Multi-Family Objective Design Standards

Spanish Mission Example

Project Background

In the 2019-20 Budget, Governor Newsom allocated $250 million for all regions, cities, and counties to prioritize planning activities that accelerate housing production to meet identified needs of every community. With this allocation, the California Department of Housing & Community Development (HCD) established the LEAP Grant Program with $119 million for cities and counties. LEAP provides one-time grant funding to cities and counties to update their planning documents and implement process improvements that will facilitate the acceleration of housing production and help local governments prepare for their 6th cycle regional housing need assessment (RHNA) and implementation of the subsequent Housing Elements.  

On June 16, 2020 the City Council authorized the City Manager to submit an application for a LEAP Grant to fund, in part, the preparation of Multi-Family Objective Design Standards for the City. The types of housing allowed in the Multi-Family zones in the City are the types of housing most in need in the State, according to HCD.  Citywide objective standards and process improvements would accelerate the time it takes for these types of projects to be approved by providing a framework for applicants to use to prepare their projects in advance, spend less time processing their project applications and with an anticipated reduced number of iterations processing projects among other improvements.

The City was awarded a LEAP Grant and the preparation of Multi-Family Objective Design Standards and process improvements is allocated approximately $200,000 of the grant award.  The preparation of the Standards a program in the City’s draft Housing Element Update and is planned to be implemented within the initial phase of the implementation of the update.  On April 19, 2022 the City Council authorized entering into an Agreement with Placeworks for Multi-Family Design Guidelines, and subsequently staff kicked-off the project in the summer of 2022.

On May 2, 2023 the City Council Adopted an Urgency Ordinance while the Objective Design Standards were available on public review.  

On July 26, 2023 the Planning Commission recommended the revised final Objective Design Standards to the City Council for adoption.  

On September 5, 2023 the City Council adopted the revised final Multi-Family and Mixed-Use Residential Objective Design Standards.  The Adopted Urgency Ordinance is provided below for reference for projects that may have been submitted from May to September 2023 (the second link below).  All other projects should utilize the Objective Design Standards adopted by Council in September 2023 (the first link below).

Planning Commission Workshop Presentation

Design Standards Winter 22-23 Survey Results

In order to gather more public input on the architectural styles preferred in the City, the project team put together an online survey that was available from November 2022 to February 2023.  Please click here for the survey results summary.

Staff Contact for this project is:

City Planner, Carl Stiehl

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (951) 461-6063