California State Senate Bill 35 (Government Code Section 65913.4) was part of a comprehensive bill package aimed at addressing the State’s housing shortage and high costs. SB 35 requires the availability of a streamlined ministerial approval process for multifamily residential developments in certain jurisdictions. In addition, cities are required to establish objective design standards for multifamily residential development. SB 35 defines an objective design standard as one that involves "no personal or subjective judgment by a public official and is uniformly verifiable by reference to an external and uniform benchmark or criterion available and knowable by both the development applicant… and the public official prior to submittal."
In 2020 and 2021 the City conducted a public process to update development and design standards applicable to residential development outside of Area Plan boundaries. The updated development and design standards are included in City Code Chapter 6.85.
The development standards apply to all projects. However, the new design standards allow all single-family, duplex or triplex projects to be reviewed magisterially requiring only a building permit. The new design standards also allow for residential projects with more than three units to be reviewed magisterially if they are designed to one of three architectural styles. The Checklists below provide detailed standards for each architectural style. Applicants that chose not to design to one of these styles have the option to submit a Design Review Application for discretionary review.