Project Title:State Density Bonus Law Update
Case Number: (None)                                
Project Location:Countywide Program
Assigned Staff and Division:

Jessi Steele, Long Range Planning Division


Staff is analyzing the new bills and researching potential zoning ordinance amendments.  Staff expects to present the zoning ordinance amendments at public hearings of the Montecito Planning Commission, County Planning Commission, and Board of Supervisors in the spring of 2018.


High Density HousingOn September 28, 2016, Governor Brown signed four assembly bills amending State Density Bonus Law. These bills went into effect January 1, 2017 and include the following key changes:

  • AB 2442 – Expands density bonus eligibility to include housing developments for transitional foster youth, disabled veterans, and homeless individuals. 
  • AB 2556 – Clarifies the requirements regarding the replacement of affordable units.
  • AB 2501 – Streamlines the permit process for density bonus projects and clarifies regulations related to defining, calculating, and granting density bonuses.  
  • AB 1934 – Grants density bonuses for commercial developers who partner with affordable housing developers and agree to provide affordable housing units as part of a commercial project.

To comply with these changes to state law, the County proposes to amend the Montecito Land Use and Development Code (MLUDC), the County Land Use and Development Code (LUDC), and the Coastal Zoning Ordinance (CZO).

Santa Barbara County's zoning ordinances offer density bonuses, incentives, and/or concessions for eligible affordable and senior housing projects and child care facilities. These zoning ordinance provisions are intended to implement the state-mandated Density Bonus Program (Government Code Sections 65915-65918) and the housing goals and policies included in the Santa Barbara County 2015-2023 Housing Element Update.

The County Planning and Development Department's (P&D) Fiscal Year 2017-2018 Work Program includes implementation of the State Density Bonus Law (SDBL) Update. This project will amend the County's zoning ordinances to comply with recent changes to State law and expand opportunities for the development of affordable housing in the unincorporated county.

Additional Information

We welcome any ideas, comments, suggestions or questions you may have throughout all stages of this project. Please contact the Long Range Planning Division via email.