The Planning Commission is expected to vote Thursday on a proposal to expedite approval and construction of affordable housing projects in the city.
The commission will hear from staff about the proposed Affordable Housing Streamlining Ordinance, which seeks to codify Mayor Karen Bass’ executive directive to fast-track qualifying projects.
The ordinance would define 100% affordable housing projects, establish criteria to qualify for streamlining benefits, help identify other incentive programs for which projects may qualify, outline limitations on waivers and incentives, and set performance standards.
It was prepared in response to a motion the City Council adopted on June 27 that directed the city’s planning department to prepare and present an ordinance that would codify the main provisions of the mayor’s directive.
Bass implemented her first directive on Dec. 15, 2022, to expedite the processing of 100% affordable housing and shelter projects in an effort to address the housing and homelessness crisis.
The directive exempts those two types of projects from what is known as discretionary review, a process that requires a public hearing and approval from the planning commission, as long as the projects comply with certain standards.
Projects that require consideration of a Coastal Development Permit or are subject to the Subdivision Map Act are ineligible for streamlining under the directive, according to city planners. Streamlining provisions are also not applicable for projects in single-family or more restrictive zones.
Under the directive, affordable housing projects are reviewed through an approval process that provides various streamlining provisions at all stages of project review, such as exemptions from local planning procedures like public hearings, appeals or the California Environmental Quality Act.
Additionally, the directive mandates the expedited processing of city approvals for shelters and 100% affordable housing projects meet a 60-day deadline.
Officials said that, as of Oct. 30, more than 50 projects have been approved under the directive and an additional 55 applications remain pending.
These projects could result in 12,283 new affordable homes.