Objective Design Standards

On May 3, 2021, the City Council approved Interim Objective Design Standards that are required for all mixed-use and multi-family residential developments with 2 or more residential units. A more comprehensive set of standards is currently being drafted and will replace these standards in fall 2021 (see below). 

UPDATE: On Thursday, September 2nd 2021, the Planning Commission reviewed a draft set of comprehensive objective design standards. Public Comments were received on the draft, resulting in recommendations for a revised draft that is scheduled for review by the Planning Commission on September 16, 2021. The 9-16-21 and 9-2-21 Planning Commission meetings including the respective packets and videos can be viewed in the Meeting Calendar.  Following a recommendation by the Planning Commission, staff will prepare a revised Draft Comprehensive Objective Design Standards  for review by the City Council. 

The City Council is tentatively scheduled to review the Draft Comprehensive Objective Design Standards on October 18, 2021


The City welcomes all comments, suggestions, and concerns regarding these  Interim Objective Design Standards  All community feedback will be considered as the City develops a more comprehensive set of standards. These enhanced objective design standards will include additional standards as well as graphics to help illustrate the intent behind the standards.

** Please email your comments and suggestions to Cindy.McCormick@cityofgilroy.org

What are Objective Standards? State law defines objective standards as those that “involve no personal or subjective judgement by a public official and are uniformly verifiable by reference to an external and uniform benchmark or criterion available and knowable by both the development applicant and public official prior to submittal.” 

Why is Gilroy creating objective design standards? Many design standards are “subjective” and require personal interpretation of their meaning and application. This interpretation, in turn, can lead to a lengthy project review and approval process. 

State Legislation: The State of California continues to enact new laws that require streamlined housing approval by establishing a by-right, ministerial approval process for multifamily residential development. Key to ministerial approval is the replacement of subjective design guidelines with objective standards. California State Senate Bill 35 (Government Code Section 65913.4) requires cities to establish objective design standards for multifamily residential development. 

Community Outreach

  • In December 2020 and January 2021, the City's consultant held virtual meetings with stakeholders in the community including residents, contractors, developers, realtors, and other interested individuals. 
  • On March 8th 2021, the City Council held a public study session to discuss objective design standards and the City's expectations moving forward. Please review the recorded video and agenda at your convenience.  
  • On May 3rd, 2021, the City council reviewed and approved the interim standards at their regular public meeting. Comments were received from the public and are expected to continue to be received following the Council meeting.
  • The City welcomes all comments, suggestions, and concerns. All community feedback will be considered as the City develops a more comprehensive set of standards. Please email your comments and suggestions to Cindy.McCormick@cityofgilroy.org.
  • Public Hearings with the Planning Commission and the City Council are scheduled for September and October where the City will present the more comprehensive Draft standards for additional feedback and refinement.  
  • Future public outreach opportunities will be provided on this webpage and sent out to the City's social media platforms.


SB330 Streamlined Review may be available for multi-family residential projects that meet the following criteria:

  • The developer has submitted a complete and accurate Preliminary Application
  • The developer has submitted a complete and accurate application for Architectural and Site Review within 180 days of submitting the Preliminary Application, and with minimal changes as provided in the preliminary application form. Also see Submittal Details
  • The project complies with all Interim Objective Design Standards
  • The project complies with all Zoning Ordinance requirements (these will be reviewed as part of the preliminary application)
  • The developer has paid the standard Architectural & Site Review filing Fees 

If you believe you qualify for streamlined review in accordance with the above requirements, please email the information above along your plans to the Planning Division. Once a planner has cleared your project for streamlined review, and the project has an approved Tentative Subdivision Map (if applicable), the project may be submitted to the Building Division in accordance with their standard procedures. Projects that do not meet the requirements above may be approved through the City’s formal Architectural & Site Review process.