On August 14, 2023, the City Council amended the land use code to make two important changes to the design review program aimed at encouraging additional low income housing. The first change permanently exempts low income housing projects from the Design Review program while still allowing design departures that would result in additional housing. The second change to the land use code provides a new Design Review exemption for projects that meet Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) requirements by providing units on site (the performance option under the Land Use Code). The same set of departures available to low income housing projects are available to these performance projects.
SDCI is developing a Tip and a process for new projects that are eligible for these Design Review exemptions and for eligible projects currently under review that may want to “opt out” of Design Review. For inquiries as to whether Design Review applies to your project, you can send your questions through our Submit a Request help form. For eligible projects under review seeking to opt out of Design Review, contact Emily Lofstedt, firstname.lastname@example.org.
To “opt out” of the Design Review process for a MHA performance project, you need to complete and submit the Statement of Intent to Exempt from Design Review form. You also need to complete the Low-Income Housing Checklist if you are requesting an Design Review exemption for a Low Income Housing Project.