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Berkeley considers ways to build more affordable housing

Transferring development rights to allow for taller buildings. Increasing the amount of affordable housing required for large developments. Offering developers a discount if they pay into the Housing Trust Fund at the beginning of the development process rather than the end.

Berkeley School Board primer: Impact fees, class sizes, intervention efforts and the achievement gap

The Berkeley schools Board of Education meets tonight, Oct. 28. On the action calendar is a proposal to look at how to collect mitigation fees from developers. The discussion items will focus on an intervention program focused on K-8 students who experience learning and behavioral challenges, and the district’s efforts to narrow the achievement gap between white and African American students. There’s also an information item on class sizes.

The lowdown: Berkeley council on building safety, community benefits, Dana Street conversion, more

The final Berkeley City Council meeting of the season begins tonight, July 14, at 5 p.m. First, there’s a closed session on the city’s labor negotiations with many of its employees, including firefighters and Local 1021 maintenance and clerical workers. That’s followed at 6 p.m. with a special session on an affordable housing nexus study that’s been in the works, which many housing advocates have been curious to see. Then, at 7 p.m., the regular meeting kicks off. On the action calendar: stiffer building safety standards following a fatal balcony collapse in June; the adoption of new standards for the developers of tall buildings downtown related to significant community benefits; the appointment of an interim city manager; and the possibility of converting Dana Street to a two-way street. Note: An item related to the possibility of burying the city’s utility lines underground is likely to be postponed until September. (more…)

Op-ed: Berkeley deserves better than 2211 Harold Way

What are the three most import things in real estate? Location, Location, Location. What are the three most important things that are wrong with the proposed complex at 2211 Harold Way? Location, Location, Location. That’s just for starters.

The Lowdown: Berkeley council on density bonus, housing plans, public budgeting, solar taskforce, water cutbacks

Tuesday night’s Berkeley City Council meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. with a worksession on social service funding for the next two fiscal years. At its regular 7 p.m. meeting, council is set to vote on that plan, which includes funding related to homelessness and other services. Also on the action calendar: a proposal for a new city “density bonus” approach for developers, and a plan to engage citizens with the city’s budget. Council is also set to consider whether to establish a “solar taskforce” to help the city increase its solar energy capacity. N.B.: An item on the city’s approach to mini-dorms, as well as fraternities and sororities, has been postponed (again) until the fall. (more…)

Op-ed: How to get more affordable housing in Berkeley

One of the most contentious issues facing Berkeley is how to require developers to help provide affordable housing. We are proposing a new approach.

The lowdown: Berkeley council on community benefits, sewer fee increase, vaccines, parking permit expansion

Tuesday night’s Berkeley City Council meeting looks to be a doozy, with numerous significant items on the agenda. The April 7 council session begins at 5:30 p.m. with a worksession on priorities for the Planning Commission, and the city’s transportation division. At the regular meeting, at 7 p.m., council is set to support a state bill to “end all vaccination loopholes” in California, consider a steep increase in municipal sewer fees, discuss the city’s approach to community benefits in the context of development projects, and decide whether to establish a “solar taskforce” to help the city increase its solar energy capacity. (more…)

The Lowdown: Berkeley council on medical cannabis, rules to limit drugstores, elections, climate hurdles and more

On June 3, the Berkeley City Council is set to talk about new rules regarding drugstores, which has been a topic of concern in the past; set up a task force to tackle the city’s plans to raise the minimum wage; and possibly address what it might take for a fourth medical cannabis dispensary to open in the city. There’s also a 5:30 p.m. special session dealing with Berkeley’s Climate Action Plan, particularly with respect to how the city has been unable to keep up with ambitious goals it set for reductions, though progress has been made. (more…)