WEBAIC Newsletter
January 19, 2011
City Council Public Hearing on West Berkeley Project
Will Be Held Jan 25th

January 25th, 7pm, Council Chambers - 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way (between Center & Allston)

        • Please Attend •

The Future of West Berkeley’s (and the City’s)
Sustainable, Productive, & Equitable Economy and Culture
To Be Decided

The City Council’s January 18th Agenda meeting was attended by the Chair and staff of WEBAIC.  This committee voted to hold the City Council Public Hearing on the West Berkeley Project’s proposed Plan amendments and Zoning changes on January 25th.  As noted in previous newsletters, WEBAIC believes this short notice (one week true notice from today) is inadequate and disrespectful of the time and effort hundreds of citizens have put into the West Berkeley Project process, particularly in light of the disconcerting fact that the City never noticed all West Berkeley businesses and residences that large-scale, widespread changes to their area might be instituted as part of this process.

The positive results of the Agenda Committee meeting were the decisions that 1.) The Public Hearing will be held open for a second hearing meeting on either February 8th or 15th and 2.), those who speak at the first hearing will not be denied the opportunity to speak at the second.  It is best to attend both hearings but please plan to attend at least one. It is possible a third meeting in March, not officially a Public Hearing, will see the Council vote.

After three years of strongly advocating for a sustainable, local serving, and equitable economy and culture, West Berkeley’s industrial, artisan, arts, and residential communities have arrived at the final series of meetings where the ultimate decisions will be made.  While certain issues have been negotiated and agreed upon to most parties’ satisfaction during this process, there remain a number of issues critical to the long-term viability of West Berkeley industry and arts yet to be resolved.  

Water the Tree:  Your presence at the upcoming hearings can make the difference for your community, your environment, your business, your job, your home, and those of your neighbors. We’re fortunate to live where our efforts to shape our future, though sometimes appearing futile when measured against powerful forces, can bear fruit - but we have to water that tree with our presence and our voice to taste it.  That it may bear fruit for years to come, please join us in watering the vibrant, community-nourishing tree that is West Berkeley on January 25th.

The Most Critical Positions to Maintain West Berkeley’s Equitable, Succesful Balance of Uses

1.) Support the WEBAIC Compromise Cap Proposal on Wholesale Trade/Warehouse space;
As part of the West Berkeley Project WEBAIC has agreed with the City to entitle six Master Use Permits for large sites (total 30+ acres) over the next 10 years, with essentially all 2.5 - 3.8 million square feet of potential development being allowed for R&D.  Additionally, present zoning allows approximately another 3 million sq ft of existing space to be utilized for R&D.

The above figures reveal that the Planning Commission’s zoning proposal to open up the industrial protections on ALL WHOLESALE TRADE & WAREHOUSE SPACE in the MULI and MM Zones to R&D is unnecessary and destructive of good jobs and vital economic activity.  The approximately 50 West Berkeley Wholesale Trade & Warehouse companies and their 1100+ jobs are a key component of West Berkeley's successful mixed-use economy, providing valuable goods and services, revenue, and good jobs to our citizens without a college education.

2.) No Housing in the M, MM, & MULI Manufacturing Zones.

3.) No Stand Alone Offices in the Manufacturing (M) Zone.

4.) Yes to 6 Master Use Permits in 10 Years – No to unlimited expansion of the Master Use Permit sites.

5.) Maintain Existing Height & Density Standards.