Environmental Safety zoning dates from 1975

The Berkeley section of Panoramic hill has had its own different zoning years before Nigel Guest purchased his house and began renting rooms. The unique safety issues of Panoramic Hill are the reasons the  zoning is different from other areas of Berkeley.  A major function of the zoning is to limit the number of people who live in this area with safety problems.   The name of the zoning for the Berkeley section of Panoramic Hill is Environmental Safety – Residential (ES-R).

The Planning Commission report of November 26, 1974 about the new ES-R ordinance, signed by then Planning Commission Chairman Shirley Dean,  states the safety reasons for the changes:  substandard vehicular access, proximity to fire and earthquake hazards and  the exceptional vulnerability of properties to severe damage or destruction from these causes.  

This ordinance was adopted by council in February 1975.  It had restrictions on renting of rooms and stringent requirements for offstreet parking places. In this ordinance, No 4749-N.S., various uses are permitted subject to securing a use permit.   One of the uses, 5B.2.(d), is  ”The renting of no more than four (4) rooms as an incidental use.”   Related to renting of rooms is section on offstreet parking required.  Section 5B.10(d) states:  ” One (1) offstreet parking space shall be provided for each person renting a room or rooms; the parking required in conjunction with the rental of rooms shall be in addition to the parking required by other subsections of this section. ”  

My research of case law supports the legality of Berkeley’s definition of bedroom in the modified Environmental Safety – Residential zoning.   So I firmly disagree with Mr. Guest’s conjecture that no court would uphold this definition of bedroom.   

The new zoning has many improvements for this area and I thank the Planning Department for the excellent work it has done.

Please note that the PHA was informed of the changes in 2007.

Event Date/Time Location

Annual Meeting Sunday,

June 10th, 2007 / 4:00pm – 6:00pm 14 Mosswood Rd


1. Discussion of possible building moratorium on the Berkeley side of the hill in response to LAFFCo initiative – with honored guests Gordon Wozniak

(Berkeley Councilperson); Dan Marks (Berkeley Planning Department); and Justin Horner (Chief of Staff to Oakland Councilperson Jane Brunner

Ann R Slaby, Ph.D., MSc.,  Attorney at law

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