City of Oakland Releases Draft Downtown Zoning Amendments for Public Review 

The City of Oakland has released a draft set of Downtown Oakland Specific Plan (DOSP) Zoning Amendments designed to encourage affordable housing, support arts and culture, promote transit, encourage economic opportunity, enhance green spaces, and protect historic areas.

Downtown Oakland Zoning Map showing different zones in downtown area

The DOSP provides policy guidance on development, linking land use, transportation, economic development, housing, public spaces, cultural belonging, and social equity. The DOSP Zoning Amendments are the first step toward implementing the Plan’s goals and policies using land use regulations. They include changes to both the Oakland Zoning Map and Planning Code. Both the DOSP and its accompanying Zoning and General Plan Amendments will be brought to City Council later this year for adoption consideration.

Over several years, the public reviewed multiple drafts of the DOSP through public working sessions, focus groups, community member interviews, equity working group meetings, community capacity-building workshops, creative solutions labs, public hearings, youth engagement activities and Community Advisory Group (CAG) meetings. Since 2019, the City has revised the DOSP for final adoption and developed an extensive set of Draft Zoning Amendments.

Key elements of the DOSP’s Draft Zoning Amendments include:

  • New zoning overlays and area-specific regulations to address sea level rise; encourage ample and affordable arts and cultural spaces; support development along the Lake Merritt Channel that protects the waterway for natural resource preservation and public activity; and create a walkable, bikeable and landscaped Green Loop and West Oakland Walk to connect downtown’s waterfronts.
  • Minimum heights and an office priority regulation to protect downtown’s most transit-oriented remaining development sites for construction of tall and dense high-rise office and residential towers.
  • New regulations that would allow mixed-use, dense housing development in the Victory Court area on the east side of Jack London Square in walking distance to the waterfront and the Lake Merritt BART station.
  • An expanded Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program to protect historic areas by allowing property owners to sell their right to develop them to developers in other parts of downtown where more intense development is appropriate.
  • A Zoning Incentive Program (ZIP) whereby developers voluntarily build more intensity in exchange for community benefits such as subsidized affordable housing units and below market-rate space for cultural businesses and institutions. (The details of this program, including the base and incentive intensities and the accompanying economic analysis, will be released in mid-May, in advance of the meeting on the topic.)

Community members can learn about and provide input on the drafts in multiple ways:

  • Read a summary of the key proposed changes
  • Watch videos that describe the specific plan and the draft zoning changes:

The City will hold a series of virtual meetings in May and June to provide information, answer questions and receive feedback. These meetings will include three sessions on key aspects of the Zoning Amendments, followed by a DOSP Community Advisory Group (CAG) meeting and a Planning Commission Zoning Update Committee (ZUC) hearing. Community members are invited to these virtual meetings (visit links to RSVP):

Following this public review process, staff will revise the amendments and return with revisions to the Zoning Update Committee (ZUC) later in the summer. Later this year, City Council will consider both the Final Draft Zoning Amendments and the Final Draft DOSP for adoption.

Please sign up at the Downtown Oakland Specific Plan website ( to receive updates about the Plan and reminders about upcoming meetings.

You can review other Plan publications, including the Public Review Draft Plan and Public Review Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the DOSP website.


Posted: April 29th, 2022 4:08 PM

Last Updated: June 28th, 2022 3:56 PM

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