Housing Playbook

Housing Policies

Resilient Equitable Housing Strategies
Ensure fair and inclusive zoning policies that make housing accessible to everyone.
Prioritize Black, Indigenous, Peoples of Color (BIPOC) families in housing policies, outreach, and practice.
Prioritize shelter, transitional, and affordable housing in cultural districts and other relevant geographies with historically marginalized racial or ethnic identities to encourage their stabilization.
Subsidize and develop incentives for building housing targeted towards vulnerable populations in high-opportunity areas, especially along transit-rich, commercial, and social service corridors.
Design public space, planned developments, and transportation systems to advance racial and social equity by co-developing processes with Black, Indigenous, Peoples of Color (BIPOC) communities and understand their needs before designing the space.
Increase density within existing communities in non-high fire severity zones.
Advance zoning and implementation changes that encourage sustainable, small and mid-sized, multi-family and workforce housing, especially in lower density neighborhoods.
Provide financial assistance and education to lower income, small property owners to add housing (such as ADUs) and rehabilitate existing units that are healthy and resource efficient.
San Francisco Climate Action Plan, Sausalito General Plan
Re-zone to allow for multi-family housing throughout the city and county.
Implement permit streamlining for new housing that exceeds current inclusionary and sustainability requirements.
San Francisco Climate Action Plan, Sausalito General Plan
By X year, establish codes and regulations that facilitate use of new materials (e.g. cross-laminated-timber) and new technology (e.g. modular housing) to lower costs and increase resource efficiency of construction.
Expand green construction training and apprenticeship programs to grow the local pool of skilled labor and reduce construction costs.
Expand form-based zoning to increase multi-family housing in low-density neighborhoods near transit, jobs, services, parks, high-quality schools, and other amenities.
Increase heights and remove restrictions on density in non fire severity areas where existing or new high-capacity transit is planned to encourage housing and the creation of mixed-use corridors.
Increase the density and diversity of land uses across jurisdiction.
Every five years, identify and assess under-utilized publicly owned land and roadways that could be transformed or repurposed.
Increase growth in high resource communities that are not prone to fire risk. Make sure wealthy communities are zoned for and build their fair share of both market rate and affordable housing, don't place affordable housing only in low income neighborhoods.
Promote the development of a 15-minute neighborhood to provide active, walkable, bicycle-friendly, transit-oriented, mixed-use urban settings for new housing and job growth attractive to an innovative workforce and consistent with the city’s environmental goals.
Fund transportation, transportation demand strategies, and electric charging stations as part of future development.
Implement parking policy zoning reform to eliminate or reduce the number of parking spaces a developer is required to build, instead making it market driven.
Manage the threat of climate risks on existing and future infrastructure and require nature-based solutions for climate resilience.
Reduce or prohibit development in the most hazardous areas. Hazards and climate impacts to consider are earthquake liquefaction, flooding (riverine and sea level rise), groundwater infiltration, landslide, and wildfire. This strategy can also expand to create beneficial uses, such as open space, flood mitigation and recreation, for non-developable high hazard lands.
Require new development to plan for and protect against 42 inch 100-year storm events plus an additional 36 inches of sea level rise. Ensure that the design of future developments incorporate flood protection measures to protect improvements from a 100-year storm event and anticipated sea level rise.
Sausalito General Plan, San Francisco Climate Action Plan, Alameda County General Plan
Consider permit streamlining for new housing that exceeds current green infrastructure requirements.
Preserve on-site natural elements in new development, when feasible, that contribute to the community’s native plant and wildlife species value and to its aesthetic character.
Sausalito General Plan, San Francisco Climate Action Plan, Alameda County General Plan
Create zoning to require communities to be more wildfire resistant by establishing greenbelt zones for carefully landscaped areas inside and around neighborhoods and subdivisions, different from landscape-scale open space buffers and large fuel breaks.
The Critical Role of Greenbelts in Wildfire Resilience (Greenbelt Alliance)
Require and/or incentivize green infrastructure in future developments and, when possible, use green infrastructure as a preferred alternative.
Restrict or limit construction of new development in zones or overlay areas that have been identified or designated as hazardous areas to avoid or minimize impacts to coastal resources and property from sea level rise impacts.
Adopt (or renew) local policies that maintain space between cities including urban growth boundaries (UGBs), urban limit lines (ULLs), and community separators—preferably voter approved—to contain growth, prevent sprawl, and reduce wildfire risk.
The Critical Role of Greenbelts in Wildfire Resilience (Greenbelt Alliance)
Prepare current and future communities for climate impacts.
Incorporate Climate Hazard Overlay Zones.
Develop overlay designations to address potential future at-risk areas, such as areas prone to wildfire (that may not currently be within a State Responsibility Area or High-Risk Fire Hazard Severity Zone), subsidence, future floodplain or area of temporary inundation, or area at risk for high wind/storm events due to future climate change impact models. Incorporate these designations into the Safety Element, Local Hazard Mitigation Plan, and other planning for disaster response and emergency preparedness.
Disclose current and future hazards.
Review standards to ensure that new developments and substantial remodels in at-risk areas incorporate low-impact, resilient, infrastructure and are protected from potential impacts of flooding from sea level rise and significant storm events.
Develop policies that require residential property managers and landlords to disclose hazard risk information to renters in a manner similar to that required when residential properties are sold, including if the property is listed on a fragile housing inventory.
Require sellers of real estate to disclose permit conditions related to coastal hazards, property defects, or vulnerabilities, including information about known current and potential future vulnerabilities to sea level rise to prospective buyers prior to closing escrow.
Risk Reduction to existing development.
Conduct an assessment that identifies housing units and neighborhoods in fire hazard severity zones that do not meet current fire safe building codes and develop retrofit programs that target highest risk areas, taking into consideration the increase in frequency and severity of wildfires due to climate change.
Implement improvements to move or protect critical public assets threatened by sea level rise or rising groundwater.
Alameda County General Plan
Protect housing affordability during recovery.
Develop a community planning process to support rebuilding of affordable housing after a disaster, adopt policies to support the replacement of affordable housing units that have been damaged or demolished, and prioritize the deployment of interim housing in vulnerable communities.
Establish a Transfer of Development Rights program.
Establish a Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program, which could place permanent conservation or hazard mitigation easements on properties in high hazard areas to prevent or minimize the vulnerability of new development, including, but not limited to, seismic, flooding, or wildfire hazards. These programs can provide compensation to property owners in areas with higher or increasing hazard exposure to relocate potential development to areas with less exposure to hazards.
Implement a Managed Avoid Policy
Implement a policy of Avoid or Managed Avoid program for areas at-risk of repeated damage due to climate change hazards, such as areas of high subsidence, extreme wildfire risk, and floodplains to allow for natural modification of the landscape and reduction in risk to property and life. A Managed Avoid Program would include standards that trigger when development is relocated, modified, or removed.
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