CBD at the ZUC

I apologize for the lack of posts this week, and for the tardiness of the continuation of my industrial land series. Work has been killer lately. Tomorrow.

Anyway, the CBD Draft Zoning Chapter was introduced to the Planning Commission’s Zoning Update Committee yesterday. I was at work, and therefore unable to attend, but one of my excellent correspondents made it and took copious notes, for which I am very grateful.

Some highlights from the public comment:

A representative of the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce complained that there has been no outreach to the Chinatown community in crafting the plan, and said that Chinatown opposes downzoning in the CBD.

Carlos Plazola observed that downtown, the Army Base, and the waterfront are the three areas that serve as resources for all of Oakland. But while the waterfront and the Army Base are being treated to a detailed planning process, the CBD zoning update is being conducted as a “quick shot.”

A representative of Brandywine Realty Trust, which owns over a million square feet of office space downtown, complained that they had not been invited to participate in the planning process, and that they had, in fact, only just found out about the proposed zoning changes. He noted that the podium height limits don’t respect the need to provide parking, and that the market demands large floorplates, not small.

A woman works downtown complained that the flyers distributed at the March 1st meeting provided incorrect information about building heights, and requested that any economic impact study consider the increased demand for services from new residents. She also noted that the Piedmont Avenue Neighborhood Improvement League is concerned about “extreme heights” downtown.

AC Transit Boardmember and at-large Council candidate Rebecca Kaplan complained about the lack of outreach, and noted that not a single one of the public meetings on the subject was held inside the CBD.

A downtown resident complained that few people were aware of the public input meetings, and that she felt the people who did attend were not representative.

Notice a theme?

The Committee directed staff to continue soliciting public input, and will discuss the plan in more detail at the next ZUC meeting, on April 16th.

3 thoughts on “CBD at the ZUC

  1. Eric

    Colleen, CBD = central business district, or “downtown.”

    V, any chance this next meeting will actually take place in the CBD, or are they moving to Trestle Glen for the next one?

  2. V Smoothe Post author

    Funny you should mention that, Eric. At the meeting, Commissioner Colbruno said that he was disturbed to learn that the meetings were held outside the CBD. Stategic planer Neil Grey, the contact person on the update, responded that this wasn’t true! Bizarre.

    Since Mr. Grey is creating the maps, it’s hard to see how he could fail to notice that neither of his meetings were inside the map area. The Veteran’s Memorial Hall is close to the CBD, although at a far edge and not inside it. The Sailboat House – well, I can’t see any way to defend the claim that it’s part of the CBD.