Implement land use strategy through rezoning projects.

  • Top goals for land use strategies from Summer 2020 Open House, Action Teams, and broader public engagement:
    • Housing: Affordable, healthy, well-designed, and sustainable housing. Specific groups: African-Americans, seniors, students, families, LGBTQ+.
    • Jobs: More jobs for people with lower levels of educational attainment and more training and apprenticeship opportunities to get into those roles. Specific groups: African-Americans, immigrants, women.
    • Open space / livability: More parks, community gardens, street trees, and areas where people can connect such as community centers.
  • Housing:
    • Housing is unaffordable for long-term residents and students. Oakland has lost a significant portion of its long-term residents in recent decades, particularly Black or African-American residents.
    • A major cause of this displacement in Oakland is the student demand for housing close to campus and lack of on-campus housing. This has created a market for conversion of single-family homes to multi-unit housing. Homes now have market values closer to apartment buildings, which is too high for most people interested in purchasing a home in Oakland.
    • Zoning in these areas has been used as a tool to prevent this activity by making it illegal. Enforcement has never been sufficient to maintain single-family uses. The result is that students are living illegally in poorly converted and maintained homes with little recourse to deal with unsafe and unhealthy conditions.
    • Although operating like apartment buildings, these homes have no on-site managers and no one to resolve complaints by adjacent residents. They also externalize student gatherings, parties, trash issues, and noise onto front and back yard areas and the sidewalks where they are a greater nuisance to adjacent residents.
    • Recently, the market has responded to this demand with new buildings on Fifth and Forbes Avenues and Craig Street that many feel are unaffordable for most students. There is great concern that if market rate housing replaces the homes in Central Oakland that students can afford, the students will be displaced and the market for home conversions for student uses will continue to spread into Oakland and surrounding areas leading to further displacement.
    • Remaining long-term residents are concerned that if something isn’t done to reverse this trend soon, there will be no long-term residents left. Some are resigned to the notion that nothing can be done.
    • The Oakland Community Land Trust is an existing tool to combat the challenge of high prices for homebuyers and to the notion that nothing can be done.
  • Jobs:
    • Existing Conditions Report shows that the lack of commercial space has been severely limiting to the growth of Oakland as an employment district. Most businesses would prefer to locate in Oakland, but can't find space.
    • This lack of space has supported the creation of secondary innovation zones like Bakery Square, Strip District, and Hazelwood Green.
    • The lack of supportive zoning and the high amount of conflict around development activities were identified by brokers, developers, and others interviewed as part of the research during the project.
    • Small and local business entrepreneurs in Oakland also reported that surrounding neighborhood scale commercial areas had also been the recipient of businesses, particularly by Asian and Asian-American business owners, that would otherwise have located in Oakland.
    • The Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation's research shows that Oakland's Fifth and Forbes Ave corridor is also the number one desired location for the region's hispanic entrepreneurs.
    • The lack of supportive amenities in the southwest of the Fifth and Forbes Ave corridor was noted by a number of life sciences and biotech developers who believe this area needs open spaces, better public realm, and more pedestrian and cycling improvements to be a draw to these types of employers.
    • They also noted that Oakland is competing with areas like Cambridge and University City where development often brings with it significant public benefit that reinforces the livability and value of these areas. Pittsburgh's land use system and zoning do not result in the creation of this kind of amenity value.

Housing strategy:

  • Affordability for long-term residents is directly linked to affordability for students. You have to address both. We’ll need both land use and program tools.
  • Mandatory inclusionary zoning: require all buildings providing 20 or more units to meet established criteria for affordability based on Area Median Income.
  • Affordable apartment housing for students near campus: redevelopment in Central Oakland needs to provide affordable, healthy, and sustainable options for students, and mitigate the negative externalities of parking, trash, parties, noise, etc.
  • Preserve and expand housing options for long-term residents: existing and new housing needs to be designed and priced to serve the needs of seniors, young professionals, and families. We should consider proactive approach to Missing Middle Housing.
  • Bring back community serving amenities: services, shops, open spaces, and improved streets are needed to serve and grow the base of long-term residents.

Employment strategy:

  • Apply the Performance Points System to Oakland to create a clear path for development projects to earn the height they need to create space for employers outside of variances that have been appealed.
  • Ensure that the pathway creates clear community benefits for employees and residents in the form of increased access to jobs, open spaces, improved public realm, public art, and more sustainable and comfortable buildings.
  • Limit residential development in the Fifth and Forbes Avenue corridor and potentially the Melwood Area to allow more employment-oriented development to occur close to hospitals, campuses, and other R&D activities.
  • Allow secondary employment activities to take place on nearby corridors like the Boulevard of the Allies and Craig Street in mixed use areas that provide commercial spaces and housing on high frequency transit.

When to start: 0-2 years -- Starts with Oakland Plan Zoning Proposal

Duration: Ongoing

Estimated costs: $ (out of $$$$)

Project lead(s): DCP

Project partner(s): Not specified

Potential funding source(s): City Capital Budget, grants

Examples, illustrations, data