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How does a Community Benefits Program differ from traditional review procedure?
Developers could have an opportunity to request increases in density, height, changes in use, or other accommodations in exchange for incorporating development features that exceed code requirements (e.g., additional open space, stronger environmental design, affordable housing) or contributing to the cost of providing such benefits.
What are Community Benefits Programs?
They are a way for cities to obtain community amenities or desirable project features from new development. These benefits exceed those available through a typical approval process in exchange for granting incentives that increase the value of applicant’s property.
What are the basic requirements for a Community Benefits Program?
Ability to offer development incentives that will increase project value;
Market demand for additional development capacity the incentive would create;
Vacant or underused sites where development can occur; and
Sufficient additional economic value created by the incentive to cover cost of desired benefits.
What types of benefits are possible?
Affordable housing targeted to community needs (e.g., families with children, locally employed workers)
Open space and recreation—additional contributions to City projects and publicly accessible private open space
Rehabilitation and restoration of historic properties
On-site childcare • Job training and local hiring programs
Enhanced energy conservation and environmental design (e.g., solar)
Transit shuttles and van pool
Other programs as identified by the community or City Council
Where might the program apply?
Areas that may provide opportunities for a Community Benefits Program include the Downtown, Employment Centers (Redwood Shores, Pacific Shores, Seaport Center), Redwood Creek/Inner Harbor, Corridors (El Camino Real and Broadway outside Downtown, Veterans’ Boulevard), and Gateway areas near Bayshore Freeway interchanges along Veteran’s Boulevard.
Which jurisdictions have enacted Community Benefits Programs?
Cities that have adopted Community Benefits Programs and/or policies include Emeryville, San Diego, San Francisco, Portland, Santa Monica, Seattle, Berkeley, and Vancouver, BC. San Jose and Santa Monica are among those evaluating alternative approaches to implement policies.