Housing Element Update
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Overview

Welcome! This is the community portal for the City of Camarillo’s Housing Element Update.

In order to address a number of State regulations, the City is going through a process to update the Housing Element of the General Plan, required every 8 years. 

Here you will find an overview of the project, FAQs, project updates, information on upcoming workshops, and related resources and documents. If you would like to receive email updates and get involved, please sign up for our mailing list by clicking here.

Announcements

  • The first joint City Council/Planning Commission update on the Housing Element first workshop is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, October 14, at 7:30 PM, via Zoom. Learn more here.
  • The first public workshop on the Housing Element Update process was held on Thursday, August 27, at 6:00 PM. The recording is available to watch here.

 

 

What is a Housing Element? 

The Housing Element of the General Plan is a State-mandated policy document that identifies Camarillo’s existing and future housing needs and establishes clear goals to inform future housing decisions.  The City’s Housing Element provides goals, policies and programs that address:

  • Conserving and improving existing housing
  • Providing sites for a variety of housing types
  • Assisting in the provision of affordable housing
  • Identifying and removing governmental constraints to housing development
  • Promoting equal housing opportunities

Unlike other elements of the General Plan, State law requires the Housing Element to be updated every eight years.  The State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) is tasked with reviewing Housing Elements for compliance with State housing laws. The City’s existing 2014-2021 Housing Element remains active until the 2021-2029 update is adopted (with a targeted adoption date of October 2021). The existing Housing Element is available under Project Documents. For Housing Element FAQs click here.

Project Information

Project Schedule

Schedule of the Camarillo Housing Element Update

Project Documents

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

General FAQ

What is a General Plan?

The State of California requires all cities to develop a General Plan. General Plans are comprehensive policy documents that inform future land use decisions. Cities adopt and update their General Plan to guide the current and long-term growth and land development of their community. The General Plan is a foundation for establishing goals, purposes, zoning, and activities permitted on each property to provide compatibility and continuity within a city as a whole and each individual neighborhood.

Camarillo’s General Plan is a comprehensive, long-range guide for the development of the community. It consists of nine elements: CURB, Land Use, Circulation, Housing, Recreation, Open Space and Conservation, Community Design, Safety, and Noise. Each element contains specific goals, policies, and programs to be implemented.  Each element of the General Plan is available on the City’s website, at https://www.cityofcamarillo.org/departments/community_development/general_plan_test/index.php.

Why is Camarillo updating the Housing Element of the General Plan?

The City is required by State law to update its Housing Element every eight years. Camarillo’s current certified 5th cycle Housing Element covers the 2013-2021 planning period. The City is now in the process of updating the 6th cycle Housing Element for the 2021-2029 planning period. Additionally, the State has enacted significant new guidance and legislation regarding General Plans.  In response to California’s worsening affordable housing crisis, the State legislature has enacted a over a dozen new bills aimed at increasing production, promoting affordability and creating greater accountability for localities, all of which will need to be addressed in the updated Housing Element.  

Housing Element FAQ

What is Included in the Housing Element?

The Housing Element is comprised of the following major components:

  • Review of effectiveness of existing Housing Element
  • Assessment of existing and projected housing needs
  • Identification of resources – financial, land, administrative
  • Evaluation of constraints to housing
  • Housing Plan – goals, policies and programs

Results from each of the four key components of the analysis — review & revise, housing needs, resources, and constraints — are reflected in the goals, policies and programs in the implementation plan. The entire process must reflect public participation from the draft stage to final adoption.

Why does Camarillo have to plan for more housing?

California’s population has continued to grow by approximately 500,000 each year, translating to an annual need for about 220,000 new units. State housing element law requires each city and county to plan for their “fair share” of the State’s housing growth needs through quantity and affordability level.   The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is the regional agency responsible for defining the fair share allocation among its six counties (Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura), and 191 cities in the Southern California region. Based on economic and demographic forecasts, the State has determined that the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) region needs to accommodate 1,341,827 housing units between 2021 and 2029 to meet housing demand. 

How much new housing will Camarillo need to plan for in the next 8-year Housing Element cycle?

SCAG has allocated the region’s 1,341,827 housing unit growth needs to each city and county through a process called the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA). Camarillo’s draft RHNA for the 2021-2029 planning period (6th RHNA cycle) is 1,372 units, distributed among the following income categories[1]:

Income Level Percent of Area Median Income (AMI) Units Percent
Very Low 0-50% AMI 351 25%
Low 51-80% AMI 243 18%
Moderate 81-120% AMI 270 20%
Above Moderate >120% AMI 508 37%
Total 1,372 100%

 

The RHNA represents the minimum number of housing units Camarillo is required to plan for in its housing element by providing “adequate sites” through general plan and zoning.  The State requires that jurisdictions create a sufficient buffer in the Housing Element sites inventory beyond that required by the RHNA to ensure adequate site capacity exists throughout the planning period.

The City’s RHNA represents a planning target and is not a building quota.  However, the City must identify sufficient sites to meet the RHNA allocation based on criteria specified in State housing law; those sites must be realistic and probable for housing development within the prescribed timeframe, and the City cannot later impose undue constraints to development of housing, particularly among those sites identified.

[1] https://www.hcd.ca.gov/grants-funding/income-limits/state-and-federal-income-limits/docs/Income-Limits-2020.pdf

In addition to providing sufficient sites to address the total RHNA, how does the City’s zoning translate to providing adequate sites for each RHNA income category?

Housing Element law provides for the use of “default densities” to assess affordability when evaluating the adequacy of sites to address the RHNA affordability targets. Based on its population within Ventura County, Camarillo falls within the default density of 20 units per acre for providing sites suitable for development of housing for very low- and low-income households.  This is generally consistent with the default density approach that applied when the City updated the Housing Element in 2013, except that for this new 6th RHNA cycle housing sites will need to be designated and zoned with a minimum allowable density at these levels to count toward the associated lower income categories.

What happens if Camarillo does not have its Housing Element certified by the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD)?

There are several potential consequences, the greatest of which is the risk of litigation based on a legally inadequate General Plan. Courts can impose a range of sanctions if they rule the housing element invalid, including a moratorium on all development and local land use authority until the housing element is brought into compliance. Furthermore, the jurisdiction is responsible for paying the litigant’s attorney fees. Settlement agreements between the parties often include stipulations for mandatory rezoning and affordable housing production requirements. State housing and related parks and infrastructure funds typically require housing element compliance for eligibility, so failure to secure an HCD approved element can result in a loss of funding. And where a jurisdiction’s prior housing element failed to identify adequate sites to address the RHNA, this unmet RHNA carry over to future housing element cycles, rendering HCD compliance in future housing element cycles extremely difficult.

AB 72 now expands HCDs enforcement authority to refer non-compliant jurisdictions to the State Attorney General’s Office for litigation, as evidenced by the recent lawsuit the State brought against the City of Huntington Beach.

How can the public be involved in the Housing Element process?

The Housing Element update is a community-based process that will include a variety of public engagement opportunities. This will include:

  • Public Workshops beginning in August of 2020
  • Public study sessions before the Planning Commission and City Council
  • Public hearings before Planning Commission and City Council

To join the mailing list for notification, see the Get Involved section to submit your email address. Meeting notices and any announcements will also be posted on this webpage.

Get Involved

We want to hear your thoughts and ideas! Community engagement is vital to the Housing Element Update process. The City and their consultant team will be hosting a variety of public workshops and public meetings throughout the Update process.

The City will continue to take measures to protect the health and safety its residents and business owners during the COVID-19 situation. Community outreach will be facilitated in a manner that puts people first while continuing to keep the community involved.

To submit additional comments throughout the entire Housing Element Update process, please complete the form below. If you would like to join the email list to stay up to date on the project, please sign up directly on City’s webpage here.

Upcoming Community Outreach Events

Oct
14
Wed
1st Joint City Council/Planning Commission Update on the Housing Element First Workshop @ Zoom
Oct 14 @ 7:30 pm

The first joint City Council/Planning Commission Update on the Housing Element first workshop is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, October 14, at 7:30 P.M., via Zoom.