Wednesday, September 24, 2008

And the council halts again...

Sometimes I wonder how anything ever happens in Berkeley. There is so much talking going on I feel like I am at a never-ending therapy session. Amongst other topics like, establishing citizen nuisance wood smoke abatement procedures and raising recreation fees, the council spoke to city's condominium conversion fees.

A suggestion for revisions in the amount of fees that are charged to complete a condo conversion be reduced to 8%, as well as a review of how the process in which those fees are determined.

Initially the fee was set by council in 2005 at 12.5% of the sale price of the unit to be converted. This was set to help the city by back affordable rental housing that was deemed lost in the condo conversion, as well as give the city a a share in some of the profit (however, I'm not sure how this has been accounted for or what the money has been used for).

There was a general agreement among the council, staff and residents speaking at the meeting that the current conversion fee is too high and that the city approval procedures are too complicated. But there was little agreement on how much to charge, or exactly what parts of the procedure to streamline or change. So, we are back at just talking and no action...again.

I'll keep you posted of any changes. My next blog about this topic will be in 2010.