Objective Design & Development Standards FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How is this work funded? The majority of is work is funded by the State of California through the Building Homes and Jobs Act of 2017, known as "SB 2". SB 2 was passed to provide funding and technical assistance to local agencies in order to streamline housing approvals and accelerate housing production.
  2. How does this relate to RHNA (Regional Housing Needs Allocation)? If the City has not met its RHNA goal of zoning for housing at a variety of income levels, State law allows developers to submit multi-unit housing applications under a ministerial approval process that provides for streamlined review. The ministerial process means that, among other criteria, the development must be consistent with all objective standards adopted at the time of application submittal.
  3. What if the City does not adopt new Objective Design and Development Standards? If the City does not adopt objective design and development standards the City is limited to considering existing, limited, objective standards, such as floor area, setbacks and height. The City has no objective standards specific to the form and architectural style of buildings and would not be able to apply any discretionary design review standards. Under State Density Bonus Law, developers may request concessions and exceptions to the City's objective standards to develop the units allowed in the City General Plan, such as additional height and floor area.
  4. Where will the objective design and development standards apply? The ODDS would apply to multi-family housing developments, which are allowed in multifamily zoning districts, commercial districts, and single family districts. 
  5. Can we still use our design guidelines?  The City's current design guidelines are advisory and subjective, requiring interpretation, and cannot be used as a reason to deny a qualified multifamily housing project. Design guidelines can still be used for single-family homes or projects that do not qualify for application of objective standards under state legislation.
  6. What about architectural style? How do these important issues get addressed in objective design standards?  The City will be considering an architectural style pattern book. This information may or may not be incorporated into the final objective design and development standards.
  7. Will this replace existing zoning standards? ODDS will not replace existing zoning and is likely to be applied as an overlay zone to supplement the zoning code, to be applied to multi-family housing projects that meet certain criteria.
  8. Is design review eliminated? The City has an option to continue to require design review for qualifying projects to evaluate conformance with ODDS, but the Design Review process would be limited to objective standards. Design review will still apply to projects that do not qualify for ODDS.