Updated Zoning Regulations and Design Guidelines for Single-Family Homes

House Outline


On February 21, 2017, in response to concerns from community members, Fremont's City Council directed staff to evaluate potential methods to address ongoing challenges relating to oversized second-story home additions and the redevelopment of older homes with new homes that are out of scale and character with the neighborhood. Previously, City Council also requested an analysis of potential solar shading impacts from new development, expressing an interest in preserving solar access to achieve the City's sustainability goals. Additionally, the City's General Plan contains community character policies and implementation programs that guide this project.

On November 7, 2017, after months of public engagement, two Planning Commission public hearings, and three City Council public hearings, the City Council adopted several new zoning standards, design rules, and design guidelines. These new standards, rules, and guidelines (summarized and then linked below) apply to all projects received on or after December 7, 2017.

New Zoning Standards
  • Limitations on finished floor levels
  • Requirements for roof pitch
  • Potential requirement for solar setbacks
  • Limitations on use of the side yard setback exception 
New Design Rules and Guidelines
  • Requirements for addressing neighborhood context and neighborhood design compatibility
  • Requirements for identifying privacy sensitive areas and implementing design solutions that mitigate potential impacts (including enhanced landscaping requirements for screening)
  • Further design rules and requirements for second story additions and two-story homes

Next Steps

While the City Council adopted the bulk of the proposed amendment package, they deferred action on new size limitations (e.g., lot coverage, second floor size) as well as a discretionary design review permit for larger homes until a later date.

On July 17, 2018, the City Council directed staff to bring back three alternative scenarios for lot coverage and second floor size limitations presented at the October 17, 2017 Council meeting for further consideration. This item is scheduled on the September 11, 2018 City Council agenda.
Single Family Home
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For more information, please contact Kristie Wheeler, Planning Manager, by email.

New Standards, Rules, and Guidelines

(Effective for new applications received on or after December 7, 2017)

To get started on your new addition, check out our Residential Projects webpage to find everything you need. Find out which City departments to contact and what fees are associated with residential projects. You can also find project handouts that will list everything you need to do to obtain a City permit and complete your project.