In recent years, in an effort to expand the production of affordable housing, the State of California has passed numerous laws that seek to “streamline” the approval process for qualifying housing projects. Projects eligible for streamlining are exempt from review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and may be approved through a ministerial review process, rather than a discretionary review. Among other things, this means that these projects are not subject to public hearings and are typically approved more quickly and with fewer application requirements.

Streamlined Multifamily Zoning Clearance Application

For housing projects eligible for streamlining under SB 35, AB 2162, AB 1783, or SB 330, summarized below, the County of Ventura Planning Division has developed a streamlined multifamily zoning clearance application to assist applicants with this process. A summary of the above-mentioned state legislation is provided below. Projects eligible for streamlining are exempt from CEQA review and may only be reviewed according to objective development standards. Planning Staff completed a review of applicable development standards to ensure that only objective standards are applied to these projects. The streamlined multifamily zoning clearance application is intended to help applicants comply with the County’s standards and requirements, and in instances where some Planning Division requirements do not apply to streamlined projects, to advise applicants that those requirements may still be in effect for other departments or agencies.

If a proposed project meets all of the ordinance and other regulatory requirements outlined in the Streamlined Multifamily Zoning Clearance Application, it will be approved ministerially. Any minor amendments to projects approved under SB 35 are subject to the standards set forth in AB 1174. However, if a subdivision or variance is requested, the project then becomes subject to a discretionary review process, and separate applications will be required.

Streamlined Multifamily Zoning Clearance Application Links

Complete Application (Includes Sections I through IV linked individually below)

Section I: Introduction, General Instructions and Advisory Information

Section II: Eligibility Checklist

Section III: Checklist of Requirements

Section IV: Application Questionnaire

Potential applicants can find more detail for their property through the County’s Interactive Mapping Tool.

Streamlining Housing Laws

Below are of some of the most significant state housing laws that have been passed which require streamlined approval of projects.

Senate Bill 35 (2017) - Due to insufficient progress made toward meeting the County’s share of the regional housing need for above-moderate income households, the County of Ventura is subject to the ministerial approval process established by SB 35. Proposed multifamily housing development projects with at least 10% affordability that meet the criteria as specified in Government Code section 65913.4, qualify for a streamlined ministerial review and approval. Projects must, among other requirements, meet the County’s objective zoning, subdivision and development standards, qualify as infill within an urbanized area, and must not be located within certain designated areas, such as those which are environmentally sensitive or vulnerable to certain hazards. More information about SB 35 and how jurisdictions are determined to be subject to SB 35 is available on the California Department of Housing and Community Development website, here.

Assembly Bill 2162 (2018) -AB 2162 amended Government Code section 65650, which allows certain multifamily, supportive housing projects as a use by-right in all zones where multifamily and mixed uses are permitted (Government Code section 65651). Supportive housing projects are eligible for streamlined, ministerial approval if they provide onsite supportive services and satisfy additional criteria, which may include, a recorded affordability restriction for 55 years for all units within the development to lower-income households; ensuring that public funding received restricts the affordability of such units; and requires the development project to meet County’s objective development standards and policies that apply to other multifamily development within the same zone. Because the County unincorporated area has a population of fewer than 200,000, and less than 1,500 persons experiencing homelessness, the development project must consist of 50 units or fewer to be eligible for streamlined ministerial review and approval pursuant to subdivision (d) of Government Code section 65651.

Assembly Bill 1783 (2019) - AB 1783 allows certain multifamily farmworker housing projects to be approved with a streamlined, ministerial approval process. Eligible farmworker housing must be located on agricultural land which is not environmentally sensitive or subject to certain hazards, and must meet other eligibility requirements pursuant to Health and Safety Code section 17021.8.

Senate Bill 330 (2019) - Housing Crisis Act of 2019, amended by SB 8 (2021) - SB 330, as amended by SB 8, adds additional provisions to the Housing Accountability Act (Gov. Code section 65589.5) and the Permit Streamlining Act. One of these provisions allows a housing developer to submit a “preliminary application” for a housing development project, along with the required information and payment of applicable permit processing fees, which would freeze the fees and development standards as of the date of the submittal and payment for the proposed project, unless certain exceptions pursuant to Government Code section 65589.5(o) apply. The Department of Housing and Community Development has developed a standardized preliminary application form for use by developers here. SB 330 also prevents certain actions from being taken within “census designated places” (CDPs) that are wholly within the boundaries of an urbanized area within the County unincorporated area, and also places limits on the number of hearings that may be held for a housing development project. SB 8 extended the operation of the Housing Crisis Act until January 1, 2030. More information about the Housing Crisis Act and the locations of the CDPs is available here. The Housing Accountability Act prohibits the County from disapproving certain housing development projects, or imposing certain conditions on housing development projects, without making specified written findings pursuant to Government Code section 65589.5.

State laws regarding affordable housing development are being frequently revised, so applicants are advised to monitor which laws are applicable to their projects, in part by checking the websites of the Planning Division and the Department of Housing and Community Development. Additionally, tools have been developed by State agencies which can assist applicants in determining whether specific parcels are exempt from CEQA or other requirements, such as the SiteCheck tool available here.

Questions?

If you need assistance with streamlined affordable housing development, please contact the County of Ventura’s Planning Division at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or by calling 805-654-2488.

Si necesita ayuda para completar esta solicitud en otro idioma, comuníquese con la División de Planificación del Condado de Ventura en This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., o llame al 805-654-2488 para solicitar servicios de interpretación.