Translation Disclaimer

Department of Planning & Development
Department of Planning & Development



Section 23E.56.010 Applicability of Regulations 

The regulations in this Chapter shall apply in all C-T Districts. In addition, general provisions in Sub-title 23C shall apply. (Ord. 6478-NS § 4 (part), 1999)

Section 23E.56.020      Purposes 

The purposes of the Telegraph Avenue Commercial (C-T) Districts are to:

  • Implement the Master Plan's designations for Community Shopping and Commercial/Residential Districts in this area.
  • Implement the Southside Area Plan designations for the Commercial Subarea.
  • Regulate development in the Telegraph Area Commercial District in order to satisfy the needs of the population groups using the District, especially the University population and the surrounding resident population.
  • Encourage the availability of a variety of goods and services which serve residents in the District and the University population but do not generate a high volume of vehicular traffic.
  • Allow for uses which maintain the cultural quality of the District giving it its regional appeal without generating substantial vehicular traffic.
  • Discourage uses which because of size, the type of the products sold, vehicular traffic generated or other considerations, are more appropriately located elsewhere in the City.
  • Encourage a mix of goods and services which will preclude the dominance of any one type of use and which will produce variations within the same category of uses.
  • To encourage the establishment and maintenance of uses which will satisfy the needs of all age groups and attract a range of users and interests.
  • Encourage the creation of additional housing in the District which is affordable, including housing for those who work or study nearby.
  • Encourage those uses and structural architecture that reinforce, and discourage those uses and architecture that interrupt, the pedestrian orientation of the District.
  • Encourage mixed commercial and Residential Uses.
  • Encourage the construction of new housing and mixed-use development on vacant properties and surface parking lots.
  • Encourage the redevelopment of single story structures that are not historically significant resources with housing and mixed-use development. 
  • Protect and enhance historical and architecturally significant buildings by ensuring that new development and alterations complement their existing architectural character.
  • Encourage the establishment and survival of small, locally-owned businesses, thereby contributing to the vitality and diversity of the District.
  • Discourage the type of Commercial Use whose establishment will contribute to the displacement of businesses that supply neighboring residents with essential goods and services.
  • Ensure that new buildings, additions and renovations harmonize with and enhance the unique character of the District.
  • Provide environmental protection for the residents of mixed residential commercial structures and surrounding residents from such detriments as noise, fumes and litter.
  • Preserve the ethnic diversity of the resident population and users of the District and of the  types of businesses providing ethnically diverse goods and services in the District.
  • Protect and encourage the development of properties accessible to the disabled for both residential and Commercial Use.
  • Discourage uses which are widely available in other shopping Districts throughout the Bay Area and detract from the unique type and mix of goods and services available in the District. (Ord. 6478-NS § 4 (part), 1999)

Section 23E.56.030 Uses Permitted 

  1. The following table sets forth the permits required for each listed item. Each use or structure shall  be subject to either a Zoning Certificate (ZC), an Administrative Use Permit (AUP), a Use Permit approved after a public hearing (UP(PH)), or is Prohibited.

Table 23E.56.030: Use and Required Permits (PDF 280.49KB) 

  1. Any use not listed that is compatible with the purposes of the C-T District shall be permitted subject to securing a Use Permit. Any use that is not compatible with the purposes of the C-T District shall be prohibited. 
  2. The initial establishment or change of use of floor area of an existing non-residential building, or portion of  building, shall be subject to the permit requirements as listed in the legend of Table 23E.56.030. (Ord. 6478-NS § 4 (part), 1999)

23E.56.040     Special Provisions -- Numerical Limitations 

The following uses shall be subject to the numerical and size limitations set forth below:

Table 23.56.040: Special Provisions -- Numerical Limitations (PDF 135.81KB) 

1.    New uses that are allowed in the zone and that add new additional housing above the first floor are exempt from the above numerical  limitations (land use quotas), with the exception of head shops. 

23E.56.050     Construction of New Floor Area, Conversions of Existing Buildings -- Requirements for Use Permits

A.    No gross floor area shall be created unless a Use Permit  is obtained, as set forth below. Creation of new floor area includes construction of new buildings or Accessory Buildings; additions to existing buildings; or the installation of new floor or Mezzanine levels within or onto existing buildings.

1.    If the new floor area being created is less than one thousand five hundred (1,500) square feet of gross floor area, an Administrative Use Permit may be issued by the Zoning Officer;

2.    If the new floor area being created is one thousand five hundred (1,500) or more  of square feet of gross floor area, then a Use Permit shall be obtained.

B.     Existing buildings shall not be converted unless an Administrative Use Permit is obtained. In addition, the following shall apply to conversions:  

1.   No conversion shall be approved which creates more than two (2) lease spaces for retail activity which are either not on the ground floor or are not oriented toward a ground-level public sidewalk or an existing  pedestrian walkway. (Ord. 6478-NS § 4 (part), 1999)

23E.56.060      Use Limitations 

A.  No Commercial use shall operate except between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. unless a Use Permit is obtained and is in accordance with Section 23E.16.010. In order to grant such Permit, the Board shall make the finding set forth in Section 23E.56.090.C

B.   Any use which is incidental to the primary use of a building or property shall be subject to the permit requirements identified in the Uses Incidental to a Permitted Use heading under Section 23E.56.030,  except as below:

1.    All food service uses shall be subject to the limitations of Section 23E.56.040 and none shall be considered as an Incidental Use for this District. 

C.    Any activity or use which occurs outside of a building shall be subject to the permit requirements identified in the Parking, Outdoor and Exterior Window Uses heading in Table 23E.56.030.

 D.    Adult-oriented Businesses and Amusement Arcades are prohibited. Alcoholic Beverage Sales and Live/Work Uses are subject to additional Ordinance requirements under Section 23E.16.040, Chapter 23E.20 and the following requirements:

1.   On-premise service and consumption of distilled alcoholic beverages shall be permitted only in full service restaurants. (Ord. 6478-NS § 4 (part), 1999)

Section 23E.56.070 Development Standards 

A.    The height for a Main Building shall satisfy the following requirements: 

1.   The minimum height shall be three (3) stories and thirty-five (35) ft.

2.   The maximum height shall be four (4) stories and fifty (50) ft.

3.   The maximum height can only be increased to five (5) stories and sixty-five (65) ft. if the following findings are made by the Zoning Officer or Board:

a.     At least 50% of the total building floor area is designed for residential use;

b.     At least 20% of the housing units are affordable to households earning up to  60% of the Average Median Income (AMI) OR 10% are affordable to households earning up to 50% of AMI;

c.     The project will not result in a significant reduction in sunlight on Telegraph  Avenue sidewalks. 

4.   In all buildings, except buildings located in portions of the District adjacent to Bancroft, one hundred percent (100%) of the floor area above the ground floor shall be used for Residential Use, except where the second floor is used for Commercial Use as an integral part of the ground floor establishment.  In such cases, the second floor commercial space shall have no entrances or exits, other than required fire exits, which offer access independent of the interior of the ground floor space and shall not exceed the ground floor area.

5.    Shade studies shall be required for all proposed buildings exceeding three (3) stories or 40 feet. Based upon the findings of the shade study, the fourth (4) or higher story of the building may be required to be set back to minimize shade impacts on adjacent properties or the public right of way.

B.    No yards for Main Buildings, Accessory Buildings, or Accessory Structures shall  be   required, except as set forth  below:

 1.    When the subject lot is adjacent to an abutting or confronting lot in a residential  zone, the requirements of Section 23E.04.050 and 23E.04.060 shall apply, for additional yard and building feature requirements. 

 C.    Any Mixed Use building (residential and commercial) shall satisfy all of the standards and requirements of this District, including the FAR and off-street parking requirements of Section 23E.56.070.A and 23E.56.080, respectively, the density limitations of the R-3 District and as follows:

1.    Each Mixed Use building shall contain at least forty (40) square feet of Usable Open Space per Dwelling Unit for the residential use portion, except that no dimension of such open space shall be less than six (6) feet.

 2.    When the subject lot is adjacent to an abutting or confronting lot in a residential zone, the requirements of  Section 23E.04.050 and 23E.04.060 shall apply, for additional yard and building feature requirements

D.    Exclusive Residential Uses are not allowed. Dwelling Units and Group Living Accommodations may be allowed, however, above the ground floor only when located in a Mixed Use building. (Ord. 6478-NS § 4 (part), 1999) 

23E.56.080 Parking -- Number of Spaces 

A.    The following provisions shall apply to properties within the CT District:

1.    No Off-street Parking Spaces shall be required for the creation of new commercial gross floor area, or for new Dwelling Units or Group Living Accommodation rooms; however, a higher Transportation Services Fee (TSF) shall be paid for commercial projects as described in Section 23E.56.080.A.3 below, but no fee shall be required for Residential Uses.  In addition, no off-street loading spaces shall be required for new commercial gross floor area.

2.    Bicycle parking spaces shall be provided at the ratio of one (1) space per two thousand (2,000) square feet of gross floor area of commercial space, and in accordance with the requirements of Section 23E.28.070;

3.    Occupants of residential projects constructed after the effective date of this ordinance amendment shall not be entitled to receive parking permits under the Residential Permit Parking Program (RPP), under Section 14.08 of the BMC (Ordinance #5803 and #5908).

4.    A TSF shall be paid for each square foot of commercial gross floor area in an amount set at three (3) times the basic rate for the District established by City Council resolution and in accordance with the procedures and purposes of Chapter 23E.28. Seventy-five percent (75%) of this fee shall be deposited into the City's general TSF fund under Section 23E.28.100, and the remaining twenty-five percent (25%) shall be deposited into the Sather Gate Alternative Transportation Fund described  below:

5.   The Sather Gate Alternative Transportation Fund is hereby established for the deposit of funds from projects in the District.  This fund shall be used exclusively for costs incurred to accomplish the following objectives within the District:

a.   To purchase transit or paratransit passes, coupons, or tickets for a discount to employees and customers;

b.   For other expenditures to support non-automobile transportation to and from the District;

c.   To purchase, install and maintain bicycle parking facilities; and

d.   To purchase, install and maintain improvements which facilitate mobility of disabled persons within the District. 

6.   Notwithstanding the above requirement, proposed uses in this portion of the District which provide off-street parking, either on-site or at another site under the same ownership within a twelve hundred (1,200) foot radius, in an amount equivalent to that which would be required elsewhere in the District, shall only be required to pay the TSF at the normal basic rate established by Council resolution, not at the rate required by Section 23E.56.080.A.4.

7.   No new off-street parking shall be permitted on any lot abutting Telegraph Avenue exclusively, and shall only be permitted on lots abutting other streets where access to the parking is gained from curb cuts existing on July 6, 1989, and subject to obtaining a Use Permit; and such Use Permit shall be subject to the Board making the finding as provided in Section 23E.56.090.D.

B.    Any construction which results in the creation of ten thousand (10,000) square feet of new or additional commercial gross floor space shall satisfy the loading space requirements of Chapter 23E.32, except for the area covered by Section 23E.56.080.A and the following requirements:

1.   Off-street loading spaces at the ratio of one (1) space for the first ten thousand (10,000) square feet of gross floor area of commercial space;

2.   Off-street loading spaces at the ratio of one (1) space for each additional forty thousand (40,000) square feet of gross floor area of commercial space above the first ten thousand (10,000) square feet. (Ord. 6478-NS § 4 (part), 1999) 

C.    Residential buildings shall be allowed to remove parking spaces if found necessary by the Building Official to perform mandatory seismic strengthening.

23E.56.090 Findings 

A.    In order to approve any Use Permit under this Chapter, the Zoning Officer or Board must make the finding required by Section 23B.32.040. The Zoning Officer or Board must also make the findings required by the following paragraphs of this Section to the extent applicable:

B.    A proposed use or structure must:

1.   Be compatible with the purposes of the District;

2.   Encourage and maintain the present street frontage of the District, will not interfere with the continuity of retail or compatible service facilities at the ground level and will not interrupt a continuous wall of building facades;

3.   Be compatible in design and character with the District and the adjacent residential neighborhoods;

4.   Not generate traffic or parking demand significantly beyond the capacity of the Commercial District or significantly increase impacts on adjacent residential neighborhoods.

C.    No Use Permit shall be granted under Section 23E.56.060.A unless the Board finds that the extended hours will not generate excessive noise, traffic or parking problems affecting the well-being of the residents of the District.

D.    No Use Permit shall be granted under Section 23E.56.080.A.6, unless the Board finds that traffic from the new parking will not significantly impede pedestrian circulation. (Ord. 6478-NS § 4 (part), 1999)


AdobeTo read PDF files, download a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader.  If you are unable to access .pdf documents online, please contact us via email (, telephone (981-7400), or TDD (981-7474) so that we can provide an alternate format.

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