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For many Sebastopol residents, suitable housing at an affordable level is not available. The Housing Element of the General Plan documents the need for affordable housing in Sebastopol. The City finds that the housing shortage for persons of lower incomes is detrimental to the public health, safety and welfare, and further that it is a public purpose of the City, and public policy of the State, set forth in Government Code Sections 65580 through 65589.8 to make available an adequate supply of housing for all segments of the community, while at the same time maintaining an economically sound and healthy environment.

The City is experiencing an increasing shortage of housing affordable to lower-income households. New residential development does not provide housing opportunities for lower-income households due to the high cost of newly constructed housing in the City. As a result, lower-income households are de facto excluded from new housing, creating economic stratification in the City that is detrimental to the public health, safety, and welfare.

The amount of land in the City available for residential development is limited by City General Plan policies and the voter-approved Urban Growth Boundary, the planning principles embodied in State law pertaining to general plans and annexation, and by mandates in Federal law. These policies and laws discourage urban sprawl and limit the supply of land for residential development for many environmental reasons including the need to reduce vehicle-related air pollution, the preservation of agricultural land and wildlife habitat, and efficient use of natural resources.

The consumption of this remaining available land for residential development without providing housing affordable to all income levels would work counter to these housing, environmental and planning policies. Scarce remaining opportunities for affordable housing would be lost. Persons from lower-income families who work in the City would be unable to find affordable housing there and would be forced into longer commutes.

Further, the City finds that there is insufficient Federal and State support for programs to assist the City in meeting its affordable housing needs. The City finds that it is a public purpose of the City to seek assistance and cooperation from the private sector in making available an adequate supply of housing for persons of all economic segments of the community. The goal of the City is to achieve a balanced community with housing available for persons of all income levels and thereby comply with the City’s regional fair share housing obligations under State housing law.

The purpose of this chapter is to enhance the public welfare and assure that further housing development within the City contributes to the attainment of the housing goals of the City by increasing the production of units available to, and affordable by, households of lower incomes, in order to promote a balance of housing for all economic segments of the community, and to meet the need documented in the Sebastopol Housing Element and to comply with State housing law. Specifically, the purposes of this chapter are to:

A. Promote the construction of housing within Sebastopol that is affordable to all economic segments of the community, including households with lower incomes;

B. Encourage the construction of affordable housing throughout the community, rather than concentrated within specific areas or neighborhoods;

C. Implement the State-mandated Housing Element of the General Plan which mandates an inclusionary housing program;

D. Provide a mechanism to assure affordability of housing units constructed under the provisions of this chapter for a specific period of time;

E. Provide the basis for establishment of a fee that may be paid under specified circumstances in lieu of building an inclusionary unit. (Ord. 1111, 2018)