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A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

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Zoning for seven-story housing approved for Berkeley BART stations

By Emilie Raguso, Berkeleyside, June 3, 2022

“Berkeley officials unanimously approved zoning guidelines … for housing projects at two of the city’s BART stations, setting the height limit at seven stories and the unit count at 2,400.

“The buildings, at the Ashby and North Berkeley stations, could ultimately rise up to 12 stories, with 3,600 units, if developers take advantage of a state law called the density bonus that allows for extra height when affordable housing is [included].

“Due to their scale and the massive transformation they will entail, community interest in the BART projects has been intense.

“Many attendees urged officials to approve at least 12 stories, in line with a Planning Commission recommendation in April.

“Many others said seven stories should be the maximum, and that higher would be ‘overwhelming’ and out-of-scale with the neighborhood of mostly single-family homes.

“Ultimately, council members said 12 stories had not been a truly viable option for the base project due to the scope of the Environmental Impact Report.

“Officials and staff made it clear [on June 2nd] that, while the votes represented a major milestone, there are still years of work and community input to come.

“ ‘I look forward to coming back before the City Council with decision points on affordable housing, Objective Design Standards, and more as we all focus on building new housing at a variety of income levels to address the city’s housing crisis, stem the displacement of residents — especially of the African American community in Berkeley — and support more equitable access to housing for lower-income families and individuals,’ [said Paul Buddenhagen, from the city manager’s office].”

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