Land Use Policies to Protect Industrial Lands and Public Health

In response to the need to protect industrial land from market pressures and address the impact of industrial pollution on residential communities, the Planning and Building Department has proposed a two-prong strategy to strengthen industrial land protections and reduce emissions exposure.

Overview of Policy Recommendations

The proposed policy changes and planning amendments below aim to address two issues:

  1. Increasing market pressures to convert industrial land into residential and commercial land uses.
  2. Proximity of some industrial lands, truck routes and rail lines to residential dwellings, particularly in the communities of West and East Oakland, that contribute to disparities in health outcomes for residents of these communities, in particular for people of color.

To address the first issue, the City has proposed a Port Prime Lands Overlay and updates to the Planning Code to restrict conflicting land uses in industrial zones as near-term strategies to strengthen industrial land protections until a comprehensive industrial lands policy is developed as part of the General Plan update process.

To address the second issue, the City has proposed Planning Code Amendments to reduce emissions exposure as a near-term strategy before the General Plan Environmental Justice Element is prepared.

Together, these policies work to help promote harmony between the industrial economy and people’s health.

Presentation of Proposed Policy Changes

An overview of the proposed policy changes is included in the presentations below.

Proposal to Strengthen Industrial Land Protections

Cargo Ship at Port of Oakland
Cargo Ship at Port of Oakland

The Port Prime Lands Overlay reinforces the importance of the Port of Oakland's seaport and airport to our local and regional economy by protecting these industrial lands in perpetuity. This policy proposal is a precursor to the development of a long-term industrial lands policy that the Planning and Building Department will pursue as part of the first stage of the General Plan Amendment in 2023. The associated Planning Code amendments to prohibit conflicting land uses in heavy impact industrial zones will protect these areas citywide from market pressure to become more commercial in nature.

The Overlay and Planning Code Amendments will:

  1. Establish the importance of industrial land and set the tone for future General Plan policy work;​
  2. Maintain seaport and airport infrastructure through Port Prime Lands Overlay; and​
  3. Minimize land use conflicts by restricting incompatible uses (e.g. schools, live/work units, childcare facilities, etc.) in heavy impact industrial zones.

The following map shows the extent of the Port Prime Lands Overlay and the industrial zones that will be strengthened throughout the City.

Map of Oakland Showing Truck Routes, Port Prime Lands Overlay, and Strengthened Industrial Zones
Map of Oakland Showing Truck Routes, Port Prime Lands Overlay, and Strengthened Industrial Zones

Proposal to Reduce Emissions Exposure

Industrial lands are a vital contributor to the economic health of the region; however, the close proximity of some industrial lands, truck routes and rail lines to residential dwellings, particularly in the communities of West and East Oakland contribute to disparities in health outcomes for residents of these communities, in particular for people of color. In response, the Planning & Building Department, as part of implementation of the AB 617 West Oakland Community Action Plan (WOCAP), are proposing Planning Code amendments to reduce emissions exposure.

The key features of the Planning Code Amendments will be to:

  1. Update termination timeframe for conditional use permits (CUPs) and Nonconforming Uses
  2. Require CUP for some heavy industrial uses w/in 500 ft. of residential ​
  3. ​Add new requirements for emissions information and actions to reduce impacts of heavy industrial uses w/in 500 ft. of residential

Policy Development Timeline

  • July 2021 - September 2021

    Stakeholder engagement on Industrial Land Use Policy Updates

  • September 2021 - October 2021

    Revise Industrial Land Use Planning Code Updates based on stakeholder feedback

  • October 2021 - December 2021

    Adoption hearings: Planning Commission and City Council

Contact Us

Alicia Parker, Planner IV​, aparker@oaklandca.gov

​Khalilha Haynes, Planner II​, khaynes@oaklandca.gov

​Laura Kaminski, Interim Strategic Planning Manager, lkaminski@oaklandca.gov