City of Berkeley Issues Final Rejection of SB-35 Development Application

On September 4th, the City of Berkeley sent a letter to 1900 Fourth St property owner Ruegg & Ellsworth, formally rejecting their SB 35 application for a fast-tracked 260-unit housing development for a second and final time.

"We are one step closer to fully protecting this village site and Shellmound," states Corrina Gould of the Confederated Villages of Lisjan. This latest victory comes on the heels of much-celebrated news that 1900 Fourth developer Blake Griggs officially dropped the project and quitclaimed their interest in the property.

While the City’s denial of the SB 35 application effectively crushes the developers’ efforts to use a new state law to bypass environmental review and force project approval, it leaves the door open for developers to apply again for standard permits to build at 1900 Fourth. The City’s letter “welcomes” the property owners to either reactivate the previously submitted 135-unit development proposal, or to reapply “under a standard Use Permit process for this revised larger project or other alternative projects.”

As long as the West Berkeley Shellmound site remains under threat of development, we will continue to build and strengthen our community campaign until we achieve permanent protection of these sacred grounds.

We are asking our supporters to stay tuned for next action steps and also to consider donating to our legal defense fund in anticipation of the work to come. At this time we are all celebrating the latest successes, while taking stock of the current moment and deliberating on next steps.

"Thank you beloved community for standing alongside us to get this accomplished," Corrina Gould wrote in a public message. "Thank you to the City of Berkeley for standing with us. This work has taken us on an incredible journey. We Thank our Ancestors, our vast and diverse communities, our talented legal team and the wonderful and awesome Committees that have worked tirelessly through out the years to Save the West Berkeley Shellmound. There are so many individuals, communities, organizations, and groups to recognize. From the bottom of my heart, I humbly thank you for your love and commitment to this struggle."

Press coverage

City documents