Flash: BUSD Bails on Lawsuit about 2211 Harold Way

Tuesday December 08, 2015 - 10:28:00 AM

In a five-minute meeting late yesterday afternoon, three members of the board of the Berkeley Unified School District approved a last-minute deal with the developers of 2211 Harold Way. According to BUSD public information officer Mark Coplan, present and voting to drop the district's appeal on the project permits were board members Judy Appel, President,Karen Hemphill, Clerk, and Ty Alper. Josh Daniels and Beatriz Leyva-Cutler were absent.

Berkeley High parent Dr. James McFadden told the Planet that he attempted to attend and speak in a public comment period as the Brown Act specifies, but found the building which housed the board locked when he attempted to enter between 5:15 and 5:45, the meeting time posted on the District's web site. Coplan said that the meeting was technically not a closed meeting, but no members of the public were in attendance.

Tom Lochner reported in the Bay Area News Group papers that 

"The deal calls for the developer, HSR Berkeley Investments LLC, to address many of the issues related to noise, pollution, traffic, construction hours and others raised in the district's appeal regarding The Residences at Berkeley Plaza, scheduled to be heard by the City Council on Tuesday.

"The agreement is contained in a letter on school district letterhead to the developer's representative Mark Rhoades, signed by HSR. It calls for a list of 11 "Additional Project Applicant Concessions" that the developer would ask the city to include as conditions of approval of the project. If that cannot be done, HSR would commit to the list of concessions by virtue of the agreement, the letter continues."
The Berkeley City Council is expected to vote on appeals to the project permits tonight, and could mandate that conditions to protect Berkeley High would be added to the permits. If that doesn't happen, the district's deal would not be binding on successive owners of the project. Hill Street Realty, the financial company which now owns the site, could flip the property to another developer, the strategy now being followed by Equity Residential, the current owner of the projected Acheson Commons on University which has been permitted but has not yet been started.