Over the past several years Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer and the City Council have taken an unprecedented number of steps aimed at reducing housing costs, increasing housing supply and streamlining the approval process. This site provides an overview of recent initiatives to streamline development processes and reduce costs for housing development. It highlights initiatives which have recently been adopted, describes proposed actions that are currently in progress and discusses future reforms which are still in the early stages of development.
“Live/Work Quarter” Regulations - Modifications to regulations to allow more housing in commercial areas.
Affordable Housing Density Bonus - Incentivizes the development of affordable housing through:
Streamlined Environmental Review - Allows a streamlined environmental review process for projects consistent with the densities established by existing zoning, community plan or general plan policies for which an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was certified.
Affordable Housing Regulations - Additional incentives that the City has implemented include allowing developers to construct additional density above the maximum allowed under the density bonus regulations, totaling 50 percent, if they are not requesting any waiver/incentive; allowing micro-unit projects to qualify for a 100 percent density bonus; in addition to other streamlining.
11th Comprehensive Update to the Land Development Code - 46 code amendments to help improve the permit processes including streamlining and flexibility related to: Historical Resource Regulations, Lot Consolidation, Paleontological Mitigation, Live/Work Quarters, and a reduction in parking within Transit Priority Areas (TPA).
Housing Inventory Annual Report - Provides information related to the City’s housing supply, affordability, and an overview of recent actions to increase housing production.
Deposit Account Streamlining - Elimination of 62 deposit accounts to 10 to streamline submittal process.
Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) - Companion Units and Junior Units - Exceeded state requirements that included a reduced process, zoning flexibility and reduced water and sewers fees for Companion Units (CU). Included additional incentives to provide an alternate source of affordable housing, including a Junior Unit category. Fees associated with CU construction have since been waived.
Affordable/Infill and Sustainable Expedite - Includes Promise Zone Expedite - The ordinance was amended to shorten the discretionary review process, allow more deviations to qualify for the reduced process, expand the eligibility to capture more infill projects and establish clear citywide policy. Council Policy 600-27 was also amended to reflect the two expedite programs. Development within promise zones receive expedited discretionary and ministerial permit processing for all eligible building projects.
Fee Reform - Consolidation of different development fee types.
Storm Water – Alternative Compliance Program Phase 1 - Provides Offsite Storm Water Alternative Compliance as an option for Priority Development Projects in lieu of implementing onsite structural best management practices to comply with pollutant control and hydromodification management requirements.
Development Impact Fee (DIF) Deferral (2016) - Allows the City to defer the DIF payment for a maximum deferral of up to two years to encourage the initiation of housing development.
Community Plan Implementation Density Incentive (2016) - Creates density incentives for redevelopment of six-unit apartment complexes with an interior parking lot to pedestrian-friendly development consistent with the community plan.
10th Comprehensive Update to the Land Development Code (2016) - 40 Code amendments to improve the permit process including: streamlining public noticing, a new exemption from the requirement to obtain a Coastal Development Permit for certain single dwelling unit development, facilitating shared parking, and reducing steps for non-historic development over 45 years old.
Climate Action Plan (CAP) Checklist (2016) - Adoption of the CAP along with the CAP Checklist and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Thresholds, has provided a streamlined California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review for GHG reductions for projects
Shared Parking (2016) - Reduces the process required for shared parking agreements via agreements with neighboring properties and potentially allow greater development density.
Development Permit Flexibility (2015) - Provides additional flexibility (Extension of time) to complete housing project construction under approved development permits.
Application of New Regulations (2015) - Allows projects to have the benefit of new regulations (adopted after the permit effective date) without a need to amend their development permit when the resulting development is in substantial conformance with the permit.
9th Comprehensive Update to the Land Development Code (2015) - 57 Code amendments to improve the permit process including: streamlining to implement the City’s Economic Development Strategy, efficiencies in processing environmental permits for certain properties over 45 years old, Companion Unit regulations to remove constraints and allow them through ministerial processing.
Small Lot Subdivision Ordinance (2015) - Allows for the subdivision of multi-family zoned land, consistent with the density of the community plan, for construction of single-family homes. It creates an opportunity for greater home ownership in older neighborhoods with small lot patterns
Short-Term Rental Occupancy (STRO) - Limits an STRO license to a host’s primary residence and one dwelling unit on the same parcel. Also places a time limit for a maximum of six months per year and includes payment of an affordable housing fee on the license.
Comprehensive Community Plan Updates - Ongoing component of Planning Department’s Work Program. Since 2014 have completed 10 Plan Updates and Amendments resulting in adding capacity for approximately 30,000 additional residential units.
New Mixed-Use Zoning Packages - Will create new citywide mixed-use zones which locate housing in closer proximity to employers, and foster transit-oriented development.
Development Impact Fee (DIF) Calculations - The City is currently reviewing the existing methodologies and procedures, survey best impact fee practices, and will recommend a preferred methodology for calculation of fees for consideration.
Parks Master Plan - As communities grow and develop, the Parks Master Plan will reexamine the way that the City defines and meets desired service levels as to deliver a diverse array of parks and recreation facilities to meet changing demographics.
Parking Incentives within Transit Priority Areas - Develop parking requirements that allow for parking reductions within Transit Priority Areas, thereby providing for better development potential and utilization of developable land to build housing units.
Streamlined Transportation Analysis - Update the City’s CEQA transportation analysis metrics and significance thresholds from level of service/vehicle delay-based metrics to vehicle miles traveled-based metrics, consistent with SB 743.
Live/Work Quarters Amendments - Expand the application of current Live/Work Ordinance to additional zones to facilitate more housing opportunities near workplace and revisions to the regulations to provide housing alternatives within the work space.
12th Comprehensive Update to the Land Development Code - City staff is in the early stages of reviewing key amendments to the Land Development Code to further address housing affordability and improve processing.
Mixed Income Housing Incentives - Incentives for developers to construct housing projects that provide units that can be sold or rented to entry-level/middle-income households.
Concurrent Processing - Provides faster review opportunities by allowing for the concurrent processing of ministerial permits during the discretionary review process.
Transportation Master Plan - A transportation master plan to coordinate existing plans, considering all modes of transportation and potentially reducing Development Impact Fees by reducing roadway improvements and focusing instead on multi-modal access.
Streamlining for Homelessness Solutions - Publicly initiated project streamlining to exempt projects from permit (ministerial and/or exemption) within existing structures and developed properties (e.g., parking lots).
Comprehensive Update of CEQA Thresholds - A comprehensive update to the City’s Thresholds for Determining Significance under CEQA, to reflect changes in state law, case law and science, as well as current City regulation that reduce or avoid potential impacts.
Commercial Flexibility - Flexibility to allow interim ground floor residential or office where commercial retail is typically required through a Conditional Use Permit.
Storm Water – Alternative Compliance Program Phase 2 - Further expands on Phase 1 of the Alternative Compliance Program by including an option for credit trading system.