Tag Archives: Berkeley affordable housing
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 »
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 »
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 »
Op-ed: Jesse Arreguín is right to oppose Jerry Brown’s anti-democratic give-away to the real-estate industry
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 »
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.
This letter, by REAL Berkeley, was sent to the Berkeley City Council ahead of its July 12 meeting. REAL Berkeley is a group of Berkeley citizens who are interested in helping to develop a comprehensive housing plan for the city that provides affordable housing for low-income, moderate and workforce housing (see list of members below).
REAL Berkeley first addressed the City Council in February, expressing our support for a comprehensive housing plan that addressed all income levels, including middle income working people, … Continue reading »
Realigned intersections, relocated roadways, new bicycle lanes, and affordable housing on public lots are among preliminary ideas city planners have floated for the Adeline Corridor planning project.
At a meeting Saturday, May 21, at the South Berkeley Senior Center, planning staff and consultants from MIG, the firm working on the project, revealed initial ideas they have developed based on public input collected over the past year. A $750,000 award from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission funds the process, which is slated to culminate in winter or spring 2017 with a long-term plan for the corridor.
The project area covers about 100 acres stretching south from Dwight Way to the Oakland border.
Saturday’s meeting, which followed an extensive community feedback process, focused on potential uses of publicly owned land and transportation routes. These initial ideas are not necessarily feasible, said Mukul Malhotra, principal at MIG.
“What we’re doing is thinking of our bigger dreams,” he said. “At the end of the day we have to create an implementable plan.” … Continue reading »
There were unusual happenings at Tuesday night’s special City Council meeting on housing. Comity broke out in a series of unanimous votes, and public comment was civil and largely complimentary to the council’s actions.
The council passed unanimously an ambitious list of items for a city housing action plan. The list consolidated proposals from Councilmembers Kriss Worthington and Laurie Capitelli and Mayor Tom Bates. It also passed unanimously proposals on the “housing emergency” from Councilmember Jesse Arreguín. And Councilmember Lori Droste’s proposal on workforce housing also passed unanimously.
When the council tried to discuss housing on April 5, chaos ensued, with a raucous crowd, disputes among councilmembers and lengthy arguments over the order of the agenda. At that meeting, it took nearly three hours for the council to reach the action items on the agenda.
On Tuesday night, in contrast, even when some in the small crowd hissed Livable Berkeley’s Eric Panzer, they were quickly disarmed by his quip, “Hissing is just applause from snakes.” (Droste recognized it as a RuPaul allusion, something that flew over the head of Berkeleyside and many others during the meeting.)
The “Right to the City” is an idea proposed by Lefebvre that those who live in a city have a democratic right, a human right, to shape the process of urbanization.
Unfortunately we seem to live in a world where private property rights, where profit rates, trump all other human rights. We seem to live in a time where the majority of our City Council believes the neoliberal notion that markets should determine all change -— that profit-driven decision making … Continue reading »
I feel so discouraged about what’s happening here in Berkeley. At the beginning of the year, like so many others, I was encouraged to hear Bernie Sanders speaking truth to power, calling out the culture of greed that is wreaking havoc in our country.
But right here in Berkeley, we are being overrun by that same culture of greed, often masquerading it seems as concern for the environment. We’ve had a city government that turned over our downtown to developers who are building high rise, luxury housing. The Bates administration has, by its own admission built 89% of the luxury housing and only 4% of the moderate income housing projected for future needs. Now the mayor is proposing to extend this downtown density to major corridors that line the flatland neighborhoods of our town. … Continue reading »
Despite an ambitious agenda, the Berkeley City Council managed Tuesday night to vote on just one policy shift related to affordable housing after attendees became outraged at proposed agenda changes put forward early in the evening by Mayor Tom Bates.
Council voted 8-1 on the Bates proposal to increase the percentage of affordable units required in new projects from 10% to 20%, and to increase the mitigation fee developers can pay if they don’t want to build those units on site. Councilman Max Anderson was the lone “no” vote.
The fee per unit — for all units in a project — is set to increase from $28,000 to $34,000, payable when the certificate of occupancy is issued. There’s a temporary discount, to $30,000, for those who pay early, when the building permit is issued. The discount is slated to sunset after 18 months. Those who choose to build below-market-rate units on site can get out of the fee or pay less, depending how many units they build.
Council asked the city manager to come back with revisions to the existing affordable housing mitigation fee ordinance, which would also “expand the level of affordability” for the below-market-rate units. Currently, units must be affordable for households earning up to 50% of the area median income; the new proposal would add a second tier of units affordable to households earning up to 80%.
The idea behind the mitigation fee is to bolster the city’s Housing Trust Fund to help Berkeley build greater numbers of affordable units around town. To some degree, there is an ideological divide between those who believe developers should include affordable units on site, and those who want to boost the city’s own fund. Proponents of the fund say it can be used to go after grants and leverage the money to get more units in town than building on site — mixed in with private developments — would allow. … Continue reading »
The Berkeley City Council had more than a dozen items regarding housing on Tuesday’s agenda. In what he described as an attempt to streamline discussion, Mayor Tom Bates suggested reorganizing the order of the items. The process quickly descended into chaos. See how the night panned out with our Storify overview, and also how the community responded to Berkeleyside senior reporter Emilie Raguso’s live updates of the meeting on Twitter. … Continue reading »