The City Council’s Community and Economic Development (CED) Committee this week approved an amendment proposed by Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan’s to remove the 4-person limit on live-work spaces. “Working with community and staff we have created a viable path forward for legal live-work spaces,” said Kaplan.
“As many spaces seek to come into compliance with our laws, the new rule would legalize affordable live-work spaces and will encourage properties to make any needed safety upgrades which will assist the City in meeting our safety goals,” she said.
The creative and affordable use of live-work spaces in Oakland is vital to maintaining diversity in our community, according to Kaplan.
Under the previous rule, displacement of such options made housing less affordable, increased commute times and traffic congestion, and undermined the diversity and vitality of Oakland.
Endorsing the rule change are the Oakland Warehouse Coalition, Safer DIY Spaces and Thomas Dolan Architecture (TDA), who sent a joint letter to City Councilmembers.
“Since the Ghost Ship fire of December 2016, our organizations have worked with low-income communities occupying non-conforming Joint Living and Work Quarters to ensure that their units are on track to become safe from imminent hazard, conforming, and permitted for their existing use. However, the 4-person limit has worked against low-income communities seeking to bring their live/work spaces into code conformance,” according to the letter.
“The 4-person limit disincentivizes disparate low-income populations from permissibly occupying such long-standing affordable live/work stock by preemptively discouraging their engagement with Zoning conformance, which in turn encourages avoidance of Code Enforcement,” the letter said.
The revised ordinance is scheduled to be heard at the Dec. 11 Council meeting in Council Chambers at City Hall.