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This handout summarizes San Rafael’s regulations for affordable housing. Most of these requirements are contained in Section 14.16.030 of the Zoning Ordinance of the San Rafael Municipal Code. The Zoning Ordinance can be viewed on the City’s website at https://www.cityofsanrafael.org (Municipal Codes), at the Community Development Department, City Clerk’s Office or at the Main Library.


The requirements apply to all new rental and ownership residential developments, with the following exceptions:

  • Individually developed single-family dwellings (unless part of a subdivision subject to these requirements)
  • Second Units
  • Projects of 1-4 housing units under 1,800 square feet per unit (not including garage)
  • Projects of 1-4 units of attached housing


2-10 units =10% of units must be affordable

11-20 units 15% of units must be affordable

20+ units 20% of units must be affordable

Rental developments:* 50% of affordable units for very low income and 50% of affordable units for low income Ownership developments: 50% affordable to low income and 50% to moderate income

*Requirement may not be applied to a rental-only development that does not include a condominium map or a density bonus request. 

The affordable units will be located onsite unless the developer proposes an alternative equivalent action. (see 14.16030) When the calculation results in a fractional unit, the development may pay an ‘in lieu’ fee if less than 0.5 or must round up to a full unit if 0.5 or greater. The lieu fee for a full unit is approximately $343,969.47 (last updated February 2019). Check with the Planning Division for the current figure.

Rental units must be affordable to very low (50%AMI) and low income (60% AMI) persons assuming 30% of income will be spent on total housing costs. Calculation is based on area median income (AMI). Click here for affordable rents information. Or for more information visit www.cityofsanrafael.org/housing/.

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