2021-2029 Housing Element
Sutter County is currently updating its Housing Element for the 2021 – 2029 planning period. The Housing Element is one of seven mandatory elements of the County General Plan. It outlines the County’s housing plan and how we adequately plan to meet existing and projected future housing needs for all economic segments of the community. The State requires that a housing element be updated every eight years and must be reviewed and certified by the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).
The County's current Housing Element was adopted in 2014 and covers the January 1, 2013 through October 31, 2021 planning period. This update gives us the opportunity to evaluate the previous element and determine which policies and programs have been effective and which need to be improved.
- Project Initiation – November 2020
- Community Engagement – January 2021
- Public Draft Housing Element – March 2021
- Planning Commission & Board of Supervisor Public Hearings – March-April 2021
- HCD Review Period – April-June 2021
- Housing Element Adoption – June/July 2021
The public draft of the Housing Element has been prepared and will be discussed at study sessions held by the Planning Commission on March 17, 2021, and by the Board of Supervisors on April 13, 2021, before being submitted to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for review.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Housing Element is one of seven mandatory elements that must be included in a county’s General Plan. The Housing Element outlines goals, polices, implementation programs, and quantified objectives that will help plan for the housing needs for all segments of the County’s population. State law mandates that local governments adequately plan to meet the existing and projected housing needs of all economic segments of the community. Unlike other mandatory general plan elements, the Housing Element is required to be updated every eight years and must be reviewed and certified by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).
Visit HCD’s website for more information about Housing Element requirements: https://www.hcd.ca.gov/community-development/housing-element/index.shtml
2. What information is included in the Housing Element?
The Housing Element includes the following major components:
- Housing Needs Assessment: Provides demographic and housing need information.
- Constraints Analysis:: Analyzes existing and potential constraints to the development of housing and how those will be addressed.
- Evaluation of Past Performance:: Assesses progress in implementing the policies and programs set forth in the prior Housing Element.
- Housing Sites Inventory and Analysis:: Identifies sites available for development or redevelopment and that are appropriately zoned to support housing development in order to accommodate the County’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA).
- Housing Resources:: Identifies financial and other resources available to support housing development, especially affordable housing.
- Policies and Programs:: Establishes new policies and programs designed to address the housing needs identified in the County.
3. How is a County’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) determined?
The RHNA is part of a statewide statutory mandate for every city and county in California to address a portion of the projected statewide housing needs. Every region in the state is given a Regional Housing Needs Determination (RHND) from HCD, which is the number of housing units the region must plan for. The total allocation is broken down into four income categories: above moderate-, moderate-, low-, and very low-income. The lower two income categories (“Low Income” and “Very Low Income”) must be accommodated on sites zoned for higher density residential development. In Sutter County, sites must allow 20 units per acre to be considered appropriate for lower-income housing.
State law mandates that the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) develop and approve a Regional Housing Needs Plan (RHNP) that contains a RHNA methodology for allocating these units by income category to each city and county in the region. The RHNA methodology requires that the following five objectives be considered;
- Increase housing supply and housing mix;
- promote infill, equity, and the environment;
- ensure jobs housing balance and fit;
- promote regional income parity; and
- affirmatively further fair housing.
Visit the SACOG website for more information on the SACOG RHNA process: https://www.sacog.org/regional-housing-needs-allocation-rhna.
4. How much housing do we need to plan for?
The RHNA allocates the County’s “fair share” of the region’s projected housing needs. As shown in the table below, SACOG allocated Sutter County a total of 729 housing units for the eight-year RHNA cycle. Of the 729 housing units, 284 units are to be affordable to very low-income and low-income households (collectively referred to as the “lower-income” RHNA).
|RHNA||Very Low||Low||Moderate||Above Moderate||Total|
|Percent of Total||24%||15%||18%||43%||100%|
Note: * Based on 8-year planning period
Source: SACOG Regional Housing Needs Plan Cycle 6 (2021-2029), February 2020
6. Is the County required to build all the housing units allocated in the RHNA?
No. Local governments don’t build housing – the private sector does. Local governments don’t control local market realities or the availability of state and federal funding needed to support the development of affordable housing. The County’s role in meeting the RHNA is to ensure that enough land is zoned to accommodate the units identified in the RHNA. For the County’s lower-income portion of the RHNA, we must have vacant or underutilized land that is zoned residential or residential mixed-use at a density that allows 20 dwelling units per acre or higher (20 du/ac).
7. What happens if a jurisdiction does not adopt a Housing Element or the Element does not comply with State law?
- Limited access to State Funding. Several state department/agencies that award funds limit their approvals based on the status of a jurisdiction’s Housing Element. This includes some transportation funds.
- Lawsuits. Counties could also be vulnerable to lawsuits for not working proactively to meet its housing needed. Without a certified housing element, developers and advocates have the right to sue jurisdictions if their Housing Element is not compliant with State Law.
- Carryover of unfilled RHNA. We would be required to carry over to the next housing element planning period any unmet Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA) if we fail to identify or make available adequate sites to accommodate its RHNA assignment. Therefore, in addition to identifying sites for the new period’s RHNA, we would also be required within the first year of the new planning period to zone adequate sites to accommodate the RHNA from the prior planning period that was not provided.
8. When does the Housing Element have to be submitted to the State?
The due date to adopt the Housing Element is May 15, 2021; however, there is a 120-grace period. The County expects to adopt within the grace period, prior to the final deadline of September 12, 2021.
9. Why should I get involved and how will my feedback be used?
All County residents are encouraged to get involved in the Housing Element update. Your feedback will help inform the policies and programs that are included in the Housing Element and our strategy for meeting the RHNA. You can participate in any of the following ways:
- Attend a community workshop (meeting dates will be posted on the project website)
- Comment on the Public Review Draft Housing Element once it is available
- Attend the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisor meetings (dates will be posted on the project website)
- Send an email with comments to County staff at [email protected]
Send written comments to the project team at:
Sutter County Development Services
1130 Civic Center Blvd., Suite A
Yuba City, CA 95993