February 22, 2024
Solely 15% of Bay Space cities have met California housing plan deadline

Greater than two months after the deadline for Bay Space cities to submit housing plans to the state, the overwhelming majority — 85% — haven’t come to an settlement with California officers over the best way to realistically construct extra properties within the subsequent eight years, an indication of how lengthy and fraught the state-mandated course of will be regardless of the urgency of the housing disaster.

In a latest instance, California housing officers in early April despatched San Mateo’s state-required housing plan again to the drafting board for the second time, saying it lacked element on how the Peninsula metropolis would get round native zoning and density restrictions, in addition to native coverage that slows down growth, as a way to truly construct the practically 7,000 items it stated it will.

Additionally despatched again to strive once more to date this month: Walnut Creek, Moraga, Santa Clara, San Bruno, Lafayette, Colma, South San Francisco, Los Altos, Danville, Clayton, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Belmont, Benicia, Atherton, Antioch, Brisbane, Saint Helena, Menlo Park, Pleasanton, Hayward and Novato.

Bay Space cities needed to be “in substantial compliance” with the state housing component — the plan required by the state that particulars how cities will accommodate adequate new housing to assist alleviate the state’s housing disaster — by Feb. 1 this 12 months. That regulation requires that each neighborhood do its share so as to add 441,000 homes, flats and condominiums to the nine-county area by 2030.

Statewide, the purpose of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration is to construct 2.5 million items by Jan. 31, 2031, with 1 million of these inexpensive. It hopes that by holding native jurisdictions accountable, it may possibly make California extra inexpensive for all its residents.

Within the Bay Space, solely 16 cities, or about 15%, have adopted housing parts that the state has decided are in compliance with state regulation, in response to state knowledge.

And the method may drag on for much longer. In Southern California, for instance, the place housing parts have been due in October 2021, slightly below half of 197 cities have accepted housing parts, whereas others proceed going backwards and forwards with state officers or just refuse to come back into compliance. 

The state has required housing component plans from cities for many years. However now, with a worsening housing disaster, California officers have a renewed concentrate on holding cities accountable to give you practical plans that show that they may construct extra housing, together with inexpensive housing, in well-resourced neighborhoods. The state is even suing Huntington Seashore for violating state housing component regulation by not approving a plan licensed by the state.

And there are penalties for cities resembling San Mateo that haven’t met the state’s deadline for arising with a compliant housing component. One is the lack of sure state funding. One other is what’s referred to as the “builder’s treatment,” a provision in state regulation that permits builders to sidestep native restrictions and construct housing that’s bigger and denser than native planning and zoning guidelines enable, so long as the challenge gives a specific amount of inexpensive housing.

However some native jurisdictions disagree with state officers about when these penalties kick in. San Mateo, for instance, argues that as a result of it has accepted its plan on the native degree and believes the plan is compliant — despite the fact that the state has not but accepted it — it isn’t topic to the builder’s treatment.

And San Mateo just isn’t alone. Twenty of 109 Bay Space jurisdictions have adopted housing parts which have been decided to be out of compliance with California regulation, in response to state knowledge, together with many others in San Mateo County — Atherton, Belmont, Colma, San Bruno, San Carlos and South San Francisco. Twenty-one extra Bay Space jurisdictions have adopted housing parts which are nonetheless underneath evaluation by the state. 

San Mateo Metropolis Supervisor Drew Corbett stated town wouldn’t submit a plan it believed was not compliant and is assembly with state housing officers “to raised perceive their course, with the purpose of mutually agreed compliance with state regulation and planning for future housing growth in” San Mateo.

“Like most different cities within the Bay Space, the Metropolis of San Mateo is constant to make progress on its housing component and we’re going by way of an iterative course of with (the Division of Housing and Neighborhood Growth),” he stated in an announcement. “It is not uncommon for cities to obtain a number of rounds of remark letters from HCD, and the bulk within the Bay Space are nonetheless working towards HCD certification.”

State knowledge present that each metropolis in San Mateo County besides Redwood Metropolis is out of compliance with the state housing component, although many have drafts nonetheless in evaluation.

However a memo from state housing officers despatched to native planning officers region-wide says that, whereas a metropolis might undertake a housing component that’s not in compliance, “jurisdiction doesn’t have the authority to find out that its adopted component is in substantial compliance” with the regulation, although it “might present reasoning why HCD ought to make a discovering of considerable compliance.”

In different phrases, till the state housing division agrees and sends a letter that the component is in substantial compliance, town just isn’t — and is topic to the builder’s treatment, in response to the state.

However that doesn’t imply builders have the inexperienced gentle to push tasks by way of. Cities can nonetheless deny builder’s treatment tasks underneath the assumption that they’re in compliance with state regulation, which might drive the developer to file a lawsuit, famous Chris Elmendorf, a land use regulation professor at UC Davis — and a few doubtless will.  

“We’re actually in unsure territory with respect to this,” he stated. “A developer who proposes a builder’s treatment challenge is asking for a lawsuit with an unsure consequence.”