Housing Policy Resources

Housing Policy and Planning Tools  /  Housing Policy Resources
This page contains a summary of existing housing planning and policy resources organized by topic. These resources provide direction for implementing housing programs in the San Diego region.

On This Page:

  • 2023 New State Housing Laws (*NEW INFO ADDED*)
  • Streamlined Ministerial Approval (SB 35 / SB 330)
  • Missing Middle Housing (SB 9 / SB10)
  • Objective Design and Development Standards 
  • Residential Development in Commercial Zones (AB 2011 / SB 6)
  • Density Bonus Law
  • Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)
  • Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing
  • Anti-Displacement 
  • Templates and Model Ordinances
  • CEQA Streamlining
  • Communications and Outreach
  • Prohousing Designation Program
  • Other Planning and Policy Resources
This summary includes housing planning and policy resources that have already been prepared by SANDAG and other government agencies, including: the Association for Bay Area Governments (ABAG), Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), the San Joaquin Valley Regional Planning Agencies Policy Council, the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), and the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR). Selected other resources and examples are also included throughout. Sources for individual resources are noted.

Streamlined Ministerial Approvals (SB 35 / SB 330)

SB 35 (2017) – Streamlined Ministerial Approval Process

SB 35 (Wiener, 2017) added a code to the Housing Development Approvals provisions to streamline affordable housing development. The code applies to cities and counties that have made insufficient progress toward their Regional Housing Needs Allocations (RHNA) goals. SB 35 provides a ministerial process through which a project is only reviewed against objective standards and not subject to a conditional use permit.

SB 330 - Housing Crisis Act of 2019

SB 330 (Skinner, 2019) was passed to address the housing crisis throughout the state by increasing residential unit development, protecting existing housing inventory, and expediting permit processing. Parts of SB 330 make changes to existing legislation such as the Permit Streamlining Act and the Housing Accountability Act.

SB 10 (2021) – Missing Middle Housing Production

SB 10 (Wiener, 2021) adds a government code that provides agencies with the option to upzone a ‘transit rich area’ or ‘urban infill’ parcel for a maximum of 10 residential units. This upzoning is exempt from CEQA through the rezoning process.

Objective Design and Development Standards

With the requirement of housing projects to be reviewed against Objective Design Standards (ODS) through 2017 Senate Bill 35 and 2019 Senate Bill 330, the following resources are aimed at helping jurisdictions implement these standards which are used to regulate development, including “objective zoning standards,” “objective subdivision standards,” and “objective design review standards.” These standards are the only basis by which a local agency may deny or reduce the density of eligible projects. The following resources help guide jurisdictions into implementing objective design standards throughout their communities.

Residential Development in Commercial Zones (AB 2011 / SB 6)

AB 2011 (Wicks, 2011), the Affordable Housing and High Road Jobs Act of 2022 and SB 6 (Caballero, 2022), the Middle Class Housing Act of 2022, are intended to permit residential development on sites currently zoned for commercial or retail use. Both bills are effective as of July 1, 2023.
SANDAG Developed Resources
Other Resources

Density Bonus Law

Enacted in 1979, the California Density Bonus Law grants incentives for affordable or senior housing, allowing developers to increase the density of projects. These incentives include reduced parking, reduced setbacks and minimum square footage requirements. Density bonuses are granted in exchange for building or donating land for affordable and senior housing.

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADUs) are an innovative and effective option for adding much needed housing in California. ADUs have been known by many names: granny flats, in-law units, backyard cottages, secondary units and more. HCD is the state’s leader on local ADU ordinances, which — while optional — have grown exponentially in number as more cities, counties, and homeowners become interested in ADUs as one solution to increasing the supply of affordable housing.

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH)

The goal of Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) is to combat housing discrimination, eliminate racial bias, undo historic patterns of segregation, and lift barriers that restrict housing access in order to foster inclusive communities and achieve racial equity, fair housing choice, and opportunity for all Californians. The following resources provide program basics, guidance, and resources to fulfill AFFH requirements.
  • AFFH Data and Mapping Resources (HCD. Accessed March 2023)                                                                                                 
    Through the AFFH Data Viewer, users can explore the various AFFH data layers, export maps, and incorporate and map their own data. HCD periodically refreshes the data to provide the latest information available.

  • CTCAC/HCD Opportunity Maps (CTCAC/HCD, January 2023)                                                                                                     
    This mapping tool identifies areas in every region whose characteristics have been shown by research to support positive economic, educational, and health outcomes for low-income families. The map was designed in conjunction with the competitive funding infrastructure for the 9 percent and 4 percent Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program (e.g. geographic competition aimed at increasing access to high-opportunity areas for low-income families).

  • Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Policies and Programs Toolkit (ABAG, September 2022)                                       
    This Toolkit was developed in conjunction with HCD to help Bay Area jurisdictions complete AFFH goals, policies and actions in their Housing Element Update.

  • Housing Policy Library (Local Housing Solutions. Accessed March 2023)                                                                                 
    The library contains provides resources on housing planning, policy, and programs organized and searchable by a wide set of housing issues and policy objectives, including the objective of AFFH (22 policies are categorized under the AFFH goal).

  • Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice (HCD, June 2020)                                                                                         
    HCD has identified a multi-pronged approach that includes recommendations and action steps to address the 10 impediments to fair housing choice identified through the 2020 Analysis of Impediments process. The recommendations and action steps will inform HCD’s efforts to affirmatively further fair housing; to promote inclusive communities, further housing choice, and address community disparities through HCD’s programs, policies, and operations.


Displacement occurs when certain individuals or households (often low-income communities of color) are forced to move from neighborhoods as a result of rising housing costs and neighborhood conditions associated with new investments in those neighborhoods. The goal of anti-displacement strategies is to protect residents at risk of displacement and ensure the existing community also benefits from investments that come with the infill housing and economic investment.
  • SANDAG Regionwide Anti-displacement Strategies (Forthcoming)                                                                                     
    When completed, this document will provide technical assistance to local governments to meet state and federal requirements to affirmatively further fair housing.
  • Development without Displacement (ULI/ARUP, June 2018)                                                                                                       
    This report presents a Social Equity Toolkit to create development without displacement in existing communities. The toolkit includes best practices to mitigate residential displacement and protect businesses and cultural spaces.
Urban Displacement Project
  • Mapping Neighborhood Change in Southern California: Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego Counties (Updated 2020. Accessed March 2023)                                                                                                                                                               
    The Urban Displacement Project (UDP) has a mapping tool that identifies varying levels of displacement risk for low-income renter households in major urban communities across the state.

  • Policy Resources (Accessed March 2023)                                                                                                                                       
    UDP also has several anti-displacement policy resources including a map of anti-displacement policies adopted by Bay Area jurisdictions (last updated in 2019).

Los Angeles
San Jose

Templates and Model Ordinances

The following templates and model ordinances are aimed at providing jurisdictions guidance when creating various presentations, staff reports or ordinances related to housing policies.
By-Right Housing Resources
Low-Barrier Navigation Center Resources
Emergency Shelters
Reasonable Accommodation
  • Ordinance (HCD)                                                                                                                                                                                   
    A customizable model ordinance to ensure your jurisdiction is in compliance with State requirements for reasonable accommodation.

  • Checklist (HCD, April 2021)                                                                                                                                                                 
    A checklist to determine if your jurisdiction needs to update its reasonable accommodation ordinance to create a fair process to waive certain zoning requirements for the homes of disabled individuals.

Group Homes

CEQA Streamlining

CEQA streamlining allows agencies to expedite environmental review and approval of a project through an applicable exemption or reliance on a previously adopted environmental document. This process is intended to avoid unnecessary documentation, prevent redundancy and provide an incentive for projects that have little to no impact or are consistent with previously approved environmental documents.
SCAG Resources
Other CEQA Streamlining Resources
County of San Diego - SB743 Implementation

Communications and Outreach

The following tools and resources are aimed at guiding jurisdictions on how to effectively communicate with their communities on housing and various tools and guidance to help promote an equitable outreach process when implementing housing measures.
Training and Education for Elected Officials

Prohousing Designation Program

The following resources provide jurisdictions with the tools to and information on implementing accelerated housing programs and streamline approvals of housing throughout their communities which will help expand housing opportunities for all residents.

Other Planning and Policy Resources

SANDAG Regional Trainings