Arcata City
CA

Staff Report
2163

Housing Element Vacant Sites Inventory, Policy, and Implementation Measure Review

Information

Department:Community DevelopmentSponsors:
Category:Policy

Introduction

At the September 24, 2019, Planning Commission meeting, the Planning Commission received a report on the City’s share of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (“RHNA”), as well as an update regarding the Housing Meeting that was held September 23, 2019, and ongoing public participation efforts. Tonight’s agenda item will focus on the draft vacant sites inventory and revisions to the policies and implementation measures. Staff anticipates direction from the Commission.

Discussion/Fiscal Impact

DISCUSSION:

The State requires that the City demonstrate in our Housing Element enough properly zoned sites to allow build out for the RHNA (Table 1). The allocation is segregated by the state into income levels. Housing Element law is intended to ensure adequate housing for households across the full spectrum of income levels.

The City must provide an inventory of those sites. Staff is currently analyzing the inventory, but the draft inventory is the basis for this discussion (Attachment A). The inventory must demonstrate that there are adequate sites for the total RHNA, as well as for each income level. Table 1 shows Arcata’s allocation by income. Staff provided a rough estimate of the City’s inventory at the September 24 meeting.
Table 1. Regional Housing Needs Allocation

Jurisdiction

Very Low Income Allocation

Low Income Allocation

Moderate Income Allocation

Above Moderate Allocation

Proposed Total RHNA Allocation

Arcata

142

95

111

262

610

Blue Lake

7

4

5

7

23

Eureka

231

147

172

402

952

Ferndale

9

5

6

13

33

Fortuna

73

46

51

120

290

Rio Dell

12

8

9

22

51

Trinidad

4

4

3

7

18

Unincorporated Area

351

223

256

583

1,413

RHNA TARGETS

829

532

613

1,416

3,390

 

This Housing Element cycle, the City is also required to indicate on the sites inventory which parcels are suitable for lower income, moderate income, or above moderate income housing. Unlike past Element cycles, the City is required to ensure that the sites designated for lower income housing actually produce affordable housing. If moderate income housing is produced on those sites, the City must redesignate, upzone, or otherwise provide a new site to replace the lost units. While staff and the City’s consultant are still analyzing the sites inventory, currently it appears that the inventory will support approximately 50 units each in the very low and low-income categories. This will leave a deficit of 99 and 49 units in each of those income categories, respectively (Table 2). This assumes that 100% of the units would be low income on the two sites that satisfy the legal requirement for being suitable for low income inventory.

Table 2. Inventory Suitable for Low and Very Low Income Units

 

Zones

RHNA

Vacant Inventory

RHNA Reduction

Remaining

Very Low

RH, RM

142

23

20

99

Low

RH, RM

95

23

23

49

Moderate

 RL, RVL

111

52

9

50

Above Moderate

RL, RVL

262

232

4

26

Total

 

610

330

56

224

 

There are government code requirements for parcels that can be allocated for lower income categories, including the default density requirement of 10 units per acre and a requirement that the site being allocated is at least ½ acre and not more than 10 acres. In addition to the default density and site size requirements, 50% of the lower income RHNA allocation must be designated to vacant sites unless there is substantial evidence that the existing use on a non-vacant site does not constitute an impediment for residential development. Finally, if the vacant sites were identified in two or more consecutive Housing Elements, and are being included in the current Housing Element to meet the lower income allocation, then a program that allows by-right approval for housing developments that designate at least 20% of the units as lower income must be included in the Housing Element. If the City’s sites inventory does not show enough properly zoned parcels with the correct density, then the City must include a rezoning program in the Housing Element which will create enough parcels to accommodate the RHNA and can be accomplished within a three-year timeframe.

The vacant sites inventory (Attachment A) was reviewed by both staff and Placeworks, the consultant working with staff on the Housing Element update, and has been narrowed down to approximately 136 vacant developable parcels in residential zoning districts. Using the maximum density allowable on each site, development of all of the vacant parcels identified in the attached inventory would create approximately 330 housing units (Vacant Inventory, Table 2). This leaves the City with a shortage of 224 of housing units after the units built in 2019 are accounted for (RHNA Reduction, Table 2).

This analysis has not yet considered housing production that will ultimate help the City meet its RHNA for the 2019 Cycle. The City is currently considering an annexation that would minimally add 89 units plus 100 beds in group quarters. The City anticipates the production of 80 ADUs over the plan period. Finally, there are some underutilized sites that may contribute to the Moderate and Above Moderate categories. Staff anticipates being able to meet Above Moderate and Moderate categories, but having a shortfall in the lower income categories.

To address this, the City will need to adopt programs to meet the RHNA. Staff will present on the programs under consideration at the meeting (Attachment B).

Staff is seeking the Planning Commission’s direction on amendments and additions to the implementation measures from the 5th cycle Housing Element (Attachment C) in order to comply with the current State Housing Element law. Staff has created a list of potential implementation measures for the Planning Commission to discuss and provide direction (Attachment B).

Meeting History

Oct 8, 2019 6:00 PM Video Planning Commission Regular Meeting

The Planning Commission received a presentation by Deputy Director Dart. Staff will continue to update the Planning Commission on the Housing Element process.

RESULT:RECEIVED