By John Curl and Rick Auerbach
Thursday October 29, 2009 - 09:27:00 AM
The West Berkeley Plan, created through a democratic community process and adopted unanimously by the City in 1993, has kept the area stable and affordable over the last two decades, facilitating the thriving of over 320 industrial production, distribution, and repair businesses—most small to mid-scale—7,500 living wage jobs, and almost 250 art and craft studios with around 1,000 artists and artisans. Another 7,500 West Berkeley jobs are thriving in private, government and University-related professional and scientific services, as well as a variety of office and retail uses. This is a mix that has worked well, but all the stakeholders agree that the time is now ripe for some judicious fine tuning. In particular the city identified six large sites which formerly housed manufacturing as “development opportunity sites,” and a spirited debate has flared over how best to facilitate their reuse. More about that later.