New 30 June, 2016

In a strange turn of events, the 2707 Rose property is now for sale, including the plans that were disputed as part of the request for an Environmental Impact Report, at a price approximately double the original price paid for the lot with a Craftsman bungalow sitting on it. Is there an Angel somewhere in the wings to buy it and build it as designed for someone else? Or will someone else buy the lot, and build a home that is more environmentally suitable for the site and the neighborhood?

>>Berkeleyside story, including
additional history, via this link



In May, 2015, the Supreme Court denied the petition for rehearing. Subsequently the Court of Appeal in San Francisco considered the case again, and in September, 2015, reversed its earlier unanimous decision in favor of Berkeley Hillside Preservation. Unfortunately, this leaves Berkeley, and the State of California, with little environmental protection from the construction of mega-mansions, and a wide open door for batsies (build anything that suits you).

A petition for rehearing was submitted on 17 March, 2015. In this, we argue that a one-step argument is sufficient to show that such a proposed single-family residence can result in significant environmental effects that require CEQA review, and we further point out errors and omissions in the discussion of the geotechnical assessment of this project.

>>Full text via this link

The Supreme Court issued a ruling in this case on March 2, 2015. The Court DID NOT rule on whether or not the Kapor home may be built without further environmental review, as misreported in several newspapers and online sites. The Supreme Court DID reverse the Court of Appeal decision that was in our favor, but only as to the “standard of review” to be used in considering whether the project requires environmental review or not. The case is thus now remanded back to the Court of Appeal to consider all evidence of environmental impacts and unusual circumstances. Although we are confident that through this process, the Court of Appeal will again rule in our favor and require full CEQA review, we will also request a rehearing in the Supreme Court, to be filed by 17 March, 2015.
See Contra Costa Times for another account of the current status of the case:

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014, 9:00 AM
Case S201116

Ronald Reagan State Office Building,
300 South Spring Street, 3rd Floor, North Tower
Los Angeles, CA 90013

2707 Rose: A Cautionary Tale
A personal perspective on the case


The proposed single-family residence at 2707 Rose in Berkeley, which, with its 10-car. garage totals about 10,000 square feet, is very unusual in Berkeley in size, in location in a historic neighborhood, in proximity to the Hayward fault, and possibly also in eventual non-residential usage. Our slide show documents various aspects of the proposed structure and its presentation to the City. The proposal thus demands special evaluation by the City of Berkeley.
The Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) hearing which approved the proposal deviated from normal practice and did not fairly address the concerns of many people in the neighborhood.  At that time, some 30 neighbors asked for more study, including installation of story poles to assess the size and view impact of this enormous structure, as is in fact required in the Berkeley Hills. Nonetheless, the ZAB approved the project.
The applicant’s submissions and the Planning Dept. report presented to the ZAB contain many errors and omissions: inconsistent drawings, compatibility with and impact on a historically important neighborhood, and other environmental and technical issues, including General Plan inconsistencies, geotechnical issues involving a mammoth structure on a very steep slope, Alquist-Priolo earthquake zone concerns for what is in fact a three-story structure, and implicitly, the lack of an Environmental Impact Review under CEQA that would address all of these issues.
An Appeal of the ZAB hearing to the Council was voted down, with minimal testimony allowed.   Almost 60 residents by that time had asked for more review of the project.
A second appeal to the Alameda County Superior Court was filed, and this also was denied, but with the judge strangely acknowledging in his decision likely inconsistencies with the Berkeley General Plan and possible geotechnical environmental hazards of such a large structure on a steeply sloping hillside in a seismically active zone.
A third appeal went to the District Court in San Francisco, with a unanimous decision in favor of Berkeley Hillside Preservation, a major victory for those who only wish to fully assess a single-family residence that may go well beyond what is reasonable for its neighborhood and what is environmentally safe and consistent within it.

Undeterred, the proponents of this project appealed it to the Supreme Court of California, with supporting and opposing briefs that were submitted over October-December 2012. The case eventually included various amicus curiae briefs and responses to them, with these submitted in early 2013.

Berkeley Hillside Preservation welcomes a just and final decision to this case, which has seen the City of Berkeley behave in a manner that many people in the City, the State, elsewhere in the U.S., and in other countries, find most surprising in view its expected character as a leader in environmental and historical preservation issues.


---Detailed record of the case in court and press---
>> indicates a link to associated documents and websites



Update--December 24, 2012
Briefs have been filed by the City of Berkeley et al. and by Berkeley Hillside Preservation
Amicus curiae briefs were filed in early 2013


Update--June 6, 2012
An appeal of this case to the State Supreme Court has been accepted for review.
The issue to be decided before the Court is, in their words:
“Did the City of Berkeley properly conclude that a proposed project was exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (Pub. Resources Code, § 21000 et seq.) under the categorical exemptions set forth in California Code of Regulations, title 14, sections 15303, subdivision (a), and 15332, and that the "Significant Effects Exception" set forth in section 15300.2, subdivision (c), of the regulations did not operate to remove the project from the scope of those categorical exemptions?”

Berkeley Hillside Preservation thus welcomes a final just decision by the State's highest tribunal concerning this interpretation of the California Environmental Quality Act that helps to protect California's neighborhoods.
>>SFGate : Article concerning the Supreme Court decision
to review the case



In March, 2012, The Court of Appeal in San Francisco decided in favor of Berkeley Hillside Preservation in this case, ordered a full Environmental Impact Report for this project under the (CEQA), and denied a subsequent request to rehear the case. The ruling thus stood as originally stated, with a wording correction in one paragraph (p. 14, line 4).

>> See Press Release with full Appeal Court ruling

>> Slide Show of various exhibits

>> Daily Californian : Article concerning the Appeal Court decision

>> Berkeley Daily Planet: Article concerning the Appeal Court decision

>> Berkeley Daily Planet: Article concerning the Berkeley City Council Meeting on the first Appeal

>> Berkeleyside: Article concerning the Appeal Court decision

>> San Francisco Chronicle: Article concerning the Appeal Court decision

>> Discussion of the implications of the case at a CEQA blog:

>> Documents submitted to the Appeal Court: Berkeley Hillside Preservation-Opening and Reply Briefs




On December 2, 2010,the Superior Court hearing on the Berkeley Hillside Preservation (BHP) lawsuit under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) was held
before Judge Frank Roesch

>> Documents submitted to the Superior Court concerning this CEQA lawsuit: BHP Brief, Opponents Brief, BHP Reply Brief

>> Final ruling by the Superior Court (see esp. pages 16 and 17)

>> Press release concerning the lawsuit filed in Superior Court under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) on May 27, 2010



>>Berkeleyside website: Archive of articles concerning 2707 Rose