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CA’s Density Bonus Law: A Checklist for Developers, Cities and Counties

For Developers: California’s Density Bonus law provides housing developers with tools to encourage the development of affordable and senior housing, including up to a 35% increase in project densities depending on the amount of affordable housing provided. However, the Density Bonus Law is about more than the density bonus itself. It is a larger package of potential incentives and concessions, such as reduced parking requirements, reduced setback, reduced minimum square footage requirements, and approval of mixed use zoning, among others.

For Cities and Counties: The Density Bonus is a state mandate, meaning that a developer who meets the requirements of the state law is entitled to receive the density bonus and other benefits as a matter of right. Consequently, the law also establishes wide ranging requirements for cities and counties regarding the granting of a density bonus and other incentives or concessions to qualifying housing projects, including the possibility of waiving other development standards that would physically prevent a project from being built at the permitted density and with the granted concessions and incentives.

Checklist for Housing Project Participants: To help developers, cities and counties understand key provisions of California’s Density Bonus law (California Government Code Sections 65915 – 65918), Meyers Nave Principal Jon Goetz created a two-page summary checklist of the following key provisions of the law. Please click here for Jon’s checklist.

  • Projects Entitled to Density Bonus
  • Amount of Density Bonus
  • Incentives and Concessions
  • Waiver or Reduction of Development Standards
  • Maximum Parking Requirements
  • Income and Affordability Requirements
  • Other Projects That Qualify for Density Bonus
  • Density Bonus and Inclusionary Housing Requirements
  • Replacement Housing Requirements

For a detailed explanation of the law, please see the “Guide to the California Density Bonus Law” co-authored by Jon Goetz or contact Jon at jgoetz@meyersnave.com or 800.464.3559.