Northern News

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A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

Making great communities happen

Revised SB 35 Guidelines near completion

William Fulton, CP&DR, August 2, 2020

“Among both litigation and confusion, the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) is almost done updating its SB 35 guidelines, as well as an updated list of jurisdictions that are required to adopt what HCD is calling the ‘Streamlined Ministerial Approval Process.’

“The 29-page draft guidelines cover a wide range of topics, including the approval process local governments must follow and which projects are eligible. (The draft guidelines can be found in a Word document downloadable from this HCD page.)

“HCD said it was adhering to the original legislative intent of SB 35. The proposed guidelines include other highlights such as:

  • A requirement that local governments have an understandable application process, with information requirements limited to that necessary to process an SB 35 project.
  • Repeated emphasis on the need for objective standards only in the SB 35 process.
  • A prohibition on using growth caps to prevent developers from achieving maximum density under the state density bonus law.
  • A prohibition on denying a project’s access to affordable housing funds simply because it is an SB 35 project.
  • Strict time frames for determinations of consistency with objective standards — 60 calendar days for projects of less than 150 units and 90 days for larger projects.
  • A requirement that the local government must provide documentation of inconsistency with objective standards. If such documentation is not forthcoming, the project will be deemed approved under SB 35.

“HCD also came out with a new list of which jurisdictions are required to accept SB 35 applications…Some 289 cities and counties must accept SB 35 applications for housing projects with at least 10% affordable units, while 221 must accept SB applications for housing projects with at least 50% affordable units.”

Read the full article here (paywall).

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