Purpose, Procedures and Guidelines for Endorsement

Coastal Housing Coalition Project Review Committee Purpose, Procedures and Guidelines for Endorsement

The purpose of this document is to identify the parameters under which the Coastal Housing Coalition will advocate for the approval of new housing projects under review before local public agencies. This document is intended to guide decisions by the Project Review Committee on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Coastal Housing Coalition as well as to provide information about Coastal Housing Coalition’s interests to those seeking our support.

All projects considered for endorsement generally must be located within the urban area; projects outside of urban areas will be considered only under special circumstances.

The Coastal Housing Coalition (The Coalition) believes that the significant lack of middle income housing in the South Coast area is a serious problem that severely and negatively impacts the ability of local businesses to attract and keep talented employees. If businesses, nonprofits or public agencies on the South Coast are not able to attract the best qualified employees, there will continue to be an adverse effect on the economic, social and environmental vitality of this region.

While The Coalition favors production of housing at all affordability ranges, we especially support housing developments that provide homes affordable to middle income households, defined as 120%-200% of County median income.

We do not place emphasis on ownership housing as opposed to rental housing. Because of the severe shortage of housing locally, we recognize that rental and ownership housing are equally important.

The Coalition desires that new development result in attractive, aesthetically-pleasing built environments where people enjoy living.

Procedures for Endorsement of Housing Developments

For projects that meet the general criteria set forth below and which otherwise meet the approval of the Board of Directors, the Project Review Committee, acting on behalf of the Board of Directors, will consider endorsing new housing development before appropriate public bodies. This may take the form of a letter of support, or where it is believed that the development proposal meets the goals of The Coalition in an outstanding manner, public appearances by The Coalition members or staff may be provided.

The following procedures shall govern The Coalition’s consideration of endorsement requests:

  • We encourage application for review of projects as early as possible, including while they are in the conceptual stage. Application forms are available on the Voices for Housing website or by contacting The Coalition at (805) 570-1250.
  • Applications for project review should be submitted to The Coalition by the project proponent at least 5 weeks prior to any public hearing to allow the item sufficient time to be scheduled for consideration of the Project Review Committee.
  • Projects reviewed by the Committee will be analyzed using the general guidelines adopted by the Committee and approved by the Board of Directors.
  • Projects endorsed by the Project Review Committee do not require further review by the Board of Directors unless requested by at least two members of the Board.
  • A decision to endorse or withhold support for specific projects does not necessarily represent the opinion of each individual member of the Committee or of its Board of Directors.
Guidelines for Endorsement of Housing Developments

The following factors contribute to a successful affordable and workforce housing project and will be used by the Project Review Committee when evaluating projects:

  1. Unit Size. Smaller unit sizes rather than larger unit sizes are a more appropriate use of land. We encourage housing to be built at maximum allowed density, but not necessarily at maximum unit size. Smaller units are generally less expensive to build and will generally be more affordably priced than larger units.
  2. Density. We encourage density/compact development of residential projects because it is a more efficient use of land, the ultimate limited resource. Building more compactly is also an important key to any community or region becoming more sustainable in such things as energy and water use, transportation, and residential diversity.
  3. Second Units. We are supportive of second units within single family housing zones, where appropriately designed with provision of adequate services and parking.
  4. Affordability. The housing or mixed-use proposal includes a mix of affordable housing for upper moderate-income households and/or "workforce housing" (120%--200% of AMI). The Coalition is generally not interested in projects which propose minimum levels of affordability, but encourages projects resulting in a significantly higher percentage of affordable units than required. Affordability should be protected as long as legally possible. If endorsed by The Coalition, a project with a greater percentage of affordable/workforce housing will receive proportionally greater support.
  5. Project provides for mixed uses within a neighborhood. The project serves to integrate community activities- (i.e. housing, work, shopping, entertainment, recreation, and schools) either by providing them onsite or locating the project in close proximity to some or all of these uses.
  6. Project promotes public transit and transportation choices. The project reduces auto dependency by being located within reasonable walking distances (generally defined as a 5-10 minutes walk) from bus service, major transit center, commercial center, or major transit corridor. A project’s distance can vary based on the "walkability" of the topography. The project should not exceed the minimum standard parking allowance under current zoning. Extra support will be given to projects that reduce parking where appropriate, particularly in areas that are transit-accessible.
  7. Design and Construction. Structures and landscaping are well-done and appropriate to the neighborhood in terms of style, function, and aesthetics. ("Appropriate" does not imply "sameness" or "homogeneous," but recognizes that mixed uses and various designs already exist successfully in the South Coast neighborhoods and should be used as guides for new projects.)The project should be planned to be integrated with or improving existing street patterns, walkways and bicycle paths, with connections between adjacent neighborhoods, services and public transportation, enhancing pedestrian-oriented circulation and strengthening a sense of community identity. Innovative parking design, which eliminates visual impacts by location, and/or screening, or projects which use shared parking are encouraged. Projects utilizing “green building” techniques, such as use of nonvolatile, recyclable materials; achievement of high energy efficiencies; use of porous paving and landscaping; creation of appropriate buffers around natural areas; and enhanced sound proofing of dwellings are also strongly encouraged. Inclusion of universal design and accessibility units to accommodate the needs of a variety of people with special needs is encouraged.
  8. Community Input. Developer has solicited (or plans to solicit) neighborhood and community input and concerns by meeting with surrounding neighbors or providing another venue for community input in the early stages of planning.

Approved by Project Review Committee: 5/23/06 Approved by Board of Directors: 5/24/06