Less growth: Panel OKs Housing Element

By From page A1 | March 20, 2013

After reviewing updates to the county’s Housing Element of the County General Plan at the March 14 meeting, the El Dorado County Planning Commission voted to forward a draft of the plan to the Board of Supervisors for further action.

As part of a staff presentation, the commission reviewed what occurred after the last Housing Element update for the period 2008 to 2013. That update projected 7,474 new housing units would be added including 3,708 very low/low-income units on the west slope. However, only 932 units were actually approved or constructed between 2008 and 2012, including 227 new affordable units, or 12 percent of what had originally been forecast.

Based on population forecasts of population growth averaging only 2 percent a year from 2015 to 2025, the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) number generated by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) was reduced to 3,948, or half of what was previously projected for the period 2013 to 2021.

According to the staff report, “This reduction reflects a one-time adjustment by HCD (the California Department of Housing and Community Development) for this planning cycle due to extraordinary economic conditions impacting the housing market resulting in decreased need for new housing within the region.”

Recent changes to state law were also addressed in the housing update, including extending the Housing Element planning period from five to eight years; strengthening the existing obligations of local governments to zone land for affordable housing; and an evaluation of the special housing needs of persons with developmental disabilities.

Proposed revisions to the housing element include policies that encourage parks and trails in residential environments; analyzing an amendment of multi-family density to comply with government code; establishing a working group to coordinate transportation/transit plan considerations; supporting opportunities for hardship mobile homes; supporting funding applications for public improvement projects; exploring housing opportunities for persons with developmental disabilities; encouraging agricultural worker housing; reducing constraints to moderate housing; updating data for at-risk affordable housing units; and updating a land inventory analysis.

Planning staff will present the draft Housing Element Update before the Board of Supervisors at the March 25 meeting. The board will be asked to review and authorize the release of the draft element for public and state comments over a 60-day period.

The county has until Oct. 31 to complete and have the state certify the Housing Element Update. Once adopted, it won’t need to be updated again for eight years.

Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or [email protected] Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.

Dawn Hodson

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