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Planning & Building

County of San Luis Obispo

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Housing Services


Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance (Secondary Dwellings)

On May 25, 2017, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors approved Phase I of the Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance.  The Phase I amendment, which brought the County’s Land Use Ordinance into compliance with California State Code Section 65852.2 regarding Accessory Dwelling Units, eliminated County requirements for road surfacing and owner-occupancy for secondary dwellings.

For information regarding ADUs in the Unincorporated County, please see our informational FAQ document

Affordable Housing

Department of Planning & Building staff assists the Board of Supervisors by preparing and implementing affordable housing policies and ordinances. Staff also manages grant programs that support affordable housing development, infrastructure improvements, and homeless services. The primary source of the grant funds is the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Agricultural Worker Housing Ordinance

As part of the Housing Package, the Board of Supervisors has directed staff to revise the Farm Support Quarters (Agricultural Worker Housing) Ordinance to incentivize and remove barriers for developing farmworker housing on agricultural land and in surrounding communities. Agricultural workers generally have special housing needs due to their limited income and the seasonal nature of their employment. The chronic under supply of housing that is affordable and suitable for locally employed farmworkers has economic, social, and environmental impacts.

County Housing Initiatives Package

San Luis Obispo County is facing a shortage of affordable housing. In October 2016, the Board of Supervisors tasked the Planning Department with creating land use policies that better support the construction of affordable housing.

Why Help is Needed:

  • 15% of households can afford the average priced home of $600,000
  • 31% of renters pay more than 50% of their income on rent
  • San Luis Obispo County is the 6th least affordable place to buy a home in the United States

Housing Initiatives Include:

  1. Density Bonus Ordinance
  2. Agricultural Worker Housing
  3. Permit Fees
  4. Accessory Dwelling Units
  5. Inclusionary Housing Ordinance and Affordable Housing Fund

Housing Element Update (2020-2028 Housing Element)


As one (1) of the required elements of the County of San Luis Obispo General Plan, the Housing Element is the overarching strategic housing plan for the unincorporated county. It serves four (4) main purposes:

  1. Establish Framework. Provide the framework to facilitate housing development and address current and projected housing needs. This framework will shape how the unincorporated county will grow, from a housing standpoint, through 2028. The framework comprises the Housing Element goal, objectives, policies, and programs.
  2. Assess Housing Needs. Provide an assessment of the housing needs for the unincorporated county, along with information on demographics, trends, and other housing-related data.
  3. Report on Progress. Report on the County’s progress in implementing the programs of the previous Housing Element (2014-2019 Housing Element).
  4. Qualify for Funding. Qualify the County for certain funding programs offered by the State of California. This requires the Housing Element to satisfy State Housing Element Law and achieve State certification. The process includes addressing the unincorporated county’s share of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation and establishing an inventory of sites for potential housing development.

Although each local government within San Luis Obispo County – the unincorporated county and each of the seven (7) incorporated cities – has its own Housing Element to address housing needs within their respective jurisdictional boundaries, the County and the incorporated cities have been working together to apply a coordinated regional approach to addressing housing needs throughout San Luis Obispo County. In addition to working with the incorporated cities, the County is seeking input from the public, stakeholders, and industry professionals, such as the Housing Coalition, to develop this Housing Element.


The unincorporated county setting is dynamic and the demand for housing continues to increase. As such, the framework needs to adapt in order to properly serve current and future residents of the unincorporated county. The Housing Element update process allows the public, stakeholders, developers, decision makers, and staff to work together to develop a framework that achieves this purpose.

Generally, the State requires the Housing Element to be updated every eight (8) years. This Housing Element will guide planning, development, and funding related to housing, through December 2028. At the end of this eight (8) year planning period, the Housing Element will be updated once again.

Mobile Home Park Rent Stabilization Ordinance

The County has a rent control ordinance that applies to mobile home parks.  It applies to residents who have a month-to-month space rent agreement rather than a long term lease. The county code is known as Title 25 - Mobilehome Rent Stabilization. Title 25 limits the yearly rent increase on a mobile home space to 60% of the cost-of-living index (i.e., to 60% of the Consumer Price Index, or "CPI").

Plans & Policies

Housing plans and policies are created and updated by staff to pursue fair, equal, and affordable housing opportunities for residents in the County.

Projects & Funding

The Housing team administers a variety of funding sources to support affordable housing construction and rehabilitation, public services, homeless services, public facility improvements, and other economic and community development projects that benefit residents throughout the community. Funding sources include local funds and federal grants.