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Created June 14, 2017 16:04
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2212 Tenth Street

I am upset and disappointed that this item (Item 55 on last night's agenda) was remanded to the ZAB. There is no need for the City Council to get involved with a housing proposal that complies with the existing zoning codes.

A neighbor raised complaints that the shadows added by the new building would be cast on her zucchini garden. A legal mechanism for resolving this problem: The neighbor can purchase an easement that forbids the property owner from casting shadows on her garden. The fact that no easement was purchased suggests that the homeowner values the housing more than the neighbor values her garden. The City Council should take this value judgment into account.

This would be like going to Berkeley Bowl, observing that a watermelon costs $20, complaining that the price is too high, and then asking the City Council to get Berkeley Bowl to give it to you for free. Either buy it or don't buy it; there's zero need for the City Council to get involved.

Furthermore, there is no "right to sunlight" in the United States. Treating the neighbor's complaints as valid suggests that your neighbors have some sort of covenant over your property, above and beyond what is allowed by current zoning laws. I am a renter, not a property owner, but if I owned land I would be very upset if I couldn't build what I wanted on it, in compliance with the zoning codes.

We're in the middle of a housing crisis. Delaying or denying housing approvals suggests to Berkeley neighbors that their stalling tactics will work, and invites more of them in the future. It also increases the costs to homeowners (seeking ADU's) and property owners large and small to propose and build new housing. Building more housing is the best way to prevent future rent increases; we should be doing everything we can to stimulate its production.

I would also much rather have a zucchini garden crisis than a housing crisis; many Berkeley City employees and teachers can't afford live in Berkeley, and many Bay Area families pay more than half of their income in rent. This seems far more dire than someone whose homegrown vegetables are slightly smaller.

I would also expect the Berkeley City Council to be a bit more retrospect about delaying housing proposals when the City has been sued twice for violating the Housing Accountability Act.

Thanks, Kevin

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