Berkeley – 1310 Haskell St
On March 10, 2016 Berkeley Zoning Board approved a zoning and general plan compliant proposal to tear down an existing single family house and build three single family houses in its stead.
The approval was appealed to the Berkeley City Council, who subsequently denied it in violation of the Housing Accountability Act.
CaRLA stepped up to assist Cristan in fighting back. 1310 Haskell St was CaRLA’s first Berkeley case, and first time providing aid to a small homeowner. Cristan was seeking to add two additional units to a lot containing one in a neighborhood of apartment buildings, duplexes, and two story single family homes.
How it ended
In order to reverse California’s housing shortage, we need cities to approve housing developments even over local NIMBY opposition. In our Berkeley lawsuit, we challenged the city’s disapproval of a three- unit development on a small parcel of land—exactly the type of “missing middle” development we need to see more of. In this case, the neighbors were opposed to changes that might make their single-family neighborhood more affordable, so they appealed the project approval to the City Council.
The Council disapproved the project despite its compliance with all city regulations, and without even attempting to justify the denial under the HAA. CaRLA filed our lawsuit to restore the rule of law in an apparently lawless city. Perhaps realizing that they didn’t stand a chance in court, the city agreed to rehear the project, and promised to comply with the HAA the second time around. Instead, upon rehearing the Council attempted to avoid the HAA by denying the project’s demolition permit rather than development permits. The court was not impressed by these antics, and took the decision out of the City Council’s hand by ordering the project approved and the city to pay all legal fees.
This case was the start of CaRLA’s mission to hold cities accountable for state housing law and their own development code.
Status: We Won!
The property owner got their approval and has began construction of three homes for familes where there was just one mansion.
Documents in this case
|2016-03-10 02:37||City of Berkeley||Berkeley ZAB staff report||
Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustment Board produced a staff report recommending approval.
|2017-02-28 02:43||City of Berkeley||City Council Agenda||
Four months later, Berkeley City Council finally reheard the proposal for 3 houses at 1310 Haskell Street. Despite the order the Council had signed and over the objections of the city attorney, the Council voted the project down again.
|2017-07-31 03:18||Judge Kimberly E. Colwell||Clarifying order||
This is another Order, clarifying the one from 10 days ago. The project is going to go back to be heard by Berkeley City Council, but the judge clarified that if she sees us again, she’ll order the permits granted.
|2017-06-06 03:06||Kristen Lee||Declaration in Opposition to Motion||
This is funny document. In this document Berkeley’s Manager of Housing Services outlines all of the wonderful programs Berkeley has to protect or create affordable housing. Of course none of this has anything to do with whether they broke state law.
|2017-06-06 03:11||Steven Buckley||Declaration in Opposition to Motion||
Here is another declaration, this one by Berkeley’s land use planning manager. It has a nice appendix showing how much housing Berkeley entitled and built over the last 5 years. Also, none of this is relevant for the lawsuit.
|2017-09-20 03:19||Judge Kimberly E. Colwell||Final Order||
All of the parties agreed that Cristian would get his permits and we would get about $45,000 in legal fees from Berkeley.
|2017-05-25 03:00||CaRLA||Notice of motion to enforce stipulated order||
Motion to enforce the order from the first lawsuit. So Berkeley is actually defending two lawsuits from us right now. It is a very short document. Basically just “here ye, here ye, Berkeley broke their agreement with us.”
|2017-06-07 03:05||City of Berkeley||Opposition to Motion||
This is where Berkeley argues that we are wrong and Berkeley shouldn’t have to approve the three houses.
|2016-10-21 02:42||Alameda County Superior Court||Order to approve||
The City of Berkeley capitulated immediately. The city attorney agreed that Berkeley had no defenses, was clearly acting contrary to state law. The parties signed an order where the City agreed to reconsider the decision it had made, and make a new decision, in compliance with state law.
|2017-07-21 03:16||Judge Kimberly E. Colwell||Order to enforce||
We won! The judge agreed that Berkeley illegally disapproved the houses … AGAIN. The remedy is that the houses are going to go back to Berkeley City Council to be reconsidered.
|2016-10-07 02:39||CaRLA||Petition for Writ of Administrative Mandamus||
CaRLA filed a petition in Alameda County Superior court asking the Court to force Berkeley to follow the state law.
|2017-06-13 03:14||CaRLA||Exhibit to support the Reply|
|2017-06-13 03:13||CaRLA||Petitioners’ Reply in Support of Motion to Enforce Settlement Agreement|
|2017-05-26 03:03||CaRLA||Memo of Points & Authorities in Support of Motion||
This document is more of what you probably expected to read. It has a narritive, and cites laws and cases in support of our Motion.
|2017-05-25 02:50||CaRLA||Petition for writ of administrative mandamus||
We filed a new lawsuit to cover our bases.