Berkeley City Council to talk housing, cannabis regulations, resolution for Tibetan residents

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Berkeley City Council will discuss new amendments to the density bonus for housing, cannabis regulation ordinances and a resolution that affirms city support for Tibetan residents at its regular Tuesday meeting.

Item 19 on the action calendar involves adopting the first readings of zoning ordinance amendments that repeal out-of-date density bonus regulations and adopt a new density bonus chapter that complies with California law.

On Jan. 1, 2019, 16 new housing laws went into effect, four of which directly relate to Berkeley’s density bonus efforts. The state density bonus provides incentives for developers to incorporate affordable housing units within market-rate projects. These incentives include “granting increased density” and “relief through concessions,” which relate to “financial feasibility of the proposed project and waivers to development standards,” according to the item.

A new chapter, which will be added to the Berkeley Municipal Code, establishes procedures and local standards for zoning regulations that align with state and local law. The chapter includes information about density bonus applications, how density bonuses are calculated and how incentives and concessions should be counted.

Item 20 on the action calendar involves the Zoning Adjustments Board’s decision to construct a five-story, mixed-use building with five “very low income,” or VLI, units on Shattuck Avenue. The building would also include 57 dwelling units, a 600-square-foot restaurant and 21 parking spaces, according to the item.

Under California’s Density Bonus Law, the city found that the project is entitled to a density increase of 35 percent if it provides at least five VLI units. According to the item, this equates to a density bonus of “15 units within the 57-unit proposed project.”

Also on the action calendar, Item 21 addresses amending the Berkeley Municipal Code by adopting five proposed cannabis ordinances. The ordinances would establish operating standards for all cannabis businesses in Berkeley, addressing both “medicinal and adult use cannabis businesses.”

The ordinance adopts new advertising regulations for retailers in order to protect youth audiences, and it creates an avenue to permit temporary cannabis events involving “on-site sales and consumption of cannabis products,” according to the item.

Item 18 on the consent calendar calls for a resolution that affirms the city’s support for the people of Tibet. Tibetan Americans, including residents in Berkeley, have been concerned about the treatment of Tibetans throughout the United States and around the world because of restrictive religious regulations, censorship and imprisonment, according to the item.

The resolution would also recognize a Tibet Day to acknowledge “the struggles and hardships for Tibetan residents of the City of Berkeley,” according to the item.

Bella An covers city government. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @BellaAn_dc.