The city of Sacramento has become the first jurisdiction to be designated “prohousing,” announced the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).

Adobe Stock/fog17

The Prohousing Designation Program was established with the passage of the fiscal 2019-2020 budget, which provided a spectrum of support, incentives, and accountability measures to help meet California’s housing goals. The program provides incentives to cities and counties in the form of additional points or other preferences in the scoring of competitive housing, community development, and infrastructure programs.

“We’re deploying a comprehensive strategy to boost the state’s housing supply and affordability for all Californians,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom in a statement. “I commend the efforts of the city of Sacramento, the first jurisdiction in the state to make a commitment to accelerate housing production through this designation, and I urge cities and counties across California to follow suit. Together, we can meet this challenge head-on.”

According to HCD director Gustavo Velasquez, “Prohousing is designed to incentivize the removal of barriers standing in the way of the affordable housing our state so desperately needs. It means promoting housing density by including multifamily housing, such as duplexes to fourplexes, upzoning in places near jobs and transit to reduce emissions, and creating more homes in places of high opportunity for families of modest means.”

To be eligible for a prohousing designation, a jurisdiction must receive a minimum score of 30 on its application—Sacramento attained a score of 64. Actions taken by the city to help attain the designation include but are not limited to the following:

  • Eliminated parking requirements citywide for accessory dwelling unit (ADU) developments;
  • Expanded residential and mixed uses allowed by-right;
  • Eliminated maximum density for mixed-use projects;
  • Reduced parking requirements for affordable and senior housing, small lots, and vertical mixed-use developments and went above and beyond by offering incentives for higher-density developments near transit by eliminating or reducing parking requirements;
  • Possesses a Master Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to streamline development as well as multiple specific area plan EIRs in a multifaceted strategy to streamline development;
  • Permitted single-unit, duplex, and multi-unit dwellings by-right;
  • Eliminated the requirement that projects of 150-plus dwelling units require a planning and design commission public hearing;
  • Created objective, citywide infill housing design standards for all housing and mixed-use developments of two or more dwellings;
  • Reduced development impact fees for new affordable dwelling units—$0 rate for regulated affordable units up to 120% of the area median income;
  • Eliminated housing impact fees for mobile home parks, owner occupied single-family, affordable units, high-density housing, and ADUs;
  • Adopted policy for Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts (EIFDs), most recently the Aggie Square EIFD with a 20% set-aside for affordable housing; and
  • Adopted transit-oriented development land use zoning overlay.

For more information on HCD’s Prohousing Designation Program, visit the HCD Prohousing webpage.