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State Calls For Revisions in City’s Housing Element

Published on Wednesday, October 19, 2022 | 5:32 am

According to the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development,  the City of Pasadena must revise its housing element to comply with state law.

The state received the housing element for review on August 15 along with technical modifications on October 10.

“The adopted element, along with technical modifications, addresses most statutory requirements described in HCD’s February 25, 2022 review; however, revisions will be necessary to comply with State Housing Element Law,” according to an Oct. 14 letter signed by Paul McDougall senior planning manager.

The letter from HCD focuses on five areas that need to be further addressed or explained: 1) Affirmatively furthering fair housing; 2) Additional analysis of sites inventory; 3) Analysis of special housing needs; 4) Programs 3 (Housing Rehabilitation), 16 (Housing for People with Disabilities) and 18 (Family, Youth and Student Housing) should still be revised with specific timelines; and 5) Address constraints related to approval of emergency shelters.

After reviewing the letter, City Manager Miguel Márquez said: “We are working with HCD staff to better understand the changes HCD believes will result in a certified Housing Element.”

“We look forward to continued cooperative work with HCD during this Housing Element update process. The City of Pasadena has already undertaken the following actions as part of this process:

  • A resolution removing the City’s Development Caps;
  • Eliminated the City’s Affordable Housing Concession Permit Process;
  • Amended specific plans resulting in additional housing opportunities (3 so far, 5 more to go);
  • Changed its General Plan (in response to an HCD request so that our zoning and General Plan would remain different);
  • Passed an Affordable Religious Sites Overlay ordinance (one of the first of its kind in the state);
  • Established a Mayor’s Task Force on Housing that convened over a dozen times to discuss the Housing Element; and
  • Adopted many other new programs to comply with AFFH requirement and added numerous new programs to what was an award winning Housing Element the last cycle.”

The HCD considered comments from several local housing activists and groups, including Allison Henry, Sonja K. Berndt, Abundant Housing LA and YIMBY Law and the Pasadena Affordable Housing Coalition.

“Pasadena is not creating opportunities to provide basic shelter through these alternative interim housing models, nor is it providing the appropriate zoning to allow that to happen,” Berndt said. 

Every city in California is required to develop, as a part of its General Plan, a Housing Element as a community-specific approach to “how” and “where” housing will be addressed to meet the needs of the community. Like all other cities in California, Pasadena is required to update its Housing Element on a regular basis with the State Housing and Community Development Department (HCD) to support continued progress toward meeting diverse community housing needs and to address regional housing production targets. As this review is on an eight-year cycle, the current Housing Element update, once it is accepted, will cover the period from 2021 through 2029.

Public participation in the development, adoption and implementation of the housing element is essential to effective housing planning according to the letter. 

“Throughout the housing element process, the City should continue to engage the community, including organizations that represent lower-income and special needs households, by making information regularly available and considering and incorporating comments where appropriate.”

At the local level, the Housing Element allows each city to prepare a community-specific approach to “how” and “where” housing will be addressed to meet the needs of the community. Pasadena is required to update the Housing Element every eight years to support continued progress toward meeting diverse community housing needs and to address regional housing production targets.

The current Housing Element update program will cover the period from 2021 through 2029.

All California cities and counties are required to provide capacity for their share of existing and future regional housing need.

Every eight years, this assignment is determined through the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) process. The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) determines the share of the state’s housing need for each region based of population projections prepared by the California Department of Finance and other factors identified in recent housing legislation.

In turn, the council of governments (COG) for the region allocates to each local jurisdiction its share of the regional housing need. In southern California, the region’s COG is the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). Pasadena’s RHNA allocation for the 2021-2029 planning period is 9,429 new residential units.

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One thought on “State Calls For Revisions in City’s Housing Element

  • How does the expansion of housing square with the dwindling supply of water for existing homes and business?