Public Comment

Sierra Club Takes Visionary Stand to Preserve Land in West Berkeley for Recycling/Reuse, Green Collar, & Manufacturing Activities & Jobs

Thursday April 26, 2012 - 10:47:00 AM

On Tuesday, May 1st at 7:30pm, the City Council will hold the West Berkeley Project’s most important public hearing on the future of West Berkeley. This hearing will address the allowable size and nature of development on West Berkeley’s largest properties (at least 4 acres or 1 city block) in 5 of the 6 W. Berkeley zones (M, MM, MULI, MUR, CW – R1A excluded) from (and including) San Pablo Ave. to Frontage Rd. 

The Master Use Permit being proposed to regulate these developments contains provisions being considered that would: 

1.) Allow incompatible housing to locate in zones now preserved for production, likely displacing good jobs & local industrial and art economic activity, the underpinnings of the existing, successful, local industrial and arts economy bringing needed goods and services to Berkeley and the surrounding area’s population. 

2.) Allow now-prohibited, incompatible, and potentially dangerous uses (pharmaceutical manufacturing, laboratories) to locate in the Mixed Use Residential (MUR) and C-W zones (West Berkeley commercial corridors), putting families and businesses at potential risk and creating unnecessary liabilities. 

3.) Allow many buildings of at least 75 feet that City of Berkeley shadow studies show will overshadow vast swaths of West Berkeley for significant parts of the year. These buildings and their shadows will block solar access, block Hill views and Bay views from as high up as Euclid Ave., negatively impact wildlife and flora, create greater carbon emissions from the increased need for lighting and heating, and forever change the character of the recreational and wildlife habitat of Aquatic Park. 


Sierra Club Takes Progressive Action On West Berkeley Master Use Permit Proposals:  

In concert with the national Sierra Club’s membership in the environmental/labor Blue Green Alliance, whose goal is “building a cleaner, fairer and more competitive American economy” by “expanding” domestic manufacturing (and) recycling ”, the Northern Alameda County Sierra Club Conservation Committee and Executive Committee passed a forward thinking resolution recognizing the value of retaining land for green industry, a sustainable local manufacturing economy, and the jobs they provide in West Berkeley. 

The Sierra Club resolution on the Master Use Permits before the City Council contains provisions calling for Aquatic Park protections, Traffic Demand Management solutions as part of development permits, residential development on San Pablo and University traffic corridors and in the MUR zone, and the requirement “to minimize conflicts, to protect inhabitants from noise, odors, and pollutants, and to retain and attract recycling/reuse activities, green collar and other manufacturing jobs, residential development should not be permitted in other industrial zones.” 


WEBAIC POSITIONS for May 1st City Council Public Hearing  

1. No to residences in mxed use light Industrial Zone (MULI),. Yes to keeping mixed use light industrial Sone (MULI) for “Makers & Recyclers.” 

2. No to allowing incompatible Industrial uses in the mixed use residential zone (MUR),. Yes to keeping the MUR Livable—support existing zoning. 

3. Support existing height limits: Yes to expanded height for industrial equipment/processes requiring it “from grade.” 

4. Only support development near Aquatic Park that doesn’t degrade wildlife habitat or recreational parkland.