Tag Archives: West Berkeley plan

Fourth, Gilman zoning may shift from industry to retail

A map created by the city, and updated by Berkeleyside to reflect changes made Tuesday night, shows areas that could be affected by zoning decisions underway. Image: Google Maps
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Parts of Gilman Street and Fourth Street in West Berkeley may be re-zoned from light industrial to commercial uses after a majority vote by the Berkeley City Council on Tuesday night.

The changes, depending on who you ask, will either serve simply to legitimize existing and planned commercial uses, or are an end-run around the failure of last November’s Measure T campaign that could put pressure on the neighborhood and threaten its character moving forward. (Measure T was focused on six specific sites, but opponents said it would open the floodgates to much broader development.) Proponents of the new zoning proposals say the changes would boost the city’s economy via increased revenue possibilities. … Continue reading »

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Community

Cruise ship visits Berkeley waterfront

Cruise ship
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In a proof-of-concept demonstration early Monday morning, an 800-foot cruise ship berthed briefly in the North Sailing Basin, the body of water east of Cesar Chavez Park in the Berkeley Marina.

“This had to be done at high tide, naturally,” explained Capt. Fidley Grating in a press conference Monday. “But it does demonstrate that it’s feasible. We will be able to bring the ships into Berkeley’s Aquatic Park without any major dredging operations.”

The demonstration, conducted on the north side of the marina, is part of a plan that has been taking shape over the last year to bring new commercial, residential and technology-oriented lab and office space to West Berkeley, but without the cumbersome and time-consuming zoning and use permit process. … Continue reading »

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City approves sour-beer brewery for ‘beer geeks’

The Rare Barrel has documented its efforts on its Facebook page. Click the photo to see more images.
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A new West Berkeley craft brewery, with a focus on ‘sour beer,’ was approved last week by a city zoning panel.

Business reps for The Rare Barrel, at 937 Carleton St., said they’ve already “started brewing and barrel aging,” and expect their first sour beers to be ready towards the end of the year. (The public entrance to the facility, which is not yet open, will be located at 932 Parker St.) The 14,000 square-foot beer production facility will offer beer and food on site — with 42 seats in a 1,380-square-foot sales area — as well as beer for sale to-go.

According to The Rare Barrel’s application to the city, sour beer goes through a different aging process than traditional beer. It’s produced in smaller volumes and, rather than a three-day fermentation process in a large tank, it’s left for a week in a smaller tank, then aged for a year in oak wine barrels. … Continue reading »

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Opinionator

Measure T is a new chapter in the West Berkeley story

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Berkeley west of Sixth Street has long supported a vibrant community of small manufacturers, artists, artisans and local-serving businesses. Yet much of the rest of the district has been contributing little to the city, holding abandoned former manufacturing sites and sleepy warehouses that can’t be better used because of current zoning.

The status quo has not helped West Berkeley thrive. Because there is little space available for new or growing businesses, we’ve lost 75 companies and over 1,500 jobs to … Continue reading »

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Bond measures take steps toward ballot

City Council members listen during a five-hour meeting with several contentious issues on Tuesday night. Kriss Worthington taped the anti-sitting ban poster to the podium before the meeting began. Photo; Frances Dinkelspiel
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The Berkeley City Council voted Tuesday to place a $30 million streets and watershed bond on the November ballot, but will hold off on the final language and shape of the measure until next week.

The council also adopted a final EIR for the West Berkeley Project and indicated its support for placing a measure on the ballot, but also deferred a final decision until next week so city staff can figure out wording. … Continue reading »

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Third phase of West Berkeley Plan passes, heads to ballot

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After five meetings and countless hours of public testimony, the City Council decided on Tuesday to ask the residents of Berkeley to vote on proposed zoning changes to large parcels in West Berkeley.

Councilmember Laurie Capitelli introduced a measure to place the matter on the Nov. 6 ballot and it was adopted in a 6-2-1 vote, with councilmembers Kriss Worthington and Jesse Arreguin dissenting. Max Anderson abstained. City staff will now draw up wording for the measure and the council will take another vote on July 10 on whether to put it on the ballot.

“I really think it’s time for the community to discuss it and make a call,” Capitelli said on Friday. “Of course I believe the community will chose to move forward. I think it is a reasonable plan and will provide economic revitalization.” … Continue reading »

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West Berkeley Project a step closer to being adopted

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The Berkeley City Council Tuesday night moved the controversial West Berkeley Project one step further towards adoption when it approved a series of amendments and modifications designed to mollify critics. The  entire plan will come before the council again for a final vote on June 12.

As at previous meetings, the Council heard many passionate arguments against the third phase of the West Berkeley Project, as well as many in support. The focus during this third phase of the project was on Master Use Permits (MUP), which provide for greater flexibility in developing large sites.

The West Berkeley plan aims to expand the area’s manufacturing base to include more green businesses, R&D, and housing uses. … Continue reading »

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Opinionator

West Berkeley plan will fund city staff, developers

West Berkeley Carleton St
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Barbara Gilbert argues that in an effort to get more revenue to support Berkeley’s “bloated” City structure and its developer friends, City Council is strong-arming a drastic up-zoning of West Berkeley that would destroy a thriving and unique residential/artisan/artist district as well as destroying Aquatic Park. Continue reading »

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Debate continues about changes to West Berkeley

In West Berkeley, a Victorian house on Fifth Street sits next to a laboratory. This kind of mix is what makes the neighborhood unique.Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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The Berkeley City Council heard close to four hours of testimony Tuesday night about proposed changes to the West Berkeley plan.

Around 90 people lined up in council chambers to talk about the impact of zoning changes in the industrial neighborhood. Those opposed to the plan said increased density and tall buildings would destroy the unique neighborhood, now a mix of old Victorians, small businesses and artisans, machine shops, laboratories, and heavy industry.  The large development proposed by a few would drive up property values, cast shadows and ruin views, and bring terrible traffic to West Berkeley, they said.

Those in favor of the changes had a radically different view on what the plan might bring. They see the large-scale development at the Peerless Greens site on Fifth Street and Saul Zaentz site on Tenth as creating a critical mass of people, studios, and offices that will transform the area into a more vibrant, walking neighborhood.

New construction will provide space for growing technology and green companies, which often have to leave Berkeley now because there is no room for them to grow. And, if Berkeley is serious about complying with state and regional laws to create more housing and reduce greenhouse gases, it must change, and West Berkeley is the place to do it, they said. … Continue reading »

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Can area plan retain eclectic mix of West Berkeley?

In West Berkeley, a Victorian house on Fifth Street sits next to a laboratory. This kind of mix is what makes the neighborhood unique.Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Diego Carreterero-Frades and his wife Irenka Dominguez-Pareto moved into their West Berkeley home 18 months ago. They were looking for an affordable space with a yard and a place to have a child.

Their son Max was born nine months ago and on Tuesday Carreterero-Frades was pushing his stroller throughout the neighborhood. As he walked, he passed 100-year old Victorian houses, newly renovated duplexes clad in corrugated steel siding, automobile shops, and industrial plants making a variety of goods.

“We like the mix,” said Carreterero-Frades, who is a software engineer at EFI in Silicon Valley. His wife is a PhD candidate in the UC Berkeley School of Education. “It’s an industrial area, but it’s transforming. There are small businesses, small lofts. We like this style. It’s affordable to us and it’s a nice neighborhood.” … Continue reading »

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Dozens speak out about controversial West Berkeley plan

More than 60 people lined up in City Council chambers Tuesday night to speak about proposed zoning changes in West Berkeley. Photo:Frances Dinkelspiel
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So many people came to the City Council meeting Tuesday night to talk about a new plan that could put 100-foot towers in West Berkeley that they could not all fit into the chamber.

Artisans, manufacturers, businessmen, large developers and long-time residents thronged into the main room, stood in the hallway outside, and gathered on the ground floor around a remote projection of the meeting until 10:30 pm. More than 60 people testified about the proposed changes to the area of Berkeley west of San Pablo Avenue.

The City Council last considered the West Berkeley plan — which aims to expand the area’s manufacturing base to include more green businesses, R&D, and housing uses — in June 2011. At that time, councilmembers instructed planning staff to study height limits, residential density and other issues more closely and prepare a supplemental environmental review. … Continue reading »

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News

Berkeley bids for second Lab campus fly under the radar

LBNL's primary campus in the Berkeley hills
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Richmond is pulling out all the stops in its bid to persuade the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab to build its second campus there. A full-blown, city-sponsored advertising campaign includes a billboard on I-80, lawn signs for residents’ front yards and “Richmond (Heart) LBNL” buttons available for all to wear.

Alameda, another bidder for the site, has put $20,000 behind a “Let’s put the (Alameda) Point to work” campaign.

Three Berkeley sites are also on the Lab’s shortlist of six — but if there’s a Berkeley welcoming committee, it’s certainly not making its efforts very visible.

The main reason for that is that the three Berkeley-related bids were submitted by private companies, unlike in Richmond and Alameda where the cities signed off on the bids. … Continue reading »

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Citizen groups sue city over West Berkeley proposals

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Two citizens’ groups have sued the City of Berkeley over proposed zoning that they say would radically restructure West Berkeley.

The Sustainable West Berkeley Alliance (SWBA), an organization of Berkeley residents and businesses, and the Council of Neighborhood Associations (CNA), filed their suit in Alameda County Superior Court under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) on May 11.

The suit concerns proposed Master Use Permit (MUP) sites – developments of more than four acres — and focuses on three aspects: the proposal to increase building height limits from 45ft to 75ft, the impact of taller buildings on residents, and the effect of proposed development on the environmental resources of Aquatic Park. … Continue reading »

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