See our Omicron surge page for up-to-date guidance on testing, vaccination, masking, isolation, and quarantine.

Emergency Regional Stay Home Order. Bay Area ICUs are near capacity. Stay home except for essential tasks. Keep errands short. Don't gather with anyone outside your household. Cancel plans for non-essential travel. Learn more.

Translation Disclaimer

Department of Planning & Development
Department of Planning & Development


INTRODUCTION ---------------------------------------------------------200

ASSUMPTIONS ----------------------------------------------------------200

ISSUES --------------------------------------------------------------------201

CURRENT COMMITMENTS -------------------------------------------202

PLAN REVISION PROCESS -------------------------------------------203

- Annual Re-certification

- Five Year Comprehensive Review




The purpose of the Master Plan is to guide public and private decisions affecting Berkeley's development and character. The Plan expresses Berkeley's current policies for future development, both short and long range. Each and every day activities are occurring (and not occurring) which affect the achievement of Berkeley's Master Plan goals and policies. The City Council, however, is a primary user of the Plan since its decisions will both directly implement Plan proposals and will provide the framework for others to act in accordance with the Plan through regulatory devices and other activities.

The Plan is a "today" plan- -indicating the current intent of the City. Its goals are the ideals toward which the City will be constantly striving. Its policies describe activities to be undertaken, standards to be adhered to, criteria for establishing priorities and specific results to be achieved. All of these will be reviewed periodically to identify which policies have been realized, what changes may be needed and what additional policies are appropriate.

There are two basic implementation processes. The first is conformance with the standards and policies of the Plan. By adhering to these policies in executing public and private actions, the Plan is realized in an incremental manner.

The second process is affirmative action by individuals and groups, public and private. Most direct impact is achieved through projects undertaken by the City. Projects include development and enforcement of ordinances, capital improvements, provision of city services and coordination of special projects such as the Savo Island Redevelopment Plan.

Following adoption of the Master Plan, the Planning Commission will submit to the City Council its recommended "Agenda for Action." This Agenda will provide a recapitulation of concrete proposals in the Master Plan that are needed if the Plan is to be realized. Priorities will be suggested. Initial actions will be recommended.


Underlying Plan implementation are four basic assumptions.

1. Most of the Plan is already here.

As a developed community, Berkeley has a high level of community resources --parks, homes, transportation services, public facilities and ordinances which reflect the concerns and desires of its citizens. While the Plan addresses some areas requiring new effort and programs, much of its emphasis is rightfully upon maintaining and improving upon that which has already been achieved.


2. The Plan is consistent with community aspirations.

Berkeley's Master Plan will be realized only to the extent that it accurately expresses community values. The diversity of Berkeley's population has made development of this common statement of purpose difficult. Lively debate among specific alternative methods for implementing the Plan's policies will continue. The assumption is made, however, that beneath divergent opinions on specific issues there are common values among Berkeley citizens which the Master Plan expresses and which citizens will support.

3. The Plan will be supplemented with detailed action plans and programs

The Plan provides the policy framework for actions, public and private. The initiation and completion of actions, however, will require more detailed planning. For ex le, Berkeley is at present completing preparation of a five yen plan for park acquisition and improvement funded by property tax assessments. The University is involved in extensive planning for a potential intramural sports facility. An economic development plan for a commercial area will be prepared in the coming year. The nature of specific plans will be as varied as the purposes they address but will have the common feature of implementing Master Plan policies.

4. There will be a continuity of effort from private individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations and government at all levels.

The continuing investment of money and individual effort are the foundation of Plan implementation. Inflation and high unemployment are among the factors reducing the ability of the public and private sectors to meet many needs identified in the Plan. If the Plan is to be realized, a long term commitment to its policies will be required as well as coordination and cooperation to realize the greatest benefits from limited public and private resources.


Limited Resources

At present, a large gap exists between the resources available and those needed for plan implementation. Government revenues from federal,' state and local sources are not increasing as rapidly as the costs of operating the City. New social services are adding to the competition for funds among traditional services and capital improvements. Federal assistance is shifting from special programs to block grants which give Berkeley increased flexibility in their use. The extent of this assistance is likely to decrease, however, in the years ahead. Funds for routine services such as street maintenance have been severely cut back. Berkeley eliminated an established capital improvement program funded from property taxes some yea years ago. Inflation causes the cost for existing services to increase annually. Difficult decisions will continue to be required. Many needs are likely to remain unmet. Priority needs and maximum benefit from public resources will continue to be the criteria for making these choices.


Individuals, institutions, businesses and industry face similar cost problems. Costs for construction, medical care, utilities, transportation, rent and food continue to rise. Coordination between government and the private sector is essential if the limited resources of both are to produce the highest possible degree of plan implementation.


Because resources are limited, plan implementation can be expected to emphasize some policies over others at any given time. At present the City priority projects include:

1) development of the Savo Island Redevelopment project to provide new low and moderate cost housing;

2) acquisition and development of parks and open space under a five year program funded by a park improvement tax override;

3) acquisition and development of the Santa Fe Tracks to remove hazardous trains through residential areas and to provide a linear open space and, possibly some new housing;

4) a comprehensive program of housing conservation which includes low interest loans, technical assistance, emergency repairs and housing rehabilitation in specific locations;

5) completion of an industrial park project to provide increased employment and high equality industrial development in West Berkeley;

6) evaluation and refinement of the Traffic Management Plan to control traffic on residential streets;

7) improving local transit service;

8) development of the North Waterfront Park;

9) expanding the supply of housing for low income households through the use of federal Section 8 rent subsidies;

10) contracting with community agencies to provide a wide variety of social services.

Economic Development

In recent years environmental and social concerns have attracted more attention than the economic health of Berkeley. If, however, funds are to be raised for needed public services and improvements and if adequate employment and services are to be available to Berkeley residents, the health of Berkeley's economy cannot be overlooked. Economic planning has been imitated and an Economic Element for the Master Plan will be developed. In the future, the effect on Berkeley's economy of both public and private proposals will be evaluated.


Ordinance Development

State law now requires that the Zoning Ordinance be consistent with the Master Plan. A priority activity will be the amendment of the ordinance, both its text and map, to achieve consistency. Beyond compliance with state law is the need to clarify and simplify the text which has not been comprehensively revised since its adoption in 1949. In addition, all other ordinances and regulations which relate to the Master Plan need to be reviewed for their consistency with the new Master Plan. These include such ordinances as Subdivision, Housing, Building, Historic Preservation and Traffic.


An integral part of Master plan implementation is a procedure for revision. The broad policy-oriented nature of the plan will reduce the revisions needed but changing circumstances will, nonetheless, mandate Plan revision from time to time. To accommodate such changes an orderly procedure is necessary.


In the first quarter of each fiscal year the Planning Commission will review progress on plan implementation and prepare any revisions it considers appropriate. As part of this annual recertification, the Housing Element will be referred to the Housing Advisory and Appeals Board for their recommendations. Revisions recommended by the Planning Commission, Housing Advisory and Appeals Board and others will be the subject of a public hearing before the Planning Commission. Following the public hearing, the Planning Commission will review all proposed revisions and submit its recommendations to the City Council. The City Council, upon review of the recommendations of the Planning Commission, will either (a) recertify the Plan in its existing form or (b) schedule a public hearing on the recommended revisions. After the hearing, the Council will evaluate the recommended revisions and testimony received and adopt those revision (if any) the City Council finds appropriate.

Following City Council action, the Planning Commission will prepare a revised "Agenda for Action" reflecting the accomplishments of the previous year and revisions to the Plan.


Every five years the re-certification process will be expanded to include preparation of a comprehensive evaluation of the Master Plan. Major revisions or additions will be considered at these times. Expanded participation from boards and commissions, community organizations, the University and other institutions, the business community and interested citizens will be solicited.


'Utilizing this annual re-certification procedure and five year comprehensive review process, the Plan can be maintained and updated to meet change and unforeseen issues and opportunities.

Home | Web Policy | Text-Only Site Map | Contact Us
Department of Planning & Development, 1947 Center Street, 3rd Floor, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: Phone: (510) 981-7400
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903