BERKELEY (CBS SF) — Students and residents were circulating a petition on Change.Org to block the construction of an 18-story high-rise condominium in downtown Berkeley because it would obstruct “cherished” views of the Golden Gate Bridge from Campanile Way.
The condos are part of the Residences at Berkeley Plaza, a proposed development at 2211 Harold Way comprised of some 300 units atop retail space, restaurants and cinemas. The development falls under the city’s Downtown Area Plan adopted in 2012, which allows 3 new buildings up to 180 feet. Supporters of the development say it will provide housing and bolster the city’s economy.
Campanile Way, named for UC Berkeley’s iconic 100-year-old Campanile (Sather Tower), is a major campus pedestrian artery that runs from the south entry at Bancroft to the Central Glade. The stretch has sweeping views of the bay. An effort to designate Campanile Way a city landmark was voted down by the Landmarks Preservation Commission last week.
The petition is addressed to Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, Mayor Tom Bates and 8 Berkeley City Council members. It argues the condos are going to cost $1 million and should not be considered affordable housing, and charges the developers with “capitalizing on the view of the Golden Gate Bridge.”
“Substantial development can occur in Downtown Berkeley without obstructing and privatizing this irreplaceable public view,” it says.
As of noon on April 29, the petition had 2,122 signatories.
The mayor and council members have not responded to the petition.
Tuesday, Dan Mogulof from UC Berkeley’s Communications and Public Affairs office told the Contra Costa Times the matter is “completely beyond the university’s jurisdiction.”