The R1-A zone encompasses most of what people would call “West Berkeley.” Back in the day it used to be zoned to allow more units per lot, but was downzoned sometime in the 1960s. It is bordered by a major transit corridor, San Pablo Ave, so the currently-allowed limit of 2 units per lot is a massive underutilization for this area. Homes sell for around the same median price as other parts of Berkeley, around $1 million. A significant amount of Berkeley’s non-UC jobs are in this area.
Figure 1. Alfred Twu
What’s Going On Now
The Planning Commission is considering changes to the code and we want to make sure those changes do not make it harder to build more housing to alleviate our housing shortage. Duplexes and ADUs are great forms of naturally affordable housing, and we want to encourage as much production of those as possible, so we’re proposing an upzone to allow 4 units per lot. The units will be smaller and therefore more affordable than the million dollar single family homes that fill R1-A now.
Figure 2. Alfred Twu
What You Can Do
Know a friend or family member who lives in the R1-A zone or close to San Pablo Ave in Berkeley? Know someone who works in West Berkeley but commutes from elsewhere? Talk to them, send them a link to this page and encourage them to send a letter to the planning commission. Better yet, we’ll see you at the meeting on Oct 18 to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves: future residents!
Want to get more involved? Join East Bay for Everyone to join our group of volunteers and add your name to the letter we’re sending to the Planning Commission. Or send us a note with ideas on how to organize around this important issue.