Division IX. Growth Management

Chapter 19.94
HOUSING ALLOCATION PROCESS

Sections:

19.94.010    Findings.

19.94.020    Definitions.

19.94.030    Requirement for preapplication.

19.94.040    Allocation process.

19.94.050    Tracking and carry-over of unused and forfeited allocations.

19.94.060    Requirement for filing.

19.94.070    Exceptions to allocation process.

19.94.080    Limitation on development.

19.94.090    Review of findings.

19.94.100    Severability clause.

19.94.010 Findings.

The city council of the city of Sonoma hereby finds and declares as follows:

A. Municipal services as detailed in the 1999 Water System Improvement Study, the 2003 Addendum to the Water System Improvement Study, the 2007 Water Connection Charge and Rate Study, and the review of municipal services, including water supply and sewer treatment capacity conducted for the 2005 – 2020 General Plan update (as set forth in the May 2004 Background Report, the Environmental Impact Report) are constrained and are not sufficient to accommodate unlimited development.

B. A residential growth level averaging 65 dwelling units per year is consistent with the current and projected availability of water and sewer treatment capacity and will result in a reduction in the environmental impacts caused by increased growth.

C. Appropriate controls on the pace of residential development are essential in preserving the health, safety and welfare of the community.

D. Controls on residential growth must reflect the policies of the General Plan and promote variety in housing types and affordability.

E. Because the effect of this chapter is to make procedural changes and clarifications to existing residential development controls in response to identified constraints on development, it is the determination of the city council that this chapter is categorically exempt with regard to the California Environmental Quality Act. (Ord. 02-2008 § 1, 2008; Ord. 07-2004 § 1, 2004).

19.94.020 Definitions.

“Affordable housing” means housing units which:

A. Are affordable to and occupied by very low, low and moderate income households;

B. Count toward the city’s fair-share housing requirements; and

C. Are contractually required to remain affordable for a prescribed number of years, as determined by the city council, following initial occupancy.

“Application, complete” means an application for all necessary development approvals associated with a proposed project, including the completed application form, any required supplemental materials (such as maps, site plans, and building elevations), and applicable fees, submitted to the city of Sonoma planning division and deemed complete by the city planner.

“Density bonus units” means housing units allowed within a development consistent with the provisions of SMC 19.44.030(A).

“Development allocation” means a unit representing potential residential development. One development allocation is equivalent to one residential dwelling unit. A development allocation shall not be considered as an entitlement and shall not obviate the requirement of obtaining any applicable development approvals.

“Development year” means September 1st through August 31st.

“Inclusionary units” means housing units provided within a development pursuant to the provisions of SMC 19.44.020.

“Multifamily housing project” means a residential project of attached or clustered residential housing units not offered for individual sale.

“Planning approval” means planning commission and city council official approval of a tentative subdivision map prepared according to the requirements of the State Subdivision Map Act in the case of large projects resulting in eventual sale of units, or of planning commission and city council official use permit approval of a multifamily housing project.

“Preapplication” means a form filed by a residential developer for a large project subject to the development allocation process in order to establish a place in line among those projects awaiting allocations. A preapplication shall not constitute an application for planning approval.

“Processing queue” means the list of residential development projects, which, because of the limitation of planning approvals established by this chapter, must wait until the appropriate development year to begin planning processing. The order of projects in the processing queue is determined by the date on which a preapplication is received.

“Project, infill” means any major subdivision, multiple-family project, planned unit development or condominium project of more than four and fewer than 16 lots or units (including existing units proposed to be retained); or any residential project(s) or other project(s) containing a residential component on separate but adjoining parcels which by appearance, access, or other characteristics or commonality can reasonably be considered as a single project of between four and 16 units, excluding density bonus units and any inclusionary units exempted under SMC 19.94.070(E) and (F). Applications for infill projects shall be limited to properties that do not exceed one acre in size located within city limits at the time of filing a development application and shall fully utilize the project site. Project phasing and remainder areas shall not be allowed. A project which requires a prezoning, a rezoning or a General Plan amendment shall not be considered as an infill project, nor shall any project proposed for a site which has not been within city limits for at least three years prior to the filing of the application.

“Project, large” means any major subdivision, multiple-family project, planned unit development or condominium project of more than 15 lots or units; or any residential project(s) or other project(s) containing a residential component on separate but adjoining parcels which by appearance, access, or other characteristics of commonality can reasonably be considered as a single project of more than 15 lots or units; or any project of 15 units or fewer which does not otherwise qualify as a small project or an infill project; or any additional units (except for a second unit) proposed for a site previously developed under the provisions for small projects.

“Project, small” means any minor subdivision of property resulting in four lots or less, any duplex, triplex or multifamily project resulting in a total of four dwelling units or less, and any residential development on single-family lots of record in existence on the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter. (Ord. 02-2008 § 1, 2008; Ord. 07-2004 § 1, 2004).

19.94.030 Requirement for preapplication.

Prospective residential developers of large projects shall submit a preapplication form at any time to establish a place in the processing queue. (Ord. 02-2008 § 1, 2008; Ord. 07-2004 § 1, 2004).

19.94.040 Allocation process.

At the beginning of each development year the city council shall distribute development allocations, in order, as follows:

A. The annual distribution of development allocations shall begin with a pool of 65 allocations.

B. Any unused development or forfeited allocations, as defined in SMC 19.94.050 and 19.94.060, shall be added to the pool except that the number of allocations available for distribution in any year shall not exceed 165 allocations.

C. The total amount of small development approved during the preceding development year shall be subtracted from the available development applications.

D. Thirty allocations shall be made available for infill development during each development year. These allocations shall be distributed during the development year on a first-come, first-served basis to applicants filing complete applications for infill development as defined in this chapter.

E. Development allocations shall be distributed to large developments and exempt developments which have received some but not all of the allocations requested through their preapplication, except that no more than 20 allocations shall be granted to any one development per year.

F. Any remaining development allocations shall be distributed to the next available preapplications in the processing queue in order of date received, except that no more than 20 allocations shall be granted to any one development per year.

Once the available development allocations, plus or minus five percent, have been distributed, no further allocations shall be granted until the beginning of the next development year. (Ord. 05-2014 § 1, 2014; Ord. 02-2008 § 1, 2008; Ord. 07-2004 § 1, 2004).

19.94.050 Tracking and carry-over of unused and forfeited allocations.

Unused and forfeited allocations shall be tracked and shall be annually reported on to the city council as part of the allocation process set forth in SMC 19.94.040. If, in any development year, less than 65 development allocations are distributed (including allocations reserved for infill development), the difference between the number of allocations distributed and 65 shall be carried over to the next development year. No more than 165 allocations may be distributed in any one development year. (Ord. 05-2014 § 1, 2014; Ord. 02-2008 § 1, 2008; Ord. 07-2004 § 1, 2004).

19.94.060 Requirement for filing.

Once a large development has received 50 percent of its requested allocations (as enumerated in its preapplication form), a development application shall be filed within four years of the date on which the project received 100 percent of its allocations; otherwise, its allocations shall be forfeited. (Ord. 05-2014 § 1, 2014; Ord. 02-2008 § 1, 2008; Ord. 07-2004 § 1, 2004).

19.94.070 Exceptions to allocation process.

The following types of development shall be exempt from the allocation process in that a qualifying development may apply for a building permit or planning approval, as applicable, at any time:

A. Small projects shall be exempt from the planning approval allocation process, but the number of small projects approved in any one development year shall be deducted from the 65-unit allocation of the following year, as described in SMC 19.94.040(C).

B. Condominium conversions where no additional dwelling units are created.

C. Accessory dwelling units and accessory dwelling units, junior.

D. Density bonus units.

E. Inclusionary units provided at the low income level (except within projects located in the Sonoma residential zone) or at the very low income level.

F. Inclusionary units provided in numbers in excess of the normal requirement.

G. As determined by the city council on a case-by-case basis, applications in which at least 60 percent of the proposed units qualify as affordable housing, as defined in this chapter, and which involve city participation in planning, financing or development. (Note: to qualify for consideration, the level of city participation must exceed that which occurs in the normal development review process.)

A preapplication shall be filed for any project exempted under this subsection (G), and the allocations associated with the project shall be subtracted from the annual pool of development allocations in accordance with the allocation process, based on the date of the preapplication. (Ord. 01-2017 § 5, 2017; Ord. 02-2008 § 1, 2008; Ord. 07-2004 § 1, 2004).

19.94.080 Limitation on development.

No residential development shall occur except in accordance with the allocation process and any applicable exceptions to the allocation process. If a property has been partially developed under the exception for small development, any subsequent development shall be subject to the allocation process as a large development or as an infill development, as applicable. (Ord. 02-2008 § 1, 2008; Ord. 07-2004 § 1, 2004).

19.94.090 Review of findings.

Beginning in 2005 and every two years thereafter, the city council shall review the findings to determine whether the conditions necessitating this chapter have changed and, if so, whether corresponding changes in the provisions of this chapter are warranted. This review shall occur no later than March 31st of any year in which it is required. (Ord. 02-2008 § 1, 2008; Ord. 07-2004 § 1, 2004).

19.94.100 Severability clause.

If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, or phrase of this chapter is for any reason held to be unconstitutional, such decision shall not affect the remaining portions of this chapter. The city council declares that it would have passed this chapter and each section, subsection, clause, and phrase thereof regardless of the fact that any one or more such provisions be declared invalid. (Ord. 02-2008 § 1, 2008; Ord. 07-2004 § 1, 2004).