On December 18, 2023, Santa Clara County received a review letter from the California Department of Housing and Urban Development (HCD) with feedback on the County’s most recent revised Draft Housing Element. The letter indicates that not only are additional and extensive revisions necessary to bring the Draft Housing Element into compliance with state law but that the County failed to address many of the issues that HCD raised in a previous review letter on the Draft Element.
The original deadline for cities and counties to complete a Housing Element that is certified as compliant with state law by HCD passed last year, on January 31, 2023. Housing Elements must be certified as compliant with state housing law by HCD for local jurisdictions to avoid loss of local land use authority, fines, and loss of access to important pools of state funding. A recent court case affirmed that local governments cannot avoid consequences by certifying their own Housing Elements.
Now Santa Clara County, along with a number of other South Bay jurisdictions, is likely to miss a second deadline: after January 31, 2024, noncompliant jurisdictions will also lose access to important state and regional money, including funding for critical bike and pedestrian infrastructure. Local jurisdictions that fail to meet this second deadline will not qualify for certification until they have completed all rezoning associated with their Housing Elements. Any jurisdiction that received Housing Element certification from HCD after the end of May 2023 (see chart below) must also complete rezoning by January 31, 2024, or their Housing Elements will be at risk of decertification. Many jurisdictions across the county have been adopting rezoning ordinances over the past few months to meet this deadline, with a few more cities coming in just under the wire in the next few weeks.
San Jose’s Housing Element is currently under review
The City of San Jose is the only jurisdiction in Santa Clara County with a Housing Element currently in the review process with HCD. San Jose will receive a review letter from HCD by January 29, 2024. The City’s delay in achieving certification is creating dire consequences that may cost thousands of homes- read on for more details on the gross misuse of Builder’s Remedy in San Jose.
SV@Home supports state certification of San Jose’s Housing Element, as we have worked in partnership with other local and regional housing and community advocacy organizations, alongside city staff and key stakeholders to respond to HCD’s comments (8/28/23) on the adopted Draft Housing Element. However, we recognize that the work we have done together up until now is only the beginning, as the City, along with other state-certified jurisdictions, now moves to implement the ambitious work plan contained in the Element. We look forward to strengthening the valuable collaborative relationships with community and regional partners as we move collectively from planning to implementation.