Tag Archives: West Berkeley Project
The status quo has not helped West Berkeley be the best it can be, argues Alan Tobey in an Opinionator piece published today. Because there is little space available for new or growing businesses, he writes that Berkeley has lost 75 companies and over 1,500 jobs to other cities in recent years, including Clif Bar and SunPower. For West Berkeley to thrive, in order to create new jobs and successful companies and gain millions in new tax revenues to support citywide … Continue reading »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
Is the West Berkeley Plan principally designed as a way to get more revenue to support a bloated City structure and remunerate developers? Barbara Gilbert, a self-described “chronic Council observer,” believes so, and argues in an Opionator column published today that the city is strong-arming a drastic up-zoning of West Berkeley that will destroy a thriving and unique residential/artisan/artist district, as well as Aquatic Park.
Berkeleyside welcomes submissions of op-ed articles of 500 to 800 words. We ask that … Continue reading »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
At its Tuesday evening session this week, the Berkeley City Council closed the public hearings on the West Berkeley Plan, and took the first of three steps towards adopting the plan in its entirety.
“The Council passed the least controversial measures on Tuesday,” said Dan Marks, Berkeley’s Director of Planning and Development. Councilmembers Kriss Worthington and Jesse Arreguín both voted against the three separate agenda items which made up this first part of the process.
About eight members of the public, including local architect Joe Decredico and acupuncturist Annie Wells, spoke of their concerns over parking, which was the main focus of the ordinances under consideration. … Continue reading »
After three marathon public hearings, a narrow majority of the Berkeley City Council supports lifting protections on zoning in West Berkeley.
The council voted 5-4 Tuesday night to have staff report back on impacts within 30 days once 100,000 sq. ft. of protected warehouse and manufacturing space have been converted to new uses. Four members — Jesse Arreguin, Max Anderson, Kriss Worthington and Linda Maio — opposed the measure, seeking instead a plan that would set a cap of 100,000 sq. ft. for changes to currently protected properties. The impact study — supported by Mayor Tom Bates, Darryl Moore, Gordon Wozniak, Laurie Capitelli and Susan Wengraf — was an attempt to answer concerns about changes.
The vote last night is the first of many stages that will lead to a council vote on a final ordinance. … Continue reading »