Berkeley Measures

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Berkeley voters passed all of the city's five measures this year.

Measure R - YES

Berkeley voters came out in support of the Berkeley City Council's yet-to-be-determined plans for the Downtown area, approving city Measure R in a 64.21 percent vote with 100 percent of precincts reporting.

The measure establishes rough guidelines for the council as it moves forward in planning the revitalization of the Downtown - with an emphasis on economic and community benefits from development - and will add five tall buildings to the core of the area, a topic that has inspired debate throughout the community and council for the past five years.

Councilmembers Jesse Arreguin and Kriss Worthington, of Districts 4 and 7, respectively, have consistently spoken out against the measure during their campaigns this season, and have opposed many drafts of the council's Downtown Area Plan, from which the measure was created. Arreguin and Worthington were both re-elected to their council seats Tuesday night.

The majority of the council supported the measure since its drafting, and issues of Downtown development have often passed through council in a 7-2 vote.

The measure will also bring about the implementation of Mayor Tom Bates' "Green Pathways" program, which promises expedited city processes for developers who help the city meet its environmental goals.

The approval of the measure still leaves the area without a specific plan to govern development of the Downtown, which some opponents named as a major concern. Proponents say Measure R will guide the council to eventually approve a plan in-line with voters' priorities.

-Sarah Springfield

Measures S & T - YES

Even as Californians rejected the legalization of marijuana for recreational use, Berkeley voters approved city Measures S and T by wide margins, granting the Berkeley City Council permission to expand Berkeley's medical marijuana industry by permitting and taxing seven new "cannabusiness" facilities.

Measures S and T encompass several major changes to current medical marijuana policy, including the provision of permits for six new cannabis cultivation facilities as well as one new dispensary, a tax of 2.5 percent on for-profit facilities and the reconstitution of the city's Medical Marijuana Commission.

Nonprofit cannabis facilities will be taxed at $25 per square foot for the first 3,000 square feet, with $10 for every square foot thereafter.

According to the city attorney's analysis, the tax will generate $400,000 in revenue for the city - though that number will be largely dependent on the number and size of the facilities the council approves.

The six growing facilities, capped at a maximum of 30,000 square feet each, are restricted to the manufacturing district, while the new dispensary will be located in the commercial district.

Measure T also requires that members of the Medical Marijuana Commission - who provide "cannabusiness" policy recommendations to the City Council - be appointed by the council.

The current commission will not be reconstituted until after the election is certified and council members will appoint new commissioners.

-Gianna Albaum

Measures H & I

Berkeley voters showed their support for public schools Tuesday night by passing Measures H and I - with 78.3 and 74.6 percent as of press time, respectively - both of which will provide the Berkeley Unified School District with funds for facilities maintenance.

Measure I, which needed a 55 percent approval to pass, authorizes the district to take out a bond of $210 million to complete seismic retrofits and construction projects, such as a new gym building with extra classroom space at Berkeley High School. Each taxpayer's annual contribution for bonds will not exceed $172.80 for every $100,000 of assessed property value, according to district officials.

Measure H, a parcel tax that required a two-thirds approval to pass, will provide funds for upkeep of district facilities. The tax is a continuation Measure BB, passed by voters 10 years ago as the Berkeley Schools Facilities Safety and Maintenance Act of 2000.

District officials have said the extra funds from Measure H will help the district avoid dipping into its general fund to pay for minor renovations and new classroom facilities, and will therefore not increase the district's spending deficit.

-Soumya Karlamangla


Contact Gianna Albaum, Soumya Karlamangla and Sarah Springfield at [email protected]

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