Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Berkeley Condo Conversion Update

It looks like we'll have to another month before we get a decision on Berkeley's condo conversion policy.

For the record, I agree with councilmembers Gordon Wozniak and Laurie Capitelli who suggested a smaller fee and I feel that they summarize it up pretty well:

“The city does a pretty good job building low-income housing, but we don’t do anything for the workers,” Wozniak said. “The librarians and employees who work downtown, condos could let them move into the ownership market rather than having them move outside of Berkeley.”

Opposing the lower fee is:

Councilmember Dona Spring (who) countered that TIC owners should pay a hefty fee because converting to condos, a legally more secure form of home ownership, would dramatically increase the value of their property.

Is she serious?

I suppose that will teach a leeson to those greedy profit takers like Carl Farrington and his four partners who bought the three-unit building where they now live hoping to one day convert it to condos.

The Housing Advisory Commission has endorsed the 12.5 percent fee, and called for lowering the fee to 5 percent for owners of TICs with three or fewer units and where the owners have resided in the building for more than seven years.

Farrington and his partners wouldn’t qualify because they’ve lived at their TIC for just two years. He said they bought the TIC relying on the opinion of city officials that condo conversions rules would be relaxed.

I'm going to keep my eye on this sitation and will be sure to keep you informed as well.