The Housing

The Safety

The Environmental
Justice Element

About the Plan

Redwood City’s General Plan describes policies for how the City will grow and change over the next two decades. As part of the plan, sections called “elements” address Housing, Land Use, Safety, and Transportation among others.

In 2021, the City of Redwood City started updating the Housing and Safety elements and preparing a new Environmental Justice element. Each element must meet specific requirements and be completed by the State mandated deadlines. Other General Plan elements may need to be updated to ensure consistency with State law and General Plan Guidelines.

In February 2023, the City of Redwood City adopted four elements: Housing, Public Safety, Natural Resources, and Built Environment. In addition, the City adopted Environmental Justice Policies and Programs.

Project Schedule

Document/Event Anticipated Schedule
Community Engagement Events (may include workshops, surveys, social media information) Completed
Baseline Analyses Completed
Preliminary Strategies Completed
Preliminary Draft Elements (Housing, Safety, Environmental Justice) Completed
Joint HHCC/PC Study Session on Safety and Environmental Justice Elements Completed
Joint HHCC/PC Study Session on Housing Goals & Policies and Sites Opportunity Map Completed
Second Environmental Review Scoping Meeting Completed
Special Planning Commission Meeting – EIR Comment Collection Completed
Adopted Draft Housing Element, February 2023 Completed
Adopted Public Safety Element Completed
Draft Environmental Justice Policies and Related Programs, November 2022 Completed
Adopted Natural Resources Element Completed
Adopted Built Environment Element Completed
Adopted Building Community Element, February 2023 Completed

Environmental Impact Report, November 2022

EIR – Appendices

Final EIR, January 2023

Planning Commission Public Hearing Completed
City Council Public Hearing (Agenda) Completed
Swipe LEFT to view the entire table. 

The Housing Element

The Housing Element plans for the construction of new housing for all income levels. It identifies areas in Redwood City where new housing may be built and estimates of how much housing could be built in each area. Changes in zoning may be recommended to meet housing construction goals. The Housing Element also provides for goals, policies, and programs that help Redwood City plan for future housing needs for all residents. The Housing Element is the largest piece of this General Plan update and must be adopted in 2023.

The Housing Sites & Strategy Explorer | Housing Element 2023 – 2031

Adopted Housing Element, February 2023


Other Related Documents

My Housing Story: Looking for Housing as a Person with a Developmental Disability

The Safety Element

Public Hearing Public Safety Element, January 2023

The Safety Element identifies natural and man-made hazards such as wildfire and flood zones and areas with hazardous materials. It establishes goals and programs to reduce the potential for short- and long-term risk of death, injury, property damage, and economic and social dislocation resulting from these hazards. This update will focus on ensuring compliance with recent State law. State law requires Safety Elements to be reviewed and/or updated in conjunction with Housing Element updates.


Other Related Documents

Environmental Review

The General Plan Update will undergo environmental review through an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), which will be prepared in compliance with California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements.

Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR), February 3rd, 2023


Frequently Asked Questions

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
  • Governance.

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.

Public Meetings

Community input was critical to the development the Housing, Safety, Natural Resources Elements and the Environmental Justice Policies. The information below summarizes the community engagement input.

For more information, contact us at:

Community Workshop #1 (Completed)

Wednesday, May 12, 2021
6:00 – 730 pm

The City held its first community workshop on May 12, 2021 from 6:00 to 7:30 pm. The meeting was held virtually using Zoom (video conferencing).
City staff, consultants and the public discussed the future of housing in Redwood City and responded to the following questions:

  • What do Redwood City residents value?
  • What are our priorities for meeting our housing needs?
  • What can we do to meet the needs of our most vulnerable residents?
  • What issues, concerns and potential solutions do you have?

Links to Files:

Video Recording:

Community Workshop #2 (Completed)

Thursday, September 30, 2021
6:00 – 7:30 pm

The City held its second community workshop on September 30, 2021 from 6:00 to 7:30 pm. The meeting was held virtually using Zoom (video conferencing).

City staff, consultants and the public discussed the future of housing in Redwood City and responded to questions.

Links to Files:

Video Recording:


As the General Plan Update moves forward, associated documents will be posted for public information and review. Check here, frequently, as documents will be posted on a regular basis.

Building Community Element

Built Environment Element

Environmental Justice Policies and Programs

Housing Element

Natural Resources Element

Safety Element

Environmental Review

Planning Commission Public Hearing, January 2023

City Council Public Hearing, February 2023

  • Redwood City City Council Meeting Agenda