SO WHAT DOES ZONING REFORM HAVE TO DO WITH THE HOUSING ELEMENT? Every ~8 years the city is required by law to update its Housing Element. @Scott_Wiener introduced a bill to help cities across CA address the myriad of problems we face because people don't have places to live.
As I mentioned, Berkeley has to zone for 9,000 homes so...we have to figure out where and how to do it. Here are Alameda County's draft numbers.
We've heard from some ppl that we should appeal for lower numbers. I disagree for many reasons. In fact, I believe if we did that, we would probably get a higher allocation. @CSElmendorf @EthanElkind @mc_lens @elpaavo @trounstine et al wrote about it here…
The @ABAGSFBayArea numbers were based on these factors:
1) increase housing supply & mix of housing types,
2) promote infill development & socioeconomic equity,
3) promote intra-regional jobs-housing relationship,
4) balance disproportionate household income distributions, &
5) affirmatively further fair housing.…
So, what does housing supply have to do with high housing costs? A lot. OF COURSE it's not the whole picture but it's a big piece. The nonpartisan California @LAO_CA examined high housing costs & outlined various causes, including a significant housing shortage in on the coast.
Beginning in 1980, California’s housing construction was significantly slower than national and historic averages. Even though there was a national housing boom in the mid 2000s, California’s housing production was relatively stagnant.
Some people state that we have too much market rate housing and we should ONLY create affordable housing. They are wrong and anyone serious about the crisis knows this, including displacement and affordable housing providers.
Affordable housing is absolutely key, don't get me wrong but BOTH affordable and market rate housing help stop displacement. Unfortunately, affordable housing is expensive to create–1 unit costs upwards of $660,000 to build and is just as difficult for individuals to access.
Waitlists for subsidized affordable housing are notoriously long (6,580 for 95 spots in SF; 700 for 42 units in Berkeley)-- the likelihood of acquiring an affordable unit is small. So where do the rest get to live?
Berkeley would need $2.5 billion dollars to create all the affordable housing we need and we should try to figure out how BUT in the meantime, we need to figure out how to help people who can't get those affordable units--students, people making middle incomes, etc.
If we don't accommodate for more ppl, we will see further gentrification and displacement. Again, these are just facts. Because Berkeley is an expensive place to live, ABAG gave us a larger share of low-income units to zone for. There are several ways to accommodate for new homes
So what does infill development and socioeconomic equity have to do with zoning reform? Infill creates homes near jobs. Less driving leads to less pollution.
Also, if we zone for more homes in Priority Development Areas (think big transit corridors), we become eligible for more funding for transportation improvements as well (sidewalks, bike lanes, etc.) @WalkBikeBerk
ABAG’s methodology also promotes socioeconomic equity by increasing the types of housing available in the region with special significance placed on creating homes affordable to lower-income residents in cities “with high resource areas to promote socioeconomic mobility.”
Significant portions of the Bay Area are rent-burdened and Berkeley is no exception. The definition of rent-burdened means that a household pays over 30% for rent. Households are considered severely rent-burdened if they pay over 50% for rent.
It's a generational issue too. We see it at Council meetings! Who is advocating for a place to live?!? Young people. Nearly half of households aged 18-34 are rent-burdened. Homeownership is also increasingly out of reach for younger generations too.
Ok, I’m back! I should add that @Scott_Wiener didn’t invent the Housing Element but he did pass #SB828 which makes cities zone for more housing.

We have touched on @ABAGSFBayArea 1) housing supply, types, affordability & 2) promoting infill development & socioeconomic equity.
Now what about about
3) jobs:housing relationship? This metric is to address the extreme imbalance so low wage workers don’t have to drive 90 minutes just to work in Berkeley.

From 2010-2015, the Bay Area created 1 home per 6.8 new jobs.
The Climate Protection Act of 2008 (SB375) also directed regions to address greenhouse gases and jobs-housing imbalances.
Objective #4 is to balance disproportionate income distributions. Basically, if you live in a wealthy area, you have to accommodate more low income homes and vice versa.

Nearly all extremely low (100%), very low (100%), and low income (96%) households can’t afford housing.
Also, also high opportunity areas were were assigned more low income homes. To simplify, if there are high home values and high opportunity (jobs, schools etc), a city has to allow more low income people access to their community.
Quick plug for missing middle—ADUs and missing middle housing can provide naturally affordable (non-subsidized) homes. A @TernerHousing analysis showed that 58% of ADU owners rented them at below market rates.
And now to #5. Affirmatively furthering fair housing. We’ve kinda come full circle, huh?

California cities have to proactively address housing inequality and discrimination after the passage of AB686.
You can read that embedded tweet thread above but before I go, look at what has happened to Black households in Berkeley since 1990.

There’s a connection here, folks. Yes, it’s complex but but there is a clear correlation between displacement and housing availability.
So, call into our meeting on Thursday if you care. It’s at 6:00 on 3/25.
And this thread highlights our proposal. I mistakenly said that the meeting time was at 5:00.

It’s actually at 6:00 on Thursday, 3/25 #berkmtg

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More from @loridroste

18 Mar
You’ve probably heard about Berkeley unanimously adopting a symbolic resolution decrying exclusionary zoning. Now what? The resolution only identified the problem, now we are going to try to DO SOMETHING about it. Join us on Thursday 3/25 at 5:00 at Berkeley City Council.
.@ezraklein said California is symbolically liberal and operationally conservative. Is he right? @fmanjoo said that Berkeley beat back NIMBYs? Is he right? @profchapple says single family zoning...threatens to lock us out of our own community. Is she right?
Read 36 tweets
8 Mar
I’m happy to announce that @JesseArreguin @RashiKesarwani @TaplinTerry and I will be pursuing holistic and comprehensive zoning reform guidance in order to meet our state-mandated RHNA targets and address our housing crisis.

Stay tuned! 😁
This means addressing:

✅ the racial and economic disparities associated exclusionary zoning,

✅ increasing housing costs which price out a large part of our population

✅ climate change impacts due to urban sprawl
Make no mistake—

This is a social and climate justice issue which affects so many people, particularly younger generations.

I don’t want to live in a city where kids have no future.

And let me be clear, MANY people want to throw up roadblocks because they fear change.
Read 7 tweets
4 Feb
As the councilmember who represents the birthplace of racist exclusionary zoning laws, it is my great pleasure to announce that my colleagues @TaplinTerry, @benbartlettberk, @RigelRobinson & I are introducing a resolution calling for the end of exclusionary zoning in Berkeley.
Separately, Mayor @JesseArreguin has agreed to work with @RashiKesarwani, @TaplinTerry & I on legalizing quadplexes in Berkeley. This has been my passion for years and this represents a tidal shift in Berkeley. I’ll tell you why this is a historical moment. 🧵
In 1915, City Attorney Frank Cornish talked about protecting the single family home owner against the “less desirable & floating renter class.” The following year, the Mason McDuffie Co. used Berkeley’s zoning laws to prevent Chinese laundromats and African American dancehalls.
Read 23 tweets
1 Feb
My thoughts on Berkeley’s 37 commissions. A thread….
Many of you know that I got my start on Berkeley’s commissions. I love our resident-led commissions and their charge.
I also have taught political representation and feel strongly that we should give voices to people in our community so they can participate meaningfully and perhaps even run for office. This is my passion.
I have put forward an item to make sure that commission voices are effective & their voices are heard.…
Right now, I don’t believe that is the case. There are ways to improve this process, especially in light of COVID-19 & significant staffing restraints.
Read 16 tweets
27 Jan
Yesterday, Berkeley abolished parking minimums, instituted parking maximums, and required new development to provide more bus passes and bike parking (among other things). It is a thrilling day for climate action and affordability in our city.
In 2015, I authored legislation to explore parking reform to address affordability and climate goals. (I swear I'm not as scary as this picture makes me look).…
So, what do progressive parking reforms like this mean?
--We reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help save the environment.
--We reduce rent.
--We encourage alternative forms of mobility
--We help create more affordable homes for people.
Read 11 tweets
20 Nov 20
Parking Reform

Remember half a decade ago when I introduced parking reform?? It’s back and at Council on 12/1.

I know it’s all the rage now but it was tough then. Let’s get it across the finish line.…
This legislation was supported by @TransForm_Alert @DonaldShoup @gbeltalliance and anti-displacement and affordability scholars.

Clearly, it’s a game changer for the environment.…
A planning commissioner told me yesterday that he felt it was the most impactful legislation he’s worked on in his tenure on the commission. I agree. It’s a win for affordability and a win for the environment AND

it passed the Planning Commission unanimously.
Read 9 tweets

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