City of Concord to consider objective design standards


May 21, 2022

The City of Concord will host a second Special Joint Meeting/Workshop of the Planning Commission and Design Review Committee on Thursday May 26 to 6:30 p.m.. for reviewing and providing feedback on a draft framework for the city’s “Objective Design Standards” (ODS) for housing projects, in response to the city’s April 6 joint special meeting on the update city ​​design standards, following recent state housing legislation.

The meeting will include the following:

  1. Brief examination of the project’s purpose;
  2. Presentation on the results of the existing conditions;
  3. Review and discussion of draft framework for ODS document; and
  4. Design exercise, including photo discussion, to identify values ​​and approaches to design elements and priorities to standards application.

The project team, comprised of City employees and their consultant, MIG, Inc., will explore the experiences of Commission/Council members in their review of planning projects and the implementation and incorporation of City design guidelines in development projects. The project team will also ask the group for policy guidance on key elements.

As this is a special meeting, it will be held in person only in the Permit Center Conference Room – Building D (1950 Parkside Drive) and do not will be available via Zoom, nor televised.

The project aims to support Concord’s tradition of high-quality design and streamline the review of housing projects, in accordance with the state’s Housing Accountability Act.


In response to California’s housing crisis, several state laws have been enacted to strengthen the state’s Housing Accountability Act, with the goal of stimulating housing production. These bills seek to advance housing by streamlining permitting processes and making it harder for communities to deny or reduce the density of housing projects that meet objective master plan and zoning requirements.

The state has limited a local jurisdiction’s ability to enforce subjective design standards. Going forward, the City can only rely on the application of objective design standards for most housing projects. Objective design standards are those that do not involve discretion or subjective judgment and are verifiable by reference to an external, uniform reference or criterion.

For more details, please contact Joan Ryan, Senior Planner, at [email protected] or (925) 671-3370.

This press release was produced by the city of Concord. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.


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