Draft Housing Element – March 2023 Status Update
Posted on March 7, 2023
- To date, background reports on housing needs, constraints, and fair housing have been drafted and programs to address the key findings developed, as required per State law and guidance from HCD.
- The backbone of the Housing Element is the sites inventory and an important focus of the work has been on ground-truthing the sites and the capacity projections to ensure they meet the eligibility and suitability criteria established by the State.
- Like many Bay Area cities, much of Fairfax is located in areas of environmental hazard, which significantly limits the number of parcels that meet suitability criteria for lower income RHNA sites. Staff and the consultant set up a meeting with HCD staff to discuss this challenge and were advised that additional analysis and outreach to property owners will be needed to demonstrate the viability of non-vacant sites in environmentally constrained areas for redevelopment with housing over the planning period.
- Accordingly, staff and the consultant have conducted a series of meetings and focus group discussions with property owners of candidate non-vacant sites in Fairfax to confirm interest in housing development, to understand the specific challenges they face, and to identify strategies the Town can implement to help with development feasibility. Contacting property owners and scheduling the meetings required a lead time of several weeks but this information is necessary to underpin the capacity projections and respond to HCD guidance.
- The property owner meetings concluded on Tuesday 2/28 and the input gathered will now be used to finalize the site suitability analysis and the programs in the Action Plan, which are the final pieces of the Draft Housing Element.
- An administrative Draft Housing Element will be delivered to staff around mid-March and the Public Review Draft is anticipated to be released approximately by the end of March.
- Following a legally mandated 30-day public review period, a study session with the Town Council will be held to review the Draft Housing Element and summarize public comments. Based on Council direction, the Draft Housing Element will then be revised and sent to Sacramento to start the 90-day HCD review period.
- With the inventory firmed up, other aspects of the project can start up in earnest, including the technical analysis for the EIR, the environmental analysis, and the customization of objective design and development standards for the zoning code update. All of these items rely on having a stable inventory of sites available for housing established.