Inclusionary Housing Program

Inclusionary HOUSING Zoning Ordinance

Effective June 14, 2018
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Developers

This page is for information purposes only. Please read the ordinance for all legal requirements.
IZ Process

Where can I read more about the inclusionary housing requirements?
 El Cerrito Municipal Code, Title 19 - ZONING – Chapter 19.30 – Inclusionary Zoning

What type of projects are required to provide inclusionary housing?

All new residential development that includes 10 or more rental dwelling units, 9 or more for-sale dwelling units or any combination of 9 or more for-sale and rental dwelling units are required to participate in the Inclusionary Housing Program.

How is the in-lieu fee calculated?

The in-lieu fee is calculated by multiplying the total livable square footage of all residential units in the entire project by the fee amount below.

How much is the in-lieu fee?

For rental projects that elect to pay the fee in-lieu of providing the on-site units, the fee shall be equal to $19.00 per square foot.

For for-sale projects, 12% of the total number of units shall be made available for purchase by moderate-income households. The City will collect an in-lieu fee only for the fractional unit owed if less than 0.5. The fee shall be equal to $24.00 per square foot.

What is a fractional unit?

When the on-site unit calculation - 12% for-sale or 10% rental – yields a fractional number equal to 0.5 or more, the developer must provide an additional unit. When the on-site unit calculation yields a fractional number less than 0.5, the developer has the option of: 1.) rounding up to the next whole number and providing an additional inclusionary unit or 2.) paying a fractional in-lieu fee.

When is the in-lieu fee due?

All in-lieu fees are due prior to issuance of the building permit.

Can inclusionary units also be used to qualify for the State Density Bonus Program?

Inclusionary units may be used to qualify for the State Density Bonus Program. However, the project is required to meet the inclusionary requirements specified in Chapter 19.30.040.

At what point should a rental project decide if inclusionary units will be provided on-site or through payment of the in-lieu fee?

Whether you elect to provide units on-site or pay the fee, all applicants must select their compliance option at the time of application submittal.

If a project was approved prior to the ordinance effective date, what are the inclusionary requirements?

Any project application deemed complete or entitled by the ordinance effective date is not subject to the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance. However, if building permits are not issued within 2 years of entitlement, the project will then be subject to the requirements contained in Chapter 19.30 - Inclusionary Zoning. Please speak with your planner if you have further questions.

What documentation is required to comply with the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance?

Please visit the Planning Division website to download all required documents. Please complete all required forms/checklists, including the Affordable Housing Plan Checklist, whether paying the in-lieu fee or providing units on-site when submitting an application for new development.

 How does the City use in-lieu fees?

The fees will be deposited into the City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund and used to construct, acquire and/or preserve affordable housing.

What are the inclusionary housing sales prices and rent amounts?
Most rents will be set at low-income levels and most ownership units will be set at moderate-income levels. The City will establish the maximum allow rents/sale prices for your project typically 6-9 months prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy. Below are sample sales price and rent charts for reference.

Did the City Council make changes to the Ordinance after it was adopted in 2018?
On May 4, 2021 the City Council adopted amendments to Chapter 19.30 Inclusionary Zoning through Ordinance 2021-02. When the City Council adopted the Ordinance in May 2018, it exempted entitled projects and projects with complete applications. The restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic over the last twelve plus months have caused delays across the construction and financing sectors. In consideration of this, the following amendments were adopted:

  1. Establish an application process for developers to request a limited extension that must be filed with the City Manager by June 30, 2021.
  2. If granted, the extension will require that building permit applications be submitted by January 1, 2022 and that construction begin by July 1, 2022.
  3. Allow any approved extension for all exempt projects to expire on January 1, 2022, if a building permit has not been issued, and July 1, 2022, if construction has not commenced.

Eligible projects can request a limited extension by completing the Inclusionary Zoning Exemption Extension Application Form no later than June 30, 2021.

On June 2, 2020 the City Council adopted amendments to the City’s Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance. When the Council adopted the Ordinance in May 2018, it exempted entitled projects and projects with complete applications, provided that a building permit was issued within two years of approval or by June 30, 2021, whichever came first. The coronavirus pandemic has added uncertainty to the financial markets and the construction environment. In order to allow exempt, entitled projects to continue to move into the construction phase, the following amendments were adopted:
  1. Establish the expiration of all exemptions to the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance as June 30, 2021.
  2. Modify the exemption to require that building permit applications be submitted by June 30, 2021 and that building permits be issued within 6 months of submittal.
  3. Allow the exemption for all exempt projects to expire on June 30, 2021 regardless of any entitlement extensions or amendments which have been granted

Planning Commission Meeting Packet – May 20, 2020

Questions or Comments?

Please contact Aissia Ashoori, Affordable Housing Analyst,