Arcata City
CA

Staff Report--Ordinance
2201

Review the Draft Housing Element and Provide Direction to Staff.

Information

Department:Community DevelopmentSponsors:
Category:Report

Introduction

The City is required to update its Housing Element periodically. Currently, the City is drafting the 6th Cycle update that will cover the 2019–2027 planning period. Staff has presented information on the pending update to the Council in various meetings and formats. This is the first noticed public hearing on the Draft 2019–2027 Housing Element. The Council should review the draft Housing Element, and continue the hearing to December 18, 2019.

Discussion/Fiscal Impact

BACKGROUND:

The City must adopt its 2019 Housing Element by December 29, 2019, to meet statutory timelines (GC 65588). Due to the short timeframes for adoption, staff is circulating a revised draft Housing Element (Attachment A) for public review. The data supporting the Housing Element are contained in the Appendices (Attachment B). This revised draft has all of the underlying analysis, the proposed policy, and the necessary programs to be certified. Revisions are shown in underline/strikeout.

 

This draft document is currently under public review, as well as review by the Policy Division of the Housing and Community Development Department (HCD). HCD has provided its input on the rough draft, which has been incorporated into this revised draft Housing Element. The Planning Commission has a noticed hearing for December 10, 2019, to make a recommendation to the City Council on the draft Housing Element. The Council should continue its discussion on this item to provide the Commission time for its review.

 

DISCUSSION:

The Council should refer to the November 20 hearing materials for a detailed discussion on the process and background on the Housing Element update. This report focuses on specific policy recommendations. The City’s Housing Element (Attachment A) will need to identify policies and programs to produce 610 units in the eight-year cycle (Table 1). The City must provide an inventory of those sites, and where deficient, the City must provide programs to address the deficiencies. The City’s Strategic Infill Redevelopment Plan (Infill Plan) will implement the required programs to satisfy the HCD requirement for a rezone program.

The vacant sites inventory (Attachment B, Appendix B) yielded 152 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 351 housing units (Table 2).  This leaves the City with a shortage of 88 of housing units after the units built in 2019 and the projected build out units are accounted for (Table 2. Inventory Summary). The 88 unit deficiency is in the lower income categories.

The City will need to incorporate rezoning and other programs or implementation measures to meet its allocation (Table 2). Currently, the City has 351 units in vacant, suitable sites of the total 610 required. The allocation is reduced by permits pulled in 2019, which totaled 56, including 43 in the low and very low income categories from the Isackson’s project. We project 80 Accessory Dwelling Units will be built in the 8 year period, conservatively. And in total, the City will meet its moderate and above moderate allocation, but will fall short in its low and very low allocation. 

Table 1. Regional Housing Needs Allocation

Jurisdiction

Very Low Income Allocation

Low Income Allocation

Moderate Income Allocation

Above Moderate Allocation

Proposed Total 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

allocation TARGETS

829

532

613

1,416

3,390

 

Table 2. Inventory Summary. Sites inventory unit production by income category with balance.

 

Zones

allocation

Vacant Inventory

allocation Reduction

Projected Annexation

Projected ADU's

Remaining

Very Low

RH, RM

142

23

20

5

25

69

Low

RH, RM

95

23

23

20

10

19

Moderate

RL, RVL

111

52

9

32

45

0

Above Moderate

RL, RVL

262

253

4

32

 

0

Total:

 

610

351

56

89

80

88

 

Staff is seeking the Council’s input and direction on the draft Housing Element (Attachment A). Staff has not received any additional public and agency comment on the Element (Attachment C, November 20, 2019, packet). Staff will update Council on recommended changes to incorporate public input to date on the Element at the meeting.

Process

The Planning Commission has a hearing scheduled on December 10, 2019, to consider the revised draft Housing Element. The Council will receive the Commission’s recommendation at its December 18 hearing. This meeting is an opportunity for the public and Council to provide input to address updates to the draft document prior to adoption hearings. This meeting further extends the public outreach and engagement, as well as providing the Council the opportunity to review and direct the policy in the draft form

 

POLICY IMPLICATIONS:

The Housing Element is an element of the General Plan that outlines the policies and programs the City will employ to meet its housing need for all income levels and special needs populations over the planning period 2019-2027.

 

COMMITTEE/COMMISSION REVIEW:

The Planning Commission is currently reviewing for a recommendation. The EDC considered the policies. The Housing Equity Working Group has discussed the Housing Element at several meetings.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW (CEQA):

On July 23, 2014, the City adopted a Negative Declaration (ND) (SCH#2014032042) for the 2014-2019 Housing Element. Under CEQA Guideline Section 15164, an addendum to a negative declaration may be prepared if “…only minor technical changes are required or if none of the conditions identified in Guideline Section 15162 are present”. The proposed Housing Element has been evaluated for significant impacts pursuant to Section 15164. Policies included in the Element are designed to bring the City into compliance with state law, or to increase the availability of housing sites.

Some of the programs identified in the 2019 Housing Element will require future action to increase density, or change zoning. However, those actions are speculative under this review and will occur at some point over the next three years. Though these measures are required in this Element, they are too speculative to conduct environmental analysis on. Identifying the need to increase density somewhere in the City in this document as a program, recognizing that the specific rezone will also be subject to independent environmental review, does not itself have an environmental impact. Therefore, it can be seen with certainty that adoption of these programs will not have the potential to impact the environment.

The analysis in an Addendum is meaningfully different than a determination that a project is “exempt” from CEQA review, as there is no exemption in CEQA for general plan amendments. Rather, the determination here is that the potential impacts of the proposed 2019-2027 Housing Element were adequately evaluated in the previously adopted Negative Declaration and the new programs are exempt per the common sense rule.

 

BUDGET/FISCAL IMPACT:

The Housing Element update is an unfunded mandate of the state. However, the City’s HCD grant programs is reliant on obtaining certification. In addition, the City obtained a CDBG Planning and Technical Assistance Grant in part to assist with the Element’s preparation. This Element is fully funded through CDBG and the General Plan Update fee attached to building and planning permit applications pursuant to the City’s master fee resolution.

Meeting History

Dec 4, 2019 6:00 PM Video City Council Regular Meeting

Director Loya stated this item was on the agenda for a public hearing and would be continued to December 18, 2019, for adoption of the Sixth Cycle Housing Element. He reviewed some of the implementation measures included in this cycle of the Plan.

Deputy Director Dart distributed a summary of changes and additions to this Housing Element draft.

Mayor Watson invited public comment.

Joanne McGarry appeared before the Council and encouraged the City to look at the Housing Element and Building Codes with the climate emergency in mind.

Mayor Watson closed the public comment period.

ON MOTION BY PEREIRA, SECONDED BY PITINO, AND WITH A FOUR-TO-ZERO VOICE VOTE WITH ONE ABSENCE, THE COUNCIL CONTINUED THE PUBLIC HEARING ON THE DRAFT SIXTH CYCLE HOUSING ELEMENT TO DECEMBER 18, 2019, AT 6:00 P.M., IN THE COUNCIL CHAMBER. AYES: WATSON, WINKLER, PEREIRA, PITINO. NOES: NONE. ABSENT; ORNELAS. ABSTENTIONS: NONE.

RESULT:CONTINUED [UNANIMOUS]Next: 12/18/2019 6:00 PM
MOVER:Sofia Pereira, Councilmember
SECONDER:Paul Pitino, Councilmember
AYES:Michael Winkler, Paul Pitino, Sofia Pereira, Brett Watson
ABSENT:Susan Ornelas