Reasons for Exemption
The project is categorically exempt under Class 32, In-Fill Development Projects; Section 15332 of the State California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines, because the project is consistent with General Plan policies for the land use designation and is consistent with the applicable zoning designation and applicable regulations. The project site occurs on a property of no more than five acres, which is currently developed with existing commercial and office uses and associated parking, is substantially surrounded by urban uses, and has no value as habitat for endangered, rare or threatened species. The project would be served by adequate required utilities and public services. The project has been reviewed by the City Public Works Department, Transportation Division, and no significant traffic impacts were identified, based on the size and location of the project. Based on the current use of the site, the proposed project as designed, the location of the project, and compliance with existing Zoning and Municipal Code Regulations including the City’s Noise and Stormwater Regulations, the project would not result in any significant effects related to noise, air quality, or water quality. Based on the projects location within the Downtown Commercial zone, and the project’s consistency with the General Plan, Downtown Concept Plan, and Zoning Regulations, and presence of historic resources throughout the Downtown and areas subject to the same policies and regulations, no unusual circumstance exists in accordance with the Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. the City of Berkeley, 60 Cal 4th 1086 (2015) case. Furthermore, based on the project’s design, which incorporates forms, step backs, setbacks, landscaping, and materials found to be consistent with the General Plan and Community Design Guidelines, and the initial recommendations of the historic assessment and the conclusion of the Historical Compatibility Letter, the project would not result in a significant adverse impact or cumulative impact to historical resources as defined by the California Environmental Quality Act.