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Housing Policies

Housing policies can help maintain affordability and plan for the future. Walnut Creek's Housing Element is a guiding policy document. The Commercial Linkage Fee and Inclusionary Housing Ordinance help to ensure that a broad range of housing, especially affordable housing, is available to people of varying income levels in Walnut Creek.

If you would like to receive notifications of any updates to housing policies, please fill out the Stakeholder Policy Interest List.

Inclusionary Ordinance: The Inclusionary Ordinance facilitates the development and availability of housing affordable to a broad range of households with varying income levels and meet the housing needs of all economic segments of the community. The inclusionary housing program, part of the Housing Element of the General Plan, requires either the production of affordable housing at moderate, low, and very-low income levels or payment of In-Lieu and/or Impact Fees, where applicable, toward affordable housing development. The Inclusionary Ordinance lays out minimum percentages of very low, low and/ or moderate-income units built within each new residential development.

Commercial Linkage Fee: The Commercial Linkage Fee Ordinance imposes a fee on new commercial developments that partially fund the need for affordable housing created by the workforce of those new developments. New commercial projects encourage new residents to move into the City and create jobs for employees to meet the needs of the new commercial developments and new residents. Some of these employees earn incomes only adequate to pay for affordable housing such as administrative, retail, service, and maintenance staff. Because housing that is affordable for lower and moderate wage employees is in short supply within the City, these employees now may be forced to pay a disproportionate share of their income to housing, or commute ever-increasing distances to their jobs, negatively impacting qualify of life, thus, the commercial linkage fees go into the City’s affordable housing fund.

Density Bonus: The Density Bonus Ordinance provides incentives for the production of housing for low and moderate income, and senior households. If developers agree to dedicate a portion of their residential projects for affordable units, the City will allow them to exceed the maximum number of units allowed, thus increasing the density and decreasing cost per unit of their projects and also other concessions. There are various types of concessions that can be negotiated such as changes in setbacks, height, and parking spaces, or expedited permit processing which may lower costs for developers. 

Reasonable Accommodation Request: The purpose of the City’s Reasonable Accommodation Ordinance is to provide individuals with disabilities reasonable accommodation in regulations, policies, practices, and procedures to ensure equal access to housing and to facilitate the development of housing for individuals with disabilities. This article provides for reasonable accommodations in land use or zoning regulations, and in the application of land use, zoning, or building policies, procedures and practices to eliminate barriers to housing opportunities.

Inclusionary Housing and Commercial Linkage Fee Ordinance Resources for Review

  1. Inclusionary Ordinance: The City’s current Inclusionary Ordinance
  2. Fee Reso 17-77: The City’s current fee resolution for the residential In Lieu and  Housing Impact Fees
  3. Commercial Linkage Fee Ordinance: The City’s current Commercial Linkage Fee Ordinance
  4. Residential Nexus Study – For Sale: Nexus-based affordable housing fee analysis for for-sale housing
  5. Residential Nexus Study – Rental:  Nexus-based affordable housing fee analysis for rental housing
  6. Commercial Nexus Study: Nonresidential development housing linkage fee nexus study
  7. Feasibility Considerations Memorandum: Affordable housing fee update considerations