On Tuesday, September 26, the Oakland City Council voted unanimously to advance the Phase 1 GPU Package with a few amendments! The GPU Package includes:
- Oakland's first Environmental Justice Element
- Safety Element Update
- Planning Code Amendments
- Final Environmental Impact Report (Final EIR).
This big policy package implements actions outlined in our adopted Housing Element, reduces pollution and advances environmental justice in our most impacted communities, and prepares us to address the impacts of climate change and natural disasters.
This is a monumental milestone! Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this process of making Oakland better.
Understanding the City Council Vote
The City Council vote authorizes the adoption of two pieces of legislation: a resolution and an ordinance (more information below). The second reading of the ordinance will take place on Tuesday, October 3, at 4pm, in Council Chambers.
The Resolution, which requires only one reading by City Council:
- Certifies the EIR for Phase 1 of the Oakland 2045 General Plan Update and makes related California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) findings;
- Adopts the Safety Element Update;
- Adopts the new Environmental Justice Element; and
- Adopts associated amendments to the General Plan Land Use and Transportation Element, including General Plan Map Amendments.
The Resolution includes an amendment directing the City Administrator to organize and develop an inter-agency working group, made up of people both within and outside the City of Oakland, including the Port of Oakland, to implement the air quality actions outlined in the Environmental Justice Element.
The Ordinance, which requires two readings by City Council, amends the Oakland Planning Code to:
- Incorporate changes to Residential and Commercial Zones and updates to the zoning and height maps;
- Create A New S-13 Affordable Housing Combining Zone;
- Create A New S-14 Housing Sites Combining Zone;
- Amend Conditional Use Permit (CUP) Requirements For Housing And Business Mix Commercial Zones, Commercial Industrial Mix, General Industrial, and Industrial Office Zones;
- Amend Expiration Timelines for Nonconforming Uses and CUP Termination
Timelines for Truck-Intensive Uses;
- Adopt amendments to support the production of Special Housing Types, such as Rooming Units, Efficiency Units, Employee Housing, Residential Care Facilities,Transitional and Supportive Housing, Low Barrier Navigation Centers, and Emergency Shelters; and
- Adopt various amendments to codify administrative practices, clarify language, and update references.
- Adopt associated CEQA findings.
The Ordinance includes the following amendments:
- Include noticing provisions in the definition for By Right Residential Approval;
- Rezone 6012 Claremont Ave. from RM3 to CN1 and make height changes consistent with adjacent commercially-zoned parcels; and
- Reduce the height at the Rockridge BART Station from the proposed 175f ft. to 100 ft.
The detailed resolution, ordinance, and amendments, can be reviewed here.
Environmental Justice (EJ) and Safety Elements
Oakland’s first EJ Element serves as the foundation for achieving equity and environmental justice when planning for future growth and development in the City and builds upon Oakland’s current regulatory setting for equity and environmental justice.
The Safety Element aims to protect residents, workers, and visitors from seismic and geologic hazards, fire hazards, hazardous materials, flooding, and other potential hazards that risk life and property. The Element uses an equity lens through its hazards analysis and prioritizes vulnerable communities in the development of its goals, policies, and actions.
Planning Code Amendments
The proposed Planning Code and Zoning Map Amendments encourage different housing types, incentivize affordable housing, reduce constraints on housing development, and protect areas and populations affected by pollution. General Plan Text and Map Amendments include conforming revisions to the Land Use and Transportation Element. The proposed Planning Code and Zoning Map Amendments also implement several key actions proposed in the 2023-2031 Housing Element and are key to maintaining the City’s Housing Element compliance and certification that the California Housing and Community Development Department (State HCD)bestowed in February 2023, the City’s Prohousing Designation, which the State awarded in 2022, the City’s competitive position for state affordable housing grants, and the City’s local land use control.
Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR)
The Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Phase I of the Oakland 2045 General Plan Update has been prepared pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the State CEQA Guidelines to analyze potential physical environmental impacts of the proposed City of Oakland Planning Code, Zoning and Height Area Maps, and General Plan text and map amendments implementing its 2023-2031 Housing Element, updates to its Safety Element, and its adoption of a new Environmental Justice Element. It also includes written responses to comments received during the public review and comment period and changes to the Draft EIR proposed in response to public comments or initiated by staff.