Op-ed: Berkeley restaurant is approved: Let it open

A neighborhood group is trying to stop a new restaurant from opening in the Elmwood, and not everyone is happy with the holdup.

Comal's owners are planning to open a new restaurant at 2635 Ashby, but may be delayed by a lawsuit. Photo: Google Maps
Comal’s owners are planning to open a new restaurant at 2635 Ashby Ave., but have been delayed by a lawsuit. Photo: Google Maps

Last year, the owners of Comal restaurant in downtown Berkeley applied to the city to open a new restaurant in the Elmwood neighborhood. Community meetings were held, the proposal was vetted by the city’s zoning board, there were public hearings, as well as an appeal. Ultimately, the plan was given the go-ahead.

Then a group called the Elmwood Neighborhood Association filed a lawsuit against the city and the restaurant’s owners, claiming that Berkeley violated environmental laws when it made a “negative declaration” that determined the new restaurant, at 2635 Ashby Ave. near College Avenue, would not create significant noise, parking or odor problems.

April Gilbert, who has lived in the Elmwood for eight years, and Berkeley for 40 years, had never heard of the association. In an Opinionator piece published by Berkeleyside, she argues that this small group does not represent her, nor, she believes, the many local residents who support the idea new restaurant.

What’s your view? Join the conversation in the Comments section on the op-ed.

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