Downtown Oakland Specific Plan Update

Updates on Plan adoption, zoning, and housing strategy

880 Underpass Render After

Downtown Oakland Specific Plan

After delays, including those due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Downtown Oakland Specific Plan (DOSP) continues to advance. The following summarizes the current project status.

In summary, staff are revising the DOSP in response to public comments received in late 2019 on the Draft Plan and to address the changing economic and social conditions as a result of the global health crisis and its corresponding impacts. The City anticipates adoption of the DOSP with these responsive changes at the end of 2021.

Howard Terminal Alternative in the Public Review Draft Plan

The proposed Oakland A’s Waterfront Ballpark District at Howard Terminal is not included in the DOSP Area. The 2019 Public Review Draft Plan included a Transformative Opportunity Area adjacent to Howard Terminal with an intensity map alternative which considered modifying portions of the industrial area north of Howard Terminal to allow mixed-use development in the event that the Oakland Waterfront Ballpark District at Howard Terminal is approved and pursued. This element of the Public Review Draft Plan has been removed from the Final Draft Plan and will no longer be considered. The Final Draft Plan when released will retain the current industrial/heavy commercial General Plan designations for properties within the Howard Terminal Intensity Alternative area, as well as expanding the light industrial designation one block further east from Martin Luther King, Jr. Way to Jefferson Street between Embarcadero and Fourth Street.

Zoning and Incentive Program for Community Benefits

Staff are updating the zoning ordinance within the Downtown Oakland Specific Plan boundaries as an initial step towards implementing the DOSP. The revised zoning ordinance and the DOSP will be adopted concurrently. The zoning update will address the changing nature of retail, establish and regulate priority areas for arts and cultural uses as well as for historic areas, and revise design and intensity regulations.

The revised zoning ordinance will increase development capacity for projects that participate in a Zoning Incentive Program, which shall be a voluntary initiative whereby increased development potential on a site will be permitted in exchange for providing additional community benefits, such as affordable housing or commercial space with reduced rent for nonprofits, arts organizations, local businesses at risk of displacement, and homeless services.

For more information about the Zoning Incentive Program, read the initial draft program recommendations. The draft zoning update, which will include the Zoning Incentive Program, will be available later in 2021. Oaklanders will have an opportunity to review and provide feedback on all aspects of the draft zoning update before it is revised and brought to the Planning Commission and City Council for adoption.

Housing Strategy

In response to Oakland's ongoing extreme housing needs, exacerbated further by the pandemic, the City is beginning to implement several urgent DOSP housing actions prior to the Plan's adoption to develop a focused strategy for housing funding before new development occurs under the adopted DOSP. The City will base this strategy on a study that analyzes housing funding options, including a supplemental impact fee, an inclusionary housing requirement, and an Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District (EIFD).

The study, beginning in early 2021, will incorporate the five-year update of all citywide impact fees. It will also assess funding specific to the downtown, where more intense development, facilitated in part by the DOSP, will create additional opportunity, as well as additional need.

Community Advisory Group

The DOSP Community Advisory Group (CAG) has met during the period since the last public review of the Draft Plan and has provided input on the issues addressed in this update. Materials from these meetings are available on the DOSP website under Past Meetings. Please let us know at the email below whether you would like to be notified of upcoming CAG meetings.

Downtown Oakland Specific Plan Contact Information


Phone: (510) 238-2166


Posted: February 21st, 2021 5:11 PM

Last Updated: February 17th, 2022 10:35 AM

Was this page helpful?

Report a problem with this page

Your feedback will help us improve our website. We cannot reply individually to all feedback.
Your feedback will help us improve our website. We cannot reply individually to all feedback.
Your feedback will help us improve our website. We cannot reply individually to all feedback.