Press Release: Why the Future Availability of Affordable Space for Manufacturing, Warehouse, Wholesale Trade, Arts & Crafts, Recycling, Contracting, & Retailing Is At Stake and What This Means
At their February meeting, the City Council took a 5 to 4 sense vote to open up ALL Protected Industrial Wholesale Trade and Warehouse space (an unverified 2 million sq ft) to Research and Development (R&D). WEBAIC has proposed opening up a smaller subset of this space (100,000 sq ft) so as not to create destructive displacement pressure on valuable industrial & arts enterprises and good jobs and more closely match projected R&D demand.
On April 29th the City Council will discuss this issue, public comment will be taken, and Council may direct staff to write actual zoning language that would open a Council-directed amount of protected industrial space to R&D. Whatever the amount, this directive will have far reaching consequences for the future viability of industry and arts, the sustainability of our economy and culture, and the economic equity and ethnic diversity of our community and region. WEBAIC has been in discussions with City Council members on this issue over the last 2 months. Your presence on the 29th provides the best chance of a positive resolution to this issue for our companies, studios, jobs, and for Berkeley.