State Density Bonus Law provides that if a developer agrees to build a certain percentage of units as BMRs (or Senior Housing with no BMRs) the developer is entitled by law to additional density. The law is very specific as to what income levels must be targeted, and for each percentage of the project built as BMRs, a specific additional density must be granted by the city. The Palmer court specifically allowed this exception regarding requiring BMRs. In addition to increased density, developers who include BMRs are entitled to incentives and waivers of local zoning if necessary to make the project financially feasible. The law has been especially controversial in Los Altos. The City adopted a list of “on-menu” incentives, making these easily available to developers. Some developers “double-dipped”, asking for 2 height waivers, for example. The Council is considering specifically prohibiting “double-dipping”. Several bills are pending in the state legislature in 2020 that would increase and/or/modify density bonuses.

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