May 6, 2010              


Planning Commission To Meet
On Core Issue for West Berkeley Industry & Arts:

Do We

That Assure Adequate, Affordable Space for Industry & Arts,
OPEN ALL PROTECTED SPACE (instead of just 6 large sites) TO R & D USES
That Will Surely Displace Existing Companies, Studios, and Jobs?

• Wednesday, May 19th, 7PM - North Berkeley Senior Center, MLK at Hearst •

The Planning Commission will hold a meeting on the 19th specifically devoted to discussing whether to maintain the zoning provision most responsible for the viability of West Berkeley's vital industrial and arts community and enterprises - the industrial space protections (Section 23E.80.045 Special Provisions: Changes of Use/Removal of Floor Area Used for Material Recovery Enterprise, Manufacturing, Wholesale Trade or Warehousing).

What the Industrial Protections Say:   
Simply stated, this zoning provision says that if a space was used for Manufacturing, Wholesale Trade, Warehousing, or Material Recovery Enterprise purposes in 1996, at least 75% of this space must be kept in one of these four uses going forward.  In response to WEBAIC efforts, Planning staff and the Planning Commission have recently agreed that Arts & Crafts and Contractors also be allowed to occupy this protected space. 

What the Industrial Protections Do:
This protection provision is the single most important piece of the West Berkeley zoning since it assures that if one of these industrial uses leaves for any reason, the space that it occupied would be available for another industrial use that can afford to pay a similar amount, as opposed to one of these industrial uses having to compete for the space with office, retail, housing, or R & D uses that can afford much more per sq ft.

The Common Sense, Balanced WEBAIC Proposal to Maintain Industry & Arts AND Support R & D:
WEBAIC has proposed that now-protected industrial space on the large four-acre-plus sites that will be eligible for the City's new Master Use Permit (MUP) be opened up to R & D uses.  Just the six MUP permits that the City is proposing to give in the next ten years will provide an opportunity for approximately 2.5 to 3 million square feet of R & D space to be developed.  Additionally, 25% of now-protected space in the Mixed Use Industrial Zone can right now be converted to R & D or any other allowable, non-protected use, providing at least another one million square feet of space for R & D.  Beyond this, three and a half million square feet of West Berkeley space has never been subject to industrial protections.  This reveals a total of over six million square feet projected to be available for R & D (more than half of all West Berkeley space), demonstrating that there is absolutely NO NEED to open up existing protected space outside of the large MUP sites where the companies and jobs now live to R & D uses (that the latest BT Commercial data show pay on average 144% more than existing manufacturing and warehousing uses.)
Please attend this upcoming meeting.  The WEBAIC steering committee knows that we've described many previous meetings as "critical" and they were, but this meeting is on a different level of importance. We have all along understood that the entire process would come down to this issue and that the future of industry and arts in West Berkeley would be determined by it's outcome.  After the 19th there will be a public hearing in July at the Planning Commission on all the proposals and a final public hearing at City Council in the fall.  The 19th meeting WILL set the final direction.

West Berkeley Works!

WEBAIC  •  info@webaic.org  •  510-549-0190


            Helps the public understand West Berkeley industries' contributions to the community;

            Helps businesses maintain and increase their contributions to Berkeley's economy and cultural richness, including how to adopt sustainable practices;

            Serves as a liaison between WeBAIC's members, the community, and local government;

            Promotes the development of sustainable industries as envisioned in the West Berkeley Plan.


WEBAIC • West Berkeley Artisans & Industrial Companies
(510) 549-0190 • PO Box 2755, Berkeley CA 94702