General Plan Set for City Council hearing

The Albany City Council will hold a public hearing on the new Albany 2035 General Plan on Monday April 18 at 7:30 PM.  The Council also will consider the Final Environmental Impact Report, which includes Responses to Comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report published in November 2015.  The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended Council approval of the General Plan at its March 9, 2016 meeting.  The recommendation included an “Addendum” to the Plan which identifies specific text changes to be adopted by reference.

The hearing will be held in the Council Chambers at Albany City Hall at 1000 San Pablo Avenue.  The public is encouraged to speak on the item.  More information, including the staff report, may be found on the “Document” tab of this website.


General Plan Addendum and Response to EIR Comments now available

On February 26, 2016, the City of Albany published a proposed Addendum to the Public Review Draft General Plan.  The Addendum includes 24 pages of proposed line edits to the Draft Plan which respond to comments received on the document since its release on November 25, 2015.  Comments were received from City Commissions, the City Council, agencies, organizations, and individuals.  The edits incorporate appropriate revisions, while maintaining internal consistency and compliance with State General Plan Guidelines. Many–but not all–of the comments made led to revisions.  The City has also published the documents that will comprise the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) on the General Plan.  These documents include the “Response to Comments,” “Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program,” and “CEQA Required Findings”  The Response to Comments includes copies of all letters and oral testimony specifically on the Environmental Impact Report, and responses to those comments.

Copies of the Addendum and FEIR materials may be accessed via the Documents link on this website, or via the hyperlinks above.


General Plan Now Available for Public Review

The City of Albany has released its Draft 2035 General Plan for public review. The General Plan is a state-mandated document that includes the maps and policies that will guide Albany’s growth for the next 20 years. A Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) has been prepared to evaluate the potential environmental impacts that could occur as the new Plan is implemented. The Albany Planning and Zoning Commission and Albany City Council will hold public hearings on the Draft Plan and DEIR beginning in January 2016.

The Draft General Plan is the product of a 2-1/2 year process effort involving more than 20 study sessions of the Planning and Zoning Commission, and numerous meetings with other City Commissions, the City Council, and community members. The Plan includes chapters addressing land use, transportation, parks and open space, conservation and sustainability, environmental hazards, community services and facilities, and the waterfront. A separate part of the General Plan addresses housing; that portion was adopted in February 2015 to meet State requirements.

This is the first comprehensive update of the City’s General Plan since 1992. The new General Plan carries forward many of the policies now in place, including policies for the Albany waterfront. The Plan incorporates established policies from the city’s more recent plans, including its Climate Action Plan and its Active Transportation Plan.

The General Plan presents housing and employment projections for Albany for the next 20 years. According to the Plan, Albany could add as many as 815 housing units and 1,000 jobs by 2035. Most of this development would take place through “infill” projects along San Pablo Avenue, including buildings with new housing above ground floor commercial uses. The DEIR evaluates the effects of this growth on traffic, air and water quality, wildlife, City services, aesthetics, and other environmental factors. The Plan advocates for more sustainable growth, green construction, new pedestrian and bicycle paths, and improvements to City parks, schools, and civic buildings.

Click here to review the General Plan and DEIR.  Column 1 includes the existing (1992) Plan, Column 2 includes the new Draft Plan, and Column 3 includes the Draft EIR.  Copies of these documents are also available for review at City Hall and the Albany Public Library. The City invites public comment on both documents through January 25, 2016 and has scheduled a public hearing on the Plan and DEIR for January 13, 2016. Hearings to adopt the Plan will take place after the comment period has closed.

What Happens Next?


The Public Review Draft of the Albany General Plan will be released on November 24, 2015. A Draft Environmental Impact Report will be released concurrently. Dates for City Council Study Sessions, Planning and Zoning Commission hearings, and City Council hearings will be announced following the release date. Paper copies of the Draft documents will be available at City Hall and the Albany Public Library starting November 24. Electronic copies will be posted to this website and will be downloadable. Files will be posted by chapter for ease of downloading. Please check back soon for more information.  The document will remain a Public Review Draft until it is adopted by the City Council, a process that is expected to take four to six months. Public comment is encouraged during that time, and the document may be revised and edited based on that comment.


City Council to “Preview” New General Plan on July 20


The Albany City Council will receive a briefing on the 2035 General Plan at their regular meeting on July 20, 2015. Members of the public are encouraged to attend and may comment on the item. The Council will receive a short presentation on the status of the project and the schedule for its completion.   The presentation will include highlights from seven chapters—or “elements”—of the Plan, including Land Use, Transportation, Conservation and Sustainability, Parks and Open Space, Environmental Hazards, Community Services and Facilities, and Waterfront. A staff report, including the 100-page “Compendium of Policies” will be posted to this website prior to the meeting time.  The meeting will take place in the Albany City Hall Council Chambers at 1000 San Pablo Avenue at 7:00 PM.

Planning and Zoning Commission Holds 20th and final Study Session on General Plan


On June 24, 2015, the Planning and Zoning Commission convened their 20th and final Study Session on the Albany General Plan. The Study Session included a review of a “Compendium of Goals, Policies, and Actions,” including all of the goals, policies, and actions in the Draft General Plan except Housing, which had been reviewed previously. The Commission has been holding study sessions on the General Plan since March 2013. The initial sessions focused on the Housing Element, since that part of the Plan is subject to State deadlines. The last year has included reviews of the other seven elements, including Land Use (April 2014), Transportation (May 2014), Parks and Open Space (June 2014), Conservation and Sustainability (July 2014), Environmental Hazards (November 2014), Community Services and Facilities (December 2014), and Waterfront (March 2015). Prior to the June 24 meeting, the Commission was provided with a “tracked change” version of the policies, showing how the drafts presented at each of these meetings had been edited to incorporate their comments and other public comments.

New Waterfront Policies Published for Discussion


On February 20, 2015, the City released “working draft” goals, policies, and actions for the new Waterfront Element of the General Plan. The Waterfront Element is a new section of the Plan, designed to lay out the City’s policies for the lands west of Interstate 80.   The Element provides guidance on the transformation of the publicly owned land in this area to a waterfront park, including trails, conservation areas, and improved recreational facilities. These policies incorporate major recommendations from the Eastshore State Park General Plan, a 2002 document describing a vision for the East Bay shoreline between Oakland and Richmond. The Planning and Zoning Commission held a study session on the Draft policies on March 11, 2015. Comments were received from a number of parties, including Citizens for Eastshore State Park and interested individuals. The policies and actions do not propose any changes for Golden Gate Fields, which is designated for ”Commercial Recreation” by the General Plan. Under Albany’s Measure C, changes to the General Plan Map for this site would require a citywide vote.

2015-2023 Housing Element Certified by State


The City has received notice from the State Department of Housing and Community Development that its 2015-2023 Housing Element is fully compliant with State law. The compliance letter was received on February 19, 2015, just two weeks after the City submitted the Element for State review. City staff had worked closely with State reviewers prior to adoption to ensure that all potential State concerns were addressed, and to expedite the review process. The new Housing Element replaces the prior Housing Element, which was adopted in March 2014. It includes a detailed action program demonstrating the City’s capacity to accommodate its fair share of the Bay Area’s housing needs between 2015 and 2023. The Association of Bay Area Governments has determined the City’s share to be 80 very low income units, 53 low income units, 57 moderate income units, and 145 above moderate income units. The adopted Housing Element may be found on the “Documents” tab of this website.

Planning and Zoning Commission to Consider Waterfront Policies on Feb 25

On February 25, 2015, the Albany Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a Study Session to discuss the first draft of the Waterfront Element of the General Plan.  The Waterfront Element is a new chapter of the plan, intended to summarize existing policy initiatives for the shoreline, such as the Eastshore State Park Plan.  Policies cover such topics as shoreline access, wildlife protection, sea level rise, and recreational improvements.  No changes to the General Plan Map are proposed in this area.  The meeting will take place at 7 PM in the City Council Chambers at 1000 San Pablo Avenue.  The study session will occur after the regular business agenda of the Planning and Zoning Commission.  Members of the public are encouraged to attend and will have an opportunity to address the Commission.

City Council Adopts Housing Element on Feb 2, 2015

The Albany City Council adopted the 2015-2023 Housing Element at a public hearing on February 2, 2015.  A resolution adopting an Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration (required by the California Environmental Quality Act) also was adopted.  The Housing Element includes the City’s official policies for housing production, housing conservation, affordable housing, and the provision of housing for persons with special needs.  The Element has an eight year timeframe and will guide Albany’s housing policies through 2023.  The Element replaces the 2007-2014 Housing Element.  To review a copy of the Final Housing Element, please visit the “Documents” link on this website.

On February 14, 2015, the City learned that its Housing Element had received State certification.

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