Oakland Passes Major Citywide Rezoning of Residential and Commercial Areas

(From Reuben & Junius LLP): On Tuesday, the Oakland City Council finally passed a major rezoning of all of the city’s residential and commercial zoning districts, thus capping a 2+ year process that included over 50 community meetings since the fall of 2008 and review by four different city panels.  The rezoning becomes effective on April 14, and project sponsors have the option of using the old zoning or the new zoning for projects whose applications are submitted between now and then.

Prior to the rezoning, Oakland’s General Plan and Planning Code contained numerous inconsistencies in how the city’s residential and commercial zones are regulated.  This has led to an overly-confusing system of land use regulations and an inefficient entitlement process.  The rezoning will resolve these issues by making the General Plan and Planning Code consistent and reducing the burdens of the entitlement process.

Every residential- and commercial-zoned property in Oakland has been rezoned.  Effectively, this will not constitute a major change in the type and size of development that is permitted on most of the affected properties.  In most cases, the zoning has been updated to make the development controls more clear.  However, some areas of the city have been identified as “grow and change” areas, where higher densities and more uses will be permitted.  These areas include San Pablo Avenue, Telegraph Avenue south of Highway 24, the MacArthur corridor, Martin Luther King Way south of Children’s Hospital, Broadway south of 51st Street, International Boulevard and East 12th Street.  Height limits are being established on certain major corridors in order to better relate future growth to the surrounding neighborhood.  A number of last minute changes to heights and zoning were made in these areas by the City Council.

For land use professionals working in Oakland, the rezoning will make the analysis of development potential for properties in the city much easier.  The rezoning proposal that went to the City Council can be found at http://mytinyurl.com/hdxz55rdt4.  Note that the City Council did make some minor changes.  Contact us with any questions regarding the rezoning.

Copyright 2011 Reuben & Junius, LLP. All rights reserved.

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