Southern California cities may soon oppose giant increases in housing targets – Orange County Register

Southern California cities facing huge increases in the number of homes the state wants them to build over the next decade will soon be able to appeal their ‘RHNA allocations’ as part of a massive plan transport and land use adopted on Thursday 3 September.

Meeting virtually over Zoom, the Southern California Association of Governments, or SCAG, voted unanimously to approve its “Connect SoCal” plan, which aims, among other things, to encourage higher-density housing closer to jobs and businesses. public transport over the next quarter century.

The population, household and employment forecasts contained in the report serve as the basis for the number of new housing units each of the region’s six counties and 191 cities are to zone by October 2029 as part of the process. State Regional Housing Needs Assessment, or RHNA (pronounced “ree-non”).

“Approval of Connect SoCal allows the RHNA process to move forward,” said SCAG Chairman Rex Richardson, a member of the Long Beach City Council.

SCAG staff will now notify each jurisdiction of their “draft allocation” of new housing. Local governments that disagree with these allocations will be able to appeal these figures from 9/11.

“I expect a significant number of appeals based on feedback from the meetings,” said Yorba Linda City Council member Peggy Huang, who chairs the SCAG’s RHNA subcommittee, which is making adjustments. allowance after hearing appeals. “Many jurisdictions believe their local input has been ignored.”

Housing allowances are broken down by four income types to ensure that each jurisdiction provides adequate affordable housing for low-income residents.

Some local leaders were surprised last fall when the first drafts of city-by-city allocations were first released.

For example, the state Department of Housing and Community Development has determined that Southern California’s housing targets should be triple what they were in the last RHNA cycle, which ends in October 2021. In total, the region must provide sufficient zoning for more than 1.3 million new homes by the end of 2029, housing officials have determined.

That’s almost as many roofs as Orange and Ventura counties combined now have.

For Los Angeles County, the current allocation project would require more than 813,000 new homes by the end of 2029, nearly five times more than its 2021 target of 180,000 homes.

Orange County is expected to forecast more than 183,000 from 38,000 by 2021. And the Inland Empire allocation would increase to nearly 305,000 households by 2029, from a 2021 RHNA goal of just under of 159,000.

The pain would be shared by cities big and small. Seal Beach’s target, for example, would increase from two new homes in the current cycle to 1,239 by 2029. Bellflower would increase from two to 3,726 new homes.

In Long Beach, the goal would increase to 26,440 new homes by 2029, from just over 7,000; and in Riverside it would rise to 18,415 by 2029, from nearly 8,300.

City of Pasadena leaders say it is highly unlikely, if not impossible, that the city will meet its goal of 9,408 new homes in 2029, down from a goal of 1,332 by 2021.

“There’s a difference between ambitious and crazy,” Mayor Terry Tornek said in an interview. “You can’t tell people that you’re going to impose goals on them that they know from the start are unattainable. It’s silly and it’s counterproductive. »

Appeals will be heard by the SCAG’s RHNA subcommittee in December and January, and final allocations for each jurisdiction will be adopted in February. Once the allocations are final, local jurisdictions will have until October 2021 to update their “housing elements”, or parts of their general plan indicating where each type of housing should go.

If cities do not include assigned housing in their plans, state officials will issue findings of noncompliance.

In 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom made headlines when he sued Huntington Beach for not having an approved housing feature, which cost “Surf City” millions of dollars in lost state grants. for parks, homeless shelters and other state-supported programs. Dozens of other non-compliant cities have rushed to get their plans approved under threat of further legal action.

Meanwhile, Huang, the chairman of the RHNA subcommittee, on Thursday urged SCAG members to convene a litigation committee to challenge the state housing department’s decision that Southern California needs 1 .3 million new homes over the next decade.

Huang cited a February report by Freddie Mac that found California has a total housing deficit of 820,000 units, compared to public and private studies concluding that the state will need 1.8 to 3.5 million new homes by 2025.

“We should consider appealing our allocation of 1.3 million,” Huang said.

SCNG staff writers Nikie Johnson and Bradley Bermont contributed to this report.

Bernard P. Love