Councilmember Taplin Proposes Affordable Housing Overlay for Berkeley with Councilmembers Bartlett and Robinson as Cosponsors

February 22, 2021

Modeled after a new policy in Cambridge, MA, and a state density bonus established by Assembly Bill 1763 (2019), the proposal would permit up to an additional 6 stories as-of-right for 100% affordable housing in some neighborhoods, one additional story as-of-right in single-family neighborhoods, and aiming for 8 total stories as-of-right in commercial zones.

“Berkeley needs to make a real commitment to building more affordable housing. The status quo isn’t getting the job done,” said Councilmember Terry Taplin (District 2). “We must prioritize affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households who have been suffering for far too long from high housing costs and unsustainable commutes. It’s time for a paradigm shift in how we approach this, recognizing that housing should truly be a human right everywhere in our beautiful city.”

“South Berkeley Now! wholeheartedly supports and endorses the proposal for an affordable housing zoning overlay for the entire City of Berkeley,” said Teresa Clarke, South Berkeley Now! steering committee member. “We applaud the simplicity and fairness of the program and look forward to its implementation.”

“With housing costs so extreme in the Bay Area, and over 1,000 homeless residents estimated in Berkeley alone, it’s essential we let subsidized housing be built as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Darrell Owens, Coexecutive of East Bay For Everyone. “As someone who once worked for a nonprofit to scout out sites for low-income housing, strict restrictions on height and density guaranteed that we could not build at all. Affordable housing projects should not be subject to multi-year delays and unreasonable standards amid a horrible housing crisis.”

“I applaud the Berkeley City Councilmembers for proposing to go above and beyond what state law requires for cities approving housing that is affordable for low- and middle-income Californians,” said Brian Hanlon, CEO of California YIMBY. “This proposal will ensure that more working families can call Berkeley home, especially in neighborhoods that have long excluded all but the wealthy.”

“As the union that represents more than 19,000 academic workers across the UC system, we are proud to support both the resolution to build 100% affordable developments, and the social housing pilot study,” said Kavitha Iyengar, President of UAW Local 2865. “The affordable housing crisis is one of the most pressing issues for our members, who perform crucial teaching and research work at UC but often can’t afford to live near campus.”