City Council Public Hearing on West Berkeley Project
Tuesday, Jan 25th
Future of West Berkeley’s (and the City’s)
Productive, & Equitable Economy and Culture To Be
1. Clean Tech/Biotech R&D OR Manufacturing, Wholesale Trade,
Construction, Recycling, Repair, Industrial/Construction Supply,
2. Jobs For the Highly Educated OR Jobs For Those Without College?
The Answers: All Of The Above
False Premise: In order to accommodate more R&D in
West Berkeley the City and developers have attempted to portray
industrial activity and jobs as dying and a thing of the past.
The facts show these assertions to be untrue and the premise underlying
this effort, that we must sacrifice our existing production economy and
jobs to accommodate more R&D, is also not supported by the everyday
facts on the ground that is West Berkeley.
Should we judiciously readjust our land use configuration to more
efficiently allocate land to sectors we deem valuable? Yes.
Can we do this while at the same time maintaining our existing robust
industrial and arts economy and culture? Absolutely. All we need do is
institute what has already been agreed to by all parties in the West
Berkeley Project and add in WEBAIC’s Compromise Cap Proposal for good
there is approximately three million sq ft of property where zoning
allows R&D to locate, some of which is now occupied by this
use. To accommodate what the City hopes will be a vast increase
in this R&D, WEBAIC has agreed to let all existing industrial
protections on a large amount of property – six 4+ acre sites in ten
years – be removed so that R&D can locate there. These sites
can accommodate at least 2+ million sq ft at existing development
standards, standards the City wants to greatly increase.
According to figures from Lawrence Berkeley Labs, even if an ideal
percentage of spin off start ups were to all locate in West Berkeley,
the existing + new available space would be vastly more space than they
could occupy for years to come.
The Most Important
WEBAIC Positions to Achieve the Balanced Solutions Above - In Brief:
WEBAIC 100,00 sq ft Compromise Cap Proposal on Wholesale
2.) No Housing or Retail in the M, MM, & MULI Manufacturing Zones
on Master Use Permit (MUP) sites
3.) No Stand Alone Offices in the Manufacturing (M) Zone on Master Use
4.) Yes to 6 Master Use Permits in 10 Years – No to unlimited potential
expansion of Master Use Permit sites.
5.) Maintain Existing Height & Density Standards.
6.) No Full Parking Waivers for MUPs.
7.) No MUR property in Master Use Permit sites.
The Most Important
WEBAIC Positions to Achieve the Balanced Solutions Above - In Full:
1.) The WEBAIC Compromise Cap Proposal on Wholesale
In addition to the large amount
of space currently available for R&D, as part of the West Berkeley
Project WEBAIC has agreed with the City to entitle a huge amount of new
acreage that can accommodate millions more sq ft for these uses, vastly
more space than projected need. Thus, the Planning Commission’s
proposal to open ALL WHOLESALE TRADE & WAREHOUSE SPACE in the MULI
and MM Zones to R&D beyond that already and soon-to-be available is
unnecessary and destructive.
latest figures from BT Commercial (Q4 2010) show a 4.4% vacancy rate on
Warehouse space in West Berkeley, revealing that there is strong demand
for this space, that the vast majority of it is filled with productive
economic activity and good jobs, and that removing protections from
this entire class of space can only result in the loss of vital
economic activity and the good jobs it provides to our citizens who can
most benefit by them. 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 and we
should be grateful our City has this activity instead of looking for
ways to drive it out. Instead of the Planning Commission’s
proposal to open up ALL of this space to R&D, in the spirit of
compromise and civic cooperation WEBAIC has proposed opening a subset
of100,000 sq ft of this space to R&D. Additionally, we
believe this opened space should logically come from existing, vacant
space so as not to imperil productive activity and jobs.
Hausrath Economics' study
commissioned by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (Goods
Movement/Land Use Project for the San Francisco Bay Area), details
"Goods Movement" companies (Manufacturing, Wholesale Trade, Warehouse)
as now being ideally located in proximity to 1.) their source of their
goods (Port of Oakland, Airport, etc.), 2.) the inner Bay Area
workforce best matching their jobs profile, and 3.) their largely local
and regional customer base. The report quantifies serious
negative effects to the economy, environment (more greenhouse gas
emissions & vehicle miles traveled), and regional equity that will
result from these jobs and activities being forced out of the inner Bay
and into the Central Valley. The study identifies the cause of
this dislocation as local cities allowing real estate trends to drive
their land use policies, resulting in the conversion of their
industrial lands to R&D, housing, office, and retail uses.
Housing or Retail in the M, MM, & MULI Manufacturing Zones on
Master Use Permit (MUP) sites.
Berkeley Plan states: "In Manufacturing,
Mixed Manufacturing, and Mixed Use Light Industrial, residential
are not permitted. No new dwelling units may be constructed or created
in any of
these districts." Such an unequivocal
prohibition should be clear, but for some reason the Planning
Commission has proposed that housing and retail be allowed to “float”
across boundary lines into the industrial zones on MUPs.
Intentionally placing housing and industry in close proximity to each
other is the poorest of public policies, encouraging contentious civic
relationships, legal conflicts, and the ultimate loss of vital economic
activity and good jobs. Beyond the Plan’s prohibitions, the West
Berkeley Project Draft Environmental Impact Report states "These
revisions to permitted uses would not include allowing housing, large
office complexes, or large retail outlets.” The previous Plan and
DEIR statements reveal that housing in the industrial zones is legally
No Stand Alone Offices in the Manufacturing (M) Zone. Staff
and the Commission have stated that allowing office parks in the M Zone
is not their intention, yet their present proposals permit it.
The West Berkeley Project Draft Environmental Impact Report's Project
Description states that 1.) "The proposed revisions to the West
Berkeley Plan and Zoning Ordinance would not change the basic types of
uses permitted...in the affected zoning districts", and that 2.) "These
revisions to permitted uses would not include allowing housing, large
office complexes, or large retail outlets." Offices are
incompatible with, and extremely destabilizing to industry in the M
Yes to 6 Master Use Permits in 10 Years – No
to unlimited expansion of the Master Use Permit sites.
As MUPs are not subject to the
West Berkeley Plan's industrial protection policies and propose much
greater building heights and densities, they should be limited to the
number of sites now qualifying (14) by setting a "date by" which no
more properties may be aggregated to meet the 4 acre MUP
threshold. Removing the West Berkeley Plan's central policies
(industrial protections) on more property than the existing 14
qualifying MUP properties (42% of the M, MM, & MULI) would render
the West Berkeley Plan essentially void, thus putting the West Berkeley
Project in violation of the Plan adopted to govern West Berkeley land
use policy. Additionally, 1.) properties meeting the four acre
threshold as of this date should be limited to that acreage for MUP
applicability, and 2.) the provision that any single block under one
ownership be eligible for MUP status should be seen as a vast potential
expansion of of MUP provisions and be removed. This one
acre proposal has NO precedent anywhere in the West Berkeley Plan.
Maintain Existing Height & Density Standards. No
justification has been given for the large expansion of allowable
heights and densities in staff proposals. Proposed heights of 75
feet and densities of FAR 3.0 are unnecessary and destructive of the
workability and livability of West Berkeley. If greater
heights are required for demonstrated production needs, a special,
targeted zoning provision can permit this, as seen in Bayer's
Development Agreement. Existing heights and FAR ratios (45 ft,
FAR 2 in M zones, 35 ft, FAR 1 in MUR) are sufficient to promote vital
economic activity and provide a livable environment. West Berkeley is
presently built out to approximately one/third of what is allowable,
revealing more than ample room to grow within existing standards.
Full Parking Waivers for MUPs: Parking
is already challenging in West Berkeley. There should be NO full
parking waivers for MUPs and any waivers given should be tied to
required and verifiable use of non-auto commuting.
No MUR property in MUPs: The
MUP permit should NOT apply to property in the MUR Zone. The only
result of the proposed application would be development totally out of
scale with the existing MUR environment and installation of uses likely
to significantly conflict with the significantly residential character
of the MUR. There is no benefit to the MUR by being subject to
MUPs. The present MUR FAR is 1 - staff proposes a tripling of
this for MUPs. This is wildly out of scale with the existing MUR