The long zoning battle with Ming’s Market over the use of a building on East Berkeley Street for a warehouse is officially over, with company lawyers sending a letter to the City informing them that they have withdrawn their appeal.
The news came at the first online meeting of the East Berkeley Neighborhood Association (EBNA) on Tuesday night, and was welcome good news in a time that has been challenging. EBNA had to cancel their March and April meetings, but wanted to do a Zoom meeting before recessing for the summer – with the next meeting now scheduled for September.
“We did get notice from the attorneys that they were withdrawing their appeal of the decision about using the building on East Berkeley as a warehouse,” said President Ken Smith.
Ming’s Market, at the corner of Washington and East Berkeley Streets, has been a thorn in the side of the neighborhood for many years, as it has seen numerous code violations, has a foul smell frequently and is covered in graffiti that is never covered up. The store has been described as a blight by EBNA, though it is popular with a good many Asian customers in the general area.
Ming’s had proposed to use the former parking garage building on East Berkeley as a warehouse, though they had been doing so for some time without zoning approval. That led to a protracted and complicated legal battle with the building owner, Leo Motsis, which was resolved earlier this year in Ming’s favor. That led to the zoning request, which EBNA opposed and the ZBA ultimately denied. That led to an appeal.
Mayoral Liaison Faisa Sharif said she wasn’t surprised and the owners were probably making a business decision.
“I believe they were always waffling back and forth and they had an uphill battle with the ZBA case,” she said. “I’m not surprised. It would have been a contentious hearing and I’m sure a business decision because it is an expensive process.”
•Protestors in EBNA Supported
President Ken Smith said thousands of protestors have been in their neighborhood over the past week and it was mostly a point of pride, though a handful of businesses like the CVS on Harrison Avenue had been looted Monday morning.
“We were proud to have the protest march go through our neighborhood on Washington Street,” said Smith. “We’re grateful so many went out to participate. Unfortunately there was some violence and businesses were damaged but there are no indications that can be attributed to those marching peacefully.”