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Department of Planning & Development
Department of Planning & Development

Welcome to the Southside Plan Page

News and Updates 

Southside Plan

Southside Cover Image

The 2011 Southside Plan serves as a guide for future development in the Southside area. 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. It is a statement of community priorities and values to be used to guide public-decision making in future years. 


Southside Zoning Ordinance Update -  Project Overview
Southside Plan Area

The City Council has forwarded six referrals since 2016 to the Planning Commission related to increasing housing production and availability in the Southside Area, which refers to the area located on the south side of UC Berkeley (see figure above). These referrals – along with City goals to increase the availability and production of housing at all income levels – are the primary impetus for this project, which will require updates to zoning regulations in the Southside Area. Because these changes are expected to exceed the growth studied in the original Southside Plan, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) mandates that the potential environmental impacts of the regulations be analyzed and mitigated as necessary. The purpose of this project is to facilitate the CEQA process and help develop appropriate zoning ordinance revisions with input from staff and the consultant team, the community, the Planning Commission, and ultimately the City Council. The six council referrals that will be addressed through this process are shown in the table below.  

Date of Referral  

Council Referral Description  


 Allow increased development potential in the Telegraph Commercial (C-T) District between Dwight Avenue and Bancroft Avenue and develop community benefit requirements, with a focus on labor practices and affordable housing. 


Create a Use Permit process to allow non-commercial use on the ground floor in appropriate locations, where commercial might otherwise be required. A pilot project is suggested for the C-T District. 


Develop a pilot Density Bonus program for the C-T District to generate in-lieu fees that could be used to build housing for homeless and extremely low-income residents. 


Facilitate student housing by increasing the height and Floor Area Ratio (FAR) in the portions of the R-SMU, R-S and R-3 District which are located within the Southside area west of College Avenue. 


Convert commercial space in the C-T to residential use, expand the Car-Free Housing overlay in the Southside, allow two (2) high-rises for student housing, and consider micro-units and modular units. 


Convert commercial space into residential use within all districts in the Southside located west of College Avenue. 

In addition to considering these referrals from the City Council, there may be related opportunities through this process to support the City’s Strategic Plan goals around housing and climate action.  

Process and Timeline

This project has two key components: the CEQA review and the zoning amendments. 

Progress to Date 

The Planning Department hired Rincon Consultants to prepare and support the CEQA analysis for the Southside Area. An Initial Study (IS) was prepared to analyze the environmental impacts of the Project and determined that the Project could have potentially significant impacts on the environment. An EIR will be required to study these impacts. The IS provides information on the Project Description, the analysis conducted to date, and some direction on the analysis that will continue in the EIR.

A Notice of Preparation (NOP) to gather input from public agencies and the public was released on July 24, 2020, beginning a 30-day review period which was extended to September 9, 2020. Comments received will be considered in the preparation of the EIR. The result of the EIR analysis will inform the zoning changes discussion and the recommendations submitted to the City Council for adoption. 

CEQA and Zoning Next Steps 

Work has begun on the Draft EIR. Meetings will also be held to consider options for zoning changes that are within the scope of the environmental analysis. Final discussion of zoning changes will be held after the release of the Draft EIR so that Planning Commission’s recommendations can be informed by the analysis. Below is the estimated timeline for the public portion of the CEQA review and consideration of zoning changes:



Public Review Process  

Development and Release of Public Draft  of Initial Study and Notice of Preparation (IS-NOP) 

April – July 2020

Subcommittee and Planning Commission review

30-day NOP Comment Period

July 24 – Sep. 9, 2020 

Scoping Meeting at Planning Commission

Draft EIR released for 45-day review and comment period

Late Spring 2021

Planning Commission hearing

Discussion of Zoning Ordinance changes


Subcommittee and Planning Commission review

Final EIR and

Final Zoning Ordinance released


Planning Commission recommendation; City Council action

Opportunities for Public Input 

Opportunities to participate and provide public comment will be posted below as they arise. The public is also invited  to send comments or questions regarding the Southside Zoning Ordinance Update Project to Justin Horner, Associate Planner, at JHorner@cityofberkeley.info.

Materials for Public Review 

Southside Zoning Ordinance Amendments

Project Meetings 


 Sep. 2, 2020

Planning Commission

Public Hearing to receive project update and comments from members of the public, organizations and interested agencies on issues the EIR should address


Feb. 5, 2020

Planning Commission

Review the scope of ordinance changes proposed in Section 1.8 of the Draft Southside EIR Project Description and provide feedback on the adequacy of the scope and map changes to include in Project Description.


Dec. 17, 2019

Southside EIR Subcommittee

Review, Discuss and Provide Feedback on Proposed Southside EIR Project Description to Analysis in EIR


 Plan Documents

Links to the approved documents and effective dates (if applicable) are listed below:

 Previous Versions

 Stay Connected

To receive updates on the Southside Zoning Ordinance Update and meeting/event announcements, please send an email to Justin Horner, Associate Planner, at JHorner@cityofberkeley.info. Please include your Fist and Last Name and indicate your preferred email address.   

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