Housing Policies

An important part of Petaluma's mission is to plan for housing that meets the community's needs. This includes identifying space for various housing types throughout the community. Petaluma's housing plan is called the Housing Element of the General Plan. That document is updated every five years, and outlines how Petaluma plans to make room for needed housing. Petaluma also has adopted several policies to help make local housing more affordable.

Housing Element 2023

To learn more about the most recent Housing Element from 2023, please visit the following link: https://cityofpetaluma.org/documents/general-plan-update-2025-housing-element-2023/.

Housing Element 2017

To learn more about the Housing Element 2017, please visit the following link: https://petaluma-ca.proudcity.com/documents/the-housing-element-2015-2023/.

Housing Element Progress Report

Every year the City creates a report updating the City's progress on the housing programs outlined in the Housing Element.

2015 Progress Report on 2015-2023 Housing Element
2016 Progress Report on 2015-2023 Housing Element
2017 Progress Report on 2015-2023 Housing Element
2018 Progress Report on 2015-2023 Housing Element

Inclusionary Housing

The Inclusionary Housing program requires that new development projects either build affordable housing as part of the development or pay a fee that can then be used to help build affordable housing elsewhere.

Commercial Linkage Fee

The Commercial Linkage Fee is a development fee charged to commercial projects. Those fees are then used to help pay for affordable housing development.

Density Bonus

The City's Density Bonus ordinance provides incentives for the production of affordable housing by allowing increase in the number of units allowed on a site above typical density standards, reduction in onsite parking requirements, and/or flexibility from development standards for applicable housing projects meeting specified income thresholds.  The purpose of the City's Density Bonus Ordinance is to comply with the requirements of California State Density Bonus Law.  The City's ordinance was last updated in 2019 to comply with state regulations.  However, since that time there have been ongoing modifications to state density bonus law and the City is currently in the process of drafting updates to the local ordinance to bring it back into compliance with state provisions.  In the interim, where there are discrepancies between local regulations and state density bonus law, state provisions will be applied to all density bonus application.

Updates to local density bonus regulations are anticipated to be considered by the City Council in early 2024.

Accessory Dwelling Units

Sometimes called "backyard homes", Petaluma allows homeowners to build units on their lot. To make it easier, the City has reduced the fees and development requirements for these units.

petaluma home

Affordable Housing is an important part of every community.  Petaluma believes in helping everyone afford a home.

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