Senate Bill 540 (2017) authorizes jurisdictions to establish Workforce Housing Opportunity Zones (WHOZs) to increase affordable housing near public transportation and jobs. To establish a WHOZ, a city or county must adopt a specific housing development plan and create an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the WHOZ. If specific criteria are met, EIRs for the individual housing development projects within the WHOZ will not be required. A city or county may apply for a no-interest loan or grant from the State to help fund the specific plan and EIR required to establish a WHOZ. Within five years after adopting the specific housing development plan, a jurisdiction must approve a project that satisfies the plan’s criteria. WHOZs have specific housing requirements: 50% of total housing units must be rented or sold to households at or below moderate-income, 10% of total units within a housing development must be affordable to lower income households, and no more than 50% of total housing units can be rented or sold to above moderate-income households. Additionally, like HSDs, WHOZs are subject to prevailing wages.
More information on Workforce Housing Opportunity Zones can be found at