An appellate court said Berkeley should automatically approve a project on the Shellmound landmark site, but the city is pushing back.
The owners of 1900 Fourth St. want to build housing and retail on the old Spenger’s parking lot, which sits in the middle of Berkeley’s shellmound district.
Native Americans and their supporters hope the designation will help them stop a planned 260-unit development at 1900 Fourth St., a lot that is part of the West Berkeley Shellmound.
The judge said the city could deny Ruegg & Ellsworth’s SB35 application because the site is landmarked, even though there are no significant structures on the property and little shellmound evidence has been found.
The owners of 1900 Fourth St. sued Berkeley over the city’s denial of their SB35 housing application. The law allows almost automatic approval of complexes where 50% of the units are “affordable.”
The city was not swayed by the developers’ appeal for a 260-unit complex with 130 affordable apartments.
The application for a housing complex on the Spenger’s parking lot — which has faced opposition from Native American activists — is now in the property owners’ hands.
West Berkeley Investments said Berkeley erred when it decided its project, with 130 affordable units, could not be fast-tracked under SB 35.
Tuesday brought the latest setback for what has been a controversial proposal to build 260 housing units over what is now the Spenger’s parking lot on Fourth Street.
What lies beneath the Spenger’s parking lot has been hotly debated in recent months as discussions proceed about what might one day be developed there.
The discovery of a second set of human remains in a Fourth Street lot long considered to sit outside the boundaries of the West Berkeley Shellmound has some people wondering if Berkeley really knows where the perimeter should be.