City denies SB 35 application for Shellmound development, for now

On June 5, the City of Berkeley informed developers Blake Griggs/West Berkeley Investors that their application for fast-tracked approval of a massive 260-unit project at the West Berkeley Shellmound site does not qualify under the terms of SB 35.

The letter from Berkeley city staff states that SB 35, a new state law that streamlines approval of housing developments under certain circumstances, “does not apply” to the project because it would impact the city-designated West Berkeley Shellmound historic landmark. The letter outlines a myriad of other specific areas in which the application does not comply with SB 35 and applicable Berkeley city laws.

While this determination from the City is a very significant and positive outcome, the door remains open for the 1900 Fourth developers to push forward in their attempt to build on the West Berkeley Shellmound site, should they choose to. We expect that they will. They could either reapply under SB 35 with an amended application, or go back to work trying to force the approval of their original 135-unit project, which remains stalled in environmental review.

We want to thank all of the shellmound supporters out there, especially those who took the time to write, call, and publicly address city officials, and those who so generously donated to the Shellmound Legal Defense Fund. Your support has been crucial to our success thus far!

At this time, we are renewing our call for donations for the legal defense fund. The $6,000 raised in the past two months through this website allowed us to retain high-caliber lawyers who have provided critically needed legal advice and analysis. In order to continue to advocate and fight effectively for preservation of the shellmound site, we urgently need additional funds to cover attorney fees going forward.

For more information about the City’s recent rejection of the developer’s SB 35 application, see these links:

Click here to donate to the Shellmound Legal Defense Fund. Thank you very much for your support.