Housing Element Comes before Planning Board

Rric J. Kos New home construction at Alameda Point will become part of the housing element in the city’s General Plan. The Planning Board will discuss this at Monday’s meeting.
Rric J. Kos

Housing Element Comes before Planning Board

Dennis Evanosky
A housing element update is scheduled to come before the Planning Borad next Monday, Jan. 25. Housing is one of seven elements that the state of California mandates — requires by force of consequence — a city or county include in its General Plan.

To comply with California’s compulsory housing element requires every county and city provide for the housing needs of all economic segments of the community. The state mandates all cities and counties to adopt and implement general plans with everyone in mind.

In 1969, the state mandated the creation of the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) ) as part of the periodic process of updating housing elements found in a city’s General Plan.

RHNA quantifies the need for housing within each jurisdiction during specified planning periods. This is in addition to requiring an all-inclusive housing element.

To accomplish this on a local level, the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) works with Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) to determine the number of new homes the Bay Area needs to build — and how affordable those homes need to be. This allows the state to meet the housing needs of people at all income levels.

ABAG distributes a share of the region’s housing need to each Bay Area city, town and county. Each local government must update the housing element in its General Plan
These updates muse show the locations where housing can be built and the policies and strategies necessary to meet the city’s projected housing needs.

Initial requirements from ABAG stated that Alameda must built 5,406 new housing units between 2023 and 2031. This translates into
1,455 very low-income units
837 low-income units
868 moderate-income
2,246 above moderate-income living quarters.

The state bases these income categories are based on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) definition of local Area Median Income (AMI).
According to ABAG, iin 2019, Alameda County AMI for a family of four is $111,700.

Extremely low income: 0 to 30% of AMI (RHNA includes this number in the very low income category)

Very low income: 30% to 50% of AMI
Low income: 50% to 80% of AMI
Moderate income: 80% to 120% of AMI
Above moderate income: More than120% of AMI

The city is able to appeal to ABAG to lower the number of required units. No matter the numbers, the city has spelled out the steps it will take this year and next to comply with ABAG’s final requirement.
Count existing approved projects planned to be developed from 2023 through 2031. This number currently amounts to 2,150 units.
Host public hearings to consider changing entitlements for Encinal Terminals and Site A on Alameda Point so that housing built at these sites can be counted in Housing Element.

This would add approximately 1,000 additional units to the mix.
Request updated guidance from HCD on how to reconcile state
law with Article 26, which puts a cap on the number of units built.
Host a public hearing at the City Council level to decide whether to appeal ABAG methodology and final draft allocation.
Host a public hearing at the City Council level to review responses from HCD and ABAG
Pass a notice of intent to adopt multifamily overlays.
Provide final direction to staff and Planning Board on Housing Element and multifamily zoning designations to accommodate RHNA.
Host Planning Board public workshops and hearings to finalize draft zoning recommendations and final draft Housing Element.
Host public hearing at the City Council level
The Council approves draft Housing Element based upon HCD review.

Reach Dennis Evanosky at devanosky@alamedasun.com.