Identify actions that will be taken to make sites available during the planning period of the general plan with appropriate zoning and development standards and with services and facilities to accommodate that portion of the city's or county's share of the regional housing need for each income level that could not be accommodated on sites identified in the inventory completed pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) without rezoning, and to comply with the requirements of Section 65584.09.

Drawing of district boundry lines

Sites shall be identified as needed to facilitate and encourage the development of a variety of types of housing for all income levels, including multifamily rental housing, factory-built housing, mobilehomes, housing for agricultural employees, supportive housing, single-room occupancy units, emergency shelters, and transitional housing. (Section 65583(c)(1))

  • Where the inventory of sites, pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (a), does not identify adequate sites to accommodate the need for groups of all household income levels pursuant to Section 65584, the program shall identify sites that can be developed for housing within the planning period pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 65583.2.
  • Where the inventory of sites pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) does not identify adequate sites to accommodate the need for farmworker housing, the program shall provide for sufficient sites to meet the need with zoning that permits farmworker housing use by right, including density and development standards that could accommodate and facilitate the feasibility of the development of farmworker housing for low- and very low-income households.

Required Components of Programs

Effective programs reflect the results of the local housing need analyses, identification of available resources (including land and financing), and the mitigation of identified governmental and nongovernmental constraints. Programs consist of specific action steps the locality will take to implement its policies and achieve goals and objectives. Programs must include a specific timeframe for implementation, identify the agencies or officials responsible for implementation, and describe the jurisdiction’s specific role in implementation.

Program Requirements (Last Updated: 12/09/16)

General

The sites inventory should demonstrate adequate site capacity to accommodate the regional housing need for all income groups. Where the analysis of a local government’s sites inventory does not demonstrate enough suitable, available, and appropriately zoned sites to accommodate the regional housing need by income level, the housing element must include an adequate-sites program to identify sites that can be developed within the planning period. Sites or zones must be identified to facilitate and encourage the development of a variety of types of housing for people at all income levels, including multifamily rental housing, factory-built housing, mobilehomes, housing for agricultural employees, emergency shelters, and transitional housing.

A jurisdiction’s adequate sites program must accommodate 100 percent of the shortfall of sites necessary to accommodate the remaining housing need for housing for very low- and low-income households during the planning period. These sites must be appropriately zoned early enough in the planning period to provide realistic and viable development opportunities.

The program must:

  • Ensure sites are zoned to allow owner-occupied and rental multifamily residential uses “by-right” (only subject to ministerial approval) in which 20 percent or more of the units are affordable to lower income households.
  • Permit the development of at least 16 units per site.
  • Ensure sites within suburban and metropolitan jurisdictions — as defined by Government Code Section 65583.2(c)(3)(B)(iii) and (iv) — permit a minimum of 20 dwelling units per acre (see III and IV in the table below).
  • Ensure sites in incorporated cities within nonmetropolitan counties and nonmetropolitan counties that have micropolitan areas — as defined by Government Code Section 65583.2(d) — permit a minimum of 16 dwelling units per acre (see I and II in the table below).
  • Either a) ensure at least 50 percent of the low- and very low-income regional housing need can be accommodated on sites designated for exclusively residential uses, at appropriate densities or b) if accommodating more than 50 percent of the low- and very low-income regional housing need on sites designated for mixed-uses, all sites designated for mixed-uses must allow 100 percent residential use and require residential use to occupy at least 50 percent of the floor area in a mixed–use project.
By-Right Program Minimum Densities
I
Incorporated cities within nonmetropolitan/rural counties and nonmetropolitan counties with *micropolitan areas
II
Unincorporated areas in all nonmetropolitan counties not included under I
III
Suburban jurisdictions
IV
Metropolitan jurisdictions
Nonmetropolitan counties with micropolitan areas include:

Del Norte
Humboldt
Inyo
Lassen
Lake
Mendocino
Nevada
Tehama
Tuolumne
Note: Following list excludes those counties with *micropolitan areas as outlined in I

Alpine
Amador
Calaveras
Colusa
Glenn
Mariposa
Modoc
Mono
Plumas
Sierra
Siskiyou
Trinity
Note: Suburban jurisdictions include cities and counties located within a **Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and have a population of less than 2 million. (Cities in a MSA with a population greater than 100,000 are considered metropolitan.)

Butte
Fresno
Imperial
Kern
Kings
Madera
Marin**
Merced
Monterey
Napa
San Joaquin
San Luis Obispo
Santa Barbara
Santa Cruz Shasta
Solano
Sonoma
Stanislaus
Sutter
Tulare
Ventura
Yuba
Note: Metropolitan jurisdictions include cities and counties located within a **Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) with a population of more than 2 million (Cities in a MSA with a population less than 25,000 are considered suburban.)

Alameda
Contra Costa
El Dorado
Los Angeles
Orange
Placer
Riverside
Sacramento
San Benito
San Bernardino
San Diego
San Francisco
San Mateo
Santa Clara
Yolo
Density: At least 16 dwelling units/acre Density: At least 16 dwelling units/acre Density: At least 20 dwelling units/acre Density: At least 20 dwelling units/acre

*Micropolitan: Urban cluster of at least a 10,000 population, but less than a 50,000 population.
**Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA): A city with 50,000 or more inhabitants, or the presence of an Urbanized Area (UA) and a total population of at least 100,000
***Housing Elements Gov. Code Section 65583.2(e)(2)(A)(i): If a county that is in the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont California MSA has a population of less than 400,000, that county shall be considered suburban. If this county includes an incorporated city that has a population of less than 100,000, this city shall also be considered suburban. This paragraph shall apply to a housing element revision cycle, as described in subparagraph (A) of paragraph (3) of subdivision (e) of Section 65588, that is in effect from July 1, 2014, to December 31, 2028, inclusive.

Sites Used in Previous Planning Periods Housing Elements

If the element includes sites identified to accommodate the low- and very low-income RHNA that was used in prior planning period’s housing element (for non-vacant sites) or two or more consecutive planning periods (for vacant sites), then the element must include a program in the housing element requiring rezoning within three years of the beginning of the planning period to allow residential use by right at specified densities (see Zoning to Accommodate the Development of Housing Affordable to Lower-income Households) for housing developments in which at least 20 percent of the units are affordable to lower income households.

Definition of By-Right

For the purposes of housing element law and in accordance with Chapter 724, by-right shall mean the local government’s review shall not require:

  • A conditional-use permit
  • A planned unit development permit
  • Other discretionary, local-government review or approval that would constitute a “project” as defined in Section 21100 of the Public Resources Code.

This provision does not preclude local planning agencies from imposing design review standards. However, the review and approval process must remain ministerial and the design review must not constitute a “project” as defined in the Section 21100 of the Public Resources Code. For example, a hearing officer (e.g., zoning administrator) or other hearing body (e.g., planning commission) can review the design merits of a project and call for a project proponent to make design-related modifications, but cannot deliberate the project’s merits or exercise judgment to reject or deny the “residential use” itself.

Program and policy requiring replacement of existing affordable units

The housing element must include a program in the housing element and policy independent of the housing element requiring the replacement of units affordable to the same or lower income level as a condition of any development on a nonvacant site consistent with those requirements set forth in Density Bonus Law (Government Code section 65915(c)(3).) Replacement requirements shall be required for sites identified in the inventory that currently have residential uses, or within the past five years have had residential uses that have been vacated or demolished, and:

  • Was subject to a recorded covenant, ordinance, or law that restricts rents to levels affordable to persons and families of low or very low-income, or
  • Subject to any other form of rent or price control through a public entity’s valid exercise of its police power, or
  • Occupied by low or very low-income households

For the purpose of this program “previous five years” is based on the date the application for development was submitted

Adequate-Sites Program Timing

A locality’s ability to accommodate needed housing during the planning period requires designating appropriate zoning as early as possible. The most direct procedure is for the locality to undertake rezoning when the housing element is adopted. The program must make provision for sites that will be available soon enough to reasonably permit development during the planning period. For example, rezoning actions should be completed within the first year to two years.

Policy and Program Options

Strategies to Increase Residential Capacity

The following approaches have been used by localities to increase their total residential development capacity:

  • Up-zone existing residential areas at appropriate densities to facilitate development of housing.
  • Increase maximum allowable residential densities in existing residential, commercial, and mixed-use zones and modify development standards, such as height limitations to ensure maximum density can be achieved.
  • Pre-zone and annex land suitable for residential use.
  • Establish minimum densities — Designate minimum densities of development to ensure that existing available land is not underutilized.
  • Allow and encourage mixed-use zoning — Permit housing in certain nonresidential zones either as part of a mixed-use project or as a standalone residential use.
  • Rezone underutilized land from nonresidential to residential to expand the supply of available residential land.
  • Institute flexible zoning — Allow various residential uses within existing nonresidential zones without requiring rezoning or conditional approvals.
  • Redevelop and/or recycle underutilized existing land to more intensive uses.
  • Convert obsolete, older public/institutional/commercial/industrial buildings to residential use through adaptive reuse and/or historic preservation.
  • Over-zone — Create a surplus of land for residential development during the current planning period of at least 20 percent more than the locality’s share of the regional housing need. Over-zoning compensates for urban land left vacant due to ownership and development constraints and creates a real surplus. A sufficient supply of land beyond the time frame of the housing element helps prevent land shortages from bidding up land costs.
  • Allow and promote small- and irregular-size lot development.
  • Consolidate lots — Facilitate combining small residential lots into larger lots to accommodate higher-density development.
  • Increase height limitations — At a minimum, allow three stories in multifamily zones.
  • Increase Floor Area Ratios — Allow for larger buildings on smaller lots and/or more units per lot by reducing the floor area ratio (total lot area divided by the total building area).

Appropriate Development Standards

Appropriate zoning and development standards facilitate the location, siting, capacity, and price of residential development in order to meet identified housing needs, particularly new construction for lower-income households. These include establishing minimum densities and minimum floor areas; increasing maximum lot coverage; allowing minimum building-, rear-, and side-yard setbacks; reducing parking and amenities requirements; and other controls such as streamlined architectural and design review standards.

State zoning law requires localities to zone sufficient vacant land for residential use with appropriate standards to meet the housing needs as identified in the general plan. Appropriate standards are requirements that contribute significantly to the economic feasibility of producing housing at the lowest possible cost.

In regulating subdivisions, Government Code Section 65913.2 provides that a local government may not impose design criteria for the purpose of rendering an affordable housing development infeasible. A community may not impose standards and criteria for public improvements (e.g. streets, sewers, schools, or parks) that exceed those imposed on other developments in similar zones. Additionally, the effect of a community’s ordinances and actions on accommodating the housing needs of the region must be considered.

Encouraging Development of Underutilized Sites for Housing

Identification of underutilized land and opportunities for mixed uses must be accompanied by programs that encourage their development and/or reuse. Such programs could include actions to initiate any necessary rezoning, establish appropriate regulatory and/or financial incentives, relax development standards (design criteria, parking, building height, setback requirements, etc.), support more compact and higher-density residential developments, and facilitate the new construction of multifamily rental and owner-occupied units. Such developments are often located in urban core areas, adjacent to existing neighborhoods, close to transit centers, and near established businesses and services.

Strategies to Encourage Adequate Sites for a Variety of Housing Types

While the sites inventory may identify sufficient sites to accommodate the locality’s total share of the regional housing need, the element must also include policies and programs to promote development on identified sties. Localities have developed various strategies and development incentives to encourage a variety of housing types for all income levels, including:

  • Up-zone existing neighborhoods in areas of opportunity or in high quality neighborhood transit areas at appropriate densities to facilitate development of housing.
  • Increase maximum allowable residential densities in existing residential, commercial, and mixed-use zones and modify development standards, such as height limitations to ensure maximum density can be achieved.
  • Establish minimum densities — Designate minimum densities of development to ensure that existing available land is not underutilized.
  • Rezone underutilized land from nonresidential to residential to expand the supply of available residential land.
  • Institute flexible zoning — Allow various residential uses within existing nonresidential zones without requiring rezoning or conditional approvals.
  • Redevelop and/or recycle underutilized existing land to more intensive uses.
  • Convert obsolete, older public/institutional/commercial/industrial buildings to residential use through adaptive reuse and/or historic preservation.
  • Over-zone — Create a surplus of land for residential development during the current planning period of at least 20 percent more than the locality’s share of the regional housing need. Over-zoning compensates for urban land left vacant due to ownership and development constraints and creates a real surplus. A sufficient supply of land beyond the time frame of the housing element helps prevent land shortages from bidding up land costs.
  • Zoning sites for mobilehomes and mobilehome park use.
  • Promoting multifamily rental housing built above ground-floor commercial uses (referred to as “mixed-use” development) by permitting apartment uses in office/commercial areas (allows office space revenue to offset rental costs and act as an internal project subsidy) or as a standalone residential use.
  • Compiling and maintaining an inventory of public surplus lands and land owned by other entities (such as school districts, public utilities, etc.) to identify sites suitable for development of low- and moderate-income housing. Facilitating the acquisition of surplus public lands and other identified land for affordable housing development.
  • Zoning for housing types typically occupied by renter households.
  • Ensuring zoning encourages single-room occupancy units and establishing ordinances with written and objective standards.
  • Offering development incentives (e.g., land write-downs, fee waivers, and below market-rate financing) negotiated through developer agreements to increase multifamily densities in selected areas.
  • Reducing multifamily development standards (e.g. number of required covered parking spaces, setback and building height requirements, etc.).
  • Establishing ordinances or guidelines to promote small-lot and irregular-size lot development
  • Establishing “no net loss” policies and procedures to rezone equal amounts of land to replace any residential land used for other than its intended residential use.

Description of the specific actions, jurisdiction’s specific role in implementation and demonstration of commitment to implement
Objectives: (Quantified, where possible)
Responsible Agency: 
Timeline: 
Funding Source(s)
: (Where appropriate)

Sample Program 1: By-Right

To accommodate the remaining lower-income RHNA of 89 units, the City of X will identify and rezone a minimum of 4.5 acres of vacant land to the R3 zoning district, allowing exclusively residential uses and a minimum of 20 units per acre to a maximum of 30 units per acre by June 30, 2024. Rezoned sites will permit owner-occupied and rental multifamily uses by right pursuant to Government Code section 65583.2(i) for developments in which 20 percent or more of the units are affordable to lower income households and will be selected from sites 20 through 30 in the parcel listing (Appendix A). As reflected in Appendix A, each site has the capacity to accommodate at least 16 units and will be available for development in the planning period where water, sewer, and dry utilities can be provided.

Objective: Create opportunity for at least 89 units of multifamily housing for lower income households
Responsible Agency: Community Development Department
Timeline: Sites rezoned by June 30, 2024
Funding Source(s): General fund

Sample Program 2: Rezone Program on Mixed-use Sites

To accommodate the remaining lower-income RHNA of 150 units, the City will identify and rezone 8 acres of sites within the MU-30 zoning district, allowing owner-occupied and rental multifamily residential uses “by-right”, at a minimum of 20 units per acre by June 30, 2017. Sites will allow projects to be 100 percent residential by-right but shall require residential uses to occupy at least 50 percent of the total floor area of the mixed-use project. Rezoned sites will permit owner-occupied and rental multifamily uses by right pursuant to Government Code section 65583.2(i) for developments in which 20 percent or more of the units are affordable to lower income households and will be selected from sites 15 through 30 in the parcel listing (Appendix A), and have the capacity for at least 16 units per site.

Responsibility: Community Development Department
Timing: Sites rezoned by June 30, 2024
Funding: General Fund
Objective: Create opportunity for at least 150 units of rental housing for lower income households

Sample Program 3: Replacement Unit Program

The City will adopt a policy and will require replacement housing units subject to the requirements of Government Code section 65915, subdivision (c)(3) on sites identified in the site inventory when any new development (residential, mixed-use or nonresidential) occurs on a site that is identified in the inventory meeting the following conditions:

  • currently has residential uses or within the past five years has had residential uses that have been vacated or demolished, and
  • was subject to a recorded covenant, ordinance, or law that restricts rents to levels affordable to persons and families of low or very low-income, or
  • subject to any other form of rent or price control through a public entity’s valid exercise of its police power, or
  • occupied by low or very low-income households

Funding: General Fund

Responsibility: Planning and Community Development Department
Objectives: In order to mitigate the loss of affordable housing units, require new housing developments to replace all affordable housing units lost due to new development.
Timeframes: The replacement requirement will be implemented immediately and applied as applications on identified sites are received and processed, and local policy shall be adopted by June 30, 2024.

Sample Program 4: Previously Identified Nonvacant and Vacant Sites

The City will rezone to allow developments by right pursuant to Government Code section 65583.2(i) when 20 percent or more of the units are affordable to lower income households on sites identified in Table A to accommodate the lower income RHNA that was previously identified in past housing elements. Specifically, the City will rezone the nonvacant sites identified on Table A previously identified in the 5th cycle housing element, and the vacant sites identified on Table A as previously identified for both the 5th and 4th cycle housing elements.

Objective: Create opportunity for at least X units of rental housing for lower income households.
Responsible Agency: Community Development Department
Timeline: Sites rezoned by (a specific date, no more than three years from the beginning of the planning period)
Funding: General Fund