Land Use 

I. Strategic Statement

West Berkeley's uniqueness and dynamism grow largely out of its wide variety of land uses. Preserving and supporting all of the elements of this vital mix of land uses is the central policy of the West Berkeley Plan. The Preferred Land Use Concept therefore designates sites for light manufacturing, general manufacturing, retailing, offices, residences, arts and crafts, and other uses. Each of these uses provides something important to the city--whether it be to residents, to workers, to shoppers, to tax collectors, or to others. The West Berkeley Plan should maintain this mix while minimizing physical and economic incompatibilities and improving environmental quality. The land use concept of the Plan is designed to support the economic, environmental, transportation, urban design/historic preservation, and housing goals of the Plan. It was developed in conjunction with--not in isolation from--these goals. The Plan restructures West Berkeley's land use/zoning districts to support appropriate economic development. The Plan's land use concept is designed to support its multisectoral, balanced economic development approach, by clearly targeting different locations for different uses. The Plan designates two (relatively small) portions of West Berkeley as locales where large scale, materials processing "heavy" manufacturers are accepted as legitimate, important, long term uses. It designates a large area primarily for the "light" manufacturing and other light industrial activities which are currently dominant in West Berkeley and which are key to its economic future. Yet the Plan also designates areas for office development -- the worksites for many of the professional and technical specialists Berkeley is so rich in. And the Plan also highlights retail "nodes" which provide goods and services and needed tax revenue to the city. The land use concept supports other goals of the Plan. Environmental quality is central to the Plan -- the land use concept supports it by shielding residential areas from uses with high potential for impact. It provides additional environmental buffering along those sensitive edges where residential and heavy industrial uses meet. The clustering of retail uses in the Plan makes improved transit service possible, and also makes possible a more pedestrian oriented, compact urban form. The Plan encourages additional housing development in commercial areas, and in mixed residential/industrial areas.

II. Background-Existing Land Use

A. Introduction--West Berkeley's Mosaic of Uses 

Land use in West Berkeley is characterized by a wider range of activities than in any other section of Berkeley. Like most economically active parts of the city (though often on a larger scale), there are retailers and offices in West Berkeley, as well as houses and apartment buildings. But unlike other sections of the City, West Berkeley is home to steel foundries, scientific instrument makers, book distributors, and other manufacturing, wholesale trade, and industrial type uses. West Berkeley is also unique in that sites under one ownership range from 2,500 square feet to 25 acres. Thus West Berkeley plays a unique role in Berkeley, as it has since its founding as Oceanview in the mid-19th Century. This background discussion will first situate West Berkeley in its regional and citywide context. It will then briefly discuss the major types of land uses in West Berkeley-- industrial uses, commercial uses, and residential uses, noting where they are typically found. It will then note the relative and absolute intensity of West Berkeley land usage.

B. West Berkeley in Context 

1. West Berkeley in the Region 

On a regional level, West Berkeley lies in the center of the vast East Bay industrial belt, which stretches from Hayward through Oakland and Berkeley to Richmond and on as far as Crockett. ABAG estimates that there are almost exactly 100,000 manufacturing and wholesaling employees in this area. Virtually every type of manufacturer is (or was) found within this "district"--e.g., oil refining in Richmond, steelmaking in Berkeley, canneries in Oakland and Hayward. The first manufacturers came to this area in the late 19th Century, and there was major development through the first third of the 20th Century, but new companies arrived for decades thereafter. Until the rise of Silicon Valley, this East Bay shore was the largest industrial district in the Bay Area. The overwhelmingly industrial (sometimes with associated residential) character of the area has been at least partially transformed in much of its length. The area is now often considered more neutrally as the "I-80/I-880 corridor." The transformation of uses is most evident in the redevelopment of Emeryville, but has also occurred in San Leandro, Hayward, Richmond, and even in parts of Oakland (especially near Downtown). Nonetheless, all these cities (including Emeryville) continue to have high levels of industrial employment, and the degree of mix varies substantially from area to area. Manufacturing and wholesaling employment in the East Bay has been expanding and is projected to continue doing so.

2. West Berkeley in Berkeley 

The West Berkeley Plan area represents some 1/6 of Berkeley's land area. Running the length of the city in a strip near its western edge (see map), West Berkeley is bordered on the north by Albany, on the West (west of I-80) by the Waterfront and the Berkeley Marina, on the south by Emeryville and Oakland, and on the east (east of San Pablo Ave.) by South Berkeley (south of Dwight Way) and Central Berkeley. Emeryville is in the process of revising its General Plan, while the University of California is engaged in a master planning process for its Albany Village lands which adjoin West Berkeley. West Berkeley plays several important roles within the city, which are discussed more fully in the Housing and Economic Development Elements. West Berkeley has some 1/3 of the private sector jobs and 1/4 of the total jobs in Berkeley. West Berkeley is Berkeley's manufacturing and wholesaling district, its strongest regional retailing area, and an emerging office/laboratory center. West Berkeley's residential community is relatively small (some 7% of City population), but houses disproportionately high percentages of low income, non-Anglo, and artist households. West Berkeley is clearly a distinct area within Berkeley. Adjacent to West Berkeley, the City and citizens have developed Area Plans for the Waterfront and South Berkeley. The Waterfront plan calls for the maintenance of the waterfront as primarily open space, with modest hotel, recreation, and conference center uses. The South Berkeley plan (which covers the area between the Oakland line and Dwight Way) does not anticipate major land use changes, but it does seek to revitalize the southern portion of San Pablo Avenue--an area and objective shared with the West Berkeley Plan. There is no specific Area Plan for the Central Berkeley area north of Dwight, which is typically zoned R-2 or R-3, and characterized by a mix of single family houses and apartments.

C. Types of Land Use

West Berkeley Existing Land Use (Generalized) (PDF 494.79KB)

1. Industrial Uses--The Heavy Lifters 

We begin with industrial uses, because, despite significant changes in West Berkeley, they remain the biggest land users. Historically, West Berkeley developed around a set of factories. Indeed some of today's West Berkeley manufacturers can trace their origins to the 1890's, though this is exceptional. Thus, West Berkeley's most characteristic built form is the low, large, utilitarian "industrial" building.

Industrial uses dominate in the Manufacturing and Mixed Manufacturing zone, make up 2/3 of employment in the "Mixed Green" zone, are a strong presence in the Mixed Residential zone, and even appear in the Commercial zone (particularly along San Pablo Ave. south of Dwight Way). In 1992, City staff estimates that between "heavy" manufacturing, "light" manufacturing and "warehousing" uses, there were 5.9 million square feet of built space in West Berkeley, accounting for 64% of total built space. Although the analysis probably exaggerated the extent of industrial use, and although there have been major conversions of industrial space to other uses since then, industrial uses still occupy a majority of built space.

"Heavy" manufacturing 

There are only a few "heavy" manufacturers in West Berkeley, but they play a disproportionately important role. 1992 data indicates that there is roughly 1,000,000 square feet of heavy industrial space. Business License data indicates only 31 heavy manufacturers, 3% of area businesses, but they employ a reported 1,685 workers, 16% of stated employment. While individual company circumstances vary, the heavy manufacturers tend to have the largest sites, to have been in place the longest, and to have the largest and most heavily unionized workforces. On the physical level, some heavy manufacturers occupy distinctive high-ceilinged yet 1 story buildings, to house large scale machinery.

Heavy manufacturers are generally located in either of 2 clusters. There is a cluster in northwestern West Berkeley, where the Manufacturing zone is located. Here is Pacific Steel Castings (with @300 employees), Flint Ink (formerly Cal Ink, a pre-1900 company), Berkeley Forge and Tool, and others. The other cluster is in southwestern West Berkeley, in the Mixed Manufacturing zone. Miles Labs--founded as Cutter shortly after the turn of the century, Macaulay Foundry, and National Starch and Chemical are among the heavy manufacturers here. Almost all the heavy manufacturers in this area are on large scale, multi-acre sites, while in the northwestern area some are wedged onto smaller sites with a more "urban" feel to them. As an illustration, in the northwest area, forklifts sometimes fill the streets, while in the southwest area material movement is likely to be internal to a site, off streets.

Light Manufacturing 

"Light" manufacturing--meaning all manufacturing not designated "heavy", as well as wholesale trade--is the dominant land use in West Berkeley. These uses occupy some 4.8 million square feet of space in West Berkeley. It is found in significant numbers in the Manufacturing, Mixed Manufacturing, Mixed Green, Mixed Residential, and even the Commercial zones. These 266 businesses are spread from Bryant Labs (a chemicals wholesaler) on the Albany border to Berkeley Sheet Metal, which straddles the Emeryville line. Just over half of the light manufacturers (and a full 70% of light manufacturing employees) are located in the Mixed Green zone, with 4th St. south of Addison, Folger St., and Camelia St. east of 6th being particularly strong areas.

Because of the diversity of light manufacturers, it is difficult to generalize about their land use characteristics. Light manufacturers range from companies with hundreds of employees to 1 and 2 person shops often thought of as "crafts." They may be bakers, printers, metal fabricators, makers of machinery, scientific instrument makers, or engaged in other activities. A prototypical Berkeley light manufacturer would be found in one or more single story buildings (with some parking adjacent), which it does not share with any other company.1 It would probably be found on a block with 1 or more other light manufacturers, which might also contain other industrial, office, or (in the Mixed Residential zone) residential uses. It is more likely to rent its space, but a larger firm could own at least some of the space. Light manufacturers present today mostly were begun (in Berkeley) since 1960. In general, light manufacturers pay lower wages than heavy manufacturers, but this varies greatly with the unionization of the company and other factors.

Other Industrial Uses

"Other industrial" uses are a broad category of uses which, while not involving manufacturing or wholesale trade, nonetheless have an "industrial" character because of their processes, materials used, and/or land use. Construction, auto repair, and transportation and public utilities are key West Berkeley other industrial uses. The West Berkeley Plan area has 232 of these businesses, but they report only 1,304 employees, less than 6 employees per workplace. "Skilled blue collar" work with relatively high average wages dominate these fields, but there is great company to company variation, and construction is subject to great seasonality.

The 104 auto repair businesses dominate this category. 58 of these line San Pablo Avenue from Harrison to Carrison, forming one of the dominant uses on this street. The others are scattered throughout non-residential West Berkeley, but are most likely to be found in the Mixed Green zone. All but 7 of these businesses report 10 or fewer employees.

Construction firms based in West Berkeley make up the other key part of this use group. These firms favor locations in the Light Industrial zone, but can also be found in the Mixed Use Residential, or, less frequently, in the Commercial or Residential zone. The firms tend to be small, but 10 report employing 10 or more employees (and construction employment is highly cyclical). The actual sites that construction companies use vary from simple offices to yards of several acres where vehicles and materials are stored.

Agricultural uses, moving and trucking, and repair of items other than cars round out the category. Some notable sites are Pacific Bell's vehicle yard near 4th & Harrison and Macy Movers at 7th & Heinz.

D. Commercial Uses--The Fastest Growing Presence Office and Laboratory Uses 

Freestanding offices and laboratories (that is, ones which are not simply part of an industrial operation) are a relatively new (on a large scale) activity in West Berkeley, but they have grown to almost 20% of its private employment. They occupy some 850,000 square feet of space. West Berkeley's office-based firms operate in business services, graphic design, software, architecture and engineering, and many other fields. With 1,923 employees, these firms report only 7 employees per business. Average wages for these firms tend to be high, as they are made up of generally well-paid professionals and less well-paid clerical staff.

The majority of office-based firms are found in the Mixed Use/Light Industrial, where they make up roughly 1/3 of total private employment. Major concentration points for these uses are Parker Plaza at 9th & Parker (and the Fantasy Records building diagonally across the street) and the Durkee complex west of 7th & Heinz, where Xoma Corporation has over 200 employees in its labs. This complex also houses the state Department of Health Services labs, with its public employees not included in these totals. A major Kaiser medical lab is located on Eastshore between Virginia and Hearst. 68 firms are found in scattered small buildings in the Mixed Use Residential zone, in locations such as a small cluster of graphic design firms around 5th & Delaware. A smattering of health care offices are found along San Pablo Ave. and other major streets.

Retail Uses 

Retail trade has expanded dramatically in West Berkeley in the 1980's. Retail space now occupies over 1,000,000 square feet in West Berkeley--the equivalent of 2 large regional shopping centers. Employment more than doubled to 2,385, while the number of businesses (including personal services such as barber shops) grew to 310. West Berkeley is the main "regional" retail area in Berkeley. While the bulk of retailers are small, a disproportionate percentage of sales was garnered by such larger firms as Whole Earth Access, Weatherford BMW, Truitt and White, and REI. West Berkeley is represented in all retail categories, perhaps most strongly in specialty retail. While auto dealers are an exception, most West Berkeley retailers are non-union and low paying relative to other sectors.

Almost 3/4 of West Berkeley retail employment (and 2/3 of businesses) is in the commercial zone. This includes the major businesses along the north side of Ashby Ave. and the fashionable complex centered on 4th and Hearst. These areas have seen strong sales growth in their former industrial and newly constructed buildings. Less spectacular, but still healthy, are the smaller businesses along University and San Pablo Avenues. Along these streets, food stores (many with an ethnic focus), liquor stores, restaurants, and auto parts stores dominate. However, specialty retailers such as REI and Amsterdam Art can also be found on these streets, while the mini-mall at Cedar & San Pablo represents an upscale version of the street's traditional food and liquor orientation.

Virtually all of the retail space outside the commercial zone is in the Mixed Green zone, where the growing Building Materials sector is the key use. Such establishments can be found along Ashby, near the foot of Hearst, and to a lesser extent off Gilman St. These businesses have a different land use and sales pattern than other retailers--much of their stock is stored outside. These stores also sell some 1/3 of their wares to contractors.

E. Residential Uses 

While most of West Berkeley is devoted to economic activity, there are also some 3,000 dwelling units--roughly 7% of the Citywide total. Almost half of West Berkeley's units (44%) are in single family houses; with the addition of 2 unit structures (19% more units) almost 2/3 of units are accounted for. Only 8% of units are in larger apartment buildings of 10 units or more. Small homes on small lots--often less than the "standard" 5,000 sq. ft. are the West Berkeley norm.

Most of West Berkeley's housing--over 2,000 units--is found in the "residential core" areas--between Dwight and Camelia, from 6th St. to just west of San Pablo Ave. The residential core areas north and south of University Ave. are broadly similar, although houses in the northern area are slightly smaller (averaging 4.9 rooms per owner- occupied unit, compared to 5.2 in the southern area, and 5.9 in Berkeley as a whole). The northernmost residential area, between roughly Delaware and Camelia has many "bungalow" style houses, reflecting a somewhat more recent style than residential streets further south. Detailed information about the residents of West Berkeley is provided in the Housing Element.

Residences, however, are not limited to quiet local-serving streets. A 1986 land use survey indicated 239 units along San Pablo Ave. and 34 units along University Ave., often (although not always) above retail. Additionally, there is the 75 room UA Homes residential hotel at 10th & University, which is being restored to occupancy as a non- profit residential hotel. West Berkeley's highest density zoning and largest apartment complexes are found on or near University Ave. There is also an important residential community intermixed with some light manufacturing (and similar) uses. This housing is concentrated along 5th St. and in the Grayson St. area in the newly designated Mixed Use/Residential district.

Live-work uses account for a small proportion (perhaps 2%) of West Berkeley's housing, but have gained prominence and posed challenges for City regulation. Originally pioneered by artists and craftspeople converting industrial spaces themselves, live-work has now attracted developers seeking more upscale residents. Because many live-work units do not have City permits there is no comprehensive inventory, but major sites include the Durkee building (Heinz St. w. of 7th), The Tannery (4th St. btwn. Gilman & Camelia), 1450 4th (constructed on 4th btwn. Page & Jones), and 947 Pardee (constructed at 9th & Pardee).

The Element now discusses the characteristics of the areas in each land use designation.

F. Land Use in Plan Districts 

Mixed Use/ Light Industrial District 

This description begins with the Mixed Use/ Light Industrial district because it is the largest one (outside of the purely residential areas), covering roughly 300 acres. This district in many ways represents the linchpin of the West Berkeley Plan. It contains the most employment of any district--4,552 jobs or 44%1 of the total reported jobs (on Business Licenses) for the Plan area. The area's broad importance is indicated by the fact that it is home to 51% of the manufacturing and wholesaling employment, and 57% of office-based services. Manufacturing and wholesaling make up over half--54%--of the jobs in the district (2,437 jobs). There are 77 manufacturers in the district, virtually as many as in the Manufacturing, Mixed Manufacturing, and Mixed Use/Residential districts combined, which have a total of 79 manufacturers. 6 of the 10 largest manufacturers in West Berkeley are located in this district.

In the Mixed Use/Light Industrial office-based services account for almost another quarter of district jobs (1,099 jobs or 24%). The district does not incorporate the centers and retail employment is modest--477 jobs, or 12% of the area total, with the bulk of these coming in the rather atypical Building Materials and Garden Supplies sector.

Manufacturing District The manufacturing district is a "gritty" territory of metal "shed" buildings, tall cranes, and forklifts in the street. The district is generally west of 4th St. and north of Virginia St., though its borders are irregular. About 900 workers (862) in 35 firms labor here, with 84% of them in manufacturing and wholesaling. Flint Ink (formerly Cal Ink), Pacific Steel Castings, and billboard builder Gannett Outdoor Advertising are the largest employers here, along with other smaller "heavy" manufacturers.

Mixed Manufacturing District The Mixed Manufacturing district is made up of the "superblocks" between 7th St. and the railroad track, Dwight Way and Heinz St. These blocks were laid out as the early 20th Century version of an "industrial park." The area is dominated by large sites-- Miles' almost 25 acres, Some 10 acres at the former Colgate plant, and other similarly large sites. Some 900 employees work here (915) although for a mere 27 businesses. Recent employment increases at Miles have raised the employment total. Employment in the district is 90% manufacturing and wholesaling, with Miles, Macaulay Foundry, and Artworks Foundry leading employers.

The Mixed Use/Residential District The Mixed Use/Residential district's non-residential uses are divided among manufacturing and wholesaling, with 506 employees (42% of the district total), with 386 (32%) in office-based and non-repair services, and 279 (23%) in other industrial uses such as construction and auto repair. The district is not insignificant economically, with 12% of total West Berkeley jobs, 21% of West Berkeley light manufacturing jobs, and 20% of West Berkeley office-based jobs. However, businesses in the district tend to be smaller than in other districts, with the largest employer here reporting only 60 jobs. But among the 200+ businesses in the district, there are over a dozen construction companies, a similar number of printers and publishers, almost 20 small wholesalers, and a large cluster of business service firms. Residentially, the district contains 373 units (according to the 1990 Census), 90 of which (or 25%) are concentrated at the Oceanview Gardens/Delaware St. Historic District site. One unit houses predominate in the area, but there are many duplexes, and some 3 and 4 unit structures. The Oceanview Gardens development is composed primarily of 6 unit structures.

Commercial District Most of the district's employment--1,746 jobs or 73% of its total is in retail and personal service uses. Similarly, the district represents 73% of West Berkeley retail/personal service jobs. 8 of West Berkeley's 10 largest retail employers are in this district. Whole Earth Excess, Spenger's, and REI are among these leading employers. The district also has a substantial residential population, with approximately 300 units. Areas with substantial numbers of residents include University Ave. from 8th to 10th, and San Pablo Ave. from University to Cedar, San Pablo Ave. from Addison to Parker, and 10th St. south of Dwight Way. In all of these areas, however, residential and commercial uses are mixed, either on the same property, or on the same block.

Figure 1-1: West Berkeley Plan Conforming and Non-Conforming Uses (PDF 77.91KB)

Figure 1-2: Sensitive Receptors (PDF 27.54KB)

Residential Districts 

The residential districts of West Berkeley--overwhelmingly zoned R1(A), with small amounts of R3, and R4, are virtually unmodified by the Plan. The 2 residential Census tracts (which cover the area from Dwight to Camelia, 6th to San Pablo) total 256 acres, but this figure includes some commercially zoned frontage on University and San Pablo. City records indicated (as of 1989) 2,356 housing units in the 2 tracts. Somewhat less than half of the units (43%) were in 1 unit structures. An additional fifth of the units (21%) are in structures with 5 or more units. Almost all of these apartment buildings are non-conforming uses because they were built before the area was downzoned. There is also employment in the district--in existing non-conforming commercial structures, and in home occupations, which are counted as employment in Berkeley's business licenses.

G. The Intensity of West Berkeley Land Use 

The modest scale of West Berkeley housing is noted above. Other types of West Berkeley land use also reflect modest intensity of development. Only 1 small area of West Berkeley--the portion incorporating Parker Plaza and Fantasy Records--has an overall Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of greater than 1. This means that only in this area is there on average more than 1 square foot of building for each square foot of land, although there are other individual sites with an FAR of greater than 1 (e.g. Colgate). FARs of 2 or more are rare. By contrast, FARs of 3 or 4 or more are found in Downtown Berkeley.

Permitted Floor Area Ratios (FAR) it should be noted, are greater. The existing M district has no maximum permitted FAR, but the 3 story height limit would theoretically allow FARs as high as about 2.7. The need to provide parking is the constraint in this case. The Special Industrial (SI) district has a permitted FAR of 1.0 for non-residential structures. The distinction between the permitted FARs and the existing stems from the fact that while a single lot or 2 on a block may be developed to the maximum FAR, it is unusual that the entire block is built to that level. In many cases property owners--particularly manufacturers seeking the most efficient goods movement--do not wish to build to a maximum FAR. Thus the permitted FAR serves more as a maximum than as a predictor of likely level of development.

The scale of West Berkeley development indicates its character as an industrial district of intermediate age. The Bay Area's oldest remaining industrial district--South of Market in San Francisco--is characterized by multi-story buildings which have become increasingly difficult to use. Newer industrial areas (e.g. industrial parks in South San Francisco) are almost exclusively single story buildings and provide greater amounts of parking and loading space than in West Berkeley.

III. Anticipated Development in West Berkeley

Assumptions for Projection 

Future development in an area can only be projected, with no claim to "scientific" accuracy. The land use regulations embodied in this Plan set the maximum permitted development levels, but market conditions will generally dictate whether private developers will take advantage of these opportunities. The City itself does not plan to undertake major development projects in the area, with the possible exception of relocating its Corporation Yard.

The analysis in this document uses the same assumptions used in the Environmental Impact Report on the Plan. City staff, with the assistance of development professionals, have identified the major development opportunities that exist in West Berkeley. These include both vacant sites, and sites where expansions or changes of uses are likely. In addition, the EIR builds in allowances for expansion of existing smaller scale development. The projections were developed by reviewing 1) Projects now approved (including under construction as of Fall, 1992); 2) Projects proposed; and 3) Potential projects in each zone, for each use. The Plan and EIR assume that the available sites will be fully developed by 2005. Such "buildout" may not occur, but assuming that it will is conservative in terms of traffic which will have to be handled and other issues.

This document provides a summary of projected development in West Berkeley through 2005. Further detail is available in the West Berkeley Plan Draft Environmental Impact Report.

Overall Level of Development 

Development under the West Berkeley Plan is projected to be significant, but in scale with existing development. The Plan projects that West Berkeley will add some 1,535,000 of non-residential development, including laboratory, manufacturing, office, and retail space. If realized, this would represent a 16% addition to the existing stock (as of 1992) of some 9,300,000 square feet (see Table 1-4). 400,000 square feet of new manufacturing space are projected, as are 680,000 square feet of new office/"R and D" space, and 525,000 square feet of retail space. Under the Plan at least 200 residential and live-work units will be added to the existing stock of 2,970 housing units (including live-work). Thus the Plan projects at least a 7% increase in residential space.

As the EIR discusses, the great bulk (1,340,000 square feet) of the projected development is in 8 major projects. These are development at the University's Harrison Properties; re- occupancy of Utility Body; commercial development at the Spenger's parking lot; the approved Miles Development Agreement; reuse of the Colgate site; development at the "Colgate East" parking lot across 7th St.; Live-work development on the Hustead's Towing site, and expansion of Whole Earth Access. As of September, 1993, only the Miles project and demolition of buildings at the Colgate site (but no new buildings) have been approved by the City, so none of the other projects are certain.

Development Projections and Development Objectives

In its effort to balance various types of development, the West Berkeley Plan Preferred
Land Use Concept (the predecessor document to this one) adopted objectives for
growth over the 15 year Plan period in various uses--Manufacturing (and wholesaling),
Office and Laboratory, and Retail. The Committee set objectives of adding 350,000
square feet of manufacturing space, 400,000 square feet of office and laboratory space,
and 300,000 square feet of retail space. Clearly, projected growth of space meets or
exceeds these targets in each area. This added space was targeted to add 700
manufacturing jobs, 1,200 office and laboratory jobs, and 1,200 retail jobs. These
objectives were arrived at by using ABAG's projections for economic growth in Berkeley
as a whole as benchmarks.

Housing Development Potential

In addition to providing space for jobs, the West Berkeley Area Plan must provide space
for additional housing. An assessment of potential housing development sites in the
Plan Concept suggests that West Berkeley can meet a reasonable target of 200 units
development over the next 15 years. Housing development potential exceeds a
reasonable housing goal by 95-120 units, possibly more.

Development Opportunities:

The West Berkeley Plan provides 3 types of housing development opportunities--
Commercial corridors (especially San Pablo Ave.); the Mixed Use Residential zone; and
second units with single-family houses. The projection assumes 8 housing development
sites with 152 units in 3 story mixed use buildings on San Pablo Avenue (feasible only
under relaxed parking standards); 6 housing development sites with 108 units in the
Mixed Use/Residential district (not including possible additional conversions of
industrial space to live-work use), and 13 second units with single family houses (added
to 1% of the existing single family house stock).

IV. Goals and Policies

The West Berkeley Plan Preferred Land Use Concept developed a substantial list of land
use goals and policies. Taken together, they provide a broad statement of the many
activities the Plan seeks to provide for and balance. They provide important points of
reference in both developing zoning rules and making land use decisions on specific
projects, but of course do not directly answer what should be done on a given site.
The key land use goals and policies are listed and explained below. It should be noted
that many goals and policies with an important bearing on land use are found in the
Economic Development, Design, and Housing Elements.

Goal 1:

Over the economically active area of West Berkeley, provide for a continued economic
and land use mix, incorporating manufacturing, other industrial, retail and
office/laboratory uses, to benefit Berkeley residents and businesses economically,
benefit the City government fiscally, and promotes the varied and interest character of
the area.

Rationale:

Maintaining a mix of uses within West Berkeley is the overriding goal of the West
Berkeley Plan. This mix is the key feature which distinguishes West Berkeley from
other areas of Berkeley and the region--if it disappeared, so would West Berkeley's
uniqueness. Even those policies which specify certain areas for certain uses (e.g.
manufacturing) do so in the service of assuring that those uses will remain part of the
overall West Berkeley mix, and not simply disappear. The mix assures that a variety of
businesses, some of which best meet job needs, others of which provide the City the
most tax revenue, and still others of which provide important goods and services, can
remain and flourish.

Policies:

A. Retaining, through planning, zoning and land use policies which shield
manufactures from economic and physical incompatibilities with other uses, sufficient
land and buildings to maintain the current level of manufacturing employment at a
minimum.

B. Providing, through zoning districts, development standards, and other tools, space
and incentives for expansion of manufacturing firms, particularly the growing light
manufacturing sector.

C. Providing space for, and designating appropriate locations for-- in planning and
zoning policies--both neighborhood and regional serving retail businesses.

D. Providing space for, and designating appropriate locations for, office, service, and
laboratory businesses, particularly growing Berkeley based businesses which are
particularly suited to West Berkeley's physical environment.

Goal 2:

Channel development--both new businesses and residences and the expansion of
existing businesses--to districts various which are appropriate for the various existing
elements of the West Berkeley land use mix.

Rationale:

The Preferred Land Use Concept was based on the concept of channeling different types
of uses to different parts of West Berkeley, within the context of its overall mix. It
therefore developed a new zoning districting plan for West Berkeley. This Goal and its
associated policies set forth the rationales for creating each of the districts.

Policies:

A. Create a Manufacturing district as a general industrial district, where the full range
of existing manufacturers--both "heavy" and "light"--can function without interference
from other types of uses.

B. Create a Mixed Manufacturing district as a general industrial district, where both
heavy and light manufacturers can function, along with "biotech" industries and office
users which can recycle the upper stories of buildings.

C. Create a Light Manufacturing district which allows a wide range of light
manufacturers to continue to operate and expand and limits loss of their spaces to other
uses, while providing an opportunity for office development where it will not unduly
interfere with light manufacturing uses, and for laboratory development in appropriate
locations.

D. Create a Mixed Residential district as a special mixed use district which will
recognize and support the continued evolution of a unique mix of residential, light
industrial, and arts and crafts uses, with a particular effort to strengthen residential
concentrations existing there.

E. Create a Commercial district which will foster the continued vitality of West
Berkeley's neighborhood and regional serving retail trade, in as pedestrian-friendly a
manner as possible.

F. Maintain Residential districts which will provide decent, safe, and sanitary living
environments for a wide range of types of household.

Goal 3:

Protect residential core neighborhoods from adverse impacts of economic growth--
especially traffic and parking congestion and noise.

Rationale:

The residential core neighborhoods are made up primarily of houses and apartments,
much like other residential Berkeley neighborhoods. A safe and pleasant residential
environment is important there. These neighborhoods should enjoy the same protection
from through traffic on non- arterial (and non-collector) streets and from commercial
parking spill-over that other residential neighborhoods enjoy. The facts that these
neighborhoods are adjacent to industrial and other economically active areas, and that
they are occupied in large part by low income people do not diminish their need for
these protections.

Policies:

A. Protect residential streets which are not arterials or collectors from through traffic,
both from trucks and commuters.

B. Protect the residential core neighborhoods from parking spill-over generated by
nearby office and residential uses.

Goal 4:

Assure that new development in any sector is of a scale and design that is appropriate
to its surroundings, while respecting the genuine economic and physical needs of the
development.

Rationale:

The modest scale of many West Berkeley areas, both residential and economically
active, is an important aspect of their character. As development occurs in these areas,
the City must balance the economic and physical needs of the development itself with
the scale of the area, should these come in conflict.

Goal 5:

Clarify and rationalize the development review process, so that clearer guidance is
given to applicants and people affected by projects, and so that decisions on projects
may occur more rapidly, while providing appropriate opportunities for citizen input.

Rationale:

Many businesses and developers have argued that Berkeley's project review process is
unduly long and complex. The West Berkeley Plan seeks to provide both greater
certainty of outcome to applicants and affected parties, and more rapid permit
processing. The Plan achieves both seemingly contradictory goals by providing more
detail on permitted and prohibited uses than the previous zoning, while allowing a
greater number of projects which meet zoning standards to proceed without
cumbersome and time-consuming public hearings.

V. The Land Use Districting Concept of the Plan

One of the most important parts of the West Berkeley Plan is its land use concept. The
land use concept is designed to guide West Berkeley's evolution through at least the
year 2005. The concept lays out a completely revised set of land use districts for West
Berkeley (see the following color district map). These districts are designed to become
new zoning districts once the final Plan is adopted.

The concept represents a balance between a strong emphasis on the need to conserve
desirable existing uses and the need to allow reasonable evolution and development. It
seeks to balance the legitimate, yet sometimes conflicting interests of the many
"stakeholders" in West Berkeley--residents, manufacturers, workers and their unions,
retailers, property owners, the University, the City itself, and many others. The Plan
land use concept seeks to give clear guidance on what activities are desired where
within Berkeley, yet allow the continued development of a creative, exciting mixed use
area. For the first time in West Berkeley, the land use concept provides a clear
gradation of uses and development intensity from the residential areas, through mixed
use areas to the manufacturing areas

Overview of the Districting Concept

While the concept was developed through an intensely participatory process, which
required numerous trade-offs and compromises from all participants (see the Process
section), there is nonetheless an underlying logic to the concept. The concept recognizes
that, although West Berkeley is, on the whole, an area with very mixed uses, individual
areas within it do have certain predominant uses. Other areas have a mix of uses, but
they do not generally have the full range of uses from "heavy" manufacturing to single
family detached residential (see Figure 1-4 for a diagrammatic depiction of the varying
mix of uses in the Plan's land use districts). There are 6 land use designations (types of
zoning) for the whole of West Berkeley.

Some areas have a use mix dominated by "heavy" and "light" manufacturing, these are
designated as the Manufacturing and Mixed Manufacturing districts. In much of West
Berkeley, light manufacturing and other light industrial uses (e.g. auto repair) are the
primary land use, these areas are designated as Mixed Use/Light Industrial district.
Retail commercial concentrations have developed, not only along San Pablo and
University Aves., but around 4th & University and 7th & Ashby as well. These areas
were designated Commercial. Some areas mix industrial and residential uses closely
together--these areas have been designated Mixed Use/Residential. The remaining
areas are overwhelmingly residential, and remain in their existing residential zoning
(whether it be R-1A, R3, or R4). This pattern is described in more detail in the following
section.

In addition to this overall concept, there were a number of principles which guided the
development of the land use concept. Most important among these were:

  • New land use districts/zones should recognize the existing character of an area, and
    create as few non-conformities as possible;

  • The zoning should allow desired development in an area (e.g. residential infill,
    expansion of existing manufacturers), but generally not permit a radical change of area
    character;

  • Although they are not the only consideration, the desires of businesses, property
    owners, and residents in a particular area are especially important in developing
    districting/zoning for that area;

  • Zoning should specify, as clearly as possible, permitted and prohibited uses in an
    area, to give guidance to applicants (for permits) and to reduce permit processing time;

  • Manufacturing, wholesaling, and warehousing space should be maintained in those
    uses as much as possible, to meet the Council/Planning Commission mandate to
    maintain manufacturing jobs;

  • All uses, even those permitted in a zone, are subject to review for environmental
    impacts. However, whether an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), an Initial Study, or
    other environmental document is needed will be determined by the nature and scale of
    an application;

  • Existing residential clusters within mixed use areas should be strengthened and
    legitimized;

  • Residents should be buffered from the effects of heavy industrial uses as much as
    possible;

  • Retail uses should be clustered, to strengthen existing retail areas, to make them for
    walkable, and to prevent retail sprawl.

Figure 1-3 The Spectrum of Permitted Uses (PDF 25.25KB)

Specific Districts in the Concept

West Berkeley Plan Land Use Districts (PDF 412.69KB)

General Manufacturing Districts

There are 2 small districts in the Plan which allow process intensive, "heavier"
manufacturing uses, as well as light industrial uses. These are the Manufacturing
District in northwestern West Berkeley (largely west of the railroad tracks), and the
Mixed Manufacturing District in southwestern West Berkeley (around the Colgate and
Miles sites). These areas are the present home to most West Berkeley "heavy" industries
such as steelmaking and ink production. These districts are closely targeted to industrial
uses, and generally do not allow residential, live-work, retail, or office uses (except on
upper stories in the Mixed Manufacturing District). Office, laboratory, and retail uses
which are integral to a manufacturing operation (e.g. a store selling products made on
site) are permitted in the district. These small areas--some 94 acres in the
Manufacturing zone and 79 acres in the Mixed Manufacturing zone--most closely follow
the model of "Protected Manufacturing Districts" that manufacturing advocates sought
for West Berkeley. While industrially oriented, the Mixed Manufacturing district is
somewhat less tightly targeted than the Manufacturing District, allowing freestanding
laboratories and office uses on upper stories, so that multi-story buildings in the district
can be more easily used.

Mixed Use/Light Industrial District

The district is proposed for most of the areas where light manufacturing and industrial
uses predominate in West Berkeley. These include the northern area, north of Camelia
St. (home to such companies as Hopkins Screen Printing, Clear Com, and
Mousefeathers). There is also the western area--west of 4th between Camelia and
Dwight-- (location of A&B Die Casting, De Soto, Peerless Lighting, and Andros
Analyzers among others). There is the Parker St. area east of 7th (site of Ion Systems,
Nolo Press, and Consolidated Printing). South of Heinz most areas are in the district,
except for the north of Ashby commercial corridor (taking in Xoma sites and the
"Durkee" project, as well as East Bay Steel).

Permitted uses in the district are broadly light industrial in character, with various
types of light manufacturing being allowed but not "heavy" manufacturing.
Freestanding laboratories (i.e. those not associated with a manufacturing use) would be
permitted only in the areas between the railroad track and Aquatic Park, and north of
Gilman St, to limit potential exposure to residential neighborhoods. Office uses are
permitted in the zone, but not most types of retail. However, office development is
limited by the stipulation that only 25% of the area of a manufacturing facility not
already used for offices could be converted to office use. Thus the district allows
limited office development on current manufacturing sites, and on currently
undeveloped sites. Residential uses are not permitted in the district (although "heavier"
live-work uses are). There are only a very small number of residential uses in the
district, because the Mixed-Use Residential district was drawn to include all of the
major residential enclaves.

Mixed Use/Residential District

The Mixed Use/Residential zone is the fourth new land use/zoning district developed
by the West Berkeley Plan. While the Mixed Use/Light Industrial zone incorporates
those areas dominated by a light industrial/office mix without residential uses, the
Mixed Use/Residential focuses on those areas where the typical mix is residential and
light industrial. The district encompasses the current SI (Special Industrial) district
between the 4th/5th midblock line and 6th St., along with an area (currently zoned M)
between Carleton and Heinz, 7th St. and the San Pablo commercial strip where there are
substantial numbers of residences. The district totals some 120 acres. The district's
proposed uses permit residential, live-work, light industrial, and office uses, but only
limited, generally neighborhood serving retail. To maintain the district's smaller scale of
development, it has a lower height limit and lower allowed Floor Area Ratio (amount of
development per square foot of land) than do the manufacturing and light industrial
districts.

Commercial District

The commercial district is not a new one in West Berkeley, currently covering almost all
of San Pablo Ave. and University Ave. east of 6th St. The West Berkeley Plan extends
the commercial designation to other areas which have in fact become commercial--4th
St. between Addison and (vacated) Delaware, a corridor along the north side of Ashby
Ave., and pockets (sometimes described as "nodes") off San Pablo at Dwight and
Gilman. The Plan seeks to foster concentrated, walkable commercial areas, and to
prevent commercial sprawl which will both interfere with industry and attenuate
commercial areas. A new commercial "loop" from 4th & Addison to Aquatic Park is
created, in the hope that retail uses here will help lure more people into Aquatic Park.
The zoning for the district will vary somewhat between concentrated commercial nodes
(where non-commercial uses will not be permitted on the ground floor) and along
commercial strips such as San Pablo.

Residential Districts

Within the residential districts, the Plan does not propose to change the zoning borders.
The only proposed change to permitted uses is to allow small neighborhood-serving
retail and service uses (e.g. groceries, laundromats) within the R districts.

One change which has been suggested for study is the possible revision of zoning to
allow multi-family structures a greater depth of lot back from San Pablo Ave. This was
suggested for those areas which although zoned residential are currently not in
residential use. This change could be incorporated into zoning revisions, but before
doing so careful study and consultation with the residents would be required. This
issue may be most appropriate for the General Plan.

VI. Implementation Measures

Ordinances and Regulatory Changes


A. Rezoning--Implement the rezoning envisioned by the Preferred Land Use Concept
and the West Berkeley Plan--including permitted and prohibited uses, development
standards, performance standards and project review procedures--by amending the
Zoning Ordinance and zoning map.

Goals and Policies Implemented: Goal 1, Policies 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D; Goal 2, Policies 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, Goal 4, Goal 5

Responsibility: City Planning Department


Funding: Major project within regular staff and operating funding

B. Redevelopment Plan--Amend the West Berkeley Redevelopment Plan to conform
with West Berkeley Plan 

Goals and Policies Implemented: Goal 1, Policies 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D; Goal 2, Policies 2A, 2C,
2D, 2E, Goal 4,Goal 5

Responsibility: Community Development Department


Funding: Redevelopment Agency

C. Truck Weight Ordinance--Amend the City's truck weight Ordinance to prevent
through traffic on residential streets. The City's actions to limit the transportation 

Goals and Policies Implemented: Goal 3, Policy 3A

Responsibility: Traffic Engineer's Office


Funding: Regular staff and operating funding

Projects

A. Consolidated Parking--Study the feasibility of, and if feasible and desirable, construct
parking garages or other consolidated parking facilities in the area of 4th & University
and 7th & Ashby (and other locations if warranted). The garages would be intended to
provide parking for area merchants, the Amtrak station, and to relieve overspill parking
pressure on nearby neighborhoods. 

Goals and Policies Implemented: Goal 1, Policy 1C

Responsibility: Community Services Division initially


Funding: Study funds provided in 1991-92 Budget, study currently underway.

Studies

A. Inventory of Industrial Space--Create a comprehensive inventory of industrial space
in West Berkeley, particularly industrial space subject to conversion regulation in the
Mixed Use/Light Industrial and Mixed Use/Residential districts. This will support
effective enforcement of these conversion rules. 

Goals and Policies Implemented: Goal 1, Policies 1A & 1B; Goal 2

Responsibility: City Planning Department


Funding: Costs not yet analyzed

VII. Land Use Regulations of the West Berkeley Plan
- for adoption in principle

Status of the Regulations


The land use regulations below are central to the West Berkeley Plan. They spell out
generally what uses are permitted and prohibited in each of the districts created by the
Plan, what allowable height and bulk standards would be, and set forth a series of
regulatory concepts for special situations. These include limits on changes of use of
manufacturing facilities, on buffers between residential and heavy manufacturing sites,
and other issues. They are much of what the framers of the West Berkeley Plan
understand to be the content of the Plan.

Nevertheless, these regulations are proposed for adoption in principle only, rather than
adoption as an amendment to Berkeley's General Plan (as the rest of the document is).
They are proposed for technical reasons. Development regulations such as these should
ultimately reside in the Zoning Ordinance, and will be found there once West Berkeley's
zoning is brought into conformity with the Plan. City staff anticipates that the zoning
will be drafted and approved next year. The procedure for adopting the zoning changes
should be relatively streamlined, as it will be relying on the West Berkeley Plan
Environmental Impact Report as environmental documentation. If these regulations
were adopted as part of the General Plan, any change to them, however minor, would
require a General Plan amendment. Such amendments are--because of state planning
law--procedurally complex, and limited in number.

For these reasons, adoption of this section in principle is recommended. Such adoption
will make clear that zoning provisions should closely follow the Plan, while assuring
the most appropriate and expeditious procedure for enacting and amending that
zoning.

District permitted and prohibited uses  (See also Special Situations section)

Generally Permitted and Prohibited Uses

Manufacturing District

See also Development Standards, Manufacturing/Residential Buffers for regulations
affecting certain sites

Permitted Uses (see Development Standards chart for sizes of projects requiring
Administrative Use Permit, Use Permit with Public Hearing)

  • Arts & Crafts Uses (workspaces only, not live-work)

  • Auto body & painting

  • Automobile dismantling ("junkyards")

  • Auto repair

  • Bus, Cab, truck, and public utility depots

  • Composting

  • Construction yards and associated offices

  • Farms and Agricultural establishments

  • Industrial Product Sales (Gases & Chemicals)

  • Manufacturing: Food processing, textiles, apparel, lumber & wood products,
    furniture, paper & allied products, printing (exclusive of publishing); asphalt products,
    leather products (exclusive of primary production of leather); stone, clay, and glass
    products; fabricated metals, industrial machinery, electrical machinery & electronics,
    transportation equipment, scientific instruments, miscellaneous manufacturing.

  • Recyclable materials collection points, exclusive of facilities handling primarily
    hazardous waste

  • Parking lots (for uses located in the district)

  • Self-storage ("mini-storage")

  • Warehouses

  • Wholesale trade and distribution

Uses always requiring Public Hearing (regardless of project size) 

  • Chemicals, including pharmaceuticals (exclusive of the manufacturing of alkalies,
    chlorine, chemical warfare gases, DDT, chloroform, fertilizers, and explosives)

  • Parking structures

  • Primary metals, including smelting and refining

Ancillary Uses (Uses permitted only as an integral part of manufacturing or wholesale trade site) 

  • Factory Outlets (for products manufactured on site)

  • Laboratories

  • Offices

Prohibited Uses 

  • Banks and financial establishments

  • Gasoline stations

  • Group quarters residences

  • Hazardous waste transfer stations & disposal facilities (freestanding facilities)

  • Hotels and motels

  • Laboratories (freestanding)

  • Live-work
    (Manufacturing District -Prohibited Uses continued)

  • Manufacturing: Tobacco products, alkalies, chlorine, chemical warfare gases, DDT,
    pesticides, chloroform, fertilizers, explosives; primary production of leather; petroleum
    refining, products of petroleum and coal not elsewhere classified; tires, inner tubes,
    synthetic rubber, asbestos products, ordnance and accessories, reprocessing of nuclear
    cores & scrap

  • Offices (freestanding)

  • Publishing

  • Residences

  • Restaurants

  • Retail establishments, except permitted factory outlets

  • Schools and day care facilities

Mixed Manufacturing District
See also Development Standards, Large Site Development Process;
Manufacturing/Residential Buffers (regulations affecting frontage along portions of 7th
St., Dwight Way)

Permitted Uses (see Development Standards chart for sizes of projects requiring
Administrative Use Permit, Use Permit with Public Hearing) 

  • Arts & Crafts Uses (workspaces only, not live-work)

  • Auto body & painting

  • Automobile dismantling ("junkyards")

  • Auto repair

  • Bus, Cab, truck, and public utility depots

  • Composting

  • Construction yards and associated offices

  • Farms and Agricultural establishments

  • Industrial Product Sales (Gases & Chemicals

  • Manufacturing: Food processing, textiles, apparel, lumber & wood products,
    furniture, paper & allied products, printing (exclusive of publishing); asphalt products,
    leather products (exclusive of primary production of leather); stone, clay, and glass
    products; fabricated metals, industrial machinery, electrical machinery & electronics,
    transportation equipment, scientific instruments, miscellaneous manufacturing.

  • Parking Lots (for uses located in the district)

  • Recyclable materials collection points, exclusive of facilities handling primarily
    hazardous waste

  • Warehouses

  • Wholesale trade and distribution

Uses Always Requiring Public Hearing (regardless of project size) 

  • Chemicals, including pharmaceuticals (exclusive of the manufacturing of alkalies,
    chlorine, chemical warfare gases, DDT, chloroform, fertilizers, and explosives)

  • Parking structures

  • Primary metals, including smelting and refining

Ancillary Uses (Uses permitted only as an integral part of manufacturing or wholesale
trade site) 

  • Factory Outlets (for products manufactured on site)

  • Laboratories on the ground floor

  • Offices on the ground floor

Upper story Uses (Uses permitted on the second story or above) 

  • Laboratories (other than ancillary)

  • Offices (other than ancillary)

  • Publishing

Prohibited Uses 

  • Banks and financial establishments

  • Gasoline stations

  • Group quarters residences

  • Hazardous waste transfer stations & disposal facilities (freestanding facilities)

  • Hotels and motels

  • Laboratories (freestanding)

  • Live-work

  • Manufacturing: Tobacco products, alkalies, chlorine, chemical warfare gases, DDT,
    pesticides, chloroform, fertilizers, explosives; primary production of leather; petroleum
    refining, products of petroleum and coal not elsewhere classified; tires, inner tubes,
    synthetic rubber, asbestos products, ordnance and accessories, reprocessing of nuclear
    cores & scrap

  • Offices (freestanding)

  • Residences

  • Restaurants

  • Retail establishments, except permitted factory outlets

  • Schools and day care facilities

  • Self-storage ("mini-storage")

Mixed Use/Light Industrial District
See also Development Standards; Conversions from Manufacturing to Other Uses; Live-
Work Development

Permitted Uses (see Development Standards chart for sizes of projects requiring
Administrative Use Permit, Use Permit with Public Hearing)

1. Industrial & Agricultural Uses 

  • Arts and Crafts (workspaces only, live-work limited)

  • Auto repair

  • Bus, Cab, truck, and public utility depots

  • Construction yards & associated offices

  • Farms & agricultural establishments

  • Manufacturing: Food processing (e.g. bakeries, wineries); textiles, apparel, furniture,
    lumber & wood products, printing and publishing; stone, clay, and glass products;
    industrial machinery; electrical machinery & electronics (except production of
    semiconductors and related devices); scientific instruments; miscellaneous
    manufacturing

  • Manufacturing Repair and Service

  • Recyclable materials collection points, exclusive of facilities handling primarily
    hazardous waste

  • Vocational Schools (providing training for uses in district)

  • Warehouses

  • Wholesale trade and distribution

2. Offices and Services 

  • Offices--General, medical, and professional (see Conversions from manufacturing to
    other uses)

3. Retail

Building Materials and Garden Supplies

Business Services (not to exceed 3,000 sq. ft.)

4. Other Uses 

  • Parking lots (for muses located in the district)

Uses Always Requiring Public Hearing (regardless of project size) 

  • Auto body and painting

  • Day Care

  • Live-Work (Manufacturing and Arts & Crafts uses only)

  • Manufacturing of leather products, rubber products, plastic products, paper
    products, fabricated metals

  • Parking structures and parking lots (not for uses located in the district)

  • Restaurants

  • Schools (other than Vocational Schools described above)

  • Shelters for Homeless Persons

Uses Permitted in Selected Locations

1. Portions of Mixed Use/Light Industrial district north of Gilman St. and west of 3rd St. (Southern Pacific RR) or south of Heinz St. on parcels which are, in their entirety, at least 500 feet from a Residential or Mixed Use/Residential district 

  • Laboratories (freestanding)*

  • Manufacture of pharmaceuticals

2. Parks and Recreational Uses, in Outdoor Recreational subzones only

Prohibited Uses 

  • Banks and Financial establishments (public service)

  • Gasoline stations

  • Group Quarters other than Shelters for Homeless Persons

  • Hazardous waste transfer stations & disposal facilities (freestanding facilities)

  • Hotels and Motels

  • Manufacturing--All uses prohibited in Manufacturing zone and Chemicals (except
    pharmaceuticals in selected locations), petroleum products, primary metals processing
    (e.g. "foundries"), production of semiconductors and related devices, transportation
    equipment and primary production of leather, rubber, plastic, or paper

  • Residences (live/work conditionally permitted, see above)

  • Retail stores, except as listed above

  • Self-storage ("mini-storage")

Mixed Use/Residential District
See also Development Standards, Conversions from Manufacturing to Other Uses,
Permitted Uses, Live-Work

Permitted Uses (see Development Standards chart for sizes of projects requiring
Administrative Use Permit, Use Permit with Public Hearing)

1. Residential 

  • Residences--Single-family, Multi-family, Group Quarters

  • Day Care

  • Schools

2. Industrial & Agricultural 

  • Arts and Crafts (workspaces only)

  • Farms and Agricultural establishments

  • Manufacturing Repair and Service

  • Recyclable materials collection points, exclusive of facilities handling primarily
    hazardous waste

  • Warehouses

  • Wholesale trade and distribution

3. Retail 

  • Building Materials and Garden Supplies

  • Business Services

  • Food Stores (not to exceed 5,000 sq. ft.)

  • Cleaners, laundries, and laundromats

4. Other Uses 

  • Parking lots (for uses located in the district)

Uses Always Requiring Public Hearing (regardless of project size) 

  • Auto body, auto painting, auto repair (with setbacks from residential use)

  • Bus, Cab, truck, and public utility depots

  • Construction yards and associated offices

  • Live-work (work activities those permitted in district)

  • Manufacturing-- Food processing (e.g. bakeries, wineries), clothing & textile
    production, furniture production, wood products, printing and publishing; stone, clay,
    and glass products; industrial machinery, electrical machinery & electronics (except
    production of semiconductors and related devices), scientific instruments,
    miscellaneous manufacturing, leather products, rubber products, plastic products,
    paper products

  • Parking lots (not for uses located in the district)

  • Restaurants

Prohibited Uses 

  • Banks and financial establishments (public service)

  • Gasoline stations

  • Hazardous waste transfer stations & disposal facilities (freestanding facilities)

  • Hotels and motels

  • Laboratories*

  • Manufacturing--All uses prohibited in Manufacturing zone and Chemicals
    (including pharmaceuticals), lumber milling, petroleum products, primary metals
    processing, production of semiconductors and related devices, primary production of
    leather, rubber, plastic, or paper (e.g. pulp mills)

  • Retail stores, except as listed above

Commercial District (See also Development Standards, Live-Work )

Generally Permitted Uses (see Development Standards chart for sizes of projects
requiring Administrative Use Permit, Use Permit with Public Hearing)

1. Retail 

  • Barber shops, beauty salons, and other hair cuteries

  • Gasoline stations

  • Hotels and motels

  • Cleaners, laundries, and laundromats

  • Restaurants

  • Retail stores (all types)

2. Residential 

  • Day Care

  • Schools

3. Live-Work 

  • Live-work (work activities those permitted in district)

4. Offices 

  • Banks and financial establishments

  • Business Services (above the ground floor in designated commercial nodes)

  • Offices--General, Medical, and Professional (above the ground floor in designated
    commercial nodes)

5. Industrial and Agricultural 

  • Arts and Crafts (workspaces)

  • Auto body, auto painting, and auto repair

  • Farms and agricultural establishments

  • Wholesale trade and distribution

6. Other Uses 

  • Parking lots (for uses located in the district)

Uses Always Requiring Public Hearing (regardless of project size) 

  • Construction yards and associated offices

  • Manufacturing--Food processing, printing and publishing, wood products, furniture
    making; stone, clay, and glass products

  • Parking structures, and parking lots (not for uses in the districts)

  • Recyclable materials collection points, exclusive of facilities handling primarily
    hazardous waste

  • Residential uses--single family, multi-family, and group quarters (above the ground
    floor in designated commercial nodes)

Prohibited Uses 

  • Bus, Cab, truck, and public utility depots

  • Hazardous waste transfer stations & disposal facilities (freestanding facilities)

  • Laboratories (freestanding)

  • Manufacturing (other than uses specified above)

Permitted Uses in All Residential Zones--R1A, R-3, R-4 

  • Parks, playgrounds, playlots

  • Day care for six or fewer children

Uses Requiring a Public Hearing (regardless of project size) in All Residential Zones

  • Churches, Community Centers, and Libraries

  • Day Care

  • Food stores (less than 3,000 sq. ft.)

  • Cleaners, laundries, and laundromats \

  • Residences--1 unit, 2 unit

  • Schools

Uses Requiring a Public Hearing (regardless of project size) in R-3, R-4 zones only, not
permitted in R-1A zones

  • Group Quarters

  • Medical buildings and hospitals

  • Multiple dwellings

Uses Requiring a Public Hearing (regardless of project size) in R-4 zone only, not
permitted in R-1A and R-3 zones 

  • Hotels and motels

  • Institutions and offices

  • Retail ancillary to hotels, motels, institutions and offices

Uses Prohibited in All Residential Zones 

  • All other uses--agricultural, other retail, manufacturing, wholesaling

Note: Most of the "residential core" area of West Berkeley between Dwight and Camelia
(excluding University Ave.) and 6th St. and the San Pablo commercial strip is zoned R-
1A. However, parts of the blocks on either side of University Ave. are zoned R-3 or R-4.

B. Special Situations and Regulations

Conversions from Manufacturing and Industrial Uses to Other Uses

Rationale:

The West Berkeley Plan's regulation of "conversions" (technically "changes of use") from
manufacturing and wholesale trade is a central element of the Plan's land use concept.
In the Mixed Use/Light Industrial ("Green") zone in particular, the conversion limits
seek to maintain the industrial character of the area, without completely blocking other
uses there. The district description above makes clear how--in many respects--the Light
Industrial district is the key manufacturing and industrial district in West Berkeley.
Staff estimates that the district contains at least 2.2 million square feet of privately
owned manufacturing and wholesaling space, in dozens and dozens of buildings,
which range in size from a few thousand square feet to the 162,000 square feet of Utility
Body. This district--in contrast with the Manufacturing and Mixed Manufacturing
districts--contains a substantial percentage of manufacturers and wholesalers which
rent rather than own their space, putting them at much greater risk of displacement.

If no limits on the conversion of manufacturing space were enforced here, widespread
displacement of manufacturing would be possible, contrary to the Plan's economic
development and land use policy. On the other hand, if the City were to seek to protect
manufacturers' spaces in the absence of such a rule, the list of permitted uses in the
district would have to be much more restrictive. Thus, given the existence of limits on
conversion, the Plan can be much more permissive about allowing certain uses as new
construction (e.g. offices) while maintaining the area as an industrial district. The
conversion limitation approach allows change, but regulates its pace and scope. Indeed,
if the full 25% of space allowed to convert actually were to convert (an admittedly
unlikely occurrence), some 550,000 square feet of space would be changed to office or
other uses. If this 550,000 square feet were to convert, some 40% of the district's current
space would be non-manufacturing/wholesaling, about the maximum level at which
the district could still be called "industrial."

The issue is also relevant in the Mixed Use/Residential district, although this district is
both smaller and designed to be less protective of manufacturing. In this district, the
Plan calls for conversions of manufacturing/wholesaling buildings of 10,000 square feet
or more to be reviewed for their impact on the industrial character of the area. Specific
criteria will be proposed in the West Berkeley rezoning proposal.

Regulation:

"Conversion" (Change of Use) of Manufacturing or Wholesaling Space in Mixed
Use/Light Industrial District

Scope of Regulation--Changes of buildings currently or last used for manufacturing,
wholesale trade, or warehouse uses to any other use, except manufacturing, wholesale
trade, or warehouse use.

Limit on Change of Use--The change of use of any manufacturing, wholesale trade, or
warehouse use to a use other than manufacturing, wholesale trade or warehousing
would be limited to 25% of the floor area of the building now used for purposes other
than offices, laboratories, properly approved live-work spaces, or properly approved
retail space.

Example: Thus in a manufacturing site with 100,000 square feet of space (other than
office), 25,000 could be converted (with a Use Permit) to other uses permitted in the
district. No further conversion would be permitted.

Hardship Exception--Buildings which are uneconomic to maintain in at least 75%
industrial use could be converted to other uses permitted in the district with a Use
Permit granted by the Zoning Adjustments Board after a Public Hearing. The Board
would be required to find that there are exceptional physical circumstances pertaining
to the building, which do not pertain to most other buildings in the district, which make
it impossible to reuse for industrial purposes. The simple fact that other uses would be
more profitable is not adequate for this Use Permit.

Heavy Manufacturing/Residential Buffers

Rationale:

The intent of this regulation is to maintain a minimum distance of 150 feet between
residential and "heavy" manufacturing uses in order to mitigate environmental
impacts, such as noise, odor, vibration and glare, which would interfere with
reasonable residential use and to provide a workable environment for these
manufacturers.

Regulation:

Affected Districts--Mixed Use/Residential; Mixed Use/Light Industrial; Mixed
Manufacturing; Manufacturing

Mixed Use-Residential 

  • No new residential use may be established within 150 feet of an any property in a
    manufacturing district (i.e. Manufacturing, Mixed-Manufacturing); nor within 150' of
    existing "heavy" manufacturer in any zone. Additions to existing residential uses
    permitted at a "reasonable" level - standards to be set forth in the rezoning.

  • No new or expanded manufacturing use may be established within 150 feet of an
    existing residential use, unless Performance Standards are met and a Use Permit is
    obtained.

Manufacturing; Mixed-Manufacturing; Mixed Use-Light Industrial Districts 

  • No new or expanded manufacturing use may be established within 150 feet of a
    residential property located in the Mixed Use-Residential zone, unless Performance
    Standards are met and a Use Permit is obtained.

  • No new or expanded manufacturing use may be established within 150 feet of an
    existing residential use regardless of zone, unless Performance Standards are met and a
    Use Permit is obtained.

Note: Residential uses are prohibited in the Manufacturing, Mixed Manufacturing, and
Mixed Use/Light Industrial district.

Large Site Development Process

Rationale:

West Berkeley has a few large sites--sites of 5 acres or more under a single ownership--
which present special challenges and opportunities for planning and development in
West Berkeley. These large sites--such as the Miles or (ex) Colgate property--are of a
scale where they have a major impact on the area around them, and noticeable impacts
on West Berkeley as a whole. They also may require modification of the uses and
development standards in a district to facilitate a feasible large scale project.

For these reasons, the West Berkeley Plan incorporates a concept of a Large Site
Development Process. While the process remains to be defined, the concept is that a
special approval process would be used for certain projects. Because of the importance
of these projects, the Planning Commission would be involved in the process. The
process would also provide a formal mechanism for early citizen input. The rezoning
will propose a Zoning Ordinance amendment to provide for a Master Plan Permit. It
would be a middle ground alternative between the Use Permit and the Development
Agreement. While a master permit could be issued for a multi-building project, there
would be a procedure for review of individual buildings at their time of construction.
This alternative could incorporate many of the master planning features of a
Development Agreement, but would be acted upon under the procedures of the Zoning
Ordinance, rather than as a separate contract.

It is important to note that no special process would be required of large scale projects
which conform in all substantive respective to the uses and development standard of
their district. Such a project, however large, would require simply the normal Use
Permit(s) and environmental review (an Environmental Impact Report or other
appropriate documentation).

Regulation:
Projects which are eligible for the Large Site Development Process are those which: 

  • On sites of at least 5 acres; and

  • Proposing to incorporate uses which would not otherwise be permitted in the
    district; or

  • Requesting an "alternative" land use entitlement, such as a Development Agreement.
    Another possibility is a Master Plan Permit, whereby a single permit would be issued
    for the development of a number of buildings and/or uses within a given range.

Performance Standards

Rationale:

The West Berkeley Plan incorporates the concept of "performance standards."
Performance standards differ from traditional zoning development standards in that
they regulate the impacts of land uses--noise, odor, vibration, etc. By contrast,
traditional zoning standards deal with the physical form of building--building mass,
height, yards (setbacks), lot coverage, parking, etc. Performance standards set
maximum permissible levels for the release of the item they regulate--e.g. X decibels of
noise. Such performance standards are an integral part of Portland's "Industrial
Sanctuary" zoning policy, and are used in Oakland and many other communities.

Performance standards become particularly important in a context where disparate uses
are close together--like West Berkeley. When differing districts abut each other,
performance standards limiting noxious environmental impacts can help substitute for
the absence of distance between uses. The sometimes difficult industrial/residential
interface is a particularly salient site.

While manufacturing is typically the primary focus of performance standards, other
types of business such as construction, transportation, laboratories, and nightclubs can
have off-site impacts, and therefore are appropriate as subjects of performance standard
regulation.

Regulation:

To be included in rezoning

Live-Work Development

Rationale:

Live-work space has become an increasingly important element of the West Berkeley
built environment. More and more people, in an ever-widening variety of fields, are
interested in combining their living and working sites. Originally targeted by state
legislation to artists and craftspeople, live-work now serves many more occupations.
Originally envisioned as occurring in converted warehouses, in recent years there have
been newly constructed purpose built live-work buildings as well. There are now over
a dozen legally permitted live-work sites in West Berkeley, with 4 more projects
(ranging in size from 1 large unit to 17 units) under construction, as of September, 1993.
Given strong interest by both space users and developers, additional live-work
developments--particularly new construction developments--are likely.

Live-work is generally a positive presence in Berkeley and West Berkeley, but it must be
carefully regulated so that it does not cause negative impacts. Live-work generates life
in neighborhoods which are otherwise moribund at night, increasing activity and
safety. It can provide workspaces which do not need to be commuted to. Some live-
work still houses artists, a culturally important but often economically marginal
segment of the population.

Live-work originally grew up in the interstices of economically marginal industrial
areas. However, in 1990s West Berkeley, both built space and land is scarce, highly
prized, and competitive. This means that live-work uses have the potential of
displacing or being physically incompatible with manufacturing, especially "heavier"
manufacturing. These potentials for incompatibility have grown as live-work has
gained new constituencies, who are not always as tolerant of the pre-existing industrial
land uses as artists and craftspeople tended to be. Some developers of live-work have
complained about the activities of manufacturing uses which long predated the live-
work project. In those parts of West Berkeley which combine industrial and residential
uses (in the Mixed Use/Residential district), existing residents are concerned about the
visual, parking, and economic impacts of new live-work developments in the area.

Regulatory Concept: The West Berkeley Plan intends to regulate live-work along two
dimensions. First is location: live-work is permitted in the Mixed Use/Residential
districts (where historically most live-work has occurred) and the Commercial district;
restricted to artists and craftspeople in the Mixed Use/Light Industrial district; and
barred outright in the Manufacturing, Mixed Manufacturing, and Residential districts
(although in the last home occupations are permitted). These provisions keep live-work
out of the "heavy" manufacturing districts, where there are great physical
incompatibilities. Live-work is restricted in the Light Industrial district to help maintain
the industrial character of that area, but allow that live-work which is most likely to be
compatible.

The second dimension of regulation is new development standards for live-work,
covering such matters as height, bulk (total permitted amount of construction), parking,
open space, and other issues, particularly for newly constructed live-work spaces. There
are also general construction standards for live-work--one is what requirement should
there be for live/work projects to provide and/or contribute to the provision of
affordable live-work spaces. Another is what the approval process requirements should
be live-work projects, and how these requirements should relate to residential and
commercial permit thresholds. Because of the complexity of these issues, specific
proposals for them will be presented as part of the rezoning of West Berkeley.

Changes of Use from Residential in the Mixed Use/Light Industrial District

Rationale:

This represents a clarification of existing City regulation, but it is important to note
because it has been an ambiguous point. This note is to affirm that residential uses may
be eliminated in industrial districts, so long as replacement dwelling units are provided
elsewhere.

In Manufacturing, Mixed Manufacturing, and Mixed Use/Light Industrial, residential
uses are not permitted. No new dwelling units may be constructed or created in any of
these districts.

However, in the Mixed Use/Light Industrial District, there are a small number of
residential currently existing. There are no legal residential units in the Manufacturing
or Mixed Manufacturing Districts (Live-work spaces are a separate category). While the
Plan allows these Units to remain and even expand modestly, in the long run it would
best achieve the industrial purposes of the district if the requirements of the
neighborhood Preservation Ordinance, the units would have to be replaced with other
residential units (or a fee paid in lieu of constructing such replacement housing), but
they could be replaced in a district (residential, commercial, Mixed Use/Residential)
where residential uses are allowed and more appropriate. Changing the use of these
properties from residential would not necessarily require demolition of the buildings.

Regulatory Concept: Residential uses in the Mixed Use/Light Industrial District may be
changed to permitted uses. The residential use must be replaced in a district where
residential uses are permitted, or an appropriate in-lieu fee paid. Review of any
alteration or demolition of the structure by the Landmarks Preservation Commission
would not be affected.

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