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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
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City of Berkeley
Measure Z1 Legislative Advisory Question - Majority Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results


44,574 votes yes (83.34%)

8,912 votes no (16.66%)

100% of precincts reporting (108/108).

Shall any federal, state or local public entity be empowered to develop, construct or acquire an additional 500 units of low-rent housing in the City of Berkeley for persons of low income? 

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Zach Cowan, Berkeley City Attorney

This measure was placed on the ballot by the City Council.

Article XXXIV of the California Constitution requires that a City’s voters grant prior approval before any federal, state or local public entity can develop, construct or acquire certain types of low rent (below market rate) housing projects in that City. Berkeley citizens have voted to approve the development of 200 units of housing for low income persons in 1977, 300 units in 1981, and 500 units in 2000.

Since 2000, 421 units of housing subject to Article XXXIV has been developed in the City, and the City is anticipating the construction of a significant number of additional units in the next few years. Thus, additional voter authorization is required in order to develop additional units which are subject to Article XXXIV referendum requirements.

The proposed measure would authorize any public entity to develop, construct or acquire an additional 500 units of low income housing in the City of Berkeley for low income persons.

This measure grants only general authority for units to be developed, constructed or acquired and does not approve any individual project. All projects subject to this grant of authoriy would be required to comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws including land use, housing and building requirements.


Financial effect

Zach Cowan, Berkeley City Attorney

The financial implications of any specific housing project depends on the particular method of financing of that project. The financial implications are unknown at this time. 

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

Berkeley is facing an unprecedented housing crisis. Market rents have increased roughly 60% over the past three years. This is affecting our economic and cultural diversity. Skyrocketing rents have disproportionately affected middle and low income residents, African Americans, Latinos, students and seniors. We have gotten to a point where our school teachers and librarians can no longer afford to live in the City they work in. Key to preventing displacement and keeping Berkeley diverse is creating new affordable housing.

While the City of Berkeley government is not directly involved in building affordable units, it does provide funding to non-profit developers through the Housing Trust Fund. These funds are necessary to leverage other funds to create new low income housing. The types of projects funded through our Housing Trust Fund include new construction, acquisition and rehabilitation of existing housing and limited equity cooperatives. These projects are rented as affordable to households at 65% of the Area Median Income or less for the life of the project.

The California Constitution requires voter approval of the construction of low income housing under Article 34. In 2000, Berkeley voted overwhelmingly to support Measure Z1 which asked voters to authorize 500 new affordable units. Since 2000, roughly 421 affordable units have been created, with many more planned in the future. In this housing crisis, it is critical that Berkeley create more affordable housing.

A recent citywide survey revealed that Berkeley voters view affordable housing as the most important priority for our city. This measure reaffirms Berkeley’s commitment to diversity and social equity and will allow 500 new affordable units to be created.

Measure Z1 was placed on the ballot by a unanimous Berkeley City Council. VOTE YES ON MEASURE Z1

—Jesse Arreguin, Berkeley City Councilmember; former Chair, Housing Advisory Commission

—Laurie Capitelli, Berkeley City Councilmember, District 5

—Dan Sawislak, Executive Director, Resources for Community Development

—Brendan Darrow, Chair, Housing Advisory Commission


—Carole S. Norris, Chair, Board of Commissioners, Berkeley Housing Authority    

— Alameda County Registrar of Voters

Arguments AGAINST

No arguments against were filed.

— Alameda County Registrar of Voters

Read the proposed legislation

Proposed legislation


WHEREAS, Article XXXIV of the Constitution of California requires that a majority of qualified voters of the City of Berkeley determine whether or not any public entity should be empowered to develop, construct, or acquire low rent housing projects in the City of Berkeley.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the People of the City of Berkeley that any public entity shall be empowered to develop, construct or acquire up to 500 additional units of low-rent housing for persons of low income in the City of Berkeley.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the terms of the authorization contained in this measure shall be construed in the same manner as Article XXXIV of the Constitution of California and any laws or cases interpreting that section.


More information

Events (7)

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