Housing Element Update 2023-2031

Row housing with banner that reads "available for review Winter 2022"

The Housing Element is a mandatory element, or chapter, of the General Plan that primarily addresses the housing needs of the unincorporated areas in the County of Santa Clara. A Housing Element must be updated on an eight-year cycle or as otherwise determined by the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). Housing Element update cycles now correlate with regional transportation processes, as conducted by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments.

phase 1-Q2 2022; phase 2-Q3 2022; phase 3-Q4 2022

The Housing Element is a mandatory element of the General Plan that addresses the housing needs of unincorporated Santa Clara County.  It functions to address housing resolutions through policies, services, and programs in the following ways:

  • Identifies available funding for construction, rehabilitation, and preservation
  • Identifies available rental subsidies
  • Addresses shelters and special needs housing
  • Identifies available home financing for first-time and low-income buyers
  • Offers financial services to address housing discrimination and dispute resolution
  • Identifies opportunity sites for new housing on surplus County lands
  • Facilitates advocacy and education

A Housing Element must be updated on an eight year cycle or as otherwise determined by the HCD. The County of Santa Clara’s current Housing Element extends to 2022. That means it is time for an update.

This project website is your destination for project information. Continue to check back for updates. We encourage you to register for project updates by email so that we can keep you informed of upcoming events, project updates and other ways to get involved.

    Notice of Preparation of an Environmental Impact Report

    The County will prepare a program-level Environmental Impact Report (EIR) regarding proposed updates to the County’s General Plan, including updates to the General Plan’s Housing Element and the Stanford Community Plan (the “Project”). The County requests your input on the scope and content of the environmental information to be included in the EIR that is germane to your agency’s statutory responsibilities in connection with the proposed Project. A brief description of the Project, its site boundary, and a summary of the potential environmental effects are provided on the following pages.

     

    We Want to Hear From You!

    Phase 1 Engagement will focus on identifying housing challenges and opportunities for the County to address in its Housing Element Update. We invite you to participate in upcoming virtual meetings to tell us about the things that matter most to you. You are the expert – your knowledge, experience and perception of issues in your community are an important to this community driven process. See the calendar below for upcoming events and details on how to participate.

    Upcoming Events

    Past Events and Materials

    Date Card - Sep 7

    Community Workshop #3 - September 7, 2022 – Time 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

    The County presented draft policies to and sought feedback from the community to refine the draft policies, add additional policies, or address issues that may have been missed from previous engagement efforts.

    Date Card - Aug 29

    Stakeholder Workshop #3 - August 29, 2022 – Time 10:00 AM (Virtual Meeting)

    The County will present draft update policies to adequately address the identified housing opportunities and challenges in Santa Clara County. Input from Stakeholders will be sought to inform edits to the drafts and/or the addition of new draft policies. A recording of the meeting, presentation slide and summary will be posted after the meeting.

    Date Card - Aug 17

    Stakeholder Workshop #2 - August 17, 2022, Time 10:00 AM (Virtual Meeting)

    The County presented County strategies & policies that address the identified housing opportunities and challenges in Santa Clara County. Stakeholders provided their inputs that will inform updated to the Strategies and  policies. A recording of the meeting, presentation slide and summary will be posted after the meeting.

    Date Card - Aug 2

    Focused Stakeholder Meeting - Housing Development – August 2, Time 10:00 AM (Virtual Meeting)

    The County invited affordable housing & housing developers, and housing advocates to discuss challenges to building housing in unincorporated County to be considered in the County’s Housing Element Update. 

    Date Card - July 21

    Community Workshop #2 - Urban Community - July 21, Time 6:00 PM (Virtual Meeting)

    The County introduced the Housing Element Update process and sought input on the key issues that the County will be addressing in the update. This community workshop focused on County Islands within cities; neighborhoods that are with Urban Service Areas.

    Date Card - July 19

    Community Workshop #1 - Rural Community - July 19, Time 6:00 PM (Virtual Meeting)

    The County introduced the Housing Element Update process and sought input on the key issues that the County will be addressing in the update. This community workshop focused on the South County, San Martin, and other rural areas in the county.

    Date Card - July 6

    Stakeholder Workshop #1 - July 6, 10:00 AM

    An introduction to the Housing Element Update, seeking input on the key issues in the County that should be addressed by the update.

    a view of Santa Clara County horizon

    Housing Element law requires local governments to adequately plan to meet their existing and projected housing needs, including their share of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA). In order to effectively plan for developing and preserving an adequate supply of housing, local jurisdictions must first understand the housing needs in their communities. Accordingly, the Housing Needs section of the Housing Element requires local jurisdictions to provide a descriptive analysis of the housing needs of different populations and the resources available to meet those needs. (Association of Bay Area Governments, 2021)

    State Law Requires that the Housing Element include the following sections identified below:

      The Housing Element Update must document how the previous Housing Element (2015 - 2022) met the Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA) during its eight year implementation cycle and how it approached the amount of housing forecasted to be produced during the same time. Typically, this information is documented in tables demonstrating projected and achieved housing production.

      A primary component of Housing Elements is to demonstrate the capacity to accommodate the housing need projected for the community and for each income category. The County demonstrates this through a combination of relaxed zoning for secondary dwellings, higher density student housing on Stanford lands, and overall capacity for homes in rural areas. The Regional Housing Need Allocation for each jurisdiction is divided into income categories. The RHNA for the unincorporated County by income category is shown in the table below:

      Unincorporated Areas in
      the County of Santa Clara
       
      Very Low Income 828
      Low Income 477
      Moderate Income 508
      Above Moderate Income 1,312
      Total 3,125

      *Very Low Income (<50% of Area Median Income); Low Income (50-80% of Area Median Income); Moderate Income (80 120% of Area Median Income); Above Moderate Income (>120% of Area Median Income). The above allocations are still in draft form and need to be approved by the State of California Housing and Community Development Department (HCD).

      The Housing Element Update will document the number of available sites zoned and suitable for the development of housing. For example, the previous Update identified development capacity in Urban Unincorporated Areas, Stanford University Lands and Rural Unincorporated Areas. This analysis paints a picture of the overall land available to develop new housing as an indicator relative to the target set by the California HCD.

      This requirement will see the County conduct a broad review and evaluation of governmental factors that influence housing production and affordability. This may include an overview of topics including land use policies and regulations referred to generally as “land use controls,” impact fees, secondary dwelling provisions, building codes, development and site improvement standards, fees and exactions, processing and permitting procedures, special needs housing, and code enforcement among other subjects.

      The housing policies and programs developed for the Update are the implementable solutions designed to address housing issues identified through engagement with stakeholders and the community in complement to analysis and best practice review completed by the County of Santa Clara. Policies and programs will cover a broad spectrum of challenges facing the County today as well as issues that are anticipated to emerge over the next eight years.

      State housing law requires each jurisdiction’s housing element to include a statement of goals, quantified objectives, and policies relative to the maintenance, preservation, improvement and development of housing. To satisfy this requirement, the County of Santa Clara will provide data summarizing the probable dwellings to be developed over the lifecycle of the Update. It will also include the probable number of dwelling un its to undergo rehabilitation during the same timeframe. This information is typically calculated using historical production data, business cycle information, annexations and changes to zoning and policies.

      This dashboard provides key information about population and housing trends in the County of Santa Clara. This information will inform the development of policies and programs for inclusion in the Housing Element Update.

      Population has decreased in Unincorporated Santa Clara by 1.5%, and increased in Santa Clara County by 1.6% and the Bay Area by 2.5%

      Population Growth (2015 – 2020)

      Population has decreased in Unincorporated Santa Clara by 1.5%, and increased in Santa Clara County by 1.6% and the Bay Area by 2.5%

      This graph demonstrates the breakdown of ethnicities in Unincorporated Santa Clara, Santa Clara County and the Bay Area

      Population by Race (2019)

      This graph demonstrates the breakdown of ethnicities in Unincorporated Santa Clara, Santa Clara County and the Bay Area

      The job to household ratio is 1.10 in Unincorporated Santa Clara, 1.71 in Santa Clara County and 1.47 in the Bay Area

      Jobs to Household Ratio in 2018

      The job to household ratio is 1.10 in Unincorporated Santa Clara, 1.71 in Santa Clara County and 1.47 in the Bay Area

      This graph demonstrates trends in housing type development in Santa Clara County

      Housing Type Trends in 2010 and 2020

      This graph demonstrates trends in housing type development in Santa Clara County

      The value of homes has grown in Unincorporated Santa Clara by 31%, Santa Clara County by 41% and 29% in the Bay Area

      Zillow Home Value Growth (2015 – 2020)

      The value of homes has grown in Unincorporated Santa Clara by 31%, Santa Clara County by 41% and 29% in the Bay Area

      Rent costs have increased in Unincorporated Santa Clara by 13%, Santa Clara County by 32% and 28% in the Bay Area

      Median growth in Rent Costs (2015 – 2019)

      Rent costs have increased in Unincorporated Santa Clara by 13%, Santa Clara County by 32% and 28% in the Bay Area

      This graphic shows the percentage of people in different income levels in Unincorporated Santa Clara, Santa Clara County and the Bay Area

      Household Average Median Income

      This graphic shows the percentage of people in different income levels in Unincorporated Santa Clara, Santa Clara County and the Bay Area

      This table shows the Regional Housing Needs Assessment values compared to housing units built in the County of Santa Clara for the 5th Cycle across various income categories.

      5th RHNA Cycle data

      This table shows the Regional Housing Needs Assessment values compared to housing units built in the County of Santa Clara for the 5th Cycle across various income categories.

      Have a Question? Contact Us

      Valerie Negrete
      70 W. Hedding Street, 7th Floor
      San Jose, CA 95110
      (408) 299-5791

      We appreciate hearing from you. Please submit your comments and questions using the form below.

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