Sunday, June 4, 2023

City of Ukiah Awarded Prohousing Designation by California Department of Housing and Community Development

The following is a press release issued by the City of Ukiah:

Ukiah’s North State Street intersects with Perkins with the StreetScape infrastructure installed [Picture from the City of Ukiah Facebook page]

The City of Ukiah is pleased to announce that the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has awarded the City with a Prohousing Designation, recognizing the City’s efforts and contributions in promoting housing development. The City of Ukiah is the first rural city in Northern California to obtain this designation. The Prohousing Designation Program recognizes local governments for their policies that accelerate housing production, promote favorable zoning and land use, reduce construction and development costs, and provide financial subsidies.

“Ukiah is grateful that our approach to promoting a sustainable housing supply for our growing community has been recognized by the State of California. Ukiah’s Prohousing Designation is rooted in our commitment to increasing housing by reducing barriers to affordable and middle-income development,” said City Manager Sage Sangiacomo. “By ensuring funding and through reshaping our local government’s role in homebuilding and providing service-based programs for developers, we are driving fundamental change in our community.”

Since 2019, over 192 building permits have been issued for new housing units in Ukiah, the most in any 4-year period of the city’s modern history. Additionally, more than 150 units are currently in the development pipeline, including market-rate, accessory dwellings, as well as student and tribal housing units.

Ukiah’s innovative housing approach has been built on a “whole-city approach,” which recognizes the importance of providing diverse housing options for all residents. This approach required a comprehensive review and revision of the City’s Housing Element, the policy that guides decision-making on housing policies and programs. Among the outcomes of this process, the City established novel tools that incentivize the construction of affordable housing and market rate housing.

To promote the building of affordable housing, the City created the Ukiah Housing Trust Fund, which creates a mechanism through which the City can secure state and federal grants designated specifically for affordable housing.

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To promote the building of market-rate, or, middle-income housing, Ukiah replaced the City’s old discretionary permitting process with new objective design standards. Under this new policy direction, developers can consult a straightforward packet and checklist, allowing for more timely and predictable results by obviating the need for rounds of review.

“Addressing housing at any level is akin to piecing together a complex puzzle,” said City of Ukiah Community Development Director, Craig Schlatter. “Affordable and market-rate options coexist to balance prices, offer mobility, and foster economic diversity within our city. With our innovative approach and novel tools, we are confident that we can continue to make progress towards our housing goals as well as serve as a model for communities across the state.”

In a letter from HCD to Assemblymember Jim Wood, who represents Ukiah in the State Assembly, HCD stated “The City of Ukiah’s Prohousing application demonstrates numerous positive policies and programs that promote affordable housing.” The letter also stated “the City adopted a new Zoning Code through their General Plan, resulting in improved development standards and increased development intensities by permitting by-right development of residential uses in three commercial zones.”

For more information, contact the City of Ukiah Community Development Department at 707-467-5786, development@cityofukiah.com, or visit cityofukiah.com/community-development.

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MendoFever Staff
MendoFever Staff
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