In the fall of 2017, I published a post about the 1300 block of Haskell Street. It was a typical modest block in southwest Berkeley – unpretentious homes, a little bit of quirk, a few spectacular gardens, and a gray cat who briefly wanted to be my friend.
At 1310 Haskell was A Craftsman bungalow built in 1925. It was not a priceless specimen of remarkable Berkeley architecture, but it was sturdy, in keeping with Berkeley architecture, and, and – dare I say it? – affordable.
A developer had an idea – tear it down and build three luxury units on the lot. Neighbors were concerned about the height and density of the project. They were concerned about privacy as the buildings in the back of the lot overlooked the neighbor’s yard. They were concerned about parking.
Twice the City Council sided with the neighbors. Twice a pro-developer group sued to support the developer’s plan for 1310 Haskell. Twice the courts sided with the developer, relying on a state law.
This is what we got.
Wow! Artsy evening sky! Somebody picked up Jackson Browne’s Late for the Sky album got inspired.
Anything to say about affordable housing by my YIMBY crusader friends?
The only thing that I can think of is that the oh-so-sincere developer shills who supported the project in the name of affordable housing have a different definition of “affordable housing” than I do.
And then there is the issue of design.
To be fair, here’s the other side. The architectural firm that designed the project stated in the application with the City that “we are a firm that actually care a lot about the aesthetic of the project.” They assured the neighbors that “we have a few similar projects that are very well received by its occupants and neighbors.”
At best – De gustibus non est disputandum, “In matters of taste, there can be no disputes.” I understand everyone’s personal preferences are merely subjective opinions that cannot be right or wrong, so they should never be argued about as if they were. That said – EYESORE!
Yes, there is a little bit of a Paul Revere complex going on here. Yes, this is a little bit of a rant.
I love Berkeley. I accept change. I wish and hope that the developers don’t turn us into Walnut Creek west. That’s all.