New planning tool will allow housing in Sacramento to be built faster and cheaper

The City of Sacramento recently became the first city in California to approve a local planning tool that will make it faster and cheaper to builnew multi-unit housing.  

City Council on July 28 approved a “Ministerial Approval of Infill Housing” process and adopted new Citywide Infill Housing Design Standards. The action sends a signal to the region and the State that Sacramento is committed to encouraging the construction of additional housing units in existing neighborhoods or communities, which is known as infill housing.  

“This is an exciting next step to building housing faster in our city,” said Ryan Dodge, City associate planner. “With an insufficient supply of housing units, economic hardships related to COVID-19, as well as increased pressures on rents, we are making it a priority to streamline the approval process and increase the production of housing for all income levels in the City.” 

The new planning approval process will be available starting August 27 for housing and mixed-use projects between two and 200 housing units 

Here is some key information about ministerial approval of infill housing: 

Q: How does the ministerial approval of infill housing development projects permit process differ from the current planning approval process for residential projects with two or more units?

A: Projects submitted through the ministerial permit process are not required to conduct environmental review and are not subject to a public hearing. Ministerial review is a non-discretionary process. If a project is consistent with adopted policies and standards, it is approved. 

Q: How does a ministerial approval process increase the approval and production of housing?

  • Expedites the planning approval process for most multiunit housing projects, thereby reducing the turnaround time significantly;  
  • provides more certainty and clarity on the planning approval process to housing developers, thereby reducing development risk; 
  • delivers tangible savings to the cost of housing projects by eliminating the costs and time for environmental review and by reducing the length of the planning process. 

Q: How can I find out more information?

A: Visit the project website and email if you have any questions. 

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