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Department of Planning & Development
Department of Planning & Development

City of Berkeley Draft Southside Plan

DISCUSSION DRAFT OF DECEMBER 2001 As amended by the Planning Commission, July 2003
Table of Contents:

Introduction  |  Southside Planning Process  |  Related Planning Studies  |  Land Use and Housing  |  Transportation  |  Economic Development  |  Community Character  |  Public Safety  |  Southside Design Guidelines  |  Zoning, Introduction  |  Zoning - C-T Commercial District Zoning  |  Zoning - R-SMU Residential Southside Mixed Use District  |  Zoning - R-S Residential Southside District  |  Zoning - R-3 Multiple Family Residential  

Appendix A and Appendix B available in PDF format only


I. Plan Purpose & Study Area Boundaries 

For the purposes of the Plan, the Southside is generally defined as the area bounded by Dwight Way on the south, Bancroft Way on the north, Prospect Street on the east, and Fulton Street on the west including the properties fronting those streets.  The study area also includes properties along Telegraph between Dwight Way and Parker Street.
The Southside Area Plan is intended to guide the development of the Southside area until at least the year 2020.  It sets forth the City’s key land use, housing, transportation, economic development, community character, and public safety policies for managing change in the Southside.  During development of this Plan it became clear that many of the policy recommendations apply beyond the study area boundaries, such as the policies recommended for residential parcels that are located just outside the study area.  Similarly, transportation and parking policies must extend and apply well beyond the study to be effective.  As a part of the General Plan, the Southside Plan is a long-range statement of policies for the development and preservation of the area.  It is a statement of community priorities and values to be used to guide public-decision making in future years.  The Plan’s goals, objectives, and policies serve as a guide to the day-to-day decisions.  Decisions made by the Berkeley City Council and its advisory Boards and Commissions about the physical development of the Southside need to be consistent with goals, objectives, and policies of this Plan.  The City Council and the Planning Commission will use the Southside Plan in conjunction with the General Plan when evaluating land use changes and funding and budget decisions.  It will be used by the Zoning Adjustments Board and City staff to help regulate development proposals and make decisions on projects.  The policies of the Plan apply to all property, both public and private, within the Southside Plan area.  Although the University of California and other State and County agencies are not legally obligated to comply with the Plan, mutual cooperation benefits all agencies with a stake in the Southside.  The Southside Plan came in part from acknowledged common interests held by both the City and the University.  The City will consult with the University regarding future changes to the Southside Plan and the University will consult with the City regarding the Long-range Development Plan.The Plan’s Elements and policies taken together form a framework for incremental improvement based on the physical, economic, and social foundation which is in the Southside today.  The plan recognizes that there will be a continuing need to respond to pressure for change, and for continuing to balance the needs of various interests in the Southside. 

II.        Plan Organization 

Each Element of the Plan includes a background section, which provides information on specific topics covered by the Element and a basis for the objectives, policies, and actions.  In many cases additional reports and plans are referenced as part of the background section.  Each element also includes objectives, policies, and actions.  Objectives identify the results that the City is trying to achieve or direction in which the City is trying to move.  A policy is a specific statement of principle that provides direction on a particular issue and ensures that actions are consistent with the direction or end result described in the objectives.  Actions are strategies, programs, or specific actions to be carried out that will help the City achieve its objectives.

III.       Plan Goals 

The Southside Plan, as part of the City of Berkeley General Plan, seeks to accomplish the goals of the General Plan by providing a more detailed policy framework for the area.  The Southside Plan’s major goals are as follows: Housing: Create additional housing at appropriate locations to help meet the housing demand for students and people employed nearby, thus taking advantage of proximity to the University and Downtown to reduce automobile dependence and to increase travel to work or school by non-automobile transportation.  Encourage the provision of affordable housing. 

Land Use:  Provide for a high density residential and commercial mixed-use edge to the University of California Campus and the “spine” along Telegraph Avenue.  The high density edge and spine are the focus for infill development.  Development becomes progressively less dense and more residential in use the greater the distance from Bancroft and Telegraph, providing a buffer and transition to the lower density residential areas to the east and south of the Southside Area. Transportation:  Increase the quality, amenity and use of all non-automotive modes (public transit, bicycles, and pedestrian), and reduce the number of trips made in single-occupant automobiles.

Economic Development:  Enhance the commercial district so that it better meets the needs of the wide variety of users who frequent the neighborhood.  Improve access, marketing, and safety.

Community Character:  Recognize, preserve and enhance the unique physical character of the Southside.

Public Safety:  Improve public safety, address social needs, and act to minimize loss of life and property in the event of a natural disaster.

IV.       Implementing the Plan 

The City Council, City Boards and Commissions, City staff, and others including Berkeley residents and business owners will implement the Southside Plan.  Plan policies will be carried out through City programs and the adoption and revision of ordinances, through annual budgeting and capital improvement programming, through actions by other public agencies, through the participation of citizens and neighborhood community groups, and through decisions on development proposals.
The Plan is intended to be kept current by changing the plan to keep pace with changing local conditions and community priorities.  To ensure that the Southside Plan remains up-to-date and reflects current city policy, progress in implementation of the Southside Plan will be part of the annual report on the General Plan.  The California Government Code requires each planning department to report annually to the City Council on “the status of the plan and progress in its implementation (Sec. 65400[b]).  Pursuant to State law, the General Plan will be reviewed annually by the Planning Commission in the fall.  The Planning Commission will recommend to the City Council any modifications that it considers necessary.  The Planning Commission will also review the General Plan prior to adoption of the biennial (two-year) budget.  Through the annual reports on the General Plan, staff will provide a status report on the City’s progress toward implementation and any recommended amendments to the Plan and to any of the area plans incorporated by reference.  As part of this review, the Planning Commission will also be asked to make recommendations to the City Council on budget priorities for General Plan implementation.

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Southside Subareas Map (PDF 71.15KB)


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