City Planning Manager Heather Allen hosted a virtual community workshop on October 7 to preview Fullerton’s upcoming draft Housing Element, which is set to be released on October 25.
A Housing Element is one of the required elements of the City’s General Plan, a long-range plan for the physical development of the City. Fullerton last updated its General Plan in 2012.
The Housing Element focuses on standards, regulations, and goals for housing for the next eight years (2021-2029). While the City does not build housing, it sets the priorities and regulatory climate in which housing projects get built.
The Housing Element is updated every eight years and is required by the State department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).
“We set the goal of a supply of safe housing ranging in cost and type to meet all segments of the community,” Allen said.
The process of creating the Housing Element started about a year ago. It has involved extensive data collection and analysis and public outreach.
Once the draft Housing Element is released in October, the draft will be out for public review and sent to the State department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) in November. Additional policy review will occur followed by adoption and consideration by the Planning Commission and City Council by February 2022.
Seventy four percent of the City’s housing units were built prior to 1979. Each decade thereafter shows less than 10% of new housing stock constructed.
While median income has increased since then, it has not nearly kept pace with wages or increases in either rent or home prices over the same period.
More than 58% of households that rent and more than 32% of households that own are considered “cost burdened,” meaning they spend over 30% of their income on rent or mortgage.
A significant part of the Housing Element is the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA). The State, through the HCD, projects a statewide need for housing by looking at population projections, overcrowding data, overpayment for housing data; they take that State number and allocate it regionally. The regional number is allocated locally, and then it’s up to local jurisdictions (city or county) to look at their land and identify available sites.
The current Regional Housing Needs Assessment for Fullerton is just over 13,000 units, a significant increase from the fifth cycle of under 2,000 units. The units are spread across four categories: Very Low, Low, Moderate, Market Rate.
“Importantly, RHNA is a planning exercise,” Allen said. “The City is not responsible for building the housing, but the City must demonstrate our ability to accommodate the new housing units.”
To learn more visit www.cityoffullerton.com/housinggameplan.
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