Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board approved the construction of a new six-story, mixed-use building on 2527 San Pablo Avenue, the site of a current vacant service station. The project will include 63 housing units total, including 11 below market rate units reserved for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The ground floor will provide commercial space and restaurant use.
The applicant, architect Rony Rolnizky, said the inclusive and multi-use concept was inspired by his son, who has a severe intellectual disability and requires round-the clock care. “All my life, all my son’s life, I’ve been trying to get him out into the community,” Rolnizky said at the meeting, when presenting the building plans. “What I would like to do … is to create this as a project where people (with) intellectual disabilities can live. I don’t want to say this is a project for (people with) disabilities — it’s a project for everybody.”
“This project walks the talk of Berkeley,” said temporary board appointee Savlan Hauser at the meeting. “It reflects our values and I will be very proud to see this project exist.”
Autism Society San Francisco Bay Area wrote a letter to the Board in strong support of the project in light of the growing and dire need to expand housing opportunities for the burgeoning population of adults with autism and I/DD.