Objective Design Standards

The Objective Design Standards Resolution has been adopted.  

On Tuesday, November 15, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. the Town Council voted to adopt the resolution with the following modifications: 

Accept changes recommended by the Planning Commission, Change the document title to "Object Design Standards for Qualifying Multi-Family and Residential Mixed-Use Developments," slightly modify the wording used in Standard A.10.1(b), remove the requirement for Townhomes or Rowhouses to have no more than six (6) contiguous units in any single building, and add a requirement for high quality bicycle parking in conformance with the VTA bicycle Technical Guidelines.


The Town of Los Gatos is developing objective design standards for the review of multi-family housing and mixed-use development applications.  This effort is in response to State legislation requiring jurisdictions to adopt objective standards and to implement them in a streamlined review of qualifying housing projects.  

What Are Objective Design Standards?

Objective design standards are defined under State law as “standards 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 or proponent and the public official prior to submittal” (California Government Code, Section 65913.4).  

Objective design standards are a powerful tool that allow communities to respond to State housing laws that are reducing local control of development.  They provide an opportunity to ensure that the appearance of new development is compatible with the Town’s vision.

State Legislation


The purpose of developing objective design standards is to:

  • Comply with recent State housing legislation;
  • Implement streamlined and ministerial review processes for qualifying projects;
  • Ensure that qualifying projects align with the Town’s expectations and vision to maintain and support the character of the Town;
  • Provide a set of clear criteria to guide development; and
  • Establish an objective framework by which a qualifying project will be evaluated.

Discretionary Vs Ministerial

Guidlines Vs Obj Standards

Project TimelineTimeline

The above information is available on this downloadable Facts Sheet.

Materials from Previous Meetings

Planning Commission subcommittee (July through December 2021)

Community Meetings

May 12, 2022 Meeting Materials

February 22, 2022 Meeting Materials:

Planning Commission Meetings

June 22, 2022 Meeting Materials:

July 27, 2022 Meeting Materials:

August 24, 2022 Meeting Materials:

September 14, 2022 Meeting Materials:

Town Council Meetings

November 15, 2022 Meeting Materials:

If you have questions or comments, please contact Senior Planner, Sean Mullin, or Associate Planner, Ryan Safty.