Updated May 2019
The City of Palo Alto updated its zoning code in late 2018 and early 2019 to encourage additional development of affordable multifamily housing. The changes increase allowable density in the RM-15 residential multifamily zone (now RM-20), and the City’s commercial/mixed use zones (CN, CC, CC(2), CS and CD-C). The changes also streamline the development review process for affordable housing projects and ensure the City’s zoning code is compatible with the Statewide Density Bonus Law. The changes will take effect in May 2019.
Unlike the blanket approach to incentivize housing development proposed under California Senate Bill 50, the City’s approach is to craft very specific density standards for specified zones and along specific high density and transit-friendly corridors. This incremental approach is more targeted and seeks to keep higher density developments closer to El Camino Real and areas that already support multifamily housing.
The following slides (and PDF report) show the total number of units that could be added under SB-50 and under the new housing ordinance, as well as where these changes could occur.