Workforce Housing

In San Luis Obispo County, finding affordable housing is a long-standing challenge faced by those with low, moderate and even above-moderate income levels. Abounding with tourism, a top-notch university, and a healthy, vibrant culture, the county is a desirable location for all, but not all can afford to both work and live here. San Luis Obispo County defines “workforce housing” as households earning less than 160% of the county median income. To paint a picture of the challenge, the median income in the county as of 2015 was $59,454; the median home price was $500,000, compared to a state average price of $489,310. For industry leaders, recruiting and retaining employees is a challenge due to the disparity between income levels and housing prices, causing some companies to have a shortage of highly-skilled employees.

Led by industry leaders of all six business clusters, the Workforce Housing Initiative is designed to foster collaboration between the public and private sector to drive housing solutions in our county.

As part of the initiative, the EVC and its partners have conducted a Workforce Housing Survey, held an Annual Workforce Housing Summit, and continue to engage with local government on pertinent policies, such as San Luis Obispo County’s Workforce Housing Ordinance.

Workforce Housing Policy

The EVC, San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce and Home Builders Association of the Central Coast worked closely together with industry experts and County staff over a nine-month period in 2016 to develop policy solutions to remove barriers to building workforce housing. On October 4, 2016, the County Board of Supervisors gave County staff the directive to implement the following seven policies:
1) ZONING: Zone for Large-Scale Housing Projects
2) PROCESS TIME: Streamline Process Calendar
3) PROCESS TIME: Establish a Floor on Housing Growth
4) FEES: Scale Fees to Unit Size
5) FEES: Revise Timing of Payment within Fee Schedule
6) INFRASTRUCTURE: Regional Approach to Infrastructure Funding and Spending
7) CEQA: Administrative Draft Review of EIR
Housing Policy Outcomes One-Sheet
Housing Policy Document

Workforce Housing Ordinance and Design Guidelines

Over a two year period, EVC staff and the Building Design and Construction Cluster worked with County staff to develop the Workforce Housing Ordinance & Design Guidelines. It is 200-unit pilot project aimed to encourage the development of workforce housing via a two-pronged approach, 1) Relaxing building standards on new subdivisions that include workforce housing, and 2) Encouraging mixed-use developments by allowing interim residential uses to occur. In exchange for enhanced flexibility and incentives, developers agree sale and occupancy limitations.
More info
Workforce Housing Ordinance
Workforce Housing Design Guidelines

Partner Organizations