Residents are invited to a series of public meetings that will lead to the comprehensive update of Oakland’s zoning regulations, a process the city last undertook 45 years ago.

The effort is intended to bring the city’s zoning in compliance with the city’s general plan, which was adopted in 1998. The general plan provides the city’s vision for long-term growth and development while the zoning contains regulations that implement the general plan.

The current zoning is inconsistent with the city’s general plan and is unpredictable and confusing for investors, developers and the community at large, said Paul Rose, the spokesman for Mayor Ron Dellums.

“The mayor’s bottom line is really that rezoning the city would help make Oakland more business friendly, and help create more job opportunities in Oakland,” Rose said.

Among other things, the zoning will affect how large homes can be built in the Oakland hills; where retail can be concentrated throughout the city; and height limits and other development standards throughout the city.

Over the last several years, the city adopted new zoning regulations for the city’s industrial and downtown areas and the areas at the edges of the city’s industrial areas, where a mix of housing and businesses are allowed.

The upcoming meetings are another step in the process of approving new zoning for the city’s residential and commercial areas, as well as the main city corridors, such as Telegraph and San Pablo avenues, which are made up of businesses and residences.

The first city-wide zoning update community workshop will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Monday Apr. 26, at the North Oakland Senior Center. This meeting will focus on west and north Oakland, including the north Oakland hills.

That will be followed by a meeting on May 17 to discuss central Oakland; and a third meeting on June 10 for east Oakland and the south Oakland hills.

In addition, residents are invited to 19 meetings that will focus on individual neighborhoods throughout the city. The first of these was held with the Dimond Improvement Association on Apr. 7 and the meetings will go through June 7. The full schedule can be found online at www.oaklandnet.com/zoningupdate.

“People know their neighborhoods better than we do,” Oakland planner Neil Gray said, “so we want to get people’s input on the proposal.”

Following all of the community meetings, the zoning changes will go to the zoning update committee of the city’s Planning Commission and then onto the Planning Commission for recommendations. From there, it would go onto the City Council for approval.

The zoning changes could be approved by the Council as early as next winter or spring. Once the new zoning changes are implemented, the areas they will affect will see changes over the next several decades.

Institutional zoning for areas that have been developed with public or quasi-public uses such as schools or museums, will also be updated as part of this process.

For a lot more information about the workshops and the zoning update process, go online at www.oaklandnet.com/zoningupdate,
call the zoning update line at 510-238-7299 or e-mail zoningupdate@oaklandnet.com.