July 18, 2006

Mayor Tom Bates
Berkeley City Council
2180 Milvia Street
Berkeley, California 94704     HAND DELIVERED

Re:  Second Reading Revised Landmarks Preservation Ordinance

Dear Mayor Bates and Members of the City Council:

The Board of Directors of the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association (BAHA), on behalf of its dedicated membership, urges the Council to pause before proceeding with a Second Reading of the proposed Revised Landmarks Preservation Ordinance. At this last moment, BAHA again cautions the Council to reconsider replacing Berkeley’s current Landmarks Preservation Ordinance (LPO), certified by the California State Office of Historic Preservation, with a Revised Ordinance that lacks adequate environmental analysis of its potentially damaging effect upon the City’s historic resources, in violation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

The Mitigated Negative Declaration, certified at the July 11th Council meeting, must be challenged. The environmental document failed to discuss the proposed final changes to the provisions of the current LPO and ignores the loss of protections to the City’s historic resources. Please review carefully the attached letter by environmental attorney Susan Brandt-Hawley, dated July 11, 2006, which outlines BAHA’s shared concerns.

Among the many questions that have surfaced about the Revised Ordinance, one serious element of confusion has come to light: the Staff Report specified that the Revised Ordinance would not be implemented until November 1, 2006, by which time the necessary forms and procedures could be prepared for implementation of the new provisions. The date of implementation has been omitted from the Revised Ordinance. Thus, should the Second Reading take place this evening, the Revised Ordinance will be prematurely effective 30 days hence.

It is BAHA’s expectation that all proceedings of the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Planning Commission over the past six years regarding the proposed Revised Ordinance will be a part of the Pubic Record. Please find also attached a sampling of newspaper articles for the Public Record that reflect the community discussion of the proposed LPO revisions.

Again, BAHA urges the Council to conduct adequate environmental review in the form of a full Environmental Impact Report as mandated by CEQA.

Sincerely,

Wendy Markel, President

cc: Robert Johnson, Chair, Landmarks Preservation Commission
Milford Wayne Donaldson, FAIA, Preservation Officer, California State Office of Historic Preservation
Susan Brandt-Hawley, Esq.

Attachments:
Susan Brandt-Hawley, Esq., letter to City Council, July 11, 2006
Berkeley Daily Planet, “Changes Would Speed Landmarks Process,” December 9, 2004
Berkeley Daily Planet, “Battle Over City Landmarks Ordinance Dominates Planning Commission Meeting,” April 29, 2005
Berkeley Daily Planet, “Landmark Law Change Closer,” February 17, 2006
Berkeley Voice, “City’s Landmarks Ordinance Sparks Controversy,” February 17, 2006
Berkeley Daily Planet, “The People Speak on Landmarks Law,” February 17, 2006
Berkelely Daily Planet, “LPC Approves Mayor’s Landmarks Law Changes,” July 5, 2006
Berkeley Daily Planet,“ Getting WMD’d in Berkeley,” July 14, 2006
Berkeley Daily Planet, “Council Approves Mayor’s New LPO,” July 14, 2006


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