by Carol Denney September 2018
Dear Berkeley City Council,
Please affirm the landmarking of Campanile Way and the natural landscape element it was built to embrace which includes, but is not limited to a view that stretches from the natural entrance to San Francisco bay to our beautiful hills. I live on University Avenue, and the most beautiful thing about my neighborhood is the sweeping embrace of the natural elements in both directions which invite the eye and the spirit to connect with not just nature but the Campanile Way's inclusion of nature's wonders in its design.
"Natural landscape elements" are codified in the Berkeley Municipal Code and Landmarks Preservation Ordinance, a phrase which is designed to be inclusive, not exclusive, of a view or aspect of a site. The suggestion in Issue 1., that views somehow play no role in such decisions nationwide, is just silly. Although it is rare for any place in the nation to have such a spectacularly aligned set of natural landscape elements as we have, it is far from unique, and not only deserves protection, it has protection under our BMC/LPO Section 3.24.060.
Issue #2 is equally silly. This application does not preclude construction, and does not require revolutions in zoning and planning as city staff implies. It just limits the extent of the heights, profits, and impositions developers can impose, which is a reasonable thing to do. Staff may be in the tank for high-rise development these days, but neighbors like me are fine with our low-rise commercial buildings and any limitations which protect what is beautiful in our neighborhoods.
Issue #3 is kind of funny. Campanile Way is already listed on the National Register of Historic Places which is a multiple property designation and kind of shoots the appellant's argument in the foot. The whole place is registered because of that "natural landscape element", again, codified in BMC/LPO Section 3.24.060.
Issue #4 is my second favorite. Especially since the Mayor's old roommate has been flacking for this appeal and against this landmarking effort from the beginning. It is lobbyists in the tank for developers with special ties to City Hall who have the conflict of interest here, which may be why city staff decided to tiptoe around this one. But don't think Mark Rhoades' journey into developer-land isn't a dream they have every night about their own future.
Issue #5 - my favorite. No CEQA! As if the preservation of the natural landscape elements posed any threat to the environment. The environment threatened here is the lucrative environment for developers who want to wreck their way through historic, beloved, natural elements in our city.
Please uphold the landmarking of Campanile Way in full, and recognize that we owe a huge debt to the dedication of the applicant for the opportunity to protect this treasure for all generations for all time.
1970 San Pablo #4
Berkeley, CA 94702
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