What is the Housing Element?
In accordance with State law, the General Plan’s Housing Element will be updated for the period of 2023 to 2031. The update will address Redwood City’s immediate and long-term housing needs. It will also set forth Redwood City’s goals, policies, and actions to address the need for all housing types in a variety of affordability levels, as well as all other housing-related needs that will be identified as the project unfolds. Ultimately, a complete review and revision of the existing Housing Element will be developed and adopted by the City Council by 2023 to reflect current housing conditions in Redwood City.
Why revise the Housing Element?
Redwood City has the opportunity to evaluate its housing policy to ensure enough housing can be built and made available at prices affordable to a wider range of current and future residents. The Bay Area doesn’t have enough housing, thus driving up home prices and rents beyond the reach of many individuals and families. The high costs and limited supply make people’s commutes longer, thus diminishing regional environmental quality and decreasing people’s quality of life. A range of home types and prices enables more of our family members, friends, and co-workers to live in safe and healthy homes and neighborhoods.
When was Redwood City’s previous Housing Element prepared?
The City Council adopted the current Housing Element in October 2014. The State of California’s Housing and Community Development Department (HCD) issued a Housing Element certification letter on November 3, 2014.
What is the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) and how does it relate to the Housing Element?
RHNA determines how much housing each city must allow through its regulatory procedures to address housing needs. Redwood City is tasked with creating a plan to ensure land use and zoning regulations allow enough housing to meet the needs of the community. Redwood City does not have to provide or develop all the housing needed but must have a plan that allows the housing to be built.
What topics will be evaluated and studied as part of the Housing Element?
- Analysis of projected housing needs for all income levels (very low, low, moderate, and above moderate as defined by HCD).
- Identification of vacant or underutilized sites for housing development.
- Development of alternative approaches to accommodate housing needs i.e. RHNA.
- Identify strategies for preserving and improving housing development to ensure good, high-quality neighborhoods.
- Identify and remove any City regulations, policies, or standards that impede the improvement and development of housing.
- HCD review of the Draft Housing Element and certification that the City’s adopted Housing Element complies with California law.
What is a Safety Element and when was the current Element prepared?
The Safety Element addresses natural and some manmade hazards facing local jurisdictions; the Safety Element is part of the City’s General Plan and needs to be revised to reflect recent State law requirements including addressing wildfire and resiliency planning. Redwood City’s City Council adopted the previous Safety Element in 2010.
Why revise the Safety Element?
As climate change continues to alter our weather patterns, Redwood City will be faced with different and, perhaps, more intense conditions. Redwood City is taking time now to plan for the increased likelihood of wildfire, flooding, and drought to improve local resiliency.
What are the items that the Safety Element covers?
The Safety Element will address:
- Fire risk for land classified as very high fire hazard severity zones;
- Sea level rise;
- Climate adaptation strategies;
- Vulnerability assessment;
- Local hazard mitigation; and
- Resiliency strategies.
What is an Environmental Justice Element?
The City’s current General Plan provides many policies and actions that address Environmental Justice issues. Redwood City is taking this opportunity to see if more can be done to comprehensively address pollution, socio-economic issues, health and wellness, and community participation. Rather than a stand-alone element, Redwood City will integrate its Environmental Justice policies and actions into all its General Plan’s elements. Redwood City wants its current and future residents to live happy, health lives, and to be active community members in local governance.
Why prepare an Environmental Justice Element?
Some neighborhoods are exposed to pollution at higher rates, have decreased access to public facilities, open space, and healthy food, and their residents have lower incomes and higher housing cost burdens. Redwood City looks to reduce the unique or compounded health risks faced by its disadvantaged neighborhoods or communities, thus improving residents’ quality of life and ability to thrive.
What are the items that the Environmental Justice Element covers?
The Environmental Justice Element will address:
- Pollution burden;
- Socio-economic characteristics;
- Health and wellness;
- Food access;
- Physical activity/park access;
- Health and equity initiatives; and
Who prepares and reviews the Elements?
The City of Redwood City’s Community Development and Transportation Department and Housing Division will prepare revisions to the General Plan with the assistance of MIG, a professional planning and environmental planning firm. The Housing Element must be certified by the State of California Housing and Community Development Department (HCD), and the Safety Element will be reviewed by the State of California, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) to ensure compliance with wildfire laws.