Public Comment

New: New Berkeley Demolition Ordinance Proposal Threatens Rent-Controlled Housing

By Stephen Stine
Tuesday October 08, 2013 - 12:02:00 PM

I just found out from the Berkeley Tenants' Union of a City of Berkeley draft demolition ordinance that will allow developers "to tear down rent controlled units, even those which are occupied or in good condition, and not replace them. The new draft allows developers to pay an unspecified fee which could be changed by City Council at any time." Now, put this together with the lack of legally required notice to the downtown Berkeley residents regarding the Downtown Area Plan zoning changes, and all the upzonings from R-4 to C-DMU zoning that violated DAP Policy LU-7.1, which ordered that the R-4 properties be downzoned to R-3 zoning, and you have a perfect storm where the city and developers have arranged things so that 1) tenants did not know about the proposed DAP rezonings and thus could not organized and complain about them, 2) the city illegitimately upzoned many properties to C-DMU instead of downzoning them to R-3 in accordance with Policy LU-7.1, paving the way for developers to build six-story plus buildings, instead of the three stories allowed under R-3; and 3) they are pushing this new demolition ordinance draft which paves the way for developers to demolish all of the existing apartments in downtown Berkeley, freely evicting existing rent-controlled tenants, in order to build larger, lucrative luxury apartments which the evicted downtown residents will not be able to afford.  

We'd like you all to investigate these issues and spread the word as these are issues that will impact hundreds, if not thousands of Berkeley residents and will shape the Berkeley of the future.