On July 2, the Berkeley City Council voted to postpone discussion of controversial changes to the Zoning law known as the Demolition Ordinance. We now have time to really influence the final form of this regulation.
Public outcry led the Council to make the wise decision not to move forward with the July 2 draft of the ordinance, which would be very bad for tenants. The Berkeley Tenants Union presented a petition with over 130 signatures. It is not too late to sign our petition:
The Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association, Berkeley Neighborhoods Council, Sierra Club, East Bay Community Law Center and Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board also sent objections — their letters are linked under our July 2 post, below.
Council will now send the proposed changes to the law — which covers why and when residential buildings in Berkeley can be torn down — to the Housing Advisory Commission and the Planning Commission. The Council did not react to a request during public comment by Rent Board Chair Lisa Stephens that the Ordinance also be sent back to the 4×4 Committee. The 4×4 is where the changes have been discussed for the past three years – that committee is made up of four Rent Board Commissioners and four City Council members, including the Mayor.
The Housing Advisory Commission has already scheduled review of the Ordinance for their meeting on Thursday, July 11, at the North Berkeley Senior Center, MLK & Hearst, at 7 PM.
Councilmember Jesse Arreguin also requested that staff report back to the City Council on issues raised by the public regarding the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and Berkeley’s Neighborhood Preservation Ordinance (NPO).