Housing Element

The State of California recognizes the importance of housing and therefore legislates requirements for local jurisdictions to contribute to solutions to meet their local and regional housing needs. All communities across California are therefore required to prepare a Housing Element every eight years to address their local housing needs and a share of the region’s need for housing.


An adequate supply of quality and affordable housing is fundamental to the economic and social well-being of Ontario. State law requires all communities to prepare a housing element every eight years. The Housing Element is required to address the production, preservation, and improvement of housing in the community. Among its most important functions, the Housing Element analyzes existing and future housing needs; addresses constraints to meeting local housing needs; identifies land, financial, and administrative resources for housing; sets forth goals and policies to meet community housing needs; and establishes housing programs and an implementation plan.


The City believes:

  • A range of housing for all income levels is essential to a complete community.
  • The City’s housing stock should match the type and price needed by current and future residents and workforce, including those with special needs.
  • Preserving, maintaining, improving, and creating distinct neighborhoods and the housing stock within them protects property values and provides a desirable place to live.
  • Affordable, quality housing helps attract and retain a qualified workforce and supports a prosperous local economy.

H Housing Element Sections

H-1 Neighborhoods & Housing

Ontario’s neighborhoods determine our quality of life and reflect the value we place in our community. Neighborhoods differ in lot sizes, housing types, history, purpose, and environment. Whether rural residential, suburban, historic, or urban, Ontario’s neighborhoods should provide a nurturing environment for all residents to enjoy their lives. Residential neighborhoods should provide quality housing, ample parks and recreational opportunities, tree-lined streets and sidewalks for walking, safety and security, and public facilities and services.

As an established community, Ontario is committed to improving its older neighborhoods. This may be achieved through redevelopment, housing rehabilitation, code enforcement, and neighborhood improvement projects. Ontario will facilitate the development of new neighborhoods consistent with their unique purpose, such as Ontario Ranch (areas south of Riverside Drive), Ontario Airport Metro Center, and other areas. Taken together, Ontario is committed to creating and strengthening neighborhoods to promote a high quality of life for residents.

H-1 Stable neighborhoods of quality housing, ample community services and public facilities, well-maintained infrastructure, and public safety that foster a positive sense of identity.

Housing Rehabilitation. We support the rehabilitation, maintenance, and improvement of single-family, multiple-family, and mobile homes through code compliance, removal of blight where necessary, and provision of rehabilitation assistance where feasible.


Neighborhood Conditions. We direct efforts to improve the long-term sustainability of neighborhoods through comprehensive planning, provision of neighborhood amenities, rehabilitation and maintenance of housing, and community building efforts.

H-1.3 Community Amenities. We shall provide adequate public services, infrastructure, open space, parking and traffic management, pedestrian, bicycle, and equestrian routes and public safety for neighborhoods consistent with City master plans and neighborhood plans.
H-1.4 Historical Preservation. We support the preservation and enhancement of residential structures, properties, street designs, lot configurations, and other reminders of Ontario’s past that are considered to be local historical or cultural resources.
H-1.5 Neighborhood Identity. We strengthen neighborhood identity through creating parks and recreational outlets, sponsoring neighborhood events, and encouraging resident participation in the planning and improvement of their neighborhoods.
H-2 Housing Supply & Diversity

Bolstered by its International Airport, burgeoning employment sector, the Ontario Ranch, and unparalleled transportation access, Ontario aspires to be the urban center of the Inland Empire. Housing diversity is critical to achieving this goal. Ontario is committed to ensuring the provision of the widest range of housing choices for the varied lifestyles of its residents and future workforce. This includes single-family and multiple-family housing, mixed- and multi-use housing, senior housing, live-work units, and other types of housing opportunities.

Housing production is to be encouraged in a responsible manner that furthers citywide and neighborhood goals. New housing will be creatively designed, sustainable and accessible. Residential and mixed-use growth is strategically directed to the Downtown, corridors, Ontario Airport Metro Center Area, Ontario Ranch, and other areas. By encouraging an adequate supply and diversity of housing, Ontario will accommodate its changing housing needs, support economic prosperity, foster an inclusive community, and become the urban center of the Inland Empire.

H-2 Diversity of types of quality housing that are affordable to a range of household income levels, accommodate changing demographics, and support and reinforce the economic sustainability of Ontario.
H-2.1 Corridor Housing. We revitalize transportation corridors by encouraging the production of higher density residential and mixed-uses that are architecturally, functionally, and aesthetically suited to corridors.

Historic Downtown. We foster a vibrant historic downtown through facilitating a wide range of housing types and affordability levels for households of all ages, housing preferences, and income levels.


Ontario Airport Metro Center. We foster a vibrant, urban, intense, and highly amenitized community in the Ontario Airport Metro Center Area through a mix of residential, entertainment, retail, and office-oriented uses.

H-2.4 Ontario Ranch. We support a premier lifestyle community in the Ontario Ranch, distinguished by diverse housing, highest design quality, and cohesive and highly amenitized neighborhoods.
H-2.5 Housing Design. We require architectural excellence through adherence to City design guidelines, thoughtful site planning, environmentally sustainable practices, and other best practices.
H-2.6 Infill Development. We support the revitalization of neighborhoods through the construction of higher-density residential developments on underutilized residential and commercial sites.
H-3 Governmental Regulations

The City is committed to facilitating and encouraging the production, maintenance and improvement of housing in a responsible manner. However, various factors may limit the City’s ability to address its housing needs, such as governmental regulations or environmental considerations. Market factors may also affect the feasibility of building housing or the affordability of housing in the community. Moreover, housing goals may at times conflict with the need to promote other important City goals, including open space or the provision of jobs for the region.

Whereas City land use policy and municipal codes provide a regulatory framework for addressing housing, existing regulations cannot address every situation. In order to facilitate the type of development desired and to realize the greatest community benefits, the City’s regulatory framework must be flexible and incentive based. The development review process must be time sensitive, predictable, and thorough. The review process must support long-term community benefits, rather than just short-term gain. Finally, the regulatory framework must contain a broad range of incentives to stimulate desired development and private investment and realize the community features that improve quality of life.

H-3 A City regulatory environment that balances the need for creativity and excellence in residential design, flexibility and predictability in the project approval process, and the provision of an adequate supply and prices of housing.
H-3.1 Incentives. We maintain incentive programs that can be offered to projects that provide benefits to the community such as exceptional design quality, economic advantages, environmental sustainability, or other benefits that would otherwise be unrealized.

Flexible Standards. We allow flexibility in the application of residential and mixed-use development standards in order to gain benefits such as exceptional design quality, economic advantages, sustainability, or other benefits that would otherwise be unrealized.


Development Review. We maintain a residential development review process that provides certainty and transparency for project stakeholders and the public, yet allows for the appropriate review to facilitate quality housing development.

H-3.4 Financial Incentives. We consider financial incentives to facilitate and encourage the production, rehabilitation or improvement of housing, or provision of services where such activity furthers housing and community-wide goals.
H-4 Housing Assistance

Ontario recognizes the importance of an adequate supply of affordable housing and its importance to the quality of life of residents. Residential developments in the Ontario Ranch and Ontario Airport Metro Center area will provide quality housing opportunities to attract and retain Ontario’s workforce and support Citywide economic development goals. Lower- and moderate-income residents will require homeownership and rental assistance to secure and maintain housing.

Housing prices and rents in Ontario and across the region continue to lead to lower homeownership rates, longer commutes, increased traffic congestion, higher cost burdens, and overcrowding in neighborhoods. Working with partners and the state and federal governments, the City of Ontario is committed to providing a range of housing types and prices affordable to all economic segments of the City and assisting residents and the workforce to secure and maintain housing that is affordable and appropriate to their needs.


H-4 Increased opportunities for low- and moderate-income households and families to afford and maintain quality ownership and rental housing opportunities, including move-up opportunities. Inclusive communities, racial equity, fair housing choice, and access to opportunity.
H-4.1 Preservation of Affordable Apartments. We strive to facilitate the preservation of the affordability of publicly assisted apartments for lower-income households through financial assistance, technical assistance, rehabilitation, and collaborative partnerships.

Homeownership Opportunities. We increase and expand homeownership rates for lower- and moderate-income households by offering financial assistance, low-interest loans, and educational resources, and by working in collaboration with partnerships.


Rental Assistance. We support the provision of rental assistance for individuals and families earning extremely low, very low, and low income with funding from the state and federal government.

H-4.4 Mixed-income Housing. We encourage the integration of affordable housing in the Ontario Ranch, Ontario Airport Metro Center Area, and existing neighborhoods.
H-4.5 Collaborative Partnerships. We support collaborative partnerships of nonprofit organizations, affordable housing developers, major employers, and for-profit developers to produce affordable housing.
H-4.6 Fair Housing. We further fair housing by prohibiting discrimination in the housing market, lifting barriers that restrict access to housing, and providing education, support, and enforcement services to address discriminatory practices.
H-5 Special Needs

The City of Ontario is home to a large number of people with special housing needs. These special needs may be related to occupation, income, family characteristics, disability, veteran status or other characteristics. Special needs groups include, but are not limited to, seniors, large families with children, people with disabilities, single-parent families, college students, veterans and people who are homeless. Though each group is markedly different, they share the challenge of finding suitable and affordable housing.

Ontario aspires to be the premier city in the Inland Empire. As such, the city’s population will become increasingly diverse, with people of many cultures, backgrounds, family types, ages, and experiences. The housing needs of Ontario’s residents will be equally diverse. Recognizing the contributions of this diversity to the community, Ontario has the opportunity to demonstrate leadership in addressing the housing and support needs of all residents. Ontario is thus committed to creating a community that allows people to live in the City for their entire life, regardless of their special needs.

H-5 A full range of housing types and community services that meet the special housing needs for all individuals and families in Ontario, regardless of income level, age, or other status.
H-5.1 Senior Housing. We support the development of accessible and affordable senior housing and provide financial assistance for seniors to maintain and improve their homes.

Family Housing. We support the development of larger rental apartments that are appropriate for families with children, including, as feasible, the provision of services, recreation, and other amenities.


Disabled People. We increase the supply of permanent, affordable, and accessible housing for people with disabilities, and provide assistance to allow them to maintain and improve their homes.

H-5.4 Homeless People. We partner with nonprofit partners to provide emergency shelters, transitional housing, permanent supportive housing, and supportive services for people who are homeless.
H-5.5 Supportive Services. We financially support organizations, as feasible, that provide support services that meet the needs of those with special needs and further the greatest level of independence.
H-5.6 Partnerships. We collaborate with nonprofit organizations, private developers, employers, government agencies, and other interested parties to develop affordable housing and provide support services.

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