SB 478

Nickname: Minimum Floor Area Ratio (FAR)

Sponsor: Sen. Wiener

Year: 2021

Bill Text

What is it?

SB 478’s purpose is to stop the misuse of floor area ratio (FAR) and minimum lot size requirement as an excuse to prevent construction of housing in areas that would allow for them. Previously agencies would impose a FAR of less than one to prevent housing being built. SB 478 creates a 1.5 FAR standard ratio, ensuring that housing can actually be built in areas that are zoned for it.

How it works

“Floor area ratio restrictions control how large a building can be, based on the size of the parcel of land. Many cities misuse this restriction to prevent multifamily housing: for instance, the City of Del Mar restricts floor area ratio to .35—meaning the building’s total floor space can take up only 35% of the total lot size. For example, a 2000 square foot lot would only be allowed to have a duplex that is 700 square feet total—350 square feet per home.” –  CA YIMBY