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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Consultants Schedule Two More Workshops on Controversial Municipal Housing Element

• Amended Contract Calls for Monitoring of SCAG Numbers


The Malibu City Council is poised to approve a total of $81,830 for an amended contract next week for the preparation of the General Plan Housing Element Update with J.H. Douglas and Associates to provide the city “with guidance on the update and comment for the upcoming Regional Housing Needs Assessment or RHNA requirements and conduct two additional workshops on the preparation of the current housing element update, according to a staff report.”
The city conducted a scoping session two weeks ago on the update, where many participants contended the city is taking the wrong approach and more public meetings should be scheduled before the public hearing for the draft Environmental Impact Report.
The staff report indicates the amendment to the agreement increases the current contract with the consultant by $11,600 culminating in a total of $81,830.
The Southern California Association of Governments or SCAG recently started the process of determining the RHNA requirements for the upcoming housing element 2013-2021 planning period.
The RHNA is mandated by state housing law, according to a city staff report, as part of the periodic process of updating local housing elements.
“The RHNA quantifies the need for housing within each jurisdiction during specified planning periods. Prior to the issuance of required RHNA numbers to each city, SCAG holds a series of workshops where cities can comment on the proposed RHNA numbers to ensure they accurately reflect the future growth and needs of the city,” wrote Associate Planner Richard Mollica, in the staff report.
Activists complained that the city was not paying attention when SCAG issued the last set of numbers.
It makes no sense, they said, that Malibu’s population purportedly increased by 70 during the last decade, according to the U.S. census, but that 441 units of affordable housing are required. During the previous planning period, the number was 14.
Mollica, in his report, wrote having the consultants watch over will ensure the city “takes a proactive approach to the development of its future RHNA number.”
In a letter to city planning officials, the consultants point out the RHNA is critical to local jurisdictions “because it establishes the amount and type of new housing that must be accommodated in land use plans and regulations.”
The letter goes on to state if the housing element of the General Plan does not identify sites with appropriate zoning to accommodate the RHNA, property must be rezoned to meet the shortfall.
“The next RHNA is expected to be adopted by SCAG in 2012 and will be a key component of the next housing element update, which must be prepared in 2013,” the consultants’ letter explains.
“Staff believes it would be important to retain the services of an experienced consultant to assist staff,” Mollica added. “In addition, the agreement includes facilitating two additional public workshops on the preparation of the current Housing Element Update.”
The consultants indicated they could assist the city during the SCAG workshops “to ensure that the housing growth allocation for Malibu is fair and reasonable given local land use constraints and infrastructure.”

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