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Application and Zoning Information
The Zoning division of the Planning and Building Department offers development services that fall under the City of Oakland Planning Code and General Plan. We receive, process and review various zoning permit applications, including Planning Commission cases, and we process environmental review documents. If you are planning to establish a new activity or business or build, change or add to an existing building, the General Plan and the Planning Code provide relevant guidelines and requirements for your project.
You may obtain General Plan and zoning information for your property by viewing the Codes, Maps, & Documents Section of this website, calling the Zoning Hotline or by visiting the Permit Counter at 250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Room 2114 to speak with a planner.
Permit Counter and Zoning Hotline Hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 8 am - 4 pm
Wednesday: 9:30 am - 4 pm
Zoning Hotline: (510) 238-3911
Fax: (510) 238-4730
Or use the Online Zoning Information Request form. PLEASE DO NOT USE THIS LINK AT THIS TIME. THE ONLINE ZONING INFORMATION REQUEST SERVICE IS UNDERGOING RENOVATION. PLEASE CALL US AT THE PHONE NUMBER ABOVE. THANK YOU FOR YOUR COOPERATION.
For Building Services call (510) 238-3891 and for the Cashier's Office (510)238-4774.
Design Review Process
There are different types of Design Review with different types of review process, including:
Design Review Exemption (DRX)
Small Project Design Review (DS)
Regular Design Review (DR)
The Summary of Design Review Process describes the project type, review process and design criteria for the different types of Design Review.
DRX projects can be reviewed at the Zoning Permit Counter.
DRX projects are generally submitted and reviewed at the regular Zoning Counter. Just take a number at the Permit Information desk and wait to talk to a planner.
DS projects can generally be reviewed and approved at the Over The Counter (OTC) Design Review Station 12 of the Zoning Counter:
Applicants should sign up for day-of appointments at Station 12 at the Zoning Counter. These appointments are on a first-come, first-serve basis and are only for those DS projects that are ready for submittal.
The appointment times for DS Over The Counter (OTC) are:
Monday and Tuesday: 10:00, 10:45, 1:30, 2:15, 3:00
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday : 2:30, 3:15
DR projects must be submitted at the Intake Counter by appointment only:
DR projects cannot be approved or submitted at the Zoning Counter; there is a separate Intake counter. Applicants shall sign up for an Intake Counter appointments by calling (510) 238-3940 or (510) 238-3911. Please call to cancel 24 hours in advance of appointments, all no shows are charged a $66.00 fee.
Design Guidelines and Manuals
These are some of the guidelines your project may have to comply with.
- Design Review Manual for 1-2 Units (for Residential projects) 15.27 MB
- Small Project Design Review Guidelines (for Non-residential projects) 3.87 MB
- HBX Design Guidelines Manual (for projects in the Housing and Business Mix zones) 1.23 MB
- Rehab Right (for historic projects) 9 MB
- Design Guidelines for Commercial and Corridor Areas
- Design Guidelines for the Broadway Valdez District Specific Plan
- Design Guidelines for the Central Estuary
- Design Guidelines for the Lake Merritt Station Area Plan
- Design Guidelines for West Oakland Specific Plan
Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)
Proper design and use of the built environment can impact safety and security of a building in many different feautures including stair and ramp design, interior and exterior lighting, parking lot designs, doors and windows, blind spots or ambush points, access control systems, elevators, restrooms, building, circulation patterns, and landscaping.
Please use these checklists as you begin the process of designing your project:
Development projects in Oakland are subject to the requirements of Provision C.3 of the Municipal Regional Stormwater Permit (MRP) issued under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). Pursuant to C.3, certain development projects are required to implement post-construction stormwater management measures to reduce stormwater pollution and limit increases in stormwater flows. The links below provide additional information about C.3 requirements:
- Stormwater Flyer
- Overview of C.3 Requirements
- Stormwater Supplemental Form
- Alameda Countywide Clean Water Program
- Landscape Design Fact Sheet
- Pervious Paving Fact Sheet
- Rain Barrel Fact Sheet
- Rain Garden Fact Sheet
Applications and Forms
This list of applications and resources are provided for your convenience, however, you should contact the Zoning Information Hotline at (510) 238-3911 or visit the Permit Center to talk to a planner than can advise you on the permits your project may require. Proposals may involve multiple permit approvals depending on the complexity of the land use issues and location of the proposed project.
- Basic Application Form
This application form is required for all planning & zoning permits except for Pre-applications and Creek Protection Permits described below.
- Supplemental Forms
Most applications also require supplemental forms including findings for conitional use permits, design review and variances.
- Pre-application form
Pre-applications are optional and allow you an opportunity to submit your preliminary plans for review by an assigned case planner.
- Appeal application form
Appeal of a decision to the Planning Commission or City Council
- Creek Determination application form
A Creek Determination may be requested to identify whether or not a property within the City of Oakland is a creekside property, and therefore subject to regulation by the Creek Protection Ordinance.
- Creek Protection Permit Application Form
Creek Protection Permit is required for any proposed construction activity occurring on a creekside property. The extent to which your development will be regulated by the Creek Protection Ordinance depends upon the location and type of proposed work.
- Zoning Clearance Form (for Business License)
The first step to permitting a new business (including a home-based business) is the approval by the Planning Department of a Zoning Clearance.
Environmental Review Documents
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is a state statute that requires state and local agencies to identify the significant environmental impacts of their actions and to avoid or mitigate those impacts, if feasible. Large projects must first complete this environmental review before the City will issue permits.
Active Planning and Zoning Applications
Information about applications that are currently being considered by the Zoning Division of the Planning and Building Department (“Applications on File”) can be found by clicking on the relevant links below.
If you wish to contact the City of Oakland about a specific development application, please contact the case planner assigned to the item. Contact information is found at the bottom of each item’s Description. Please note: a decision can be made on these applications beginning seventeen (17) days after the posted date