Statutory Determinations for Limiting Jurisdictions’ Abilities to Restrict Development

California’s housing crisis has reached historic proportions. In response, recently passed California laws limit the ability of specified cities and counties to restrict development based on a statutory determination of each jurisdiction’s status.

Designated Jurisdictions Prohibited from Certain Zoning-Related Actions

SB 330 (Statutes of 2019) requires the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to develop a list of cities (“affected cities”) and census designated places (CDPs) within the unincorporated county (“affected counties”) that are prohibited from taking certain zoning-related actions, including, among other things:

  • Downzoning certain parcels
  • Imposing a moratorium on development
  • Imposing design review standards that are not objective

The law also requires jurisdiction-wide housing replacement when housing affordable to lower-income residents is demolished.

View a full list of all the bill’s provisions .

Definition of "affected cities" - SB 330 defines an "affected city," as any city, including a charter city, that is located in an urbanized area or urban cluster, as designated by the United States Census Bureau. Any city with a population less than 5,000 and not located within an urbanized area is exempt. Based on HCD’s determination, 445 of the 482 cities in the state are identified as affected by the provisions of SB 330.

Definition of "affected counties" - "Affected counties" are defined as a CDP that is wholly within the boundaries of an urbanized area. Based on HCD’s determination, 141 CDPs in 22 counties are identified as affected by the provisions of SB 330.

How the determination was made - In order to make the determination of Affected Cities and Affected Counties, HCD used census data and geographic information systems (GIS) software to find all incorporated cities and towns that are either within or adjacent to urbanized areas, and cities and towns with a population greater than 5,000 either within or adjacent to urban clusters. HCD used census data and GIS software to find all CDPs that are wholly within the boundaries of an urbanized area.

map of California

View map of Affected Cities and Affected Counties .

*The list of affected cities and counties may be updated once on or after January 1, 2021 to account for changes in urbanized areas or urban clusters due to new data obtained from the 2020 census.

Streamlined Ministerial Approval Process (SB 35) Determination

SB 35 (Wiener, 2017) creates an opt-in program for developers that allows a streamlined approval process for developments in localities that have not yet met their housing targets, provided that the development is on an infill site and complies with existing residential and mixed use zoning. Participating developments must provide at least 10 percent of units for lower-income families. All projects over 10 units must be prevailing wage and larger projects must provide skilled and trained labor.

  • Streamlined Ministerial Approval Process (SB 35) Statewide Determination Summary (PDF) — Updated 06/25/2019 — Summary of which jurisdictions are not currently subject to the streamlined ministerial approval process (SB 35 streamlining), which are currently subject to SB 35 streamlining for developments with at least 10 percent affordability, and which are currently subject to SB 35 streamlining for developments with at least 50 percent affordability.
  • Interactive SB 35 Determination and Housing Element Open Data map (Reflects data submitted to HCD as of 06/25/2019)
  • Streamlined Ministerial Approval Process (SB 35) Determination Methodology and Background Data (PDF) — Updated 08/29/2019 — Additional detail on the determination methodology and background data.