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State Legislation: The State of California continues to enact new laws that require streamlined housing approval by establishing a by-right, ministerial approval process for multifamily residential development. Key to ministerial approval is the replacement of subjective design guidelines with objective standards. California State Senate Bill 35 (Government Code Section 65913.4) requires cities to establish objective design standards for multifamily residential and mixed-use development.
What are Objective Standards? State law defines objective standards as those that “involve no personal or subjective judgement by a public official and are uniformly verifiable by reference to an external and uniform benchmark or criterion available and knowable by both the development applicant and public official prior to submittal.”
How does it relate to our Town? The state-mandated update of the Town’s Housing Element will result in a number of designated housing opportunity sites to meet the Town’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) for 2022-2030 of 639 housing units. Over the past year, the community and stakeholders have participated in an extensive outreach and engagement effort for completion of the Housing Element Update. The draft Housing Element was submitted on September 26, 2022 to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for the mandatory 90-day review.
Early notification of the intent to develop the objective design and development standards (ODDS) was communicated as part of the various public updates on the Housing Element Update’s progress. To achieve the RHNA housing units, the housing opportunity sites identified in the current draft Housing Element in the Downtown area are to be rezoned to allow mixed-use or residential development with increased housing density. The Town’s Design Review Board (DRB) hosted various public meetings on June 2nd, June 30th and July 21st, 2022 to provide guidance and directions on drafting the ODDS.
Current draft review and next steps. The initial draft ODDS is accessible here for feedback and comments. The initial draft ODDS will also be presented to the Planning Commission on the November 9, 2022, regularly scheduled public meeting for discussion. Feedback will be shared with the Town Council, which will provide direction to prepare a revised, final version of the new Zoning Code revisions.
Written comments are welcome and may be directed to Christy Fong, Senior Planner at firstname.lastname@example.org