Objective Design & Development Standards FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How is this work funded? This work is funded by the State of California through the Building Homes and Jobs Act of 2017 (known as SB 2). SB 2 was passed to provide funding and technical assistance to local agencies in order to streamline housing approvals and accelerate housing production.
  2. If all communities are sharing the toolkit, how will each community address individual and unique issues and needs? The toolkit will contain a range of zoning standards that reflect the variety of building types and physical site conditions throughout Marin County. Each community will take the portion(s) of the toolkit they want to use and then further tailor it to their specific needs.
  3. How does the RHNA goal for each community fit into the ODDS project? If a jurisdiction has not met their RHNA goal of zoning for housing at a variety of income levels, State law allows developers to submit multi-unit housing applications under a ministerial approval process that provides for streamlined review. The ministerial process means that, among other criteria, the development must be consistent with all ODDS adopted at the time of application submittal.
  4. What if a City or Town does not adopt ODDS? If a City or Town does not have ODDS, they are still required to review and act on a qualified housing project through a ministerial process, without any discretionary review or local guidance on design and standards.
  5. Where will the objective design and development standards apply? In general, the ODDS will apply to multi-family housing developments, although projects that require a general plan or zoning amendment or would result in one or more significant public health and safety impacts would not be eligible for the streamlined review process.
  6. Can we still use our design guidelines?  Design guidelines are by nature, advisory and subjective, requiring interpretation. The objective design and development standards must contain objective and regulatory information. A community’s design guidelines can be integrated into the ODDS, but the content must be made into objective and quantifiable standards. Design guidelines can still be used for projects that do not trigger Objective Design Standards, such as single-family homes, or projects that do not qualify for ODDS under the state legislation.
  7. What about architectural style? How do these important issues get addressed in objective design standards?  A component of the toolkit is a set of standards addressing architectural style. The consultant team will prepare an architectural style pattern book for each unique jurisdiction. This information will be incorporated into the objective design and development standards.
  8. Will this replace existing zoning standards? ODDS will not replace existing zoning. ODDS will serve as a supplement to the zoning code, applied to multi-family housing projects that meet state-mandated criteria.
  9. Is design review eliminated? No, design review for qualifying projects is still applicable. Design review will be done to evaluate conformance with ODDS, but the Design Review process will be limited to objective standards. Design review will also apply to projects that do not qualify for ODDS.

How can I get involved? The ODDS team has released a visual preference survey that will inform design typologies in Marin. The survey will be available to the public through June 2020 and the results will be analyzed to inform ODDS. While public outreach meetings have been canceled at this time, the ODDS team has released an informational video and a detailed project description.  The City of Larkspur will also hold study sessions with the Planning Commission to review ODDS in their draft and final formats.  The public will be encouraged to be involved in this process as it develops.