Looking Down at the Housing Crisis | New
Four cities in Tri-Valley are among the 27 Bay Area jurisdictions appealing their assignments for the next round of the regional housing needs allocation process, claiming that the proposed housing unit allocations present too much ‘obstacles.
Danville, Dublin, Pleasanton and San Ramon have each filed an individual appeal and are seeking to reduce their allocation from an Association of Bay Area Governments Appeal Committee, made up of locally elected officials, ahead of the adoption of the final RHNA plan. this autumn.
Designed to hold California cities accountable for their fair share of their area’s housing needs, the RHNA process requires Bay Area cities to identify land to accommodate their total new housing units, but not to actually construct residential housing units. The 2023-31 cycle has approximately 2.35 times more units than in the previous cycle.
All local and other callers, including Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Marin and Sonoma counties, questioned ABAG’s methodology in their appeals – only Livermore Mayor Bob Woerner, whose town did not disputed its allocation, compared to “a zero-sum game” where for each jurisdiction that receives a reduction, another sees an increase.
The number of projected housing units – 441,176 – and calls are much higher in the current cycle than the previous cycle in 2014, when the Bay Area was allocated 187,990 by the state.
From 2010 to 2019, Dublin’s population grew from 46,036 to 66,147. The 44% increase made it “one of the fastest growing cities in California” at the time, which Dublin officials said their appeal should be heeded.
Dublin officials argued that 2,267 of the 3,719 units allocated to the city – 1,449 above average units and 818 very low, low and moderate income units – should “be reallocated to other jurisdictions in the bay area “. They also said that the draft allocation “does not take into account our past performance and the lack of suitable land”, including “the allocation of units in Dublin where the city has no authority over land use “.
“This explosive growth is due to the important steps taken to facilitate the construction of market-priced and affordable housing,” officials said, adding that building permits for the construction of 4,396 units had been issued by the city over the course of the year. of the current RHNA cycle, compared to their 2,285 allocated units.
Dublin officials have also expressed concerns about increasing demand and dependence on imported water, as well as “resource-rich areas disproportionately impacting a diverse community.”
The Town of Pleasanton is asking to reduce its RHNA allocation by 20%, or 1,193 units, to a new total of 4,473 units.
Pleasanton’s claim is largely based on what officials call “significant oversights in the application of the methodology,” including “the failure to accommodate the increased uncertainty over water supply which at least represents 20 percent of the city’s drinking water supply.
Per- and polyfluoroalkylated substances (PFAS) discovered in local drinking water supplies last year have created “a significant constraint on the water supply for existing and new developments” which “has the potential to develop. be significantly exacerbated by the predicted drought conditions in the state and region, ”according to Pleasanton officials.
“In combination with the drought emergency recently declared by the Governor and the above current and imminent uncertainties regarding water supply, the prospect of accommodating nearly 6,000 new housing units as specified in the RHNA is problematic “, said officials.
Pleasanton officials also said the city “has widely identified the lack of vacant land as a constraint on housing production; and identified constraints in the reallocation of existing commercial properties near public transportation.”
Officials added, “This strategy is a key goal of Plan Bay Area 2050 and the RHNA methodology,” which they say “ignores real-world constraints and feasibility.”
“Assuming a relatively high average density of 40 housing units per acre, nearly 150 acres would need to be developed or redeveloped to meet the RHNA assigned to the city,” city officials said.
Pleasanton staff continued, “It is just not realistic to assume that 20-25% of all properties would be redeveloped in these areas over the 8-year period of the housing element, given that the majority of this area is developed with viable commercial and retail uses, and highlights the flawed growth modeling assumptions of the Plan Bay area upon which the RHNA methodology is built. “
Danville is seeking to reduce its allocation of 2,241 units from 600 to 800, which officials say is based on a “flawed assumption that the city has a locally identified Priority Development Area (PDA) that the RHNA process … has used as a focal point for future growth, and ignores local planning factors related to employment-housing imbalance and development constraints. “
With only one bus line serving the city and “limited to no access to regional public transport,” officials said the “net effect” of 2,241 units added “to a transport-poor community like Danville would be to impose more automobile dependence and a significant socio-economic burden (in terms of time and resources) on a segment of the population that can least afford it. “
San Ramon officials “fundamentally disagree with the methodology selected” which led to the city’s interim allocation of 5,111 units, but said they focused their appeal on “what we see as flaws in the RHNA process and the use of data which resulted in a disproportionate number of dwellings. , instead of asking that their allowance be reduced by a specific amount.
Although officials said they supported improving the region’s employment-housing balance, “we do not believe that the planned development model for the Plan Bay 2050 area has taken into account recent changes that have a significant impact on the employment-housing balance of San Ramon with regard to RHNA “.
“As the seat of the Bishop Ranch Office Park, San Ramon has been a rich community of jobs, which has led to the continued focus on housing for the city,” officials said.
As the only community in Tri-Valley not to appeal their RHNA allowance, Woerner said of Livermore’s decision in an interview last Friday with The Weekly: “From Livermore’s perspective, we can accommodate them. , then why would we need to appeal. “
Livermore received an interim assignment of 4,570 units, of which 1,799 were in upper to moderate categories, 696 in moderate categories, 758 in low income categories and 1,317 in very low income categories.
“The board recognizes that growth is necessary and that we are doing it on purpose,” Woerner said. “We are for balanced growth, where we understand that we need a mix of housing types.”
Woerner added: “Cities always have a general plan, and in that there is always an idea of when you are done building. If you look at the RHNA numbers and their allocation over a number of years, that’s more or less consistent with our envisioned growth rate for builds.
But adding more housing in the Tri-Valley won’t solve what “is causing most of the problems in the Bay Area,” which Woerner says is both the creation of jobs and lack of housing in the South Bay and Peninsula.
“The battle is over the ability of the Peninsula and Silicon Valley to meet their housing needs,” Woerner said. “The redistribution that would make sense is that East Bay is disproportionately allocated housing.”
Woerner added: “We are passing this round and we can handle it, but we are commenting that more should have been allocated to job creators.”
ABAG will hold public hearings on all appeals in September before the final RHNA plan is adopted in the fall. The agency is required by law to allocate the 441,176 units assigned to the area.
If a jurisdiction’s appeal regarding its RHNA allocation project is successful, ABAG should redistribute the units to other local governments in the region, according to the agency’s website.
Comments on filed appeals will be accepted until Monday (August 30) and should be submitted to [email protected]