December 03, 2010

mitch kapor is a very patient man

One of the great ongoing Berkeley sagas that Berkeleyside has been covering (well!) is Mitch Kapor's desire to build a home in North Berkeley, on a very odd lot that honestly would benefit from having a new home on it. But he's been having a hell of a time with it, thanks to the "Not In My Backyard" attitude of my fellow Berkeley citizens...except this time, the NIMBY's don't actually live in Kapor's back yard.

An unusual factor in the case is that immediate neighbors to the proposed home have publicly expressed their support for the Kapors’ plan. In his opposition brief to the court, Mr  Kulkari cited City Councilmember Linda Maio who remarked at the April Council appeal meeting that in her 20 years as a member of the Zoning Adjustment Board and City Council, this was the first time all immediate neighbors supported a project while other residents, who did not reside in the immediate vicinity, objected. Mr Kulkari compared the BHP group to “armchair planners” who were “raising their subjective objections from a comfortable distance away from the project location”.

Berkeley is fractal. Our city council isn't afraid to play armchair foreign our citizens aren't afraid to play armchair city planners. See also Michael Chabon's ode to Berkeley: "Nowhere else is the individual encumbered with a greater burden of shame and communal disapproval for having intruded, however innocently, on the sensibilities of another."