Objective Design Standards

The City of Gilroy is in the process of creating objective standards for new multi-family housing projects in Gilroy. 

What are Objective Standards? State law defines objective standards as those that “involve no personal or subjective judgement by a public official and are uniformly verifiable by reference to an external and uniform benchmark or criterion available and knowable by both the development applicant and public official prior to submittal.” 

Why is Gilroy creating objective design standards? Many design standards are “subjective” and require personal interpretation of their meaning and application. This interpretation, in turn, can lead to a lengthy project review and approval process. 

State Legislation: The State of California continues to enact new laws that require streamlined housing approval by establishing a by-right, ministerial approval process for multifamily residential development. Key to ministerial approval is the replacement of subjective design guidelines with objective standards. California State Senate Bill 35 (Government Code Section 65913.4) requires cities to establish objective design standards for multifamily residential development. 

Community Outreach

  • In December 2020 and January 2021, the City's consultant held virtual meetings with stakeholders in the community including residents, contractors, developers, realtors, and other interested individuals. 
  • On March 8th 2021, the City Council held a public study session to discuss objective design standards and the City's expectations moving forward. Please review the recorded video and agenda at your convenience.  
  • Future public outreach opportunities will be provided on this webpage and sent out to the City's social media platforms.

**If you would like to be involved**, please send an email to Cindy McCormick, cindy.mccormick@cityofgilroy.org

Next Steps: Based on these initial outreach efforts, the City's consultant will draft recommended objective standards for the City's multi-family design guidelines and Zoning Ordinance. As part of this effort, the consultant has or will:

  • Review City regulations, guidelines, conditions of approval, and other provisions related to housing development, and identify subjective language.
  • Review recently approved residential projects in Gilroy to identify how new objective design standards and practices can encourage well designed projects and avoid undesirable projects in the future.
  • Identify opportunities for changes that could result in the increased production of multifamily housing in Gilroy.

*If you would like to be involved**, please send an email to Cindy McCormick, cindy.mccormick@cityofgilroy.org