CITY COUNCIL PUBLIC
ON WEST BERKELEY Continued TUESDAY, FEB
Council Chambers - 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way (between Center
Ensure A Sustainable, Equitable, and Diverse Berkeley
Decisions Require Information
Absence of Data
Marks City Proposal To Open All
Wholesale/Warehouse Space in MULI/MM to R&D
Council Is Considering a Planning Commission Proposal to open ALL protected Wholesale Trade and
Warehouse space in the Mixed Use Light Industrial zone (MULI) and the
Mixed Manufacturing zone (MM) to Research & Development uses.
The West Berkeley Plan, historical evidence, and common sense all agree
that when highly capitalized uses (R&D that typically pays 2-3X
what Wholesale Trade/Warehouse uses pay) are allowed to occupy the same
pool of space (protected space) as lower capitalized uses (existing
Wholesale Trade and Warehouse companies), those highly capitalized uses
can reasonably be expected to displace the lower capitalized uses and
the good jobs those uses provide.
Basic Data is a Requirement for An Informed
Decision: The decision whether to adopt this proposal
which at its core is intended to displace existing, contributing,
Berkeley companies and good jobs (particularly for citizens without a
college education), should at a minimum be informed by facts that would
allow decision makers and the public to know: 1.) How much protected Wholesale
Trade/Warehouse space exists in the affected zones, 2.) Where the protected Wholesale
Trade/Warehouse space in the affected zones is, 3.) What companies are located in
protected Wholesale Trade/Warehouse space in affected zones, and
4.) How many employees
work in these companies.
categories of information that could be gathered to help inform a
decision would be: 1.) What do the Wholesale Trade/Warehouse
companies in protected space pay for space? 2.) What do existing
Berkeley R&D companies pay for space? 3.) What is the place
of the Wholesale Trade/Warehouse companies within West Berkeley’s dense
economic network and what might the results be to Berkeley’s economy
should they be displaced? 4.) If displaced by R&D, what would
be the potential effects on Wholesale Trade/Warehouse companies and
Why City Proposal is Unnecessary &
Destructive: WEBAIC contends that the Planning
Commission’s proposal to open ALL protected Wholesale Trade and
Warehouse space in the Mixed Use Light Industrial zone (MULI) and the
Mixed Manufacturing zone (MM) to Research & Development is 1.) Unnecessary, because a significant
amount of existing space now permits R&D and hundreds of thousands
of sq ft on the Master Use Permit sites are being opened to R&D,
and 2.) Destructive, because
the 2–3X greater amount that R&D typically pays for space (compared
to industrial uses) is projected by the West Berkeley Plan (and
historical evidence) to result in displacement of Wholesale Trade and
Warehouse companies and jobs. This projected displacement is not only
expected, but is the core purpose of the Commission’s proposal -
without displacement to create space for R&D the proposal has
failed in its purpose.
Opening Protected Wholesale Trade/Warehouse
Space Restricts Wide Range of Companies & Good Jobs: As
protected Wholesale Trade & Warehouse space has facilitated the
location and expansion of numerous manufacturing businesses, permitting
R&D to occupy this space can be expected to limit manufacturing
growth as well as limit new location of Contractors and Arts/Crafts
that the new proposals (initiated by WEBAIC) allow into protected space
for the first time.
Lack of Data on Wholesale/Warehouse Space
Continues West Berkeley Project Pattern: Neither the above
WEBAIC contentions or differing opinions on these proposals are served
by the almost total lack of data supplied by City staff regarding
Wholesale Trade and Warehouse space, companies, and jobs in West
Berkeley. If a process is undertaken with an assumed and
projected outcome, the costly allocation of resources to ascertain
facts leading up to and surrounding that outcome may be viewed as
wasteful and unnecessary. This may be where we find ourselves
Data Collection Falls To WEBAIC:
Without staff supplying research on numerous issues, to assure that a
minimum of factual information would inform West Berkeley Project
discussions and decisions, it fell to WEBAIC to 1.) determine the
numbers of different kinds of companies in the industrial sector, to
2.) calculate the percentage of West Berkeley property covered at
several different Master Use Permit thresholds, to 3.) supply maps
showing MULI & MM property without industrial protections, and to
4.) bring to the staff/Commission attention independent, applicable,
academic and governmental studies.
undertake a major land use decision (opening Wholesale /Warehouse
protections) likely to affect scores of companies and an estimated
1000+ jobs without a quantitative underpinning is not reflective
of a serious process and not respectful of the millions of dollars and
decades of work invested by these companies and their employees into
West Berkeley. As it is unimaginable that the City would propose
policies that could ultimately displace most Telegraph Avenue or
College and Ashby merchants without robust data to justify such
policies, so it is unimaginable that the City is contemplating just
such a policy for a key West Berkeley economic sector without data to
inform its decision.
Minimum Data Required For Making An Informed Decision As To How Much
Trade & Warehouse Space Should Be Opened To Research and
and the public need to know how much protected Wholesale Trade &
Warehouse space exists in West Berkeley, where this space is, how many
and what companies occupy this space, and how many people are employed
in these companies. Only then can a truly informed and
responsible decision be made as to how much of this protected space to
open up to R&D.
Where is the Wholesale Trade/Warehouse space subject to the Planning
Commission’s proposal in MULI/MM?
the protected Wholesale Trade and Warehouse spaces in the MULI & MM
is the first necessary step to identify how many
square feet these spaces contain, what companies, and how many jobs
occupy these spaces.
How many square feet are currently in Wholesale Trade & Warehouse
A. The Mixed Use Light Industrial Zone (MULI) and the Mixed
Manufacturing Zone (MM) subject to the City proposal?
B. The Manufacturing and Mixed Use Residential Zones not subject
to the City proposal?
The real estate figures from the major brokers show 1.9 to 2.3 million
square feet of Warehouse space in all West Berkeley, but this can be
warehouse space used by Bayer or other manufacturing companies and it
also appears to include the huge self storage facilities. It also does
not include all Wholesale Trade space. The actual amount of space being
occupied strictly by Wholesale Trade and Warehouse companies appears to
be much less than the 1.9 - 2.3 million sq ft figures.
sq ft R&D expansion proposal has been characterized as only
providing 5% of existing protected Wholesale Trade and Warehouse space
for R&D, but removing self-storage (space unusable by R&D) and
space already being productively used by manufacturers could cut down
greatly on the total Wholesale Trade and Warehouse actually available
for R&D, thus making 100,000 sq ft a much greater percentage of
Wholesale Trade/Warehouse space.
3. What companies occupy
protected Wholesale/Warehouse space in the MULI/MM zones?
Only by identifying the companies in these spaces will we understand
their place in West Berkeley’s and the City’s economy and their
links to other local business that may be impacted by their
How many people are employed in the companies that occupy protected
Wholesale/Warehouse space in
the MULI/MM zones?
It is critically important to understand how many jobs are in the
companies to understand the nature of the
that may be lost due to displacement.