five-bedrooms, and one six-bedroom.
The larger units were designed more like dormitories than full-service apartments, with bedrooms as the main focus and relatively smaller shared kitchen-living areas. The complex also included a central communal room with kitchen and shared courtyard.
It had no residential car parking, but 48 bicycle parking spots and six commercial spaces for a planned ground-floor café. The site is less than a half-mile from the Ashby BART station.
The main objection of the zoning board was the number of affordable units to be constructed, even though the units offered would be 20% to 30% less than the cost of a studio apartment in Berkeley. In accordance with local ordinances, the developer opted to pay the $37,000 affordable housing mitigation fee instead of providing units that satisfy the city’s definition for affordable housing.
In its place will remain a gas station. Over at the blog “Systemic Failure,” one post points out “the South Shattuck Plan specifically calls for pedestrian-scale mixed infill development on underdeveloped lots. So once again the city doesn’t follow its adopted plans.”
Thanks to the zoning board’s vote, no housing will be built in an otherwise prime location for new housing development.