13.42.010 Findings and purpose.

A.    The heavy demand for student housing in Berkeley, especially in low density areas near the University of California campus, has resulted in numerous existing single family and multifamily residential buildings being significantly modified by the addition of numerous bedrooms.

B.     Prior to the enactment of amendments to the Zoning Ordinance that regulated the addition of bedrooms in certain zoning districts such modifications were allowed as a matter of right without triggering discretionary review. As a result, there has been a proliferation of buildings that are occupied by a far larger number of persons than was ever contemplated by the General Plan or Zoning Ordinance in those districts. In addition, there are already numerous pre-existing Group Living Accommodations, including but not limited to fraternities and sororities, in these affected areas.

C.    Because of the number of residents in such buildings and, in many cases, the lack of on-site managers, such buildings tend to impair the quiet enjoyment of the surrounding neighborhoods by creating trash and litter, creating excess parking demand, and being the location of numerous loud and unruly parties.

D.    It is often the case that the loud and unruly parties involve the consumption of large amounts of alcoholic beverages, which often are consumed by individuals under the age of 21 who either reside in such buildings or attend such parties. Consumption of alcohol by minors is harmful to the minors and consumption of large amounts of alcohol by individuals of all ages at these gatherings contributes to the nuisance conditions affecting the surrounding neighborhood.

E.    Police officers frequently have been required to make calls to a location of a party, in order to disperse uncooperative participants, causing a drain of staffing and resources and, in some cases, leaving other areas of the City with inadequate police protection.

F.    The manner in which Group Living Accommodations and Mini-dorms operate, including the behavior of guests, is the collective responsibility of those who own and manage them and those who reside in them, and in particular the sponsors of events that result in large numbers of attendees. In some cases City emergency personnel responding to medical emergencies have been denied access to GLAs to provide treatment and/or transport to medical facilities. Therefore it is appropriate that owners and residents bear the consequences of any nuisances that are allowed to occur.

G.    In areas most affected by the proliferation of such buildings and the resulting density and intensity of use, disturbances that would be considered minor and tolerable in less intensely inhabited areas become much more severe and intolerable because they are no longer occasional, but have become chronic.

H.    The purpose of this Chapter is to remedy these and other associated problems by adopting and providing for the enforcement of operating standards for such buildings, and by defining these disturbances as a public nuisance in areas that are most affected by them. (Ord. 7455-NS § 3, 2016: Ord. 7337-NS § 1, 2014: Ord. 7226-NS § 1 (part), 2012)