Chapter 18.03
RESIDENTIAL DENSITY BONUS

Sections:

18.03.010    Applicability.

18.03.020    Purpose.

18.03.030    Density bonus.

18.03.040    California Coastal Act.

18.03.050    Concession or incentive.

18.03.060    Waiver or reduction.

18.03.070    Parking.

18.03.080    Projects within affordable housing overlay zones.

18.03.090    Application.

18.03.100    Findings for approval of density bonus, concessions, incentives, waivers, or reductions.

18.03.110    Successor Government Code provisions.

18.03.010 Applicability.

The regulations set forth in this chapter apply in all RM (multiresidential) districts and in all CC, CR, CN and PO (commercial) districts. (Ord. 938 § 1, 2009)

18.03.020 Purpose.

The residential density bonus provisions of this chapter are intended to provide incentives for the production of housing for very low, lower income, and moderate income or senior households in accordance with Sections 65915 and 65917 of the California Government Code. In enacting this chapter, it is the intent of the city of Capitola to facilitate the development of affordable housing and to implement the goals, objectives, and policies of the city’s housing element. (Ord. 938 § 1, 2009)

18.03.030 Density bonus.

A separate application by an applicant for a residential development project of five or more units, including such residential development projects that include as a component of the development a land donation or construction of a child care facility, or a senior citizen housing development as defined in California Civil Code Section 51.3, is eligible for a density bonus consistent with the requirements of California Government Code Section 65915. An applicant for a density bonus may also request concessions, incentives, reductions, or waivers consistent with the requirements of Sections 65915(d) and 65915(e).

The applicant may request a lesser density bonus than that which is available to the project under Section 65915; however, the city shall not be required to similarly reduce the number or type of units required to be provided pursuant to Sections 65915(b), 65915(c), and 65915(f). In calculating the density bonus for a project, each project shall be entitled to only one density bonus as provided in Section 65915(b)(2), and density bonuses from more than one category may not be combined. When calculating the number of required affordable units to qualify a project for a density bonus, any calculations resulting in fractional units shall be rounded up to the next larger integer. (Ord. 938 § 1, 2009)

18.03.040 California Coastal Act.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to supersede or in any way alter or lessen the effect or application of the California Coastal Act (Division 20 (commencing with Section 3000) of the Public Resources Code). (Ord. 938 § 1, 2009)

18.03.050 Concession or incentive.

For purposes of this section, a concession or incentive shall mean a regulatory concession or incentive as defined in Section 65915(k) and as permitted by Section 65915(d). Developers requesting concessions and incentives shall submit a pro forma that demonstrates to the city that the requested concession or incentive results in identifiable, financially sufficient, and actual cost reductions to the project as required by Section 65915(k) and that the incentive or concession is required to provide for affordable housing costs. Nothing in this section requires the provision of direct financial incentives for the residential development project, including but not limited to, the provision of financial subsidies, publicly owned land, fee waivers, or waiver of dedication requirements. The city at its sole discretion may choose to provide such direct financial incentives. Any such incentives may require payment of prevailing wages by the residential development project if required by state law. All concessions or incentives shall require the approval of the planning commission. (Ord. 938 § 1, 2009)

18.03.060 Waiver or reduction.

For purposes of this section, a waiver or reduction shall mean a change to a development standard that would otherwise have the effect of physically precluding the construction of a development with any density bonus, concessions, or incentives permitted by this section. For purposes of this section, a development standard is as defined in Section 65915(o)(1). (Ord. 938 § 1, 2009)

18.03.070 Parking.

Upon the written request of the developer, for a development project that qualifies for a density bonus, the city shall not require parking ratios that exceed the ratios identified in Section 65915(p)(1). For purposes of this section, on-site parking may be provided through tandem parking or uncovered parking but not on-street parking. (Ord. 938 § 1, 2009)

18.03.080 Projects within affordable housing overlay zones.

If the development project is within an affordable housing overlay (AHO) district as defined and implemented in Chapter 17.20 of the Municipal Code, the city may grant a density bonus greater than allowed by this section, if the applicant meets the AHO standards. A residential development project may utilize the AHO as an alternative to the use of state density bonus or may choose to utilize a state density bonus permitted by Section 65915 but may not utilize both the AHO and state density bonuses. (Ord. 938 § 1, 2009)

18.03.090 Application.

An application for a density bonus, incentive, concession, waiver, modification, or revised parking standard pursuant to this section shall be submitted in conjunction with the first application for the development project and shall be processed concurrently with all other applications required for the project by the Capitola Municipal Code. The cost of reviewing any required data submitted as part of the application in support of a request for a concession or incentive, including but not limited to the cost to the city of hiring a consultant to review said data, shall be borne by the applicant. The application shall be submitted on a form provided by the city and shall include, at a minimum, the following information:

A. A site plan showing the total number of units, the number and location of the affordable or senior units qualifying the project for a density bonus, and the number and location of the proposed density bonus units;

B. The level of affordability of any proposed affordable units and their conformance with Section 65915(c);

C. A description of any requested incentives, concessions, waivers, or reductions of development standards, or modified parking standards. An application for an incentive or concession shall also include a pro forma demonstrating to the city that the requested concession or incentive results in an identifiable, financially sufficient, and actual cost reduction. Where the applicant is requesting the reduction or waiver of a development standard, the applicant shall submit evidence demonstrating that the application of the development standard would physically preclude construction of the project at the densities or with the concessions or incentives that the project is entitled to under this section.

D. If a density bonus is requested for a land donation pursuant to California Government Code Section 65915(g), the application shall show the location of the land to be dedicated and provide evidence that the requirements of Section 65915(g) have been met, thus entitling the project to the requested density bonus.

E. If a density bonus is requested for construction of a child care facility pursuant to California Government Code Section 65915(h), the application shall show the location and square footage of the proposed facility and provide evidence that the requirements of Section 65915(h) have been met, thus entitling the project to the requested density bonus. (Ord. 938 § 1, 2009)

18.03.100 Findings for approval of density bonus, concessions, incentives, waivers, or reductions.

A. Before approving a request for a density bonus, incentive, concession, parking reduction, or waiver, the review authority shall make the following findings, as applicable:

1. The residential development project is eligible for a density bonus and for any concessions, incentives, waivers, or parking reductions requested; conforms to all standards for affordability required by Section 65915(c); and includes a financing mechanism for all implementation and monitoring costs.

2. Any requested incentive or concession will result in identifiable, financially sufficient, and actual cost reductions based upon appropriate financial analysis and documentation required by this section.

3. If the density bonus is based all or in part on dedication of land, all of the requirements included in Section 65915(g) have been met.

4. If the density bonus, incentive, or concession is based all or in part on the inclusion of a child care facility, all of the requirements included in Section 65915(h) have been met.

5. If the incentive or concession includes mixed uses, all of the findings included in Section 65915(k)(2) can be made.

6. If a waiver or reduction of a development standard is requested, the development standard would have the effect of physically precluding the construction of the development project at the density or with the incentives or concessions permitted by Section 65915.

B. The review authority may deny a request for an incentive or concession for which the findings set forth in subsection A of this section can be made only if it makes a written finding, based upon substantial evidence, of one of the following:

1. The incentive or concession is not required to provide for affordable rents or affordable ownership costs, as provided in Section 65915(d)(1)(A); or

2. The incentive or concession would have a specific adverse impact upon public health or safety, or the physical environment, or on any real property that is listed in the California Register of Historic Resources, and there is no feasible method to satisfactorily mitigate or avoid the specific adverse impact without rendering the development unaffordable to low, very low and moderate income households. For the purpose of this subsection, “specific adverse impact” means a significant, quantifiable, direct, and unavoidable impact, based on objective, identified, written public health or safety standards, policies, or conditions, as they existed on the date that the application was deemed complete; or

3. The concession or incentive would be contrary to state or federal law.

C. The review authority may deny a request for a waiver or reduction for which the findings set forth in subsection A of this section can be made only if it makes a written finding, based upon substantial evidence, of one of the following:

1. The modification would have a specific adverse impact upon health, safety, or the physical environment, and there is no feasible method to satisfactorily mitigate or avoid the specific adverse impact without rendering the development unaffordable to low, very low and moderate income households. For the purpose of this subsection, “specific adverse impact” means a significant, quantifiable, direct, and unavoidable impact, based on objective, identified, written public health or safety standards, policies, or conditions as they existed on the date that the application was deemed complete; or

2. The modification would have an adverse impact on any real property that is listed in the California Register of Historic Resources; or

3. The waiver or reduction would be contrary to state or federal law.

D. The review authority may deny a density bonus, incentive, or concession that is based on the provision of child care facilities and for which the required findings can be made only if it makes a written finding, based on substantial evidence, that the city already has adequate child care facilities. (Ord. 938 § 1, 2009)

18.03.110 Successor Government Code provisions.

All references to sections of the Government Code include all successor sections.

Table 14.16.030-1 Summary of State Density Bonus Requirements

The state density bonus law is codified at California Government Code Section 65915. In general, it requires the city to grant a density bonus, as well certain concessions and incentives, to qualifying residential development projects. The following chart provides a general overview of the requirements:

Type of Units*

% of Dedicated Units

Density Bonus**

Concessions or Incentives***

Lower Income

10%

20%

1

(1.5% increase in density bonus for every 1% of dedicated units over 10% threshold (max 35% density bonus)

 

20%

35%

2

 

30% or above

35%

3

Very Low Income

5%

20%

1

(2.5% increase in density bonus for every 1% increase in dedicated units over 5% threshold (max 35% density bonus)

10%

33%

2

 

11%

35%

 

 

15% or above

35%

3

 

Moderate Income (common interest development**** only where all of the units are offered for sale)

10%

5%

1

(1% increase in density bonus for each 1% increase in dedicated units over 10% threshold (max 35% density bonus)

 

20%

15%

2

 

30%

25%

3

 

40% or above

35%

3

*    Section 65915 applies only to proposed developments of five or more units.

**    Section 65915(f) defines a “density bonus” as “a density increase over the otherwise maximum allowable residential density as of the date of the application by the applicant to the city.” Section 65915(o)(2) defines “maximum allowable residential density” as “the density allowed under the zoning ordinance and land use element of the general plan, or, if a range of density is permitted, means the maximum allowable density for the specific zoning range and land use element of the general plan applicable to the project. Where the density allowed under the zoning ordinance is inconsistent with the density allowed under the land use element of the general plan, the general plan density shall prevail.”

***    A concession or incentive may be requested only if an application is also made for a density bonus, pursuant to Sections 65915(a) and 65915(d)(1). Concessions or incentives may be selected from only one category (very low, low, or moderate). No concessions or incentives are available for land donation or senior housing. Day care centers may have one concession or a density bonus, at the city’s option, but not both.

****    Pursuant to California Civil Code Section 1351, a “common interest development” means a community apartment project, a condominium project, a planned development, and a stock cooperative.

In addition, a developer/applicant can also qualify for a mandated density bonus in the following way:

Project

Threshold

Density Bonus

Concession or Incentive

Senior Housing (not affordable)

35 Units dedicated to senior housing as defined in Civil Code §§ 51.3 & 51.12

20% of senior units

0

(Ord. 938 § 1, 2009)