Planning Bureau

The Planning Bureau oversees the City's strategic planning efforts, zoning regulations, major development projects, and neighborhood and specific area plans. Come to us to apply for zoning applications and permits, check zoning requirements, or participate in our many public engagement processes, including meetings of the Planning Commission and related committees.

What is Planning?

Photo of Oakland First Fridays

City planning ensures that land use and development balance the needs of all people to live in healthy neighborhoods, for businesses to thrive to their fullest, and for our natural and built environment to function safely, equitably, and sustainably.

Urban planning guides our transportation system, building infrastructure, and the layout of our neighborhoods, and prescribes densities of our residential, commercial, and industrial areas and more. Without such planning, our cities quickly become inefficient, create conflict, favor privileged interests, and encourage residents and businesses to leave.

Interested in Building safety, inspections, and code compliance? Learn more on our Building Bureau page!

Strategic Planning Division

Downtown Oakland

The Strategic Planning Division is responsible for preparing and updating land use plans*, policies and regulations, including the Oakland General Plan, Specific Plans for various neighborhoods, and Zoning regulations. The role of Strategic Planning is to perform long-range land use planning to determine where future development should occur. The division focuses on regulation, including setting policies related to development and amending the Planning Code and Municipal Codes. The Strategic Planning Division is not responsible for evaluating or approving individual development projects. Project-related questions and comments should be directed to the One-Stop Permit Center.

* NOTE: For plans, policies, and regulations involving the public right-of-way such as sidewalks, streets and transportation-related projects, please refer to the Oakland Department of Transportation (OakDOT).

Development Planning Division

Lake Merritt BART Development plaza rendering

The Development Planning Division is responsible for reviewing application proposals for Major Development Projects involving large-scale land use entitlements. Often, these projects may have such a significant effect that they require community input, environmental review, public noticing, and formal approval by the Planning Commission and or the Oakland City Council. See our current list and map of Major Development Projects, along with the latest project environmental review documents. The Development Planning Division staffs the Planning Commission, which holds regularly scheduled public meetings that include discussion and consideration of major development projects. Its Historic Preservation team also stewards the City's registry of Designated Landmark Properties, Heritage Properties and Preservation Districts.

Zoning Division

Oakland Zoning Map

The Zoning Division is responsible for reviewing applications for various types of projects that involve the creation of new units, residential additions, Conditional Use Permits (CUPs), variances from existing zoning rules, Regular Design Review, and various parcel and tract map waivers. The Division also handles inquiries concerning the conformity of projects with Zoning regulations, provides Zoning Clearances for approved business activities, and, in rare cases, authorizes exemptions to General Plan Zoning rules for projects that meet approved criteria.

VIDEO: What is Zoning?



Learn more about the City of Oakland's Planning Code, Zoning information and maps, the General Plan Update, and neighborhood plans and policy projects by following any of the links listed above.

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