BART Zoning

March 2021: The first draft of the Zoning for both Ashby and North Berkeley BART stations can be found here.

Here's a quick summary of highlights:

And here's a deeper dive on some of that:

Maximum Height of 7 stories
AB2923 requires the zoning to be a minimum of 7 stories. This draft of the zoning has 7 as the maximum. Is that consistent with the spirit of the MOU? Why not increase to 8 stories? One more story gets us:

  • More affordable homes

  • Better ability to lower height at the edges without sacrificing usable space

  • Use of density bonus to go even higher, future building technology permitting


Setbacks of 5-15 feet
There’s going to be different setback needs on every side, including the possibility of 0 ft setback on certain streets. It’s good that later in the document it asks for active ground floors and space for cafe seating, but the setbacks should be thoughtful and useful.


No parking minimums, maximum of .5 parking spots per unit of housing, and 1 bike parking spot per unit of housing
This sounds great to us, since there’s immense need for homes for people, not parking spots for cars. Parking spots are expensive and add more traffic and pollution to our neighborhood. We should strive for as little car parking as possible.

While we're talking about parking, let's ask for non-sloped floors in the parking garage so that it can be converted to another use in the future.


Permitted uses

  • How cool would it be to have a small library at our BART stations? This would require significant public investment, but it's good that the zoning permits it. The El Cerrito Plaza BART station is trying to get a library on site as well, so keep an eye out for how that goes.

  • Urban Agriculture is permitted, which is great news for neighbors who want a rooftop garden at North Berkeley BART.

  • As of this draft, a video rental store is NOT permitted, so cinephiles should make some noise if they want to be able to rent movies at BART stations.

Please take a minute RIGHT NOW to send a note to bartplanning@cityofberkeley.info, council@cityofberkeley.info. There’s no letter to copy and paste this time, as unique emails really get noticed and read all the way through. They don’t need to be long or eloquent and it doesn’t matter if you’ve emailed before. At the very least include the following:

    • Subject: 8 is great for North Berkeley BART

    • Your name, how long you’ve lived/worked in North Berkeley, whereabouts you live (especially if you are very close to NBB)

    • Your hopes and desires for height/density/more neighbors/affordable homes/safe streets or just say you align with North Berkeley Now!

    • Your hopes and desires for a public process that values all voices, not just the loudest ones

Keep in mind that all communications sent to city email addresses become part of the public record, so don’t include any language or information you don’t want publicized.