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Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Zoning?
- How can I determine how my land is zoned?
- What can I do if I think my neighbor is violating the Zoning Ordinance?
- What does the Planning Commission do?
- How do I obtain a Variance?
- When is a property considered to be potentially historic?
What is Zoning?
Zoning provides the standards and regulations that apply to land and structures in the city. These standards and regulations help implement the General Plan which are the goals, policies and recommendations of how development in the city (long-term) is to be achieved. There are numerous zoning classifications. Each one has a list of permitted uses and standards for building setbacks, densities and heights. Some have specific design guidelines.
How can I determine how my land is zoned?
The interactive Zoning and General Plan map for details on a specific property.
What can I do if I think my neighbor is violating the Zoning Ordinance?
If you think your neighbor is violating the Zoning Ordinance, contact the City’s Code Enforcement staff.
What does the Planning Commission do?
The Planning Commission promotes the orderly growth and development of the City through studies, decisions on development proposals, policy recommendations to the City Council and related activities. Commission meetings are held twice a month on Wednesdays, usually at 6:00 p.m., at Oakland City Hall, One Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Hearing Room No. 1, Oakland, CA 94612.
How do I obtain a Variance?
A Zoning Variance allows a departure from some of these requirements because of unusual conditions on the property. These conditions are related to topographic or physical characteristics of the site that prevent the project from meeting zoning requirements. Learn more by visiting our Zoning Varince page.
When is a property considered to be potentially historic?
The Oakland Cultural Heritage Survey (OCHS) project entails a general survey of every visible building in Oakland and estimates a building’s age, possible historical or architectural interest. The survey also includes detailed research and evaluation for many specific buildings and neighborhoods. The OCHS staff within the Planning and Zoning Division maintains an extensive library of information on historic properties and districts in Oakland, as well as maintains the Oakland Historic Properties listings.