October 20, 2009

Arts & Crafts and Industrial Protections
Hang in the Balance

City staff’s “West Berkeley Project” at a decisive moment

Please attend the Planning Commission Workshop

Wed, November 4, 6:30 – 10:30 PM
North Berkeley Senior Center - 1901 Hearst Ave. @ MLK

•  to  permit Arts & Crafts studios to occupy all Industrial spaces.

• to remove protections from Industrial spaces.

Issues In Brief:

SUPPORT the proposal to  permit Arts & Crafts studios to occupy all Industrial spaces.
Arts & Crafts proposed for interchangeable Protected Use status. This will facilitate the location of (affordable) new arts and crafts studio space in West Berkeley.
Arts and Crafts studios in continuous existence since 1989 have special protected use status, based on the West Berkeley Plan. However, the Plan also originally intended that arts & crafts uses be included in the interchangeable Protected Uses category, permitting them to occupy the same spaces as manufacturing and warehousing. But it was unaccountably omitted when the zoning language was written in 1996. This omission has severely limited the location of arts & crafts studios in West Berkeley for the last 13 years. WEBAIC has been working to right this wrong and has finally convinced staff to put this proposal forward.
Please attend and support this proposal. This is the most important opportunity for the expansion of arts and crafts in West Berkeley in decades.

OPPOSE the proposal to remove protections from Industrial spaces.
Staff's proposal to REMOVE industrial protections on Master Use Properties AND OPEN UP the Protected Use Category on the rest of the industrial property outside Master Use Permit sites (where most industrial & arts enterprises are) translates into displacement policies that will result in the decimation of the industrial and arts sectors over time, impoverishing West Berkeley's economy and ultimately our City's economic, cultural, and ethnic diversity.

Berkeley Planning Staff’s proposal
to remove protections from industrial space:

The 1-2-3 Punch:
1. Undermine all industrial protections by including Research & Development as allowable uses.
Staff has proposed to open up Protected Industrial Use spaces to research & development (R & D) uses, which can afford much higher rent. That would result in raising rents in all protected spaces, displacing existing industries and arts & crafts. R & D should not be allowed on the precious 3 to 4% of Berkeley's land devoted to industries and arts & crafts.

2. Institute a new Master Use Permit (MUP), applicable to all 4 acre sites, on which all industrial protections would be removed.
The City originally identified six industrial properties it considered underutilized, covering 8% of the industrial districts. This has ballooned to all four acre sites, covering 42%. On top of this the City proposes unlimited aggregation of property to qualify for this permit, which could ultimately cover 100% of West Berkeley. The removal of industrial protections on these sites would allow the replacement of industries with R & D labs and could ultimately result in offices and residences. WEBAIC agrees that R & D laboratory uses should be promoted on MUP sites, but only on the six original targeted properties.

3. Double the height and massing standard, to promote huge buildings.
These proposed standards are the steroids of land speculation. Without any demonstrated need, staff is proposing doubling the height limit from 45 to 90 feet, and the massing standard (Floor Area Ratio or FAR) from 2 to 4. That would degrade the workability/livability of the built environment, facilitate residential and office uses on land currently devoted to industries and arts & crafts, and create enormous incentives for gentrification. If a company requires expanded heights for verified production needs, a specific mechanism to permit this can be created.

Please attend and oppose these proposals.

This is the most serious attack on industries and arts & crafts in West Berkeley in decades.

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