Objective Design Standards

On Monday October 18, 2021. the City Council adopted the Gilroy Mixed-Use Residential and Multi-Family Residential Objective Design Standards Policy for all mixed-use residential and multi-family residential development projects in Gilroy. 

The intent of Objective Design Standards is to provide applicants and developers with a clear understanding of the City’s expectations for mixed-use and multi-family residential project design. Objective design standards are written as requirements, rather than guidelines; therefore, all mixed-use and multi-family residential projects applying under Housing Accountability Act (HAA) protections shall comply with each standard. Importantly, objective design standards regulate site and structure design only. Projects must also comply with all applicable building permit requirements, zoning code requirements, and development standards such as height, setbacks, floor area ratio, etc. 

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.” 

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.