UC Berkeley will pay Berkeley more than $ 4 million per year for city services.



UC Berkeley Campanile. Credit: ngai58

UC Berkeley will begin paying the city of Berkeley about $ 4.1 million per year for its use of city services, more than double the $ 1.8 million it paid until recently.

Over the next 16 years, payments for firefighters, police, emergency services and health service monitoring are expected to exceed $ 82.6 million, under the broad terms of an agreement between the two entities.

In exchange, Berkeley will withdraw from two lawsuits in which she is involved: one over the 33.7% increase in the number of students enrolled at the university and plans to construct a new university building for the Goldman School of Public Policy ( known as the Upper Hearst Project) and one on the development of volleyball courts on the Clark Kerr campus. Berkeley has also agreed not to file a complaint about the new 2021 long-term plan and the environmental impact report UC Berkeley recently prepared.

Berkeley has also agreed not to oppose the Anchor House project, which will add 772 beds but result in the destruction of eight rent-controlled units, or an approximately 1,200-bed project planned for People’s Park.

The proposed regulation does not require UC Berkeley to build a specific number of beds for its students, nor does it offer an enrollment cap.

Mayor Jesse Arreguín and UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ shaking hands
Mayor Jesse Arreguín and UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ in a photo announcing a new deal. Credit: City of Berkeley

“The agreement represents one of the most important financial settlements that a UC campus has provided to a host city and paves the way for expanded educational opportunities while balancing community concerns and potential impacts on city services. city, “according to a joint statement released by the city and the University. It included a photo of Mayor Jesse Arreguín and Chancellor Carol Christ shaking hands. “Most importantly, the agreement ensures a voice for the city and community of Berkeley in the future development of the university.

“The tentative agreement approved by city council provides for the University to make annual payments to the city totaling $ 82.64 million over the next 16 years,” according to the press release. “The funding will support the city and fire departments, as well as projects supporting residents within half a mile of UC’s main campus and the Clark Kerr campus. In addition to the annual payment, the agreement provides for a stronger cooperative relationship, including voluntary adherence to City zoning standards in the design of off-campus projects, the creation of a collaborative planning process for projects in outskirts of the city, meetings and discussions around the suspension of the main lease of private housing, a commitment to work with the city around the closure of the Alta Bates hospital and a willingness to work with the city to demand commercial tenants they get permits and pay city impact fees.

UC Berkeley will start paying the city $ 4.1 million and the amount will increase by 3% per year, according to Dan Mogulof, a spokesperson for the university.

City council voted 8-1 behind closed doors Tuesday night to accept the settlement that had been reached between city and university lawyers. City council member Kate Harrison was the dissenting vote, according to sources who asked not to be named.

The rulebook won’t be final – or made public – until UC’s board votes on it at its July 20-22 meeting, but an affirmative vote is expected.

The city council did not report on the vote it took behind closed doors. Brown’s Law requires public bodies to report actions taken behind closed doors, with some exceptions. City attorney Farimah Brown said the vote is not final and has yet to be ratified by the regents, so it did not need to be disclosed.

Harrison said she couldn’t speak about her vote against the settlement. Harrison said she was told she could not discuss or reveal her decision until the city council vote was official and publicly revealed.

Under terms developed after UC Berkeley adopted a long-term plan in 2005, the university agreed to pay Berkeley $ 1.5 million per year for its use of city services. That number had reached $ 1.8 million by the time the deal expired a few months ago.

In its responses to UC Berkeley’s new long-range plan and draft environmental impact report, as well as in public comments, Berkeley said UC Berkeley actually uses around $ 21 million a year in municipal services.

The deal could actually generate more than $ 84.6 million over its 16-year lifespan, Arreguin said. The agreement also includes:

  • An agreement that UC Berkeley will work to force its non-program tenants to obtain municipal permits and pay municipal taxes. For example, Microsoft leases 27,000 square feet in the Cal’s Berkeley Way West building in downtown Berkeley, but does not pay taxes since the building is owned by the state. The other tenants of this building, including food businesses, do not pay municipal taxes. This could add up to $ 1 million in revenue per year.
  • UC Berkeley will make a lump sum payment to the city’s housing trust fund to compensate for the withdrawal of rent-controlled units from the market, Arreguín said. He could not comment on the amount.
  • The university will begin to pay its fair share of the parking rental tax.

The deal has other non-monetary benefits, Arreguín said. UC Berkeley has agreed to confer on the end of its main lease of entire buildings. This should help Berkeley tenants. Cal will also be involved in the fight to stop the closure of Alta Bates Hospital. He has professors who are expert in hospital funding and other matters that can help Berkeley, he said.

UC Berkeley still faces legal challenges regarding registration

UC Berkeley continues to face legal challenges regarding increasing its enrollment. The community group Save Berkeley Neighborhoods has won two lawsuits against the university. Both challenged Cal’s decision not to conduct a full environmental review of the impacts of adding more students to campus. The Court of Appeal ruled in Save Berkeley Neighborhood in 2020. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Brad Seligman ruled last week in the second trial that the university had abused its power discretionary when it had not studied the impacts of the increase in the number of students enrolled in a supplementary program. EIR for the Upper Hearst project. Under the new settlement agreement, Berkeley will withdraw from this lawsuit.

Phil Bokovoy, who founded Save Berkeley Neighborhoods, said his group will continue its litigation against UC Berkeley. And although the city of Berkeley is a co-complainant, it did not notify Bokovoy’s group which was withdrawing from legal action.

He also said without seeing the details, he was unsure how the deal would be implemented and who would take care of it.

“A legally binding commitment”

Mogulof said there are enforceable provisions and they will be made public once the regents approve the settlement.

“This is a legally binding commitment,” Arreguín said. “It’s enforceable in court. If they don’t live up to their obligations, we can go to court and hold them accountable. “

Arreguín said he hopes it doesn’t come to this, as the deal is a step towards Berkeley and the university working together to resolve the issues.

Natalie Logusch, who lives at 1921 Walnut St. and has fought Cal’s efforts to relocate her and other tenants, said she was shocked by the announcement, especially as Arreguín said that ‘There was no action to report outside of the closed session. She also said she felt betrayed as Arreguín showed up to protest UC Berkeley’s plans to demolish the building.

“It really feels like he’s smiling at us and gone behind our back and sold us out,” Longusch said. “It makes you very cynical about Mayor Arreguín and the system. “

Arreguín said he still does not support Cal’s decision to demolish 1921 Walnut St. and force these tenants to move out. However, the city saw no legal way to prevent Cal from ending his plan before filing a complaint against the LRDP 2021. And the LRDP includes plans for an additional 11,200 student beds, so difficult it could in fact. result in less housing, he said. Since UC Berkeley is a state institution, it is not bound by city laws anyway, Arreguín said.

Update: 11:30 AM This article originally said UC Berkeley would triple the amount it paid Berkeley and pay around $ 5 million a year. The press release did not provide an actual breakdown of the amount. Mogulof provided this after publication and the article has been corrected. We also added other details during the day.


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