Berkeley Neighborhoods Council


Dedicated to improving the quality of life for all
by creating a unified neighborhood voice
for promoting livability and resolving problems


Update:  Mini-Dorms, the silent (up to now) Issue that Affects Most Residential Areas in Berkeley

In our August eNEWS we gave you background information on this silent (up to then) issue, and at the request of some readers, we are including a photo of 2133 Parker in this issue along with this Update.  Since the August eNEWS, you may have seen the front page article in the September 17th issue of the San Francisco Chronicle about this issue in Berkeley.  In BNC's August article, we commended the Clark Kerr Neighbors, Claremont-Elmwood Neighborhood Association, LeConte Neighborhood Association, Stuart Street Neighbors, Willard Neighborhood Association, Bateman Neighborhood, Dwight Hillside Neighborhood Association, Planning Commission and City Council for working together on this important issue affecting most residential areas in Berkeley.  Thank You to All!!

On September 10th, the City Council approved the second reading of a new ordinance applicable to R-1 through R-3 zones, that requires an Administrative Use Permit be obtained for the addition of a fifth bedroom, the addition of bedrooms beyond five would require a Use Permit with a Public Hearing, and the additions of bedrooms over time would be considered cumulative and subject to these same requirements.  All of this helps our neighborhoods but one more step is required to make a long term solution meaningful.

To take that step, the neighborhood coalition studied a San Luis Obispo ordinance which requires mini-dorms to register with the city and follow rules designed to keep the house livable for the tenants and the surrounding neighborhood safe from unwarranted intrusions, and wrote a proposed Berkeley ordinance based on that approach.  The Planning Commission liked the proposed ordinance and, in spite of staff opposition, sent it to Council for their approval of the direction a Berkeley ordinance should take.  Council agreed with the Planning Commission and told them to go ahead and work on it.

As of now, no date has been set for the Planning Commission to hear from the public regarding this issue.  BNC hopes it will be soon and will keep you informed.