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Berkeley Development Measure Ahead By One Vote

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A California polling place

Voters cast ballots at a California polling place (Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

BERKELEY (CBS SF) — A ballot measure that would allow more flexibility in the development of large parcels of land in West Berkeley inched ahead by one vote in updated election results released late Thursday.

Measure T, which would amend the West Berkeley Plan and the city’s zoning ordinance for areas west of San Pablo Avenue, was narrowly behind on election night and in an update on Wednesday but it’s now leading by 16,640 votes to 16,639, leaving the measure in a virtual tie.

The measure had trailed by 26 votes on Wednesday and by 123 votes on election night.

The updated results aren’t final because the Alameda County Registrar of Voters must still count many more vote-by-mail and provisional ballots countywide, including Berkeley.

Registrar spokesman Guy Ashley said employees will continue counting ballots over the weekend and officials hope to finish counting sometime next week.

Measure T would allow buildings 75 feet high on six large parcels in West Berkeley. However, projects couldn’t be built until the City Council adopts rules requiring developers to provide community benefits, such as affordable housing or job training requirements.

Supporters say the measure would create jobs and allow property owners to develop unused lots with the potential to generate millions of dollars in revenue to the city to pay for enhanced amenities and services to the community.

But opponents say big new buildings would create an eyesore in the area and force rents to increase, making it less affordable for artists who currently work in the area.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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