Public Comment

New: My Letter to City Hall: Help West Berkeley Grow with Citizen Input & Good Governance

By Adolpho Cabral, Rosa Parks neighborhood resident, West Berkeley-District 2
Tuesday June 12, 2012 - 11:07:00 AM

Dear Mayor Bates & City Council members,

Do not vote to accept this current West Berkeley Project re-zoning plan.West Berkeley residents, small businesses & neighborhoods need your help to provide fair & smart growth policy. 7,000 people live west of San Pablo Ave, and their quality of life will be compromised for the benefit of a few large developers. All of Berkeley will be adversely affected by your proposed Amendments allowing large-scale labs & office parks & condo complexes 75-100 feet high. What is proposed is far more intense development than Emeryville, with less protection for residents. All of West Berkeley is threatened, and land speculation is already happening. This is unacceptable.

What you are proposing will adversely impact West Berkeley for now & decades to come: 

  • Air & noise pollution will increase.
  • Residences, current businesses and Aquatic Park will be severely shadowed, and deprived of sunshine & solar energy potential.
  • increased traffic will magnify gridlock on all arterials in West Berkeley, and all east-west arterials to the I-80 Freeway & further strain our infrastructure.
  • New developments should not be exempt from providing current parking requirements.
  • Views to the bay will disappear throughout Berkeley, from as high up as the Rose Garden and Claremont Hotel.
  • Synthethic-bio & genetic modification labs with no local public oversight will not be safe nor "green" businesses but UC research plants.
  • Big developers & UC (tax free leases) will be the only ones to profit. Businesses, residents and the wildlife in West Berkeley will lose:
  • Loss of existing jobs and businesses & of the artisan & crafts communities in West Berkeley. -Loss of affordable rents for start-ups and real "green" businesses & opportunities for new local entrepreneurs.
  • Loss of bird habitat at Aquatic Park. The Sierra Club, The Audubon Society and Citizens for East Shore Parks have urged the adoption of sensible safeguards to protect wildlife and recreational use. The WB Project will not do this.
City Council should not to vote until or unless these following changes are made: 

  1. Allow for a 55 foot height limit, since the current height limit is 35-45 feet. -Allow a 35% increase in density keeping the current allowable density is 2 FAR.
  2. Mandate that all new buildings adhere to current parking requirements to provide parking facilities.
  3. Support Sierra Club, Citizens for Eastshore Parks, and Golden Gate Audubon Society’s recommendations for Aquatic Park protections.
  4. Support the positions of the Alameda County Building & Construction Trades Council, WeBAIC, & Berkeley Organizing Congregations For Action (BOCA) on defined Community Benefits determined jointly by the developer & community. The City has yet to proposed specific benefits leverage which are not enforceable in the proposed Amendments.
By the current actions of the last 5 or 6 public meetings, the City Council seems to be doing the work of the Planning Commission —your own records & actions reflect this. Is this legal or ethical in our charter-run government? I do hope that you believe in the same fair & inclusive democracy & legal political processes that make our city, our state & our country a great nation & a great people. 

Send this project back to The Planning Commission, back to the citizens for community input & due process.