Tell the Planning Commission:
I can't wait for new neighbors
It's here! BART Zoning & Environmental Impact Report at the Planning Commission
There was not a vote on November 3 as many thought there would be. This may not be voted on until Spring 2022!
It’s here! BART Zoning at the Planning Commission November 3
This upcoming Planning Commission meeting is the next step in the zoning process for development at Berkeley’s BART stations. After this, the city council will vote on the zoning. Check out the staff report from the Sept. 1 meeting; it’s a pretty tidy summary of what’s been discussed so far.
If you're not sick of reading yet, there's also a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) that staff will be taking comments on until December 1, 2021. Send your comments to email@example.com
A lot of us showed up on Sept. 1, but the next meeting on November 3 should be the one where Planning Commissioners should VOTE on the zoning, and we need to make sure that doesn’t get derailed. That meeting is scheduled for November 3 at 7pm.
Send a Letter
Personalized emails get noticed. You can copy and paste but please make sure to add your own flavor to every message. Always sign with your name and address or approximate location.
To: Berkeley Planning Commission firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Another North Berkeleyan for paradise instead of a parking lot
I live in North Berkeley, and I can’t wait for our BART station parking lot to become paradise in the form of abundant affordable homes and lovable public spaces. I stand with my neighbors and North Berkeley Now! to tell you the following:
When it comes to affordability, we want mixed income at North Berkeley BART. Market rate apartments are more affordable than the million-dollar single-family homes we have now, and they are needed for people who don’t qualify for new, subsidized, affordable housing. We also want the largest amount of subsidized housing possible in the context of an ambitious development, not least because lower income residents are more likely to use transit that they live next to.
Given the shortage of housing and the climate change-fighting benefits of living near transit, we want the highest density possible at our BART station. The majority of commenters on Sept 1 said “maximize housing” and we agree. Don’t set BART’s minimums as our maximums.
Alternatives to driving must also be a priority. Some BART users need to drive, but many do not. The demand for parking at BART can be significantly reduced by providing better connectivity and access for surface transit and alternative mobility. This includes infrastructure design that promotes the safety of pedestrians and cyclists over the convenience of drivers. We support smart infrastructure that keeps cars away from people so we all feel safe getting to BART.
Thank you for your consideration,
Plan your Public Comment
Here's the main talking points we need to drive home:
According to the DEIR, increasing the height from the minimum of 7 stories is "environmentally superior." Zoning for more height also provides more flexibility in the design, especially when stepping down in height at the edges of the lot.
Given the choice between building more homes and providing more parking, the choice is obviously homes. Reducing the amount of parking at North Berkeley BART will reduce the traffic in our neighborhood.
We want the maximum number of subsidized affordable homes in a mixed income development. Market rate homes help pay for affordable homes and there are many kinds of people who don't qualify for Below Market Rate housing and they deserve to live in our community too.
We stand with Walk Bike Berkeley to say: please un-widen the roads around North Berkeley BART. Narrower streets are safer streets for all.
If you aren’t experienced with public comment, that’s okay! Here’s a few tips:
Virtual Background/Display Name
On Nov 3 we learned that videos are turned off for members of the public to Planning Commission meetings. No worries, you can change your display name to say "MORE HOMES" in front of your name. The instructions below are just in case videos are on for any future meeting.
Download or update Zoom, create an account, and log in (you need an account to make sure you can change your name, profile, and background images).
Change your profile picture to the profile image you downloaded in step 2. This or your name should be visible should videos be turned off.
Go to Settings, then Background & Filters, and set this image as a Virtual Background.