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Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Housing Element Update Nears State Approval

• Municipality Needs to Do Environmental Impact to Receive Certification

BY BILL KOENEKER

Malibu city officials announced last week that they received tentative approval, or “preliminary certification,” of the city’s Draft Housing Element Update from the California Department of Housing and Community Development, or HCD.
“HCD found that the draft element will comply with housing element law when adopted by the city council (via approval of the amendment to the General Plan),” a planning department spokesperson said.
If the Final Housing Element adopted by the city council is consistent with the Draft Housing Element, the city will receive final certification, according to planners.
The next step required prior to final adoption of a housing element update is completion of an Environmental Impact Report. Staff anticipates that the Draft EIR will be made available for public review prior to the end of 2012.
The state mandates that local governments adequately plan to meet the existing and projected housing needs for the community in all economic levels.
Included in the state law is the requirement that local governments adopt land use plans and regulatory systems that provide opportunities for and do not unduly constrain housing development.
The state also requires that housing elements be updated and certified every five years to reflect the most recent trends in demographics and employment that may affect existing and future housing demand and supply.
The city had already held a series of meetings on the draft plan and is expected to hold more public meetings during the EIR process, which, according to planners, is currently underway.
In May, the city had submitted the second draft document to HCD for review.
Several months earlier the HCD sent a comment letter on the draft plan in response to the initial document sent to the state agency in December.

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