- The Regional Housing Needs Assessment (“RHNA”) is the process established in State law by which housing needs within each jurisdiction are determined as part of the periodic process (“cycle”) of updating local housing elements of the General Plan.
- The 4th Cycle RHNA (2007-2015) required Los Gatos to plan for 562 units
- The 5th Cycle RHNA (2015-2023) required Los Gatos to increase the planned units to 619, or a 10% increase
- The 6th Cycle RHNA (2023-2031) required Los Gatos to increase the planned units to 1,993, or 322% increase.
- The increases were high for all cities in the Bay Area.
- As a first step, The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD)is responsible for determining the number of housing units for which each region must plan, known as the Regional Housing Needs Determination (RHND). RHND is based on a population forecast for the region with specific adjustment for economic and demographic trends.
- The 6th cycle RHND for the ABAG region, which Los Gatos is in, is 441,176 new housing units.
- What’s different in the 6th cycle RHND from the 5th and 4th cycles?
- For the 6th cycle the State made major modifications to the process for determining ABAG’s RHND. In prior RHND cycles total housing was based primarily only on projected population growth (223,550 units). However, for the 6th cycle the State added existing need (118,827 units) to the total RHND calculation. Existing need includes households that are currently overcrowded (defined as more than one person per room) or are overpaying for housing (defined as more than 30% of gross income). Additionally, the 6th cycle made a major modification to the region’s current vacancy percentage (98,799 units) to provide healthy market vacancies to facilitate housing availability and resident mobility.
- The 6th cycle RHNA allocation for Los Gatos is compromised of the following elements:
- Projected growth 730
- Existing need and vacancy adjustment 710
- High Opportunity and Job allocation adjustment 553
- Total 6th cycle RHNA 1,993
- The important point to note is projected population growth accounts for 37% of Los Gatos total 6th cycle RHNA of 1,993.
- The remaining units come from first-time adjustments the State has made to address existing needs, improving regional vacancy rates and an overallocation of housing units based on Los Gatos’ designation as a high opportunity area.
- The adjustments made by the State in the 6th cycle, were done to compel local governments to take immediate action to implement policies, strategies, and zoning changes to accommodate their RHNA allocations. The 6th cycle RHNA allocation will establish a pattern of housing growth in the near term (2023 to 2031) that will anchor the foundation for how the Bay Area jurisdictions move forward on implementing the longer-term vision in Plan Bay Area 2050
- The hope is that these adjustments will be made in the near term and that future RHNA will then only reflect the population growth as done in prior cycles.
Los Gatos Community Alliance