Join the party on February 1 in SF at 6pm!

Meet the architects building missing middle housing.

Zoning Holiday Designs

Architects and designers, send us your best concept designs for

5 unit buildings

50'x100' residential lots

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Image credit: Lanefab Design/Build

Many California cities are going on a zoning holiday!

Many California cities have not met State-mandated requirements to allow more housing to be built, so the State has stepped in to allow for ‘Builders Remedy’ solutions. This means typical zoning regulations like density, height and FAR limits are sent on holiday! While local zoning rules are on vacation, owners and infill developers can submit housing solutions constrained only by their imagination, building codes, and CEQA strategy.

We’re celebrating these Zoning Holidays by soliciting concept designs of 5-unit buildings for single-family sized lots, conforming to the Passive House Standard and the CEQA Class 3 exemption, to push California towards a more affordable, sustainable housing future.

We'll showcase submissions at the Zoning Holiday Party on February 1 in San Francisco, and online after the event. Don't miss this opportunity to position yourself at the forefront of the new building movement, showcase your work, and gain new clients.

Let's explore what’s possible!

Hero image

Image credit: Lanefab Design/Build

How we’re celebrating

We will print submitted design board PDFs, and showcase them at an in-person reveal party, to be hosted on Wednesday, February 1st, 2022, 6.00pm at SPUR URBAN CENTER at 654 Mission Street, San Francisco.

Attendees will include a broad set of homeowners, developers and other stakeholders who are planning or interested in projects using the Builder's Remedy.

Designs will be posted and shared at the event, and on our event website. All design teams are invited to attend to share their designs or post a video presentation of their designs.

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Photo credit: SPUR, cropped and recolored / CC BY 2.0

How to participate


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Review the requirements

Designs for Builders Remedy projects in residential lots: 5 units (CEQA Exemption Category)

  1. A PDF of a 36x24 board in horizontal format
  2. Site/context plan (assume a 50’w x 100’d lot.)
  3. Floor plan(s) to scale (1/8” or ¼” = 1’-0”)
  4. Building Section
  5. Rendering giving general idea of form/massing
  6. Description of the project and how it meets Passive House standards – max 350 words. Alternative: a DesignPH or PHPP model
  7. A QR code on the board that links to your website/or contact details.
  8. Optional: If you can’t attend the party, submit a 2 minute video describing your concept and providing any additional relevant information.

Note: The boards or video may not include any logos, names or contact information other than a QR code.


Design and upload

Submissions are subject to the terms of submission.

Submissions are due by 8pm Pacific Time on Sunday, January 29, 2023

Drop us a line at [email protected] if you have additional questions.

Frequently asked questions

What is a Zoning Holiday?
The Zoning Holiday refers to window of time when normal zoning rules will not apply in a city, and projects of any size can be proposed via a process colloquially calledBuilders Remedy. You can learn more fromYIMBY Law's page about Builders Remedy.
What is the Passive House Standard?

The passive house standard is a voluntary standard which emphasizes energy-efficient design and construction techniques to reduce environmental impact and improve energy performance. The standard has been shown to result in comfortable, healthy, and energy-efficient buildings.Learn more about Passive House Standard.

Where can I learn more about the CEQA exemption for 5 units ?

CEQA categorical exemptions allow local agencies to bypass the CEQA process for qualifying projects. Section 15303(b) lays out requirements for the Class 3 exemption which includes small multifamily developments of up to 6 dwelling units in urbanized areas like San Francisco. You can learn more about the CEQA class 3 exemption from the "small infill" section of this Home3 blog post.

Where can I learn whether a particular city is in compliance?

The Campaign for Fair Housing Elements maintains a Housing Element Compliance page, with visual and tabular data about the compliance status of each California jurisdiction.

Who we are

Home3 is a real estate investment platform connecting investors with developers solving the California housing crisis.

Home3 finds and vets the best projects by real estate developers using new California laws to unblock the development of more walkable, sustainable housing in coveted neighborhoods. We invest in the projects and offer them for co-investment to our investor network. Our curated, vetted projects from innovative developers are good for your portfolio, good for your community, and good for California.

Learn more about Home3.

YIMBY Law’s mission is to end the housing shortage and achieve affordable, sustainable, and equitable housing for all.

YIMBY Law lead grassroots oversight and takes legal action so that housing laws are followed, more homes are built, and housing becomes affordable and equitable. We also work with state and local agencies, advocates, and developers to improve housing laws and their implementation. YIMBY Law is the legal arm of the pro-housing movement and is housed in YIMBY Action’s 501(c)(3) affiliate, Yes In My Back Yard.

Learn more about YIMBY Law.

The Livable Communities Initiative mission is to address our housing and human dignity crisis by building housing for all Angelenos in safe, sustainable communities.

The Livable Communities Initiative is a plan to create vibrant, walkable 15-minute communities near job centers and transit, where most residents' needs can be met without having to drive. The LCI envisions parking-free, mid-rise mixed-use infill housing on small commercial lots under 8,000 square feet. The plan includes streamlining and lowering construction costs to democratize development.

Learn more about the Livable Communities Initiative.

The Housing Action Coalition (HAC) is a member-supported nonprofit that advocates for building more homes at all levels of affordability to help alleviate the Bay Area and California’s housing shortage, displacement, and affordability crisis. .

We specifically support new multi-family housing projects that are well-designed, environmentally-sustainable, and located near jobs and transit. And we work hard in collaboration with pro-housing lawmakers and partners to enact new laws to make it faster, easier, and less costly to build homes for residents of all income levels.

Learn more about the Housing Action Coalition.

Passive House California (PHCA) is a 501c3 non-profit with the mission to promote awareness, understanding and application of the International Passive House standard in California through education, public outreach, and advocacy.

We are working in collaboration with the global Passive House community, local governments and like-minded, mission-driven organizations to transform our built environment for a healthier, more resilient present and a sustainable future.

Learn more about Passive House California.