LRDP: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Were the planning or environmental review processes for the LRDP update affected by COVID-19?

The LRDP update was a multiyear process that began in early 2019 and continued into summer 2021. UC Berkeley operated in accordance with all public health directives and applicable orders regarding the public health emergency. The campus proactively engaged in planning around the COVID-19 outbreak in collaboration with our public health partners and the UC Office of the President. 

Of direct relevance to CEQA (the California Environmental Quality Act), on March 24, 2020, five days after issuance of Governor Newsom’s “Safer at Home, Stay at Home” Order, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research announced that “at this time, there has been no change to the deadlines, noticing, or filing requirements contained within CEQA.” UC Berkeley operated in compliance with that directive and will continue to closely track any CEQA-related developments that may affect our ongoing projects, including those currently undergoing environmental review.

What was the public engagement process for the LRDP update?

Since the LRDP update was launched in early 2019, UC Berkeley has extensively engaged with the campus and its surrounding community. A community-oriented approach for updating the LRDP was critically important to campus leadership.

The 2021 LRDP represents the most comprehensive, public-facing campus planning effort in UC Berkeley’s history. The plan embodies thousands of hours of participation by faculty, students, staff, and the community, including a special LRDP Community Advisory Group with representatives appointed by the Berkeley mayor and city councilmembers, and members representing the local business community, Berkeley nonprofits and educational institutions, the arts and culture community, current student leaders, and Berkeley alumni.

The campus hosted at least one major engagement opportunity during each semester since the spring of 2019, including town halls, tabling in visible campus spaces, and hands-on substantive workshops for the campus community.

Throughout the LRDP process, the campus presented regular updates to the mayor and councilmembers that represent adjacent neighborhoods, and has met with the city's planning staff on a quarterly-basis to solicit input and feedback.

In addition to in-person outreach, the campus regularly updated an LRDP website with news, key documents, and conducted a six-month survey (from April-October 2019) to seek input from faculty, staff, students and the general public about the future development of the campus.

This robust public engagement effort provided both the campus and its surrounding community ample opportunities to review information throughout the multiyear LRDP update process and to weigh in with meaningful participation.

What is a Long Range Development Plan (LRDP)?

Every UC campus is required by the UC Board of Regents to prepare a Long Range Development Plan or LRDP.

An LRDP is a land-use plan that proposes how to best utilize areas of the campus and considers the associated facilities and infrastructure needed to support those uses. When new capital projects are presented to the UC Board of Regents for discussion and approval, the board will refer to a campus’s LRDP and associated Environmental Impact Report to ensure consistency.

An LRDP does not approve specific new buildings or projects. The LRDP is a strategy for where development would take place if it is eventually funded. As future projects are developed within the LRDP framework, they would have the appropriate environmental analysis and go through the university’s approval process before any construction begins.

An LRDP does not set enrollment and is not a mandate for growth. The UC Regents and the state legislature ultimately determine enrollment, and UC Berkeley has a duty to proactively plan for facilities in the long-term to meet the needs of our student body. Over the next fifteen years, the campus expects its undergraduate student population to grow annually by only 1%, or less, a rate that is less than projected for the population of the surrounding region. It is likely that student enrollment will increase for the UC system as a whole, but the UC Regents have not designated Berkeley as a “growth” campus.

What do the enrollment numbers in the LRDP mean?

The LRDP process requires UC campuses to project the potential student enrollment during the planning period for the purpose of planning for facilities and the associated infrastructure needed to support those uses. An LRDP does not set enrollment and is not a mandate for growth.

Over the next fifteen years, the campus expects its undergraduate student population to grow annually by only 1%, or less, a rate that is less than projected for the population of the surrounding region. The maximum student population in the 2021 LRDP for planning purposes is 48,200 by academic year 2036-37. The LRDP does not mandate this enrollment or any population growth at all.

The UC Regents and the state legislature ultimately determine enrollment. UC Berkeley has a duty to proactively plan for facilities in the long-term to meet the needs of our student body.

Does an LRDP expire? Why did UC Berkeley need to update its LRDP?

All UC campuses are required to have and periodically update an LRDP. An LRDP does not expire, rather it is updated at key points to better align land-use with evolving priorities.

After the campus updated its Strategic Plan in late 2018, it was clear the LRDP needed an update to better align with the campus's renewed vision and strategic priorities. In April 2019, an LRDP update initiative was launched.

The resulting 2021 LRDP is a forecast for responsible and flexible development of the UC Berkeley campus through academic year 2036-37. However, the LRDP does not expire in 2036-37. The plan will be updated again at some point in the future, when needed, to better align with the campus's evolving priorities.

Who approved the final plan?

All UC campuses are required to have and periodically update an LRDP. The LRDP and subsequent updates must be approved by the UC Board of Regents.

Additionally, UC campuses are required to prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for their Long Range Development Plans (LRDP). The LRDP EIR is certified by the UC Board of Regents.

The 2021 LRDP and EIR were approved and certified by the UC Board of Regents on July 22, 2021.

Why aren’t University of California campuses subject to local land use control?

As a state entity, the University of California is constitutionally exempt from local land use control. This means the university has autonomy in land use entitlement decisions when the use of such land promotes the university’s mission.

UC Berkeley’s LRDP addresses how campus planning will respond to relevant city, regional, state, and federal policies and plans. The campus plays an important role in the region and the LRDP strives to help advance the relevant development policies and objectives that guide the city and the region.

What environmental requirements are associated with an LRDP?

UC campuses are required to prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for their Long Range Development Plans (LRDP).

The EIR is intended to inform the campus, the UC Board of Regents, the local community, responsible and interested public agencies, and the general public about the potential environmental impacts of the development represented in the LRDP, possible measures to mitigate any significant adverse effects, and possible alternatives.

The LRDP EIR is certified by the UC Board of Regents. 

How is the Long Range Development Plan related to the Campus Master Plan?

The Long Range Development Plan is a framework that provides structure and order to the planning of future projects; it is a high-level document that is similar to a city’s general plan and does not identify specific, individual projects.

The Long Range Development Plan is focused on the overall organization of the built environment and the associated potential environmental impacts. The Campus Master Plan envisions potential projects and initiatives that could be implemented to achieve the university’s strategic goals, within the organizational framework of the Long Range Development Plan. From new buildings, renovations, and infrastructure improvements, the Campus Master Plan will consider changes in technology, new methods of instruction, and new modes of mobility, and how they can be integrated and reinforced in the physical environment.

In 2019, UC Berkeley chose to update its Long Range Development Plan and to create a new Campus Master Plan in parallel, with guidance from the same Advisory Group and Working Group, in order to optimize cohesion between the two plans.