SF Business Times: Berkeley rejects fast-track approval for 260-unit housing project

SF Business Times: Berkeley rejects fast-track approval for 260-unit housing project
June 7, 2018 Joanna Rivas

A Berkeley apartment project that has been stalled for five years experienced yet another obstacle, not qualifying for fast-tracked approval under new legislation the developer hoped to utilize. The city of Berkeley told developer West Berkeley Investments in a letter this week that its 1900 Fourth St. project — 260 housing units over a parking lot on Fourth Street in West Berkeley— does not apply to SB 35, which looks to expedite permitting for projects that are 50 percent affordable housing units. The site, city officials say, is a designated city landmark and thus the law is not applicable. The project was California’s first development to attempt to use the 2017 law to speed up their approval process. Still, SB 35 remains controversial. While proponents call it a necessary measure to address the Bay Area’s housing shortage, opponents worry the law overpowers city procedures and will result in inappropriate development.

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