What is a Housing Element?
The Housing Element is part of the General Plan, our “constitution.” It deals with Housing regulations. Other Elements include: Circulation, Land Use, and Public Safety, and others.
Why do we need to update our Housing Element?
The State requires a city to periodically update its Housing Element. The Update requires upzoning to 30 units per acre to accommodate affordable housing The City states that Encinitas is required only to “plan” for affordable housing. However, if our Housing Element plan is approved by voters, the upzones are legal and developers will take advantage of the new, increased density zoning. Updating = upzoning = higher density.
The State agency, Housing and Community Development (HCD), assigns affordable housing numbers to regional agencies. In our case, SANDAG allocates the number among the 18 cities within our region. This is the 1,090 “RHNA” (Regional Housing Needs Assessment) number that is our allocation from SANDAG.
However, our RHNA number is a moving target. Planning Director Murphy in 2014 quoted a reduced figure of 853. On September 13, 2013, the City further reduced the number to 669. We’re now up above 2,000 units with an 84% “buffer.”