The Carpinteria City Council will hold two public hearings today, one to consider implementing new state regulations regarding density bonus projects, and the other to consider zoning changes regarding coastal development permit procedures.
The first would allow developers certain incentives to encourage them to include affordable housing in their multi-family project proposals. It is expected to affect a number of zoning districts and parcels that permit residential uses located throughout the city.
The second is expected to affect a number of zoning districts and parcels that permit development and uses, again located throughout the city.
The council will meet in chambers, 5775 Carpinteria Ave., starting at 5:30 p.m.
Staff recommends the council initiate legislation to amend the city’s Density Bonus Program, a part of its Local Coastal Program, to ensure consistency with recent changes to state density bonus-related housing laws.
The state’s density bonus law intends to encourage developers of multi-family residential projects to include income restricted, i.e., “affordable”, and special needs housing by allowing a greater number of units beyond the base density established by land use designations and zone districts.
Significant state density bonus law amendments over the past few years require cities in California to amend local policies and regulations to conform with these recent amendments.
Under state density bonus law, applicants that agree to restrict a certain percentage of their units to very-low, low and moderate incomes or certain types of special needs housing are entitled to receive an increase in project density above local standards (up to 50%) in addition to incentives or concessions, waivers of local development standards and specified parking ratios.
For qualifying projects, an applicant can request an incentive or concession from the local government, which are a reduction in site development standards or a modification of zoning code requirements that exceed minimum building standards.
These reductions or modifications can include, but are not limited to, a reduction in setback, building height or square footage requirements and the ratio of vehicle parking spaces that would otherwise be required. Qualifying projects also are entitled to specific parking ratios, depending on the size of the units and proximity to major transit stops. In addition, an applicant also can request a waiver of development standards that have the effect of “physically precluding the construction of the development” pursuant to state density bonus law.
California has recently enacted further amendments to state density bonus law, including a limitation on impact fees for affordable units in density bonus projects, longer affordability periods of up to 55 years, expansion of incentives and concessions, and allowance of the sale of affordable units directly to non-profit corporations.
Should the council initiate the work as recommended, staff will draft the proposed amendment and hold related public meetings for future consideration by the city’s Planning Commission and City Council.
The second public hearing will be about the staff’s recommendation that the council initiate an amendment to the Carpinteria Local Coastal Program Zoning Code regarding coastal development permit procedures.
Regulations concerning the city’s process for review and approval of development are a part of zoning regulations contained in the Carpinteria Municipal Code, and are guided by policies of the Carpinteria General Plan/Coastal Land Use Plan and the Local Coastal Program (collectively, “GP/LCP”). The GP/LCP was last comprehensively updated in 2001.
However, since the certification of the 2001 GP/LCP update, Coastal Commission staff requested that the city revisit its provisions on development permits in the coastal zone and amend its zoning code to establish a separate coastal development permit section similar to other jurisdictions.
In response, the city submitted an application for a Coastal Commission Round 7 Grant in December 2021 which was approved by the Coastal Commission and an agreement was executed between Carpinteria and the Coastal Commission on June 21, 2022.
Task 4 of this grant involves the necessary Local Coastal Program (LCP) Implementation Plan amendment to include Coastal Development Permit zoning regulations. The Commission awarded $90,000 to Task 4, with a city-proposed completion date of Dec. 31, 2023, within the Coastal Commission time frame of December 2025.
The purpose of this agenda matter is to provide the city council with the opportunity to initiate the city’s legislative process to draft coastal development permit procedures as an amendment to the city’s Local Coastal Program.
Once initiated, staff will prepare an administrative draft, public draft, and final drafts of the proposed zoning code amendment; notices, agendas, and staff reports associated with the adoption hearings; agendas and meeting minutes related to Coastal Commission staff coordination meetings; and the Local Coastal Program submittal package. The work product will be the draft ordinance presented for consideration of adoption by council and certification by the Coastal Commission.