April 25, 2024

Housing Element Update 4/25/24


The City of Palo Alto adopts another draft housing element

On Monday, April 15th, at a Joint City Council and Planning and Transportation Commission meeting, Palo Alto’s Council adopted its third and most recent draft of the Housing Element with minor modifications to staff recommendations. Palo Alto is behind in complying with state law, as the Housing Element was due in January 2023 when this planning cycle began. 

Emily Ann Ramos, SV@Home’s Preservation & Protection Associate, quoted in the San Jose Mercury News: “When you go for housing element compliance, you can’t just go for that bare minimum. You really have to overshoot it just to make sure that you reach compliance.” 

While this draft of Palo Alto’s Housing Element contains strong tenant protection policies, many local advocates feel it does not go far enough to remove barriers to the development of new housing. Once the City submits the Housing Element to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), the state agency will have up to 60 days to respond with certification.

Two more cities get conditional approval from HCD

On April 10th, the City of Cupertino received a letter from HCD notifying them that their draft Housing Element will be compliant with state law once they meet rezoning commitments and the Council adopts the Housing Element. The Council anticipates completing rezoning and adopting the revised Housing Element on May 14, 2024. 

Just one day later, on April 11th, the City of Santa Clara received a similar notification letter from HCD on their Housing Element, colloquially known as a “nod” from HCD. Santa Clara’s City Council will consider adopting the revised Housing Element on May 7, 2024.

Only five jurisdictions remain noncompliant in Santa Clara County

Only the City of Palo Alto (see above), the Town of Los Gatos, Santa Clara County (unincorporated), the City of Monte Sereno, and the City of Saratoga have not earned either certification or conditional approval from HCD. Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, and Saratoga currently have draft Housing Elements in review with HCD.