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Accelerating Housing Production
SB 2 Planning Grants Technical Assistance

Background

Technical assistance on accelerating housing production is made available through the Senate Bill 2 Planning Grants Program. In 2017, the Legislature passed SB 2, which established a permanent source of funding intended to increase the affordable housing stock in California. The first year of SB 2 was spilt between planning grants and homelessness programs. Five percent of SB 2 directs HCD, in coordination with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR), to develop a technical assistance program to assist localities in planning efforts that accelerate housing production and streamline the approvals of housing.

The ”Housing Planning Hub” page provides more details on the technical assistance program, and resources including tools and services to help local governments accelerate and streamline housing production.

Learn more about the SB 2 Planning Grants program.

Purpose

The goals of the technical assistance program provided through HCD, OPR, and PlaceWorks consulting team are to:

  • Ensure geographic equity and promote access so that all local governments are able to benefit from the planning grants funding and technical assistance.
  • Provide support and ongoing expertise to local governments as they implement activities related to the priority policy areas and other planning efforts.
  • Regionally tailor technical assistance to meet the unique needs of each region.
  • Develop long-term partnerships between local, regional, and state government to create a peer-to-peer learning environment, maximize resources, and leverage all funding opportunities.

Priority Policy Areas

In consultation with stakeholders, developers, planners, local governments, and academics, HCD has developed six policy areas that are evidenced-based practices to streamlining housing approvals, accelerating housing production, and becoming more housing friendly. HCD technical assistance teams will make toolkits and resources available to help local governments implement these strategies.

  • Rezone to Permit By-right: Rezoning for significant additional housing capacity without or with lesser discretionary review or establishing zoning to permit residential development by-right, particularly multifamily, without discretionary action pursuant to Government Code Section 65583.2(h) and (i).
  • Objective Design and Development Standards: Developing objective design standards or pre-approved site and architectural plans that facilitate non-discretionary permitting.
  • Specific Plans or Form-based Codes Coupled with CEQA Streamlining: Designating and rezoning for additional housing capacity or preparing specific plans or form codes that include zoning and development standards and plan-level environmental analysis that can be used to streamline future housing projects and facilitate affordability.
  • Accessory Dwelling Units or Other Innovative Building Strategies: Encouraging Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and other innovative building types through actions above state law requirements such as, outreach, fee waivers, pre-approved plans, website zoning clearance assistance, and other homeowner tools or finance tools. Also, establishing other approaches to intensify existing lower-density residential areas and “missing middle” typologies to encourage significantly more residential development (e.g., duplexes, triplexes) in lower-density residential areas.
  • Expedited Processing: Speeding up approvals and permit processing, including instituting programs that streamline or consolidate the review process or create a separate process for expedited review of housing projects.
  • Housing Related Infrastructure Financing and Fee Reduction Strategies: Developing and implementing approaches to local, regional, or sub-regional housing-related infrastructure financing. Creating plans and programs to finance and increase infrastructure with accompanying enhanced housing capacity, such as enhanced infrastructure financing districts. Fee reduction and rationalization approaches, such as reassessing fees to adhere to best practices in reducing costs, deferrals, sliding scales, or proportionate impacts fees (e.g., ADUs, transit-oriented and infill development, special needs housing), or fee transparency measures including publicly available fee calculators.

Technical Assistance Program

HCD in coordination with OPR is working with a team of consultants led by PlaceWorks, Inc, Opens a New Window. to provide technical assistance on both a regional and statewide level with an emphasis on the priority policy areas.

The program components include:

    1. Applicant assistance is specific to helping local governments obtain a planning grant through the SB 2 Planning Grants program. Assistance includes:
      • Identifying eligible activities and brainstorming ideas on how to best utilize the Planning Grants program
      • Answering questions
      • Reviewing draft applications and providing feedback before they are officially submitted to HCD
      • Housing element compliance for jurisdictions that do not have a compliant housing element
      • Jurisdictions who need additional assistance in submitting their 2017 or 2018 Annual progress reports
      • Sample applications
      • Scopes of work and RFPs
    2. Ongoing regionally tailored technical assistance includes a menu of services and tools that are available to all local governments and can be customized to serve the unique needs of the different regions throughout the state. Tools and resources include:
      • Toolkits on the priority policy areas
      • Samples, best practices, and model ordinances
      • Webinars and workshops
      • Peer-to-peer learning collaboratives
Visit SB 2 Planning Grants Technical Assistance Website