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Council to hammer out final details of Draft General Plan

By John Geluardi, Daily Planet staff
Monday November 26, 2001

Prior to approving the Draft General Plan, the City Council will begin a fine tuning process Tuesday on some of the document’s housing, transportation and environmental management policies. 

The Planning Commission has spent the last two-and-a-half years shepherding the document through 12 commissions, seven outside agencies and countless hours of workshops that included input from hundreds of businesses, organizations and individuals.  

Once adopted the document will guide city policies and ordinances on a host of issues including environmental policy, development and transportation for the next 20 years. 

On Nov. 6, the council closed the final public hearing on the draft plan and has since submitted specific questions on some of the document’s 600 policies. Those questions will be the basis of a discussion list of unresolved issues that the council will consider over its next three regularly scheduled meetings and possibly a fourth special meeting.  

The council has set a goal of resolving those issues and adopting the plan by Dec. 18 even though state law only requires the council adopt the housing element before the end of the year. 

Among the issues the council will be discussing is the development of affordable housing. 

The plan has set an ambitious goal of developing 6,400 units of affordable housing during the next 20 years.  

Councilmember Maudelle Shirek and Linda Maio have asked that at least one policy be modified to help attain that goal. An Open Space policy calls for a 14 block stretch of city-owned land in west Berkeley known as the Santa Fe Right of Way be considered primarily for open space and urban gardens.  

Both Shirek and Maio asked that affordable housing be given equal priority for the property.