In response to a Marine Corps recruiting office established in Berkeley last year, local activists are trying to make it more difficult for future recruiting centers to open in the city.
If passed by a majority of Berkeley voters, a proposed initiative would require military recruiting offices and private military companies in Berkeley to first acquire a special use permit.
To obtain this permit, a business must hold public hearings and a public comment period.
If the initiative passes, recruitment offices could not be opened within 600 feet of residential districts, public parks, public health clinics, public libraries, schools or churches.
Currently, a recruiting office is held to the same standards as most other businesses, which do not require a public hearing or have limits on where offices can be established.
The author of the initiative, Berkeley-based lawyer Sharon Adams, modeled the initiative after current zoning law that restricts the location of adult-oriented businesses.
“In the same way that many communities limit the location of pornographic stores, that’s the same way we feel about the military recruiting stations,” said Phoebe Sorgen, an initiative proponent and a member of the city’s Peace and Justice Commission.
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