Tag Archives: Berkeley affordable housing

Op-ed: Real progressives vote for housing

Print Friendly

Berkeley has a Downtown Plan. The path has not been smooth or simple, but thousands of hours, plus voter buy-in has solidly approved it.

It was a compromise – the outgrowth of hundreds of hours of public meetings that took place from 2005 to 2009 by a special Advisory Committee and the Planning Commission. This original plan, approved by City Council, was later overturned.

The 2010 ballot’s Measure R could only be advisory, but it gave Berkeley voters the opportunity … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Real estate

New housing OK’d in Berkeley as ‘YIMBYs’ win the night

A rendering of the proposed view of 2902 Adeline, looking southwest from Adeline and Russell streets. Image: Trachtenberg Architects
Print Friendly

A 6-story building set to include 50 rental units and four live-work units was approved Thursday night by Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board, though neighborhood opposition will likely mean an appeal to City Council.

Nearly 300 people have signed a petition asking for changes to the project, at 2902 Adeline St. in South Berkeley, and many showed up Thursday to testify before the zoning board. Many neighbors asked the board to delay its vote until the Adeline Corridor community process is complete, or to approve a 4-story building instead.

The Adeline Corridor planning process has been underway since 2015, but it was paused while the city changed consultants to herald it through to completion, city leaders said recently. It is scheduled to end in 2017. The majority of the board, citing in part the housing crisis, did not indicate support for holding up development pending the completion of that process.

The project has drawn so much attention both because of its size and because the South Berkeley neighborhood has not seen the level of development happening in recent years around downtown, or along many of the city’s other large commercial avenues, such as University and San Pablo, in West Berkeley or in the Southside neighborhood near the UC Berkeley campus.

Supporters of the petition are lobbying for a minimum of 40% below-market-rate units in the project and more parking, as well as community benefits from developer Realtex, such as the dedication of 5% of rental proceeds to South Berkeley nonprofits. Zoning board members said Thursday night that those asks are beyond what the city can require, and a majority of the board voted to approve the project as submitted.

Public testimony lasted for more than three hours and included many passionate speakers on both sides: neighbors concerned with the project’s impacts on South Berkeley, as well as advocates of increased density, particularly on transit corridors and near BART, who say the state’s housing crisis demands timely approval of projects like this one. Unlike many zoning board meetings where public comment tends to be dominated by stiff opposition, Thursday night’s speakers included quite a few voices in favor of approval.

Many in the former group were dismissive of those in the latter camp of self-described “YIMBYs,” or “yes-in-my-back-yard” residents, who say they want to see appropriate housing built as quickly as possible. Petition-signers tended to be homeowners who are older and have lived in the city longer. Many of the YIMBYs said they didn’t live in the immediate neighborhood, were younger renters, and were more likely to be car-free or “car-light.”

“It’s fairly obvious to me who doesn’t live in the neighborhood,” one man told the board as he described the reasons for his opposition to the project. “It’s completely out of context for the neighborhood. I’m not interested in turning Berkeley into New York City.” … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Op-ed: A better way to address the housing crisis

Print Friendly

After so much media coverage of the bizarre presidential race, I find it refreshing to finally start to hear more about local races, where an eclectic cast of characters contending for many local offices are discussing hugely important issues that impact our daily lives, including one of the Bay Area’s favorite hot button issues: housing.

This issue is near and dear to my heart. Having grown up in the Mission District in San Francisco and having lived in the Bay … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , ,

12 Berkeley measures will determine city’s infrastructure, education budget, campaign financing and more

Berkeley students carry Yes on E1 signs during the Solano Stroll. Photo: Yes on E1 campaign
Print Friendly

As a presidential campaign colored by controversy inches ever closer, local races and campaigns struggle to be heard amid the cacophony. But Berkeley’s ballot is packed with measures that will determine the near-future of the city’s infrastructure, affordable housing stock, education budget, and campaign finance system.

We’ve rounded up the 12 measures that will be on your ballot Nov. 8, taking a look at what they would change and who is gunning for them to pass.

Click the links to jump to the section of interest.

Measure T1: Infrastructure bond

What it would do: Measure T1 would authorize the city to issue up to $100 million of general obligation bonds to fix and rebuild Berkeley infrastructure over a 40-year period. Initially, property owners would be taxed at a rate of $6.35 per $100,000 of assessed value. That amount would increase as new bonds were issued, up to a high of $31.26 per $100,000. The maximum interest rate that could be paid on the bonds would be 6 percent.

See complete 2016 election coverage on Berkeleyside.

The proceeds from Measure T1 would go toward the repair or renovation of sidewalks, streets, storm drains, parks, city senior and recreation centers, and other facilities. One percent of the proceeds will be used for public art incorporated in the infrastructure. The measure also requires a public input process. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Real-estate interests spend big to defeat rental tax spike

Newer Berkeley by William Newton. Photo taken April 20, 2016
Print Friendly

Real-estate groups have spent more than $786,000 in the last few months to defeat a measure that would almost double the business tax landlords pay in Berkeley (Measure U1) and to support an alternative measure with a lower tax (Measure DD). The funds were spent on campaign literature, signature collection, campaign consultants and for professional services from lawyers and others.

The ‘Committee for Real Affordable Housing – Yes on Measure DD, No on Measure U1, Sponsored by Berkeley Property Owners Association,’ raised $417,038 in 2016 and has spent $496,000 so far in this election cycle, according to campaign finance records. A second group, the ‘Rental Housing Coalition, Yes on 10, Sponsored by Berkeley Property Owners Association,’ was formed to fight the city-sponsored business tax measure, U1. That group has spent $290,274 so far to defeat U1, according to campaign records.

Check out Berkeleyside’s Election Hub for a one-stop guide to the Berkeley elections.

In contrast, the group formed to promote Measure U1 and fight Measure DD, the ‘Committee for Safe and Affordable Housing,’ has raised $43,102, according to campaign records.

The huge amount of money contributed by at least 55 different groups – the bulk of them limited-liability corporations with addresses as their names – shows the high stakes at play in the Nov. 8 election. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,
Community

Protesters criticize Berkeley homeless services center

A group of protesters is criticizing the way the city of Berkeley is handling assistance for people experiencing homelessness. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Print Friendly

Occupants of a protest camp outside the city of Berkeley’s homeless services intake center in South Berkeley this week criticized the way the city is allocating aid to people on the streets.

Campers have reportedly moved on, as of Friday morning, but the issues they raised remain.

The occupation, organized by a city commissioner as well as the grassroots First They Came for the Homeless group — which had a protest camp outside the downtown Berkeley post office for more than 17 months — set up Monday and planned to stay at least through the weekend to make its point.

According to a Facebook post by one of the organizers, however, there was a city raid Friday morning and the camp is now gone.

A dozen or so protesters set up tents on the sidewalk outside the city’s Coordinated Entry System, run by the Berkeley Food & Housing Project, at 1901 Fairview St. Also known as “The Hub,” the center is just east of Adeline Street and a few blocks from the Ashby BART station.

Protesters have said the center is disorganized, that it’s too difficult to get help and that people are being sent out of the area for housing. They have also said the city should be spending its money differently, and would prefer a place to set up tents or tiny houses rather than the approach the city is currently taking.

“That’s where people are supposed to help people out here and they’re not doing it,” said Daniel McMullan III, a longtime community advocate who has fought for disabled people and others who find themselves on the streets. “You try to go through channels all the way but, if that doesn’t work, the only thing that works after that is publicly embarrassing the agency.” … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Op-ed: Affordable housing or Honda parking?

2adelineshattuckmap
Print Friendly

Berkeley has two proposals for development at a location in a Priority Development Area (PDA), which the city has designated for new housing near transit.

One proposal would create affordable housing, would modify the street to make it more attractive to pedestrians, and would add a protected bike lane. The other proposal would create a lot for parking and for Berkeley Honda vehicle display. It would make it impossible to make the street more pedestrian friendly or to add a … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , ,

Op-ed: Policy, not rhetoric needed to fight climate change

Print Friendly

I was frankly perplexed by Ben Gould’s recent op-ed attacking two forward-thinking environmental policies I have brought before the Berkeley City Council. One would expect that the Chair of the city’s Environmental Commission would embrace meaningful steps to combat climate change.

Mr. Gould’s premise is that green building policies, many of which will be mandated in 2020 – less than four years from now — by the State of California’s Zero Net Energy program, are actually cynical attempts to stop … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Housing views show split in South, West Berkeley races

Berkeley City Council Districts 2 & 3 forum, League of Women Voters Berkeley Albany Emeryville, Berkeley Community Media, Sept. 12, 2016. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Print Friendly

Berkeley City Council candidates for South and West Berkeley took the stage Monday night to share their views on housing, diversity, homelessness, the economy and public safety, among other topics.

The forum, hosted by the League of Women Voters Berkeley Albany Emeryville, was the first to bring together the candidates for District 2 (West Berkeley) and District 3 (South Berkeley) to help get their views out to voters in a group setting.

Video of the full event appears at the bottom of this story.

Three people are vying for District 2: Cheryl Davila, Nanci Armstrong-Temple and incumbent Darryl Moore.

Beside them on the podium were the four District 3 candidates: Mark CoplanAl G. MurrayDeborah Matthews and Ben Bartlett. That race will have an open seat, with Councilman Max Anderson on the road to retirement. Anderson has held the seat for 12 years. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Politics

Op-ed: Councilman Arreguín can’t greenwash his anti-housing policies

Print Friendly

Councilman Jesse Arreguín has put forward two items on Tuesday’s City Council agenda which impose infeasible requirements for new housing construction while making one-acre farms the easiest thing to build in Berkeley. While they’re presented as necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, looking through the nearly 50 pages of recommendations, it’s pretty clear that these proposals aren’t really about reducing emissions. They’re a laundry list of ideas that look and sound green, but have little actual benefit for the environment. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Op-ed: Proposed Berkeley development on Adeline highlights key community issues

Print Friendly

Who Berkeley residents vote onto the Berkeley City Council this November could dramatically alter how the city looks in the future. The Berkeley City Council currently stands divided, with pro-development council members claiming the majority of votes, but that could all change once ballots are cast this fall. While some on the council favor more aggressive development as a way to abate the housing affordability crisis, others take issue with the rampant building that tends to favor affluent residents while displacing those without large … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Op-ed: Jesse Arreguín is right to oppose Jerry Brown’s anti-democratic give-away to the real-estate industry

Print Friendly

Jesse Arreguín is right to oppose Jerry Brown’s anti-democratic give-away to the real-estate industry.

In his July 19 op-ed published on Berkeleyside, Garret Christensen slammed Berkeley City Councilmember and mayoral candidate Jesse Arreguín for opposing Governor Jerry Brown’s Trailer Bill 707. Christensen called the legislation “an important state affordable housing bill” that “Berkeley and its councilmembers, especially those with aspirations of becoming mayor should welcome…with open arms.” “[I]t is truly baffling to me,” he declared, “why anyone who calls … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Op-ed: Berkeley should endorse, not oppose, Governor Brown’s housing proposal

Print Friendly

Twice now, Berkeley City Councilmember Jesse Arreguin has introduced legislation asking Berkeley to issue a resolution opposing an important state affordable housing bill proposed by Governor Brown. City resolutions on state matters are of course non-binding, but if Berkeley and its councilmembers, especially those with aspirations of becoming mayor, are interested in solving the housing crisis, then they should welcome Governor Brown’s proposal with open arms.

The governor’s proposal, referred to as budget trailer bill 707, would allow … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,