Objective Design and Development Standards

On Tuesday, August 22, 2023, the Town Council adopted Ordinance No. 1180 for the Objective Design and Development Standards (ODDS) and Map. 

The intent of ODDS is to provide applicants and developers with a clear understanding of the Town’s expectations for mixed-use and multi-family residential project design. ODDS 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, ODDS 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.” 

Design standards are “objective” if they are measurable, verifiable, and knowable to all parties prior to project submittal.  A planning review process based on the ODDS involve no personal or subjective judgement by a public official.

An example of an objective standard is: 

  • One long term bicycle parking space is required per bedroom.
  • For Main Street.Small Residential Zones, the maximum height limit is 2.5 stories and 30-feet in height within  30-feet of shared side and/or within 50-feet of shared rear property line.

An example of a subjective standard that cannot be measured or requires interpretation is:

  • The project provides high quality design.
  • The project is consistent with the character of the neighborhood.

The purpose of the ODDS is to provide an alternative ministerial path towards a more efficient, predictable, and equitable path to obtaining and granting of planning approvals for a wide variety of development projects, especially for affordable housing projects.

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. 

ODDS Resources

Objective Design and Development Standards 

Objective Design and Development Standards Zone Map

Objective Design and Development Standards Site Visualization

Objective Design and Development Standards Application Checklist

Town Council Ordinance No. 1180

Contact the Town of San Anselmo Planning Department at planning@townofsananslemo.org if you have any questions regarding the ODDS.

Past Meetings and Actions

Hearing Body   Click for link to video or meeting
Planning Commission November 16, 2020 7:00 p.m. Agenda Workshop to consider toolkit Zoom meeting agenda and Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87907350593 or phone (669) 900-6833 Webinar ID: 879 0735 0593 
Planning Commission Meeting July 14, 2020 7:00 p.m. Agenda Project introduction Presentation, Item 5
May 1, 2023 Agenda Planning Commission Meeting
July 17, 2023 Agenda Planning Commission Meeting
July 25, 2023 Agenda Town Council Meeting- Introduction and First Reading of Ordinance
August 22, 2023 Agenda Town Council Meeting- Adoption of Ordinance