2023-2031 Housing Element Update
On November 2, 2022, the Town submitted its Draft Housing Element to the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for a 90-day review period. In an effort to address informal comments from HCD that have been received during the review period, the Town has revised the November 2022 version of the Draft Housing Element. The updated document is available for review below:
The Town of Windsor kicked off the 2023-2031 Update to the Housing Element in July 2021. Public comments were received from August 24 to September 22, 2022. Public meetings were held with the Planning Commission and Town Council in September 2022 for community members to learn more and provide comments.
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 is required to demonstrate that it can accommodate at least 994 residential units at various levels of affordability.
Since 1969, State law requires that California local governments (towns, cities, and counties) update their Housing Elements every eight years according to a legally mandated schedule.
The Town last updated its Housing Element in 2015. You can find the Town’s 2015-2023 Housing Element here.
Housing Element Overview
The Housing Element is one of the nine 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.
The Housing Element includes an analysis of the following:
- Review of the existing 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 if Windsor is required to provide 994 units.
Safety Element Overview
In addition to the Housing Element, the Town is also required to update the Public Health and Safety Element of the General Plan, which is designed to reduce the short-term and long-term potential threats to community health and safety, 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 the Housing Element Update to determine if updates 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 Draft Public Health and Safety Element Update will be available for public review in Fall 2022.
For information and/or to be included on the e-mail distribution list for the Housing Element Update or the Public Health and Safety Element Update, please contact Patrick N. Streeter, Community Development Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.