What are Objective Design Standards (ODS)?

Objective standards are a broad set of standards used by an agency to regulate new development in a community. They can include “objective zoning standards,” “objective subdivision standards,” and “objective design standards.” Petaluma’s Implementing Zoning Ordinance (IZO) currently contains objective zoning standards and subdivision standards. For more on these standards, click here. The proposed Objective Design Standards will join these existing standards and enhance the City’s ability to define design preferences for qualifying residential projects. 

California Government Code Sections 65913.4 and 66300(a)(7) define “objective design standards” as “standards that: involve no personal or subjective judgment by a public official and are uniformly verifiable by reference to an external and uniform benchmark or criterion available and knowable by both the development applicant or proponent and the public official before submittal.” Certain qualifying residential projects may only be denied approval by local governments if they do not comply with these objective standards, which must be verifiable and measurable. 

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