Density Bonuses & Inclusionary Ordinances

Goldfarb & Lipman has drafted density bonus ordinances consistent with 2005 and later revisions to State law with the intent of preserving local discretion to the extent possible.  We work to make density bonus ordinances consistent with local inclusionary ordinances and redevelopment agency project area affordable housing production requirements and have drafted combined inclusionary and density bonus ordinances.  We have also represented clients regarding density bonus issues involving specific development projects.


Goldfarb & Lipman is in the forefront of creating mixed-income and inclusionary housing programs throughout the State of California.  We work with communities throughout the State to draft inclusionary ordinances and provide advice on the legality, establishment and implementation of inclusionary housing programs.  We have drafted inclusionary ordinances with many innovative provisions that have included use of inclusionary housing to meet redevelopment production requirements; tiers of affordability and incentives to encourage developers to provide higher levels of affordability; and combined inclusionary and density bonus ordinances.  We have often provided guidance on the required CEQA review for inclusionary ordinances and have developed administrative guidelines and the legal documents needed to implement mixed-income programs.  We also submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the California League of Cities and others in Home Builders Assn. v. City of Napa, the first reported inclusionary zoning case in California. As part of our services to cities, we regularly work with staff and citizens’ groups and appear at Planning Commission and City Council hearings.


Goldfarb & Lipman has completed a handbook on implementation of mixed-income ordinances, entitled Ensuring Continued Affordability in Homeownership Programs, for the Institute for Local Government (the League of Cities’ nonprofit educational arm).  Goldfarb & Lipman attorneys have been frequent speakers on topics related to inclusionary housing, including presentations at the ABA Affordable Housing Conference; League of California Cities City Attorneys sessions and Planners Institute; California Chapter, American Planning Association; Community Redevelopment Association conferences; and Housing California. In addition, Barbara Kautz, one of the firm’s partners, has written a well-recognized law review article entitled “In Defense of Inclusionary Zoning: Successfully Creating Affordable Housing,” 36 U.S.F. L. Rev. 971 (2002).