Affordable Housing Requirements Update

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About the Affordable Housing requirements update

The City of Santa Clara is looking at options for updating its Inclusionary Housing Policies. Such considerations include an affordable housing impact fee applicable to rental apartments, a jobs housing linkage fee applicable to non-residential development and other updates to the city’s affordable housing policies. The overall goal of these policies is to increase the City’s ability to provide affordable housing with adequate choice of tenure, type and location for low- and moderate-income and special needs households.

Santa Clara’s Inclusionary Housing Policy

The City’s Inclusionary Housing Policy was established in 1992 and is described in the 2010-2035 General Plan. The Policy requires new developments of for-sale housing of 10 or more units to provide at least 10 percent of units at below market rates for moderate income households. The city does not currently charge an in-lieu fee for residential development and affordable housing requirements do not currently apply to non-residential projects.

The General Plan also outlines other Affordable Housing incentives including encouraging and supporting public and private efforts to provide affordable housing, density bonuses and other financial incentives for housing projects that include affordable and/or senior housing units, consistent with State law requirements.

What updates are being considered?

The City of Santa Clara adopted the 2015-2023 update to the Housing Element of the General in December 2014. In order to facilitate the goals and objectives of the Housing Element, the Planning Division is considering the following options to promote and support more affordable housing projects within the city.

For-Sale Residential

  • 10 percent inclusionary requirement (moderate income) for 10 dwelling units (DU) and above (no in-lieu fee). This is the City’s existing policy, which staff recommends the City retain.
  • In-lieu fee may be used (rather than providing one affordable unit on site) for projects with 9 or fewer DU and for fractional units. (The in-lieu fee would be set at 80-90% of maximum supported residential impact fees)

Rental Residential

  • Residential impact fee between $25-35 psf.
  • Voluntary provision of 10% affordable units onsite (in lieu of paying impact fee).
  • If additional conditions are met, voluntary affordable units can be provided offsite.


  • Office: $5-10 psf.
  • Hotel: $0 psf.
  • Retail: $0 psf.
  • Light Industrial: $2-5 psf.

Other Considerations

  • Fees will be due prior to issuance of building permits.
  • Rates will be subject to an automatic cost escalator to account for changes in the market.
  • Credit will be applied to projects with existing floor space or DU.
  • Possible exemptions, comparable to those of other cities, are listed in Table 4 of the Summary, including certain assembly uses (such as lodges, clubs, youth centers, and religious assemblies), day care and nurseries, education facilities and hospitals. The City also plans to exempt single-family home extensions and duplexes.
  • Allow for a six-month grace period before the requirement takes effect to accommodate upcoming or pipeline projects. During this grace period, projects that obtain Architectural Review approval would not be subject to the new requirements.

How can I learn more?

There will be a number of opportunities for you to get involved and talk with the staff working on this update. Please contact Anna McGill, Associate Planner to receive project notices, meeting announcements, and updates via email and telephone below.

Attend a meeting

A number community and stakeholder meetings were held from January to February, 2017, to gather input on the Affordable Housing Nexus Study and the proposed Affordable Housing Impact Fees. Staff presented the results of the community input to City Council at their February 21st 2017 meeting. At this meeting, the Council directed staff to organize a Stakeholder Group to host a series of four Affordable Housing Working Group Meetings in order to gain additional input from the community on the proposed Affordable Housing Impact Fees. The staff report and presentation from this meeting can be found in the Resources section below.

Two (of Four) Working Group meetings have been scheduled:

  • Meeting 1: Tuesday March 14th 2017 at 3:00pm, City Hall Council Chambers (1500 Warburton Avenue), Agenda
  • Meeting 2: Tuesday April 11th 2017 at 2:30pm, City Hall Council Chambers (1500 Warburton Avenue), Agenda and Meeting Materials
  • Meeting 3: Tuesday April 25th 2017 at 2:30pm, City Hall Council Chambers (1500 Warburton Avenue), Agenda and Meeting Materials
  • Meeting 4:Tuesday May 2nd 2017 at 5:00pm, City Hall Council Chambers (1500 Warburton Avenue)

The proposed Working Group Membership is listed below but meetings will be open to the general public.

  • Vice Mayor Dominic J. Caserta, Chair
  • Councilmember Patricia Mahan
  • Councilmember Pat Kolstad
  • Planning Commissioner Suds Jain
  • Jeffrey Buchanan, Working Partnerships
  • Pilar Lorenzana, SV@Home
  • Roma Dawson, League of Women Voters
  • Joe Head, Summerhill Homes
  • Chris Horton, Chamber of Commerce
  • Curtis Leigh, Hunter Storm
  • Dennis Martin, BIA
  • Sarah McDermott, Local 19
  • Sarah McIntire, Mid Pen Housing
  • Vincent Rocha, Realtors Association
  • Jon White, Abode
  • Jim Mather, SV Housing Trust
  • Kiyomi Yamamoto, Greenbelt Alliance
  • Sausedo, NAIOP
  • Steve Edwards, RE Development

Please check back to this website for details on future Working Group Meeting details and Affordable Housing Update progress.

Comments or questions?

Contact Anna McGill, Associate Planner
(408) 615-2458 


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