City Council Discusses Components of Downtown Area Plan

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The Berkeley City Council held its first meeting of the quarter Tuesday, following a two-month recess.

The agenda included several issues connected to the Downtown Area Plan, including citywide ordinances to augment hotel worker protections and inclusionary housing.

These issues were left out of the plan, which was passed in mid-July. However, concerned residents gathered about 9,200 signatures to put the plan on a future ballot.

The much-anticipated discussion concerning strengthening the city's affordable housing ordinance was postponed to next week's meeting.

The issue is still of principal concern, Councilmember Kriss Worthington said.

"I'm suggesting that this is an urgent thing," he said in an interview last week. "It can't just be referred to come back in a year or two."

The ordinance calling for an increase in corporate responsibility toward workers was unanimously approved. The ordinance was moved from the action calendar, which allows for greater debate, to the consent calendar, in which items are easily passed.

The issue will now be referred to the Planning Commission, which will draft language for an amendment to the Berkeley Zoning Ordinance.

Councilmember Gordon Wozniak advised the commission to be mindful of its demands on contractors while increasing worker protections.

"There are some potential problems, such as we don't want to ask construction administration for information that they might not have," Wozniak said at the meeting Tuesday. "That level of work may be a burden. But I think it's a great thing to refer to the Planning Commission."


Contact Sarah Springfield at [email protected]

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