RENT STABILIZATION BOARD
Regular Meeting Minutes

Thursday, September 8, 2005
7 PM

APPROVED

Item 1. Call to Order - Closed Session - Chairperson Chong called the Closed Session to order at 6:36 p.m. Pam Wyche called roll. 

Commissioners Present: Arreguin, Chong, Evans, Harrison, Kavanagh (arrived at 7:00 p.m.), Overman, Spector, Walden 

Commissioners Absent: Payne 

Staff Present: Kelekian, Tine, Wyche

Call to Order - Regular Meeting - Chairperson Chong called the regular meeting to order at 7:11 p.m. Pam Wyche called roll. 

Commissioners Present: Arreguin, Chong, Evans, Harrison, Kavanagh, Overman, Spector, Walden 

Commissioners Absent: Payne 

Staff Present: Kelekian, Tine, Wyche, Barton

Item 2. Closed Session

CONFERENCE WITH LEGAL COUNSEL - EXISTING LITIGATION (Subdivision (a) of Section 54956.9 of the Government Code)

Smith v. City of Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board (Wike-Brown)
Alameda County Superior Court No. RG05208460

No action taken.

Item 3.Approval of the Agenda. M/S/C (Overman/Arreguin) APPROVE AS AMENDED TO MOVE ACTION ITEM NUMBER 6.a.(3) AND INFORMATION ITEM NUMBER 7.a.(1) TO BE HEARD AFTER APPROVAL OF MINUTES. Voice vote. Passed: 8-0-0-1. Absent: Payne.

Item 4. Public Forum. There were no speakers.

Item 5. Approval of the Minutes. M/S/C (Arreguin/Harrison) TO APPROVE THE AUGUST 29, 2005 REGULAR MEETING MINUTES. Voice vote. Passed: 8-0-0-1. Absent: Payne.

Item 6.a.(3) Discussion and possible action on proposed Soft Story Ordinance [PDF file, requires Adobe Acrobat Reader] M/S/C (Arreguin/Overman) THAT THE BOARD RECOMMEND THAT THE CITY COUNCIL ADOPT THE REVISED SOFT STORY ORDINANCE AS ADOPTED BY THE HOUSING ADVISORY COMMITTEE (HAC) AND CONTINUE TO OFFER THE FIVE COMMENTS/RECOMMENDATIONS ADOPTED AT OUR JUNE MEETING. Voice vote. Passed: 8-0-0-1. Absent: Payne.

Item 7.a.(1) Update and discussion on Drayage Building situation. Staff Attorney, Donald Tine, gave the update explaining that the eight or nine units still occupied in the Drayage Building have been served with 60-day notices and that the original notices were apparently defective. He said the tenants have filed a cross-complaint against the owner for a contract action and for violation of State law notice of demolition requirements. He added that negotiations are ongoing and settlement has not been ruled out.

Board discussion concluded that the Commissioners wish to remain active and involved in their support of the Drayage Building tenants and other live-work artists and crafts persons in similar situations as tenants in Berkeley.

Item 6.a.(1) Second reading of proposed amendments to Regulation 1380 to conform length of good faith owner-occupancy requirement with Berkeley Municipal Code Section 13.76.130.A.9 and to clarify that a landlord's failure to offer an available non-comparable unit to a tenant being evicted for owner or relative occupancy constitutes a defense to the eviction.  [PDF file, requires Adobe Acrobat Reader]   M/S/C (Arreguin/Evans) TO ADOPT AMENDMENTS TO REGULATION 1380 AS WRITTEN, INCLUDING ONE CHANGE FROM THE FIRST READING, MADE BY COMMISSIONER EVANS AT THE AUGUST 29TH MEETING, WHICH ADDS THE PARENTHESIS IN SUBDIVISION D STATING (THIS SUBPARAGRAPH IS A CLARIFICATION OF EXISTING LAW AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A CHANGE IN THE LAW.) Voice vote. Passed: 8-0-0-1. Absent: Payne.

Item 6.a.(2) Discussion and possible action on changes to TIC/Condo Conversion Ordinance. Steve Barton, Housing Director, gave an update and was available throughout the discussion.  M/S/C (Overman/Walden) THAT THE RENT STABILIZATION BOARD SUPPORTS THE PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE CONDOMINIUM CONVERSION ORDINANCE, B.M.C. SECTION 21.28 AND OFFERS THE FOLLOWING COMMENTS TO THE CITY COUNCIL REGARDING THESE AMENDMENTS:

The Board believes that it is important to retain the following provisions included in the proposed Ordinance:

  • Preserving the 100-unit per year cap on condominium conversions 
  • Supporting the proposed "lifetime lease," which would protect sitting tenants from being priced out of their units as a consequence of conversion 
  • Extending to twenty (20) years the prohibition against converting a unit once the owner has invoked the Ellis Act

However, the proposed Ordinance could be enhanced by making the following modifications:

  • Increasing the affordable housing mitigation fee to 15% of the sales price of a unit, which more accurately reflects the cost of developing an affordable unit 
  • Deleting Section 21.28.060(E) 5, which creates an exemption from the mitigation fee for long term residents, despite the loss of affordable housing through conversion to owner occupancy.

In addition to the language of the proposed Ordinance, we believe that for this Ordinance to afford meaningful protections to tenants and potential buyers, comprehensive and proactive implementation is essential. We, therefore, recommend and offer our collaboration in the following areas:

  • Improving and increasing effective outreach on the new policies 
  • Monitoring compliance of all relevant local and state laws

A friendly amendment was made by Walden and accepted by Overman to change the wording of the second proposed modification to: Deleting section 21.28.060(E) 5, which would exempt long-term residents from the mitigation fee.

Voice vote. Yes: Arreguin, Chong, Overman, Spector, Walden; No: Evans; Abstain: Harrison; Absent: Kavanagh, Payne. Passed: 5-1-1-2.

Item 7.b. Committee meeting announcements and reports.

(1) Budget/Personnel - No meeting scheduled. 

(2) Outreach - Thursday, September 15, 2005 at 6:00 p.m.

(3) IRA/AGA - Tuesday, October 4, 2005 at 6:30 p.m. 

(4) Eviction - TBA 

(5) 4 x 4 - No meeting scheduled.

Item 7.c. Discussion of items for possible placement on future agenda.

Commissioner Kavanagh requested an action item and possible resolution directed to the City Council that would address the issues discussed this evening concerning the Drayage Building.

Item 8. Adjournment. M/S/C (Overman/Walden) Chairperson Chong adjourned at 9:05 p.m. in memory of those who have lost their lives as a result of Hurricane Katrina.