Chapter 16.98
AFFORDABLE HOUSING OVERLAY

Sections:

16.98.010    Purpose and goal.

16.98.015    Applicability.

16.98.020    Affordable housing requirement.

16.98.030    Density bonus.

16.98.040    Incentives.

16.98.050    Fee waivers.

16.98.060    Continued affordability.

16.98.070    Design.

16.98.010 Purpose and goal.

The purpose of the affordable housing overlay ("AHO") zone established by this chapter is to encourage the development of affordable housing for low, very low and extremely low income households. The AHO serves to implement the housing element goal of providing new housing that addresses affordable housing needs in the city of Menlo Park by establishing development regulations for designated housing opportunity sites. The AHO is also intended to address those housing projects which provide a greater percentage of low and very low income units than identified in Government Code Section 65915. (Ord. 993 § 2 (part), 2013).

16.98.015 Applicability.

This chapter shall apply to the Menlo Park El Camino Real and Downtown specific plan area and those properties zoned R-4-S (AHO) (high density residential, special—affordable housing overlay). (Ord. 993 § 2 (part), 2013).

16.98.020 Affordable housing requirement.

(a)    For smaller projects that propose more than five (5) but less than one hundred (100) residential dwelling units, to qualify for the AHO and the density bonus and incentives provided pursuant to this chapter, a residential development project shall provide a minimum of twenty-one percent (21%) low income units or twelve percent (12%) very low income units. If a smaller project proposes to provide both low and very low income units, the minimum percentage of units to qualify for the AHO shall be more than the additive amount necessary to achieve a thirty-five percent (35%) density bonus as described in Government Code Section 65915. For example, a project that proposes to provide ten percent (10%) low (twenty percent (20%) density bonus) and five percent (5%) very low (twenty percent (20%) density bonus) would qualify for the AHO because the total additive density bonus under Government Code Section 65915 would be a forty percent (40%) density bonus.

(b)    For larger projects that propose one hundred (100) or more residential dwelling units, to qualify for the AHO and the density bonus and incentives provided pursuant to this chapter, a residential development project shall provide a minimum of twenty-one percent (21%) low income units or twelve percent (12%) very low income units. If a larger project proposes to provide both low and very low income units, the minimum percentage of units to qualify for the AHO shall be the additive amount necessary to achieve more than a thirty-five percent (35%) density bonus. For purposes of this subsection (b), to determine the additive percent density bonus required to qualify for the AHO, the density bonus percentages shall be as described in Government Code Section 65915 and as described in Table 1 below. For example, a project that proposes to provide ten percent (10%) low (twenty percent (20%) density bonus pursuant to Government Code Section 65915) and four percent (4%) very low income (seventeen and one-half percent (17.5%) density bonus pursuant to Table 1) would qualify for the AHO because the total additive density bonus pursuant to Government Code Section 65915 and Table 1 would be a thirty-seven and one-half percent (37.5%) density bonus.

Table 1 

Low Income (%)

Density Bonus (%)

5

12.5

6

14

7

15.5

8

17

9

18.5

Very Low Income (%)

Density Bonus (%)

2

12.5

3

15

4

17.5

(c)    The percentage of low or very low income units shall be calculated as a percentage of the maximum base unit density of the property, not including any public benefit density. The low or very low income percentage required to qualify for the AHO shall not include the below market rate units required to be provided by for-sale residential development projects and commercial development projects pursuant to the city’s below market rate housing program, Chapter 16.96.

(d)    Those projects located in the Menlo Park El Camino Real and Downtown specific plan area that qualify for the AHO shall be eligible for the density bonus and incentives identified in this chapter. The density bonus applies only to the residential component of a project in the Menlo Park El Camino Real and Downtown specific plan area and does not act to entitle a project to more office, retail or other nonresidential density.

(e)    To qualify for the AHO, a project must accommodate a full range of income levels. At least twenty-five percent (25%) of the affordable units in a project must be very low and/or extremely low income units or at least fifteen percent (15%) of the affordable units in a project must be extremely low income. (Ord. 993 § 2 (part), 2013).

16.98.030 Density bonus.

(a)    Low Income. A project that provides twenty-one percent (21%) low income units shall be entitled to a thirty-six and one-half percent (36.5%) density bonus. For each additional percentage of low income units above twenty-one percent (21%) or above the percentage of low income units provided to qualify for the AHO where a mix of low and very low income units is provided, the project shall be entitled to an additional one and one-half percent (1.5%) density bonus, up to the maximum density bonus identified in subsection (c) of this section.

(b)    Very Low Income. A project that provides twelve percent (12%) very low income units shall be entitled to a thirty-seven and one-half percent (37.5%) density bonus. For each additional percentage of very low income units above twelve percent (12%) or above the percentage of very low income units provided to qualify for the AHO where a mix of low and very low income units is provided, the project shall be entitled to an additional two and one-half percent (2.5%) density bonus, up to the maximum density bonus identified in subsection (c) of this section.

(c)    The maximum density bonus available pursuant to this chapter, whether achieved by provision of low, very low or a mix of low and very low income units, is sixty percent (60%). The density bonus percentages used to calculate the total additive density bonus for a project that proposes a mix of low and very low income units shall be calculated pursuant to Section 16.98.020 and this section. The density bonus provided pursuant to the AHO is not additive with and shall not be combined with the density bonus provided pursuant to state density bonus law, Government Code Section 65915.

(d)    For purposes of this chapter, any decimal fraction of less than one-half (0.5) shall be rounded down to the nearest whole number and any decimal fraction of one-half (0.5) or more shall be rounded up to the nearest whole number. (Ord. 993 § 2 (part), 2013).

16.98.040 Incentives.

(a)    Floor Area Ratio. A project shall be permitted to increase the floor area ratio by an amount that corresponds to the increase in allowable density identified in Section 16.98.030 and an additional five percent (5%) or other increase reasonably sufficient to make development of low and very low income multiple-bedroom units and family housing feasible.

(b)    Stories/Height. A project that is entitled to up to a forty-five percent (45%) density bonus under this AHO shall be entitled to a maximum height of four (4) stories, but not more than forty-eight (48) feet. A project that is entitled to a density bonus above forty-five percent (45%) under this AHO and in which at least fifty percent (50%) of the affordable units are very low and extremely low income or at least twenty-five percent (25%) of the affordable units are extremely low income, shall be entitled to a maximum of five (5) stories, but not more than sixty (60) feet.

(c)    Parking. Unless modified herein, the parking requirements in the underlying zoning designation of the property shall apply. The parking requirements in the AHO shall be modified for each affordable unit as follows:

(1)    Number of Spaces.

(A)    A studio requires 0.8 parking spaces.

(B)    A one (1) bedroom requires one (1) parking space.

(C)    A two (2) bedroom or larger unit requires one and one-half (1.5) parking spaces.

(D)    For projects located in the station area or station area sphere of influence, each affordable unit shall be granted a reduction of 0.2 parking spaces from the minimum that would otherwise be required.

(2)    In the Menlo Park El Camino Real and Downtown specific plan area, projects qualifying for the AHO shall be required to provide either the number of spaces per subsection (c)(1) of this section, or as specified in the Menlo Park El Camino Real and Downtown specific plan, whichever is less.

(3)    A senior citizen housing project as defined in Sections 51.3 and 51.12 of the Civil Code shall be required to provide no more than 0.8 parking spaces per dwelling unit.

(4)    The spaces required for the affordable units need not be covered or located in a garage or carport.

(5)    If two (2) spaces are being provided for any one (1) affordable dwelling unit, the spaces may be in tandem.

(6)    Long-term bicycle parking shall be required at no more than one-half (0.5) space per unit.

(7)    Any requirement for electric vehicle parking or plug-in hybrid recharging stations shall be reduced by fifty percent (50%) or may be met by providing an equivalent number of car sharing spaces.

(d)    Contiguous parcels that touch or contiguous parcels in the same zone that are in close proximity may calculate density, floor area ratio, building coverage, paving, landscaping and required parking across the parcels; provided, that there is a recorded agreement among the owner(s) of the parcels to transfer development rights between the parcels such that the maximum overall density of the combined parcels is not exceeded.

(e)    Coverage. In addition to the amount necessary to physically accommodate the increased density provided for by this chapter, any applicable maximum building coverage and/or allowable paving requirement shall be increased by five percent (5%) and the minimum open space/landscaping requirement reduced by ten percent (10%) from the underlying zoning designation.

(f)    Setbacks. In addition to the amount necessary to physically accommodate the increased density provided for by this chapter, required setbacks shall be reduced to five (5) feet, except when the parcel subject to the AHO abuts a parcel zoned single-family residential, in which case the setbacks identified in underlying zoning shall control.

(g)    Open Space. In addition to the amount necessary to physically accommodate the increased density provided for by this chapter, any common and/or private open space may be reduced by up to fifty percent (50%) from the underlying zoning.

(h)    Maximum Facade Height. Where an increase in the overall height is permitted to be above forty (40) feet, the building profile shall be set at a height of thirty-two (32) feet and the maximum number of major step backs shall be one (1).

(i)    The incentives provided pursuant to the AHO are not additive with and shall not be combined with the incentives provided pursuant to state density bonus law, Government Code Section 65915.

(j)    Specific Plan Exemptions. Notwithstanding the foregoing, certain requirements in the Menlo Park El Camino Real Downtown specific plan area shall not be modified pursuant to this section:

(1)    The maximum FAR shall be limited to the public benefit levels.

(2)    The front and side setbacks facing a public right-of-way.

(3)    Building facade height.

(4)    Massing and modulation standards including major portions of a building facing a street should be parallel to the street, building breaks, building facade modulation and building profile, and upper story facade length. (Ord. 993 § 2 (part), 2013).

16.98.050 Fee waivers.

(a)    Processing Fees. Those projects that provide at least fifty percent (50%) of the units in the base project for low income households or twenty percent (20%) for very low income households shall be entitled to a fee waiver for all the processing fees associated with the various applications for development.

(b)    Other Fees. Projects qualifying for the AHO shall be entitled to a reduction in all other fees in an amount that corresponds to the increase in allowable density identified in Section 16.98.030. Any project requesting a reduction or waiver of the traffic impact fee, park dedication fee, building construction street impact fee, Menlo Park El Camino Real Downtown specific plan preparation fee, or other fee(s) in excess of that percentage reduction shall apply for the requested reduction or waiver, which shall be subject to a discretionary review and approval process. The city council shall be the final decision maker regarding any such request. (Ord. 993 § 2 (part), 2013).

16.98.060 Continued affordability.

Prior to issuance of building permits, the applicant shall execute an agreement with the city, to be executed by the city manager without review by the housing commission, planning commission or city council, in a form acceptable to the city attorney ensuring the continued affordability of the affordable dwelling units for a period of not less than fifty-five (55) years. (Ord. 993 § 2 (part), 2013).

16.98.070 Design.

Development utilizing the AHO shall be subject to compliance review relative to adopted objective design standards and such compliance shall be determined by the community development director or his/her designee. Development in the Menlo Park El Camino Real Downtown specific plan area shall be subject to the architectural control process identified in the Menlo Park El Camino Real Downtown specific plan. No other discretionary action shall be required, unless the applicant requests a variance from the requirements of the AHO or requests architectural control for modification of the objective design standards. Low and very low income units must be constructed concurrently with market rate units and shall be integrated into the project and be comparable in construction quality and exterior design to any market rate units. The low and very low income units may be smaller in size and have different interior finishes and features than market rate units so long as the features are durable, of good quality and consistent with contemporary standards for new housing as determined by the community development director in his/her sole and absolute discretion. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the number of bedrooms in the low and very low income units shall at minimum be consistent with the mix of market rate units. For example, if the market rate units consist of fifty percent (50%) one (1) bedroom, twenty-five percent (25%) two (2) bedroom and twenty-five percent (25%) three (3) bedroom units, the low and very low income units must match this breakdown. Applicants may elect to include a higher percentage of units with more bedrooms. (Ord. 993 § 2 (part), 2013).