Community Visioning Process for the North Berkeley BART Station


N-Berkeley-BART.jpg

January 15 Council Worksession on North Berkeley BART Zoning and Future Development

Hundreds of residents came out Tuesday, January 15 to share their opinions on what kind of development they would like to see on the North Berkeley BART parking lot. Chief among resident concerns was that any new housing that is built be affordable, include units for families and conform with the surrounding neighborhood. Another major concern 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.

BART has said that its goal is to make at least 35% of the units affordable and to potentially provide buses or shuttles to the station to make sure residents are still utilizing its system. It is likely that a portion of the new housing would be between 4 and 5 stories tall, the minimum under Assembly Bill 2923, the legislation passed last year that prioritizes transit oriented development.

No decisions were made at the work session. In the spring, the City Council will hold a public hearing to consider the proposed land use scenarios developed by City staff. Council will give formal direction on a vision for development on the site including proposed zoning requirements. This will enable City staff to develop an MOU with BART for a project solicitation and guide the Planning Commission in the development of implementing zoning. 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. 

Read the Mayor’s Report to Council
View BART’s Presentation to Council
Video of the January 15, 2019, special meeting

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)


BACKGROUND:

On September 30, 2018 Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2923, a bill that prioritizes 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. 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 March 15, Councilmember Linda Maio and I held an initial community meeting to hear from the community on future uses for this site, attended by more than 400 people.

3/15/2018 presentation by Mayor Arreguin and Councilmember Maio [PDF]
3/15/2018 presentation by BART [PDF]
Video of the 3/15/2018 meeting, courtesy of Berkeley Community Media

On October 13, we held a Visioning Open House where residents could comment on more than a dozen plans submitted by local urban planners, architects and others in the community. Below you will find a summary of the feedback along with sketches of all the designs presented at the visioning event.

We also received more than 150 comment cards at the October 13 Visioning Open House. If you submitted something and do not see it reflected here, please contact Brandi Campbell at bcampbell@cityofberkeley.info.

Afterward, the City Council will review all the submitted materials in December and hold a workshop in January where all of the proposals and comments will be discussed. The City Council will then give direction to city staff on the parameters of a development and work to develop a Memorandum of Understanding with BART. Under AB 2923, Berkeley has until 2020 to zone this parcel, which is why we have embarked on this thorough process.

Thank you everyone for your input and for the hours of work sketching out plans for this property. Although there are many opinions, I am optimistic that we can arrive at a final design that reflects the desire of Berkeley residents.

If you have any questions, please reach out to our office at 510-981-7100.

If you have additional comments, please submit them here.

 

FEEDBACK BASED ON WRITTEN IDEAS & COMMENTS RECEIVED PRIOR TO THE OCTOBER 13 VISIONING EVENT

Central among issues raised by residents was the potential loss of parking, which many said would be detrimental to the area and force more people to drive instead of using BART. Many others said that any future housing must preserve the unique character of the surrounding neighborhood, including not building taller than 3-4 stories high. The vast majority of the comments stressed that a significant number of new housing units must be below market/affordable. See the bar graph below for a breakdown of the ideas and comments received.

 
bar graph 11-15.JPG
 

IDEAS PRESENTED AT THE OCTOBER 13, 2018 VISIONING EVENT AT THE NORTH BERKELEY SENIOR CENTER

Click on each image to see the visioning proposal

Click on the yellow box below to see written visioning proposals, ideas and comments