City of Oakland | City of Oakland Releases Proposed Downtown Zoning…

The DOSP provides policy guidance on development, linking land use, transportation, economic development, housing, public spaces, cultural belonging and social equity. The DOSP zoning changes are the first step towards implementing the plan’s objectives and policies using land use regulations. They include changes to both the Oakland zoning map and the planning code. The DOSP and accompanying zoning and general plan amendments will be presented to City Council later this year for adoption.

For several years, the public has reviewed several drafts of the PSOD through public working sessions, focus groups, interviews with community members, equity task force meetings, workshops capacity building, creative solutions labs, public hearings, youth engagement activities and the Community Advisory Group (CAG). Since 2019, the City has revised the DOSP for final adoption and developed an extensive set of draft zoning amendments.

Key elements of the proposed DOSP zoning amendments include:

  • New zoning overlays and area-specific regulations to cope with sea level rise; encouraging large and affordable arts and cultural spaces; support development along the Lake Merritt Canal that protects the waterway for the preservation of natural resources and public activity; and create a pedestrian, bicycle, and landscaped Green Loop and West Oakland Parkway to connect downtown waterfronts.
  • Minimum heights and priority regulation of offices to protect the remaining downtown most transit-oriented development sites for the construction of tall, dense office and residential towers.
  • New regulations that would allow the development of dense mixed-use housing in the Victory Court area, on the east side of Jack London Square, within walking distance of the waterfront and the Lake Merritt BART station.
  • An expanded Development Rights Transfer (TDR) program protect historic areas by allowing landowners to sell their right to develop them to developers in other parts of the city center 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. (Details of this program, including base and incentive intensities and accompanying economic analysis, will be released in mid-May, prior to the meeting on the subject.)

Community members can learn about and contribute to drafts in several ways:

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

The City will host 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 changes, 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 review the changes and return with revisions to the Zoning Update Committee (ZUC) later in the summer. Later this year, City Council will consider both the Final version of zoning changes and the Final draft DOSP for adoption.

Please Register on the Oakland Downtown Specific Plan website ( to receive plan updates and reminders about upcoming meetings.

You can view other Plan publications, including Public review of draft plan and Public review of Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the DOSP website.

James C. Tibbs