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League of California Cities
Home > News > News Articles > 2019 > May > SB 2 Planning Grants Are Available: Find out How to Access Your City’s Share
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SB 2 Planning Grants Are Available: Find out How to Access Your City’s Share

May 1, 2019
The League of California Cities hosted a SB 2 Planning Grant Webinar on Wednesday, April 17 for cities to learn how they can receive funding and technical assistance to update their general plan, community plan, specific plan or local coastal plan.
The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has released the SB 2 Planning Grants Program Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for approximately $123 million. Cities can now apply for funding through the SB 2 Planning Grants Program to update general plans, community plans, specific plans, local planning related to implementation of sustainable community strategies or local coastal plans.
In April, SB 2 Planning Grant Program experts from the office of Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), Ascent Environmental, the Governor's Office of Planning and Research (OPR), and the Institute for Local Government (ILG) presented a webinar to member cities on how they can receive funding and technical assistance.
The passage of SB 2 is a momentous step in the right direction in finding solutions to address California’s housing shortage, as it provides a key incentive for the construction of affordable housing. These new funds give cities greater access to funding to streamline housing project approvals, update land use plans and zone or rezone to meet the housing needs in their communities.
The League would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins for authoring SB 2 and for having a representative from her office join the webinar. This new ongoing source of funding is a result of hard work and collaboration. This program gives cities additional resources to update local plans and fund affordable housing projects and is a perfect example of how local government and the state of California can collaborate to accomplish common goals.
The League would also like to thank Ben Metcalf, director of HCD, for joining the webinar and for all of the work he and his team at the department have done to implement this new program.
If you missed the webinar, you can still review the materials by visiting the League’s YouTube Channel.
The webinar slides are also available for review.
SB 2 Planning Grant Program

The Planning Grants Program (PGP) provides one-time, over-the-counter (OTC) grants to local governments to update a variety of planning documents and processes that streamline housing approvals and accelerate housing production. OTC applications will be accepted for an eight-month period ending on Nov. 30. As part of the PGP, HCD, in coordination with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, will work with a team led by Placeworks to provide local technical assistance (TA) to applicants throughout the application period. The TA team will work closely with regions, sub-regions, and counties to help jurisdictions identify activities and provide tools that will accelerate housing production.
SB 2 (Atkins) aimed at addressing the state’s housing shortage and high housing costs by establishing a permanent funding source for affordable housing. Half of the funding generated in the first year will be available to local governments through noncompetitive grants. For the second year 70 percent of the funding will be allocated to local governments for affordable housing purposes. A large portion of year two allocations will be distributed using the same formula used to allocate federal Community Development Block Grants.
What Can This Funding Be Used For?

Eligible activities may include:
  • Updates to general plans, community plans, specific plans, local planning related to implementation of sustainable community strategies or local coastal plans;
  • Updates to zoning ordinances;
  • Environmental analyses that eliminate the need for project-specific review; and 
  • Local process improvements that expedite local planning and permitting.  
How Much Money Can Cities Receive?

The revenues from SB 2 will vary from year to year, as they are dependent on a variety of real estate transactions with fluctuating activity. Therefore, the minimum and maximum award amounts may be adjusted. Currently, the fees are estimated to generate approximately $250 million per year.
The minimum award is $25,000.
The maximum award amount will be adjusted on a sliding scale based on population estimates from the Department of Finance as follows:
  • $500,000 for large localities (greater than 200,000 people);
  • $250,000 for medium localities (60,000 to 200,000 people); and
  • $125,000 for small localities (less than 60,000 people).   

The program will provide grants to cities and counties through a noncompetitive process to those localities that can demonstrate that their eligible activity has a nexus to accelerating housing production.
Eligible applicants must meet these requirements:
  • Have an HCD-compliant housing element;
  • Have submitted a recent Annual Progress report;
  • Must demonstrate a nexus to accelerating housing production; and
  • Must demonstrate that the applicant is consistent with State Planning Priorities or other planning priorities.  
Applicants not meeting housing element requirements may be considered at the discretion of HCD based on factors such as significant progress in meeting housing element requirements.

Local governments can also collaborate with other localities, regional governments, housing authorities, school districts, special districts; community based organizations, or any duly constituted governing body of an Indian Reservation. Applicants seeking partnerships with other local governments will be additive. For example, two large localities could submit a proposal for up to $1,000,000.

Application Review

Applicants must submit an application to be eligible for funding. An application form will be available upon release of the NOFA and will include forms to demonstrate meeting threshold requirements, a proposed budget and timeline, and a request for letters of support from key stakeholders and decision-makers in the adoption process.
Funding Allocation Timeline 

Planning Grants to Cities (50 percent of funds)                           
Release of Final Guidelines - January 2019
Release of Notice of Funding Availability - Spring 2019

Homelessness Grants from the State (50 percent of funds) 
Release of Notice of Funding Availability from CESH program - Spring 2019
Release of NOFA from HHC program - Spring 2019
Local Funds (70 percent of Annual Total in Year Two and Beyond) 
Initiate Public Outreach - Fall 2018
Development of Guidelines - Spring 2019
Release of Notice of Funding Availability - Summer 2019

Additional Resources
Guidelines Get Funding For further information, please visit:
For any questions regarding the program, please ask HCD staff by emailing :

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