2023-2031 Housing Element Update
The Town Council adopted the 6th Cycle Housing Element on August 16, 2023. This Housing Element covers the planning period from 2023-2031. The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) certified the Town’s adopted Housing Element on August 31, 2023. The Town is required to submit Annual Progress Reports (APRs) to HCD to document progress toward implementing the Housing Element programs and policies.
The adopted Housing Element is available here.
The Housing Element is a mandatory component of the General Plan which outlines the Town’s plan to meet existing and projected future housing needs for all economic segments of the community. Local governments are required to adequately plan to meet existing and projected housing needs, including their share of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) established by the State of California. For the 2023-2031 planning period, the Town was required to demonstrate that it can accommodate at least 994 residential units at various levels of affordability.
Housing Element Overview
The Housing Element is one of the seven required elements of the General Plan and the only element required to be approved (“certified”) by the State of California. The State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has the legal authority to review and certify housing elements. Since 1969, State law requires that California local governments (towns, cities, and counties) update their Housing Elements every 8 years according to a legally mandated schedule.
The Housing Element includes an analysis of the following:
- Review of the previous 2015-2023 Housing Element
- Housing Needs Assessment
- Housing Resources & Opportunities
- Assessment of Fair Housing
- Housing Site Inventory
- Housing Constraints
- Housing Programs
With each Housing Element update, local governments adequately plan to meet their communities’ existing and projected housing needs, including their fair share of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation.
The Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA) process is the part of Housing Element Law used to determine how many new homes, and the affordability of those homes, each local government must plan for in its Housing Element. The State sets the total housing units needed in each region. For the Bay Area, which Sonoma County is a part of, the region must plan for 441,176 housing units, about half of which must be affordable to lower income households.
The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) takes the total units determined by the State (441,176) and assigns a number of units to each jurisdiction. Through the Housing Element, the Town of Windsor is required to demonstrate a plan to accommodate the number of units assigned to the Town. For the 2023-2031 planning period, the Town of Windsor is required to provide 994 units.
Safety Element Update
In conjunction with the Housing Element update, the Town was also required to update the Public Health and Safety Element of the General Plan. This element is designed to reduce the short-term and long-term potential threats to community health and safety, and helps foster a resilient local economy and natural ecosystem. Cities and counties are required by State law to review their Safety Elements during preparation of a Housing Element update to determine if amendments are needed to respond to and incorporate the latest California State General Plan Guidelines for compliance with State law regarding climate change adaptation and resilience, wildfire mapping, mitigation, and evacuation routes. A Public Health and Safety Element update was adopted at the same time as the Housing Element update.
For more information, please contact Patrick N. Streeter, Community Development Director, at email@example.com.