Housing Element Overview
What is the Housing Element?
The housing element is a component of San Dimas’ General Plan. The general plan serves as a blueprint for the future of a city, prescribing policy goals that shape and guide its development. State law requires that each and every city adopt a general plan containing at least seven elements, including the Housing Element. The Housing Element is required to plan for meeting existing and projected housing needs. The Housing Element is updated every 8 years and is subject to detailed statutory requirements and mandatory review by a State agency, the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).
What does the Housing Element contain?
The Housing Element contains information on the housing needs of the community, including the needs of lower-income households, the homeless, people with disabilities, and seniors among other groups. The majority of these needs are determined through the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (or RHNA, pronounced RHEE-NAH, see below). The Housing Element also establishes the goals, objectives, and policies that are the foundation of the City’s housing strategy. Lastly, it contains an inventory of potential development sites within the city that could accommodate the RHNA allocation.
What is the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA)?
The RHNA is an allocation of the State’s projected housing needs split among the various regions and cities of California. The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is given a number of housing units that it must accommodate by HCD. For this RHNA cycle, the state has given SCAG an allocation of 1,341,827 new housing units. SCAG then divides the allocation and divides it among all the cities in the region. San Dimas has been allocated 1,248 new housing units through this process. The number of units is divided among the following income categories.
|Income Level||Percent of Area Median Income (AMI)||Number of Housing Units||Percent of Total|
|Very Low||<50% of AMI||384||31%|
|Low||50-80% of AMI||220||18%|
|Moderate||80-120% of AMI||206||16%|
|Above Moderate||>120% of AMI||438||35%|
Is San Dimas required to make sure that all of these units are built?
The RHNA allocation is not a mandate that the City ensure a certain number of units are built. The City cannot force developers to build units. The City must only show that there is enough land zoned at densities which would allow for the development of the RHNA allocation. The City must also show that its zoning codes and requirements do not unduly constrain the development of housing.
What is the Housing Inventory?
As part of the Housing Element process, the City generates a list of properties within the City that have the ability to be developed with the number of units that have been allocated to the City. This list becomes a part of the Housing Element. Sites which are listed in the Housing Inventory do not have to be used solely for housing. The City is required only to show that sites could be used for housing, but the actual use of the sites is always a decision made by the owners and developers. However, if a site in the Housing Inventory is developed with no housing component during the period that the Housing Element covers, the City must replace that site with another to ensure the inventory’s capacity is maintained.
What happens if the City does not complete the Housing Element update, or if the State fails to Certify the Housing Element?
If HCD determines that a jurisdiction’s Housing Element fails to substantially comply with the State’s Housing Element Law, there are serious consequences that extend beyond the realm of residential land use planning. Non-compliance can result in the following consequences:
- RHNA assignment that is not accommodated in one housing cycle will be rolled over to the next housing cycle, increasing the number of units and the potential land a city is required to designate for multi-family housing during the next Housing Element Update cycle.
- A city would become vulnerable to lawsuits for noncompliance, including from the State of California.
- A city would risk the loss of transportation funding and become ineligible for a number of state and federal grants.
- A city will be required to update the housing element every 4 years instead of every 8 years.
- If the Attorney General files a lawsuit for a violation related to housing element compliance and the jurisdiction does not bring its housing element into compliance after seeking remedies, the jurisdiction can be fined up to $100,000 per month it remains in violation.
What role does the community play in the Housing Element update?
Local government must make a concerted effort to achieve public participation in the Housing Element process, gaining input from people of all socioeconomic groups within the community. Public participation in the process is key to the implementation of the Housing Element and will:
- assist in the development of the Housing Element;
- identify key community concerns; and
- ensure that community voices are heard.
See Public Outreach for how to get involved with the San Dimas Housing Element.
Stay involved in the planning process! Public participation for the San Dimas Housing Element will be obtained through a housing needs survey, community representation on the San Dimas Housing Element Subcommittee, and public/community hearings.
See below for upcoming meetings and visit this page for more updates!
|October 20, 2020||Subcommittee Meeting #1||Housing Element 101|
|November 17, 2020||Subcommittee Meeting #2||Housing Needs Summary|
|March 30, 2021||Subcommittee Meeting #3||Housing RHNA Strategy|
|TBD||Subcommittee Meeting #4||TBD|
DOCUMENT LIBRARY AND REFERENCES
- San Dimas 2014-2021 Housing Element
- San Dimas Homelessness Plan
- Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance
- California Department of Housing and Community Development, RHNA and Housing Elements
- Southern California Association of Governments, Housing webpage