Remove Barriers to Multifamily Housing

Across America, in communities of all types, single-family housing is still the preferred development type, often allowed by-right. Meanwhile, multifamily housing development frequently requires a specific permit, variance, or other special action. Special permitting processes can create development uncertainty, increase the cost of land and development, and stimulate opposition. They benefit few, and harm people who need an affordable place to live.

change the default

Local jurisdictions can change this by allowing mixed-income, multifamily housing as a by-right use and establishing higher thresholds that are subject to special permit reviews. When the proposed developments coincide with identified housing needs and demand, the approval process should be streamlined.

Dig In

These APA resources illuminate the issue and prepare you to act in your community.

  • Thumbnail of Affordable Housing Bonus Program and Reducing Displacement case study
    Planning Home Case Study: San Francisco, California

    Affordable Housing Bonus Program and Reducing Displacement

    In this episode of People Behind the Plans podcast, Courtney Kashima, AICP, and Kate Hartley discuss San Francisco's affordable housing bonus program, HOME-SF, which incentivizes building more affordable and family-friendly housing in neighborhood commercial and transit corridors through zoning modifications. They also discuss Mission Action Plan 2020, which focuses on decelerating the rate of eviction and displacement in the famed neighborhood.


PAS Report

Breaking the Exclusionary Zoning Barrier

Does your code prevent the development of often-affordable multifamily housing? Zoning as a Barrier to Multifamily Housing Development examines the relationships between zoning and housing in six metropolitan areas.

The Commissioner

Zoning in on Housing Diversity

When used correctly, zoning can be a force for good. Planners are using a variety of zoning techniques to promote equality and diversity of housing types, affordability, and land use.