Public Comment

WEBAIC Concise Points for Wednesday, July 28th Planning Commission Meeting

From WEBAIC Steering Committee
Tuesday July 27, 2010 - 12:54:00 PM

Master Use Permit proposals and the proposal to open protected Warehouse and Wholesale Trade space to R&D are Wednesday's key issues. The WEBAIC steering committee considers Points 1- 4 the most critical. 


1. NO to Opening Up All Protected Wholesale Trade & Warehouse space (2,000,000+sq ft) to R&D

Radically Skewed Ratio of Projected R&D Demand to Projected R&D Space Available (figures approximate): 

Available for R&D now: 1,000,000+ sq ft. 

Available with agreed-upon MUP proposal (+2,500,000+ sq ft): 3,500,000+ sq ft. 

Available with staff proposal to open protected space (+2,000,000+ sq ft): 5,500,000+ sq ft . 

Projected R&D start-up space demand by 2016 : 58,000 sq ft. 

Managing Change in West Berkeley: "Using Local Economic Data To Inform Master Use Permit Deliberations". Prepared by Masters Fellows Nina Meigs and Laura Wiles - UC Berkeley Dept. of City and Regional Planning. Square footage space demand derived by combining the UC Study's maximum employment projection of 175 jobs in new West Berkeley R&D start ups by 2016 with the West Berkeley Project DEIR's figures of 3 R&D employees per thousand sq ft = 58,000 sq ft demand. 

Destructive of existing jobs, companies, the environment, and social equity: Approximately 50 Companies with over 1000 good paying jobs (Berkeley Office of Economic Development), largely for people without a college education, depend upon this protected space. Forcing Wholesale Trade/Warehouse uses to compete for space with R&D uses paying on average 3X more for space assures that productive companies and jobs will be forced out. A study commissioned by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission detailed negative consequences to the Bay Area economy, environment, and equity from cities not maintaining these spaces for Wholesale Trade & Warehouse companies. 

Violation of West Berkeley Plan and Berkeley General Plan: The West Berkeley Plan places Wholesale Trade and Warehouse Uses in the Protected Category because they provide good jobs to people without a college education and because they contribute to the West Berkeley Plan's Core Goal- maintaining a mixed use economy providing revenue to the City, goods and services, and good jobs, particularly for people without a college education. 


2. NO Residences or Retail in the Industrial Zones (M, MM, and MULI):  

Poor Policy: Planning Staff' is proposing that MUP sites with MUR and CW residential and retail allowances be permitted to locate these residential uses on the industrial M, MM, and MULI portions of their MUP property. This would create unnecessary conflicts between residences and industrial uses, lead to the loss of industrial space, and create extreme land value differences in industrial zones that would induce further and ongoing loss of industrial space to residential uses. 

Proposal Violates WB Plan & WB Project DEIR: The West Berkeley Plan: " In Manufacturing, Mixed Manufacturing, and Mixed Use Light Industrial, residential
uses are not permitted. No new dwelling units may be constructed or created in any of these districts." Beyond Plan violations, the proposal is destructive of the productive economy & culture it seeks to foster. 


3. No to proposed 75 feet height and Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of 3 on Master Use Permit (MUP) sites. There is NO demonstrated need for these huge increases in development standards (tripling of the existing built environment) that only facilitate residential and office towers on the precious 4% of Berkeley land devoted to industrial/artistic production. Verified production needs for height can be allowed by a specialized height permit for this. 


4. A "date by" limitation on aggregation of property for Master Use Permit eligibility is needed: 42% of M, MM, and MULI already meet the four-acre MUP eligibility threshold, plus the limitation on the number of MUPs is changeable, thus there needs to be an absolute limitation on how much of West Berkeley can qualify as an MUP 


5. No Full Parking Waivers on MUP Sites: Parking is at or near capacty in most of West Berkeley's industrial zones. Parking waivers should be tied one-to-one to required, verifiable use of alternative transportation modes by employees. 


6. ZC for Arts & Crafts and Contractors, not just Internet Retailers & Large Commercial Arts Uses: Arts & Crafts and Contractors should be able locate easily with a Zoning Certificate in the M Zones as other uses are. 


7. No Retail and Industrial Uses not now permitted in Mixed Use Residential Zone: Staff's Master Use Permit proposals to 1.) allow retail uses permitted on San Pablo, Ashby, & University to locate in the MUR, and 2.) to allow industrial uses currently prohibited in the MUR zones to locate there are destructive of the workability and livability of the MUR and destructive to the positive relationship between industry and residents that WEBAIC seeks to foster.