The City of Cupertino is inviting the community to a study session on Tuesday, May 11 at 6:15 p.m. to receive information about the Housing Element update process. This is the second in a two-part kick-off study session and will include the City Council, Planning Commission, and Housing Commission. The meetings are designed to involve the community in education and discussions around best practices in housing element policies, programs, and strategies.
The meetings are part of the city’s Housing Element update, a multi-year process to plan for its projected housing obligations and develop policies and strategies to meet them. In municipal planning, a city’s Housing Element is the required portion of its General Plan relating to accommodating housing needs for all segments of the community. Every eight years, the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) determines the number of homes the state must plan for to meet housing needs at all income levels. This number is then apportioned regionally, then by county and city, with each jurisdiction receiving a specified minimum number of new homes, and the affordability of those homes, it must plan for to meet local housing needs.
In 2015, HCD reviewed Cupertino’s housing plan and found it in full compliance with state law. Under that review, Cupertino was responsible for zoning and moving forward with 1,064 new units of housing by 2023. That number included 1,200 units of affordable housing at the Vallco project, which has been quiet since surviving a lawsuit last year by Better Cupertino and Councilmember Kitty Moore. For the next cycle, draft projections show Cupertino responsible for as many as 4,588 more units by the end of 2030.
The Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) helps ensure that each region contributes its share of total housing units to meet the need over the eight year period. Locally, the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) reviews the regional housing assignment and portions out individual housing requirements to counties and cities throughout the Bay Area.
For the next RHNA cycle, ABAG is responsible for allocating 441,176 units across nine Bay Area counties. In a recent methodology modeling report approved in January, its tentative allocation to Cupertino totaled 4,588 units; Santa Clara was assigned 11,632 units, Sunnyvale received 11,966 units and San Jose received 62,200 units. That methodology was approved in late April by HCD, and draft local allocations are slated to be formally delivered soon.
The next steps in the RHNA process include an appeals process, through which numbers may be changed, as well as a site inventory, to begin to identify appropriate land to accommodate the new units. The final adoption of RHNA allocation is expected by end of 2021/ early 2022. Local governments must then draft and refine their housing elements, including sites that are zoned with enough capacity to meet the RHNA obligation, by January 2023.
Tomorrow’s meeting is the second in a two-part kickoff. At the April 27 meeting, regional and local planners reviewed the RHNA process, shared changes from the previous cycle, including new layers of scrutiny and analysis in site identification, and shared best practice examples in preparation for a discussion this month to review model programs and specific housing strategies that would make sense for Cupertino.