Marin County Officials: Housing Ordinances Head to Planning Commission

March 28, 2022

Housing Ordinances Head of Planning Commission

The proposed changes relate to the subdivision of lots, the streamlining of the review process

San Rafael, California – The Marin County Planning Commission will consider soon interim orders this would bring Marin County into compliance with recent state residential development legislation for unincorporated areas of the county.

At its meeting on April 11, the committee will hear Marin County Community Development Agency (CDA) about three proposed updates regarding California Senate Bills (SB) 35 and SB 9, both of which have to do with housing planning. The proposed local ordinances include standards for floor area ratios, maximum heights, minimum setbacks, and protections for waterways and wetlands.

SB 9, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2022, is widely seen as a law allowing duplexes on lots in zoning districts for single-family homes, but it also applies to single-family homes. Generally, the act encourages housing development by removing the power of a local jurisdiction to require discretionary review for projects of 1 to 2 qualifying units and prohibits the use of units created under its provisions as as short term rentals.

SB 35, in effect since January 2018, aims to streamline the review of larger developments, such as apartment buildings that would provide a substantial amount of affordable housing. Developers benefit from SB 35 because no discretionary reviews are allowed as long as they follow the mandates of the law. Counties are permitted to set ministerial requirements on the design specifications of such multifamily projects, and the Planning Commission will consider standards for floor area ratios, maximum heights, minimum setbacks, and protections for creeks and streams. wet area.

The two state laws only apply to urban and suburban areas and are not related to the planning process in rural and coastal areas.

Interim orders are intended to be temporary in nature. Permanent amendments to the development code (Marin County Code Title 22) will be proposed in conjunction with the Housing and security element updates to the county plan and presented for consideration to the planning commission and the board of supervisors towards the end of this year.

If the Planning Commission approves CDA’s proposed ordinances, they would go to the Supervisory Board for final review and possible adoption this spring.

The staff report and draft resolutions for the April 11 Planning Commission are now online. The Planning Commission hearing will be held virtually using Zoom. For more information, please visit the Planning Commission Hearings Web Page.

For disability accommodations, please call (415) 473-6358 (voice), CA Relay 711 or email Community development staff at least five working days before the event. The county will do its best to respond to requests received with less than five business days’ notice. Copies of documents are available in alternate formats upon request.


This press release was produced by Marin County Government. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.

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