BERKELEY (CBS SF) – A plan that would allow for the construction of several tall buildings in downtown Berkeley – some up to 15 stories high – goes before the City Council for a vote Tuesday.

The Downtown Area Plan is actually 7 years in the making. The original downtown plan was approved by the City Council, then scrapped after a referendum campaign by community members. A scaled back alternative was subsequently approved by voters in 2010. Now the council members are voting on zoning rules which would allow for 7 tall buildings in downtown Berkeley.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

It’s a proposal that Mayor Tom Bates is convinced will draw businesses to the community, not to mention create opportunities for more people to live and work near public transit.

“We don’t want to just talk about it, we want to have a green city,” he argued. “We want to have a green way to have people live and work in Berkeley and shop and thrive.”

“It’s right around BART, right where people can live and work in Berkeley. And then when you have all those people on the street, you get all the services and all the things that make Berkeley a great place.”

Ahead of the vote, it appeared there was enough support on the council for it to pass, though not likely by a unanimous vote.

“It’s not clear to me that we’re replacing short term street parking for those potential shoppers and diners that we want to draw to the downtown,” said concerned councilwoman Susan Wengraf. “I’m disappointed that we’re not taking into consideration the need that our local businesses have for convenient on street parking.”

Other opponents have voiced concern that the plan is sure to attract single residents, but offers nothing appealing for families.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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