Until recently, Oakland had fairly strict zoning policies that would prohibit those interested in having animals in their yards. In 2011 city began a new project to reconsider these zoning regulations. You can sign up here to receive notifications on project updates. Meetings were scheduled for discussion. However, the page does not appear to have been updated since Summer, 2011, so it's not clear if the project has been completed or if policies have been changed beyond needing the Conditional Use Permit.

According to the city: 

On March 15, 2011 the City Council adopted new residential and commercial zones for the entire City. The new zones allow "Crop and Animal Raising Agricultural Activities" with approval of a Conditional Use Permit in all residential and commercial areas in the City. This change is intended to be an interim measure until the City can conduct a comprehensive update to address all aspects of urban agriculture.

The urban agriculture update is also being initiated to implement policies and actions in the Open Space and Conservation Element of the General Plan and the Draft Energy and Climate Action Plan. These new regulations will further Oakland's goal of becoming a more sustainable city.

The current scope of the comprehensive urban agriculture update addresses the location and intensity of urban agricultural uses on a lot, number and type of animals/livestock, sales of products and possible butchering for personal consumption. This scope may evolve as we receive feedback from the community. We urge you to become familiar with the urban agriculture update process and get involved!

There are many ways to stay informed and participate in the urban agriculture update.

  • Look for notices of upcoming public meetings and related information, here, at the City of Oakland Urban Agriculture Citywide Zoning Update website.
  • Get on the urban agriculture update email distribution list. To be notified of all public meetings and decisions, make sure we have your contact information. You can email us your contact information, or any questions or comments to hklein@oaklandnet.com
  • Provide us with your written comments. If you have comments, please email us at hklein@oaklandnet.com. You may send a letter to: City of Oakland, Attn: Heather Klein, Strategic Planning Division, 250 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Suite 3315, Oakland CA  94612 or fax to (510) 238-6538.

In the meantime, here are some ordinances to know about if you are interested in having a backyard farm in Oakland: 

  • 6.04.290 Keeping certain animals in apartment house, hotel and business district.

    It is unlawful for any person to raise, or keep, live chickens, ducks, geese or other fowl, or pigeons, rabbits, guinea pigs or goats, in any enclosure or yard on property occupied by an apartment house or hotel or in a business district in the city, except when such fowl or animals are kept within a bona fide produce market, commission house or store for purposes of trade and, while so kept, are confined in small coops, boxes or cages.

  • 6.04.320 - Keeping of fowl.
    It is unlawful for any person to keep any ducks, geese, chickens or other fowls in any enclosure in the city unless the exterior boundaries of said enclosures are more than twenty (20) feet from any dwelling, church or school.

    It is unlawful for any person to keep, harbor or maintain roosters within the city limit.
  • 8.40.080 - Offensive places and occupations.

    It is unlawful for any person to establish or maintain any slaughterhouse, to keep any hog, to cure or keep hides, skins or peltry, to slaughter cattle, sheep or any other kind of animal, to pursue, maintain or carry on any other business or occupation offensive to the senses or prejudicial to the public health or comfort, within the limits of the city.

  • Definition: OMC 17.10.610  (Planning Code)- Crop and Animal Raising Agricultural Activities include the raising of tree, vine, field, forage, and other plant crops, intended to provide food or fibers, as well as keeping, grazing, or feeding of animals for 

    animal products, animal increase, or value increase. This classification also includes certain activities 

    accessory to the above, as specified in Section 17.10.040. 

  • 17.11.050 - Conditionally permitted activities. 

    The following activities, as described in the use classifications at Chapter 17.10, and as further 

    restricted to certain park and open space categories and specific uses as set forth in 17.11.060, may be 

    permitted upon the granting of a conditional use permit pursuant to the conditional use permit procedure 

    at Chapter 17.134 and the special use permit procedure for the OS zone at Chapter 17.135, subject to 

    the special definitions for projects in the open space zone at Section 17.09.050 and the use permit criteria 

    at Section 17.11.110:

    •  D. Agricultural and Extractive Activities: 

    • Crop and Animal Raising

    • L2. Crop and Animal Raising is only permitted upon the granting of a Conditional Use Permit (see 

      Chapter 17.134 for the CUP procedure). In addition to the criteria contained in Section 17.134.050, 

      this activity must meet the following use permit criteria: 

      1. The proposal will not adversely affect the livability or appropriate development of abutting 

      properties and the surrounding neighborhood in terms of noise, water and pesticide runoff, 

      farming equipment operation, hours of operation, odor, security, and vehicular traffic; 

      2. Agricultural chemicals or pesticides will not impact abutting properties or the surrounding 

      neighborhood; and 

      3. The soil used in growing does not contain any harmful contaminants and the activity will not 

      create contaminated soil. 

      (Ord. No. 13064, § 2(Exh. A), 3-15-2011) 

To apply for a Conditional Use Permit, click here.