Southern California leaders voted March 4 to adopt a new housing plan for the 2020s that will triple its future homebuilding goals.
The 64-1 vote by the Southern California Association of Governments – made up of elected officials from 191 cities in six counties – requires local cities and counties to draft plans to zone for 1.34 million new homes by the end of 2029.
Under the 43-year-old Regional Housing Needs Assessment program, or RHNA, regional agencies are required to plan for current and future housing needs at all income levels in five- to eight-year periods, or planning cycles. SCAG revises its plan every eight years.
Local governments have until October to revise the “housing element” of their general plans to ensure there’s enough zoned land in their jurisdiction to build all their mandated homes during the region’s “sixth planning cycle,” running from October through October 2029.
While local governments rely on private developers to do the actual construction, recent state laws provide some incentive for cities to get housing built.
Includes All SoCal Cities/Counties
The new plan, two years in the making, applies to all 197 cities and counties in Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Imperial counties.
As California’s most populous region, SCAG’s housing allotment is the state’s biggest. Housing officials are raising allotments across the state to meet lawmakers’ and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s goal to solve the housing crisis.
A housing department report concluded the state needs to build 1.8 million new homes during the decade ending in 2025, or 180,000 new homes a year. California averaged just over 108,000 new homes over the past five years.
After getting its allotment, SCAG spent the past 1 1/2 years dividing the number among local jurisdictions. Some cities will see their homebuilding goals increase as much as a thousand-fold.
Appeals by 47 jurisdictions were heard in January, but just two—Pico Rivera and the County of Riverside—got their allotment reduced.
Los Angeles and Orange counties have the biggest allotments, with more than a four-fold increase each. L.A. County must plan for 812,060 new homes–almost as many as Long Beach and the San Fernando Valley combined have today.
Riverside County’s housing goal will increase 65% to 167,351 new units; San Bernardino County’s goal will more than double to 138,110 new units; and Ventura County’s goal will rise 28% to 24,452 new homes.
Orange County needs to prepare for 183,861 new rooftops, or almost as much as Anaheim and Santa Ana currently have. Imperial County’s allotment dropped 3% to 15,993 new homes. In all, allotments decreased in just 17 jurisdictions.
Housing goals are divided into four income levels. In Southern California, local governments must collectively plan:
351,796 homes affordable for very-low-income residents or those earning less than half of their area’s median income.
206,807 homes affordable for low-income residents, or those earning 51-80% of their area’s median income.
223,957 homes affordable for moderate-income households, or those earning up to 20% above their area’s median income.
559,267 “market rate” homes affordable for above-moderate-income households, or those earning more than 20% above their area’s median income.