Community Benefits District Meeting Delayed

By Judith Scherr
Tuesday September 25, 2007

A meeting, billed as a forum to discuss the West Berkeley Community Benefits District (WBCBD), has been delayed, according to Michael Caplan, the city’s acting economic development director. 

The meeting has been rescheduled for Oct. 16, 7 p.m., at Rosa Parks School, 920 Allston Way. 

The WBCBD, a tax assessment district, is being proposed by members of the West Berkeley Business Alliance (WBBA), a group of mostly commercial property owners in the area. As proposed by the group, the district would include all property owners—residential and commercial—who would be assessed according to the size of the business. The purpose of the district is tentatively to do cleanup, security, graffiti removal and to impact city planning decisions. 

The power to decide on whether to have such a district would depend on the size of the business, with the larger owners having a greater say. 

The area in question is roughly between San Pablo Avenue and the Bay and Dwight Way South to the Oakland-Emeryville border. 

Some 100 residents and small business owners who fear their concerns have been left out of the mix have held two meetings and plan to oppose efforts to establish the district. 

After these meetings, to which the WBBA members were invited, WBBA decided to take the neighborhood comments into consideration, Caplan said. “[WBBA] will come back with alternate proposals. They were concerned that if the community meetings were held too early, it would just turn into a bitching session,” Caplan said.