A Community Vision for North Berkeley BART


On Thursday, May 9, the City Council voted unanimously to move forward a community vision for housing at the North Berkeley BART Station.

While members of the community and council members discussed a variety of priorities, the vote represents a positive mandate for the station’s future that includes housing and open space. This vision will support and enhance the qualities of the surrounding neighborhood and wider community’s interest to take advantage of this rare opportunity.

Read the North Berkeley BART Development Goals and Objectives

Next steps include the creation of an MOU with BART and a public process at the Planning Commission to determine appropriate zoning.

We are facing a cataclysmic climate crisis. We need to build housing close to transit stations.
— Mayor Jesse Arreguín

We are still at the beginning stages of community engagement. The Planning Commission process will allow many opportunities to gather input for incorporation into the resulting zoning. We are grateful for the thoughtful and constructive community process to this point and look forward to continuing our work together to create a new, vibrant place for Berkeley.

Mayor Arreguín and Councilmember Kesarwani’s May 9, 2019, Report to Council
Video of the May 9, 2019, Special Council Meeting

BART development in North Berkeley could yield hundreds of housing units (Berkeleyside, May 10, 2019)
Balancing resident input, Berkeley wades into developing North Berkeley BART station (The Daily Californian, May 13, 2019)


BACKGROUND:

Although BART has the authority to set zoning, it has assured the City of Berkeley that it will work closely with the city and residents to come up with a housing proposal for the North Berkeley parking lot that best reflects the desires of the community.

On September 30, 2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 2923, prioritizing transit-oriented development on land owned by BART. The legislation grants BART authority to zone its property in Berkeley, which includes the North Berkeley parking lots. The intention is to use BART property to address the burgeoning housing crisis, which is why we have embarked on this thorough process.


READ ABOUT THE COMMUNITY PROCESS:

Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín speaks about North Berkeley BART housing proposals as BART District 3 Director Rebecca Saltzman listens during Berkeley City Council meeting in Berkeley, Calif., on Tuesday, January 15, 2019.  Photo: Scott Strazzante / The Chronicle

Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín speaks about North Berkeley BART housing proposals as BART District 3 Director Rebecca Saltzman listens during Berkeley City Council meeting in Berkeley, Calif., on Tuesday, January 15, 2019.

Photo: Scott Strazzante / The Chronicle

Hundreds of residents came out on Tuesday, January 15, 2019, to share their opinions on what kind of development they would like to see at the North Berkeley BART Station. Many expressed the view that any new housing that is built be affordable, include units for families, and conform with the surrounding neighborhood. Another major topic was the impact of removing parking on BART ridership, especially among older residents who are less likely to ride a bicycle or use other modes of transportation.

The City Council directed staff to return in the spring to hold a public hearing and consider conceptual land use scenarios, allowing for formal direction on a vision for development at the site, and enabling City staff to develop an MOU with BART and guide the Planning Commission in the development of implementing zoning.

Mayor’s January 15, 2019, Report to Council
BART’s January 15, 2019, Presentation to Council
Video of the January 15, 2019, special meeting (starts at 1:56:00)

North Berkeley braces for big changes to the BART station area (SF Chronicle, January 16, 2019)
Plans for housing at North Berkeley BART develop under new law (Berkeleyside, January 16, 2019)

On April 22, 2019, Mayor Arreguín and Councilmember Kesarwani sent a letter to Assemblymember Chiu informing him of the City’s progress in implementing his sponsored legislation, AB 2923, and requesting assistance in addressing questions about the law. In a response letter, Assembly Members Chiu and Grayson indicated they are not anticipating changes to the implementation of the bill based on its original structure.

Through the Adeline Corridor planning process, the City of Berkeley is also gathering public input on the future use of the Ashby BART Station site. Future development at that site will also require an MOU with BART and will be informed by community input. 

 

On Saturday, October 13, 2018, a Visioning Open House was held where residents commented on ideas submitted by members of the community. See a summary of the visual and written ideas presented. Thank you to everyone for your vision and for the hours of work illustrating and describing your ideas!

 

On Thursday, March 15, 2018, Mayor Arreguín and Councilmember Linda Maio held an initial community meeting to hear from the community on future uses for this site, attended by more than 400 people.

Slides - Mayor Arreguín and Councilmember Maio
Slides - BART
Video of 3/15/2018 community meeting, courtesy of Berkeley Community Media

North Berkeley BART housing discussion gets big turnout, civil discussion (Berkeleyside, March 16, 2018)
After a Half-Century of Nearly No Development, North Berkeley Talks Housing (KQED, March 19, 2018)
Housing for North Berkeley BART? (East Bay Express, March 21, 2018)