What Berkeley City Council members called a “symbolic document,” the message of choosing, or rather not choosing, the type of housing you may own is an eye-opener.
On February 24, The Berkeley City Council unanimously denounced what the council termed, “the racist history of single-family zoning in the city, beginning a two-year process to change the city’s general plan and introduce more multi-unit housing in every part of the city,” as reported by Supriya Yelimeli for Berkelyside, a digital news platform in Berkeley, California.
As council members emphasized “repeatedly during the late-night meeting,” Yelimeli wrote, “the approved Resolution to End Exclusionary Zoning in Berkeley is just a document of intent, meaning it’s largely symbolic and doesn’t immediately change any city zoning rules.
Council members reportedly commented that, “This is a much longer, involved process that requires multiple handoffs between the Planning Commission and the City Council, and is slated to be completed by the end of 2022.”
Councilmember Lori Droste is on record as saying, “…it is a lengthy process to change… and to include concrete steps to remove exclusionary housing policies in the city. “But [the resolution] is symbolic in stating that we want to address systemic racism. We can’t address racial and economic segregation unless we address zoning reform, that’s definitely true.”
Yelimeli who covered the City Council meeting explained that Droste originally introduced the resolution in early February, combining the zoning-change process and with a move to build more “quad-plexes” in Berkeley.
As reported in Berkeleyside, “those two parts were separated before the vote and the zoning change (authored by Mayor Jesse Arreguín, Droste, Council members Rashi Kesarwani, and Terry Taplin) was sent to the land use, housing, and economic development committee.
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