The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD or the Department) is pleased to announce the release of the Infill Infrastructure Grant Program (IIG or Program) Round 6 Draft Guidelines for public comment. IIG provides grants to cover gap funding needs for infrastructure improvements necessary for specific residential or mixed-use infill development projects. The program funds two types of applications: Qualifying Infill Areas (QIAs) which meet infrastructure needs for multiple future housing developments within a larger area and Qualifying Infill Projects (QIPs) which meet infrastructure needs associated with a single housing development project. These Draft Guidelines incorporate changes pending the Governor’s signature of AB 101 of 2019. This bill creates the Infill Infrastructure Grant Program of 2019 and allocates $500 million to the Program fund. Significant changes in the Round 6 Draft Guidelines include: 1. For all Jurisdictions the Department proposes the following modifications: a. Require applicants to submit housing element annual progress reports for 2017 through the most recently required annual progress report.
b. Include sustainable communities strategies, specific plans, workforce housing opportunity zones and housing sustainability districts as acceptable adopted plans for demonstrating that an area is designated for mixed-use or residential development.
c. Require the developer of a QIP to apply jointly with the respective city or county.
d. For both the competitive and over-the-counter allocations, HCD proposes to limit second or subsequent awards to a QIA until construction financing has closed on at least one QIP to ensure progress is being made on housing within the QIA. 2. Large Jurisdictions (Counties): For the competitive allocations, the Department proposes the following modifications: a. Update readiness scoring for QIAs to encourage applications that demonstrate a higher likelihood of housing completion within a reasonable timeframe.
b. Readiness of multiple QIPs within the QIA will be incentivized. c. Prohousing local policies: Provides scoring points for applications in jurisdictions that are compliant with housing element requirements and have enacted prohousing local policies, including local financial incentives for housing, reduced parking requirements, promoting the development of accessory dwelling units, and objective design standards.
d. Alignment with Regional Priorities: Provide additional points for projects within regional priority development areas or transit priority areas. 3. Small Jurisdictions (Counties): Establish an over-the-counter process to distribute $90 million available for jurisdictions in counties with a population of less than 250,000. This process will include the following modifications: a. Allow a QIA to include sites from the housing element inventory of residentially zoned land, as opposed to requiring a pending or approved QIP entitlement application.
b. Allow a QIA or QIP site that is surrounded by 50 percent of sites developed for urban uses, as opposed to 75 percent.
c. Require the Capital Improvement Project and the QIP to have obtained necessary entitlements, environmental review, and sufficient non-Program funding commitments at the time of application. Provide an exception to the entitlement requirement for a QIP in an unincorporated area that allows the applicant to submit a letter of intent from an experienced affordable housing developer.
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