Oakland is on the cusp of a new era of growth and development, thanks to its recently approved plan to add at least 26,000 new homes over the next decade. With the Bay Area’s third-largest city now in compliance with state law, Oakland is no longer at risk of missing out on crucial funding or losing control over local development rules. And with its plan receiving high praise from state regulators, the future looks bright for the city.
The “housing elements” plan, which outlines how and where Oakland aims to accommodate significantly more housing for residents of all income levels between 2023 and 2031, has been deemed by state officials as having “significant and meaningful actions to accommodate housing needs through important zoning, incentives, and many other actions while protecting residents, preserving and improving affordable housing stock and promoting more inclusive and equitable communities.”
The plan designates over 600 sites for new housing, with most being concentrated in downtown and West Oakland. Major thoroughfares, including Foothill and MacArthur boulevards, could also see much more housing to focus growth near transit. By boosting Oakland’s total housing stock by roughly 16%, the plan aims to reverse a trend of low- and middle-income homebuilding targets being missed during past eight-year housing cycles.
With just five local governments, including Oakland, having received final approval from state officials for their housing plans, the city’s success is a major achievement. The approval also means that Oakland shouldn’t have to worry about losing state affordable housing and infrastructure funding. Furthermore, the city is safe from another consequence of falling behind in the housing plan process, known as the “builder’s remedy,” which allows developers to override local zoning laws and push through projects of virtually any size, as long as a portion of the building includes affordable units.
Oakland’s success in meeting state requirements could serve as a model for other Bay Area cities and counties as they work to develop their own housing plans. As more local governments come into compliance, the Bay Area could see a much-needed boost in housing stock, helping to address the region’s ongoing housing crisis. For Oakland, the future is looking brighter than ever before.