Housing Elements are typically organized into the following parts:
As a part of updating the Housing Element, the City will reorganize or add new sections to emphasize pertinent planning issues and respond to new State laws that have been passed since the current Housing Element was adopted.
Since 1969, California has required that all local governments (cities and counties) adequately plan to meet the housing needs of everyone in the community. California’s local governments meet this requirement by adopting housing plans as part of their “general plan” (also required by the state). General plans serve as the local government’s "blueprint" for how the city and/or county will grow and develop and include seven elements: land use, transportation, conservation, noise, open space, safety, and housing. The law mandating that housing be included as an element of each jurisdiction’s general plan is known as “housing-element law.”
California’s housing-element law acknowledges that, in order for the private market to adequately address the housing needs and demand of Californians, local governments must adopt plans and regulatory systems that provide opportunities for (and do not unduly constrain), housing development. As a result, housing policy in California rests largely upon the effective implementation of local general plans and, in particular, local housing elements.
The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) plays the critical role of reviewing every local government’s housing element to determine whether it complies with state law and then submits written findings back to each local government. HCD must certify the housing element before the City can adopt its it as part of its overall General Plan. HCD review is scheduled to take place in Summer 2022.
What Environmental Documentation will be Prepared?
Given that the City’s General Plan and its associated environmental impact report (EIR) were adopted and certified, respectively, in 2019, the best way to meet the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for the Housing Element will be to prepare an Addendum to the General Plan EIR. The Housing Element Team will prepare an Addendum to the City of St. Helena 2040 General Plan EIR (May 2019) in accordance with CEQA Guidelines Section 15164. The Housing Element Team will review information from the certified General Plan EIR and will reference verified information from this document in the Addendum. The Addendum will supplement the General Plan EIR analysis with new or updated analysis as necessary and appropriate, especially for issue areas which are the subject of new regulations or standards since certification of the General Plan EIR.
The Housing Element is anticipated to be completed by December 2022.
The Housing Element Update is being developed by City staff with direction from the City Council and input from the Planning Commission and the community. The development of the Housing Element Update is being lead by City staff from the Planning Department.
To assist in the development of the Update, the City has also hired a team of advanced planning specialists that include community planners and technical specialists: