Thursday, March 18, 2010

UPDATED: City Goes After Lawbreaking Berkeley Official

By Robert Gammon
Thu, Mar 18, 2010 at 11:12 AM

Building inspectors have halted work on the home of a Berkeley official who has admitted to violating city construction laws, the Berkeley Daily Planet reports. Ryan Lau, a member of the Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board, has confessed that he turned his garage into a living quarters without pulling the proper permits or paying for them. As a member of the zoning board, Lau is entrusted with upholding the very same laws he broke.

In addition, the Planet reports that the city may force Lau to tear down his illegal construction because he did not request a zoning variance as required by Berkeley law and because it may now be impossible for him to now obtain one. Berkeley Deputy Planning Director Wendy Cosin told the online newspaper that it’s “very, very difficult” to get such a variance.

Lau’s illegal activity has prompted a call that he resign from the zoning board. Lau also is an aide to Councilman Darryl Moore. Fellow Councilwoman Linda Maio, whose own aide, Nicole Drake, is Lau’s tenant and girlfriend, told the Planet that she thinks Lau should no longer be on the zoning board.

Update: And the Trib is now reporting that Lau resigned last night from the zoning board.

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