Assembly Bill 2011 (AB 2011) is California law that became effective on July 1, 2023. It allows a streamlined ministerial approval process for eligible residential developments in certain commercial zones. This ministerial process is not subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) as long as certain housing affordability and labor standards are met.
Projects must be located in zones where office, retail, or parking are a principally permitted use. This is defined as a zone where one of these uses may occupy more than one-third of the square footage of designated use on the site and does not require a conditional use permit.
The bill creates separate site eligibility requirements, affordability requirements, and development standards for two types of housing developments — 100% Affordable Housing and Mixed-Income Housing.
Note: Included below is a partial list of provisions. Please consult the memorandum for detailed instructions.
Proposed projects can not be located on the following:
- Within 500 feet of a freeway or within 3,200 feet of an active oil or gas refinery
- On or adjacent to a site considered to be dedicated to industrial use
- On a site within any neighborhood plan that prohibits multifamily residential development of at least five units
- On many types of environmentally sensitive areas such as wetlands and flood zones
Mixed-income projects have additional restrictions on their location. For example, sites less than 20 acres in size must abut a commercial corridor, and projects are precluded if they require the demolition of any of the following: 1) structures listed on a state, federal or local historic register; 2) units subject to the Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO) or an existing affordability covenant; or 3) units occupied by a tenant currently or within the last 10 years.
- For 100% affordable projects, all units in the project must be dedicated to lower income households.
- For mixed-income rental projects, either of the following two 55-year affordability options must be provided:
- (1) 8% Very Low Income and 5% Extremely Low Income units, or
- (2) 15% Low Income units
- Mixed-income owner-occupied projects must include either a 45-year provision of 30% Moderate Income units, or 15% Low Income units.
Note: This is not a comprehensive list of all applicable development standards. Please consult the memorandum for more information.
For 100% Affordable projects, the residential density must meet or exceed 30 units to an acre and residential use shall constitute at least two-thirds of the floor area of the development.
For mixed-income projects, the residential density is determined by the mix of zoning, site size, the width of the commercial corridor or proximity to a major transit stop. The allowable density shall be the maximum density allowed on the parcel, or the following, whichever is greater:
- 30 units per acre for sites of less than one acre in size;
- 40 units per acre for sites of one acre in size or greater located on a commercial corridor of less than 100 feet in width;
- 60 units per acre for sites of one acre in size or greater located on a commercial corridor of 100 feet in width or greater; or
- 80 units per acre for sites within one-half mile of a major transit stop (regardless of whether another condition above applies).
Height for Mixed-Income Projects
Maximum height standards for mixed-income projects are determined by the height allowed on the parcel or the following, whichever is greater:
- 35 feet for sites on a commercial corridor of less than 100 feet in width;
- 45 feet for sites on a commercial corridor of 100 feet in width or greater; or
- 65 feet for sites that are within one-half mile of a major transit stop and not within a coastal zone.
If a potential mixed-income project is located on a site with existing commercial tenants, the development proponent must notify all existing commercial tenants on the parcel of the application submitted to the Department of City Planning by submitting proof of mailing along with the application (see mailing instructions). The development proponent must also complete an AB 2011 Commercial Tenant Certification (CP 4084) and provide relocation assistance to each eligible commercial tenant.
Projects with less than 50 units must follow the prevailing wage requirements in California GC Section 65912.130, while those with 50 or more units must also follow the apprenticeship and health care provisions of Section 65912.131. An AB 2011 Labor Compliance Certification form (CP 4081) will need to be completed as part of the application, and monthly reports may be required.