Header Image for Print
PP banner
Housing Work Plan
Palo Alto, California    
Publication Date
Palo Alto city council
On February 12, 2018, the Palo Alto city council adopted the Housing Work Plan to identify potential actions to be taken in 2018-2019 to further housing production, affordability, and preservation consistent with the city's housing element and comprehensive plan. The work plan includes recommendations for regulatory amendments aimed at reducing development costs.

The work plan proposes consideration of density bonuses and other concessions for affordable housing developments. The plan recommends studying the feasibility of providing more flexible inclusionary housing requirements in exchange for increasing the percentage of affordable units from 15 to 20 percent. The plan also proposes the city work with property owners and neighbor associations to identify their objections to affordable housing development.

To enhance housing diversity, the plan recommends changing land use regulations to encourage a variety of housing types and sizes, especially smaller, more affordable units such as studios, accessory dwelling units, co-housing, and clustered housing. Other proposed actions encourage small lot residential development using a streamlined process and affordable housing for teachers and city employees through flexible design standards.

The plan also presents several actions to reduce barriers to housing production. These include establishing minimum densities for multifamily districts identified in the zoning ordinance and comprehensive plan, requiring minimum and eliminating maximum densities for mixed-use developments, and increasing residential floor-area ratios, as well as allowing residential uses in certain commercial zoning districts and increasing residential density in the downtown. The plan recommends consideration of a transfer of development rights program to provide flexibility for locating housing. Studies to reduce parking requirements and allow shared parking are also proposed, as is greater regulatory flexibility for transit-oriented development.

In addition, the plan recommends actions to further housing preservation. These include adoption of a no-net-loss policy and revised regulations to discourage any net loss of housing. For example, the plan mentions reduced fees and flexible design standards to encourage preservation of small housing types in low-density residential zoning districts. The plan also calls for an evaluation of tools that could be used to prevent displacement of current residents.

Note: Guidance documents, except when based on statutory or regulatory authority or law, do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. Guidance documents are intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.