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Measure N asks Berkeley voters to approve 3000 units of low-income housing

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As part of an effort to support future expansions of low-income housing, measure N asks Berkeley voters to approve the city’s construction or acquisition of up to 3000 units of low-income housing.


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OCTOBER 16, 2022

Berkeley residents will vote on Measure N this November, which asks voters to approve the development, construction or acquisition of up to 3000 units of low-income housing.

The measure is a requirement of Article 34 of the California Constitution, which mandates that voters approve the development of low-income housing in their area. The measure would grant general authority for the units and is not a question on any specific project.

“Because of never-before-seen investment in affordable housing in Berkeley, we need to approve a large amount of it, especially if we want lots of affordable housing at the BART stations, which is something that people have been clamoring for for years,” said Libby Lee-Egan, chair of the Berkeley Housing Advisory Commission.

Past measures similar to Measure N that were successful include approvals of 200 housing units in 1977, 300 units in 1981, 500 units in 2000 and 500 units in 2016. According to a voter information guide published by the city of Berkeley, 242 of those units approved in 2016 have been developed, creating the need to approve more as the city anticipates significant development in the coming years.

Many supporters of Measure N, such as Brad Wiblin, executive vice president of BRIDGE Housing, have argued that Article 34 is outdated and requires reform

“This article 34 issue is really a relic from the past, and it was implemented and incorporated into the state constitution, which makes it hard to get rid of,” Wiblin said. “There’s general acceptance at the legislature and beyond that we’d like to get rid of this kind of racist thing, but amending the constitution is no small undertaking.”

There is support for the removal of Article 34 from the California state constitution due to a statewide need for more low-income housing, according to Lee-Egan.

Lee-Egan welcomed the reform efforts of State Senator Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, and others who are concerned about the lack of affordable housing.

Opponents of Measure N have raised concerns about funding for the 3000 units of housing and have argued that the measure is of dubious value to students and prospective homeowners, according to the voter information guide. The opponents contended that the city’s existing inclusionary affordable housing ordinance is sufficient, as it has provided “hundreds” of affordable units at no public cost.

Despite opposition, proponents of Measure N are optimistic that it will pass.

“I expect the Berkeley voters to pass it with really big numbers. I think most people understand this is a non-controversial issue,” Wiblin said. “Nobody wants to see a homogenous community full of high-income folks and have the gentrification push-out of low-income neighbors and our interesting neighbors and the artists and everybody else who we value here.”

Contact Molly Cochran at 


OCTOBER 17, 2022