The city of Berkeley planning staff published a “pipeline report” that outlines current and upcoming housing projects in Berkeley.
According to Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington, the pipeline report describes how many housing proposals are going through the zoning and construction process.
“There wasn’t anything in the report that was dramatic,” Worthington said. “We are behind in building affordable units.”
He said the report includes three classifications: projects that are under construction, projects that have been approved but have not started construction and projects pending approval.
Worthington added that the report addresses the housing crisis in Berkeley. There are many review processes when obtaining building permits, and the report shows that the city is far behind in building new housing.
“There’s a lot of laws that make it hard to build housing even though there is a housing crisis,” Worthington said.
There is an immediate need for low income housing, Worthington said, but availability of housing for low-income individuals in Berkeley is low. According to Worthington, the city of Berkeley received a failing grade on its availability of low-income and moderate housing.
Additionally, Worthington said the city plans to address the low-income housing issue by requiring that 20 percent of new housing be provided as low-income housing units. This 20 percent requirement will lead to more affordable housing than currently exists in Berkeley.
Worthington added, however, that Berkeley is in need of building housing for all income brackets. The city, he said, does not just need low-income housing, but it needs a lot more housing in general.
The council member also stated that with each new academic year, he expects that thousands of students will be without housing, so the city must take action and provide more beds for these students.
In response to the pipeline report, Worthington said he would use the information to help expedite the construction process. He said he will work with those who have started the permit process and help them get the proper zoning and building permits in order to start building soon.
“On all these categories of housing, we are woefully behind in what we need to build,” he said. “I will be using (the pipeline report) to consult with the people who got zoning permits but did not get building permits.”