Carmel Housing Element and RHNA Challenges

UPDATE The Housing Element Special Workshop was held Tuesday February 28thHere are the video and slides (as pdf) from this great session. Community Meeting #2 Presentation Slides and Recording.  This session provided a great education to the community who are concerned about the implications of #349 new housing units in our Village and how this may negatively impact the look and feel of our town, with all of the benefits this brings to residents, businesses and visitors alike.

A few highlights from this Feb 28th meeting, this included:
- the presentation the risks if we fail to have an approved Housing Element by December 15th. 
- the presentation also included the prior fall community meeting
- a few ideas and also concerns were raised by the community in public comments

Preparation of the draft Housing Element includes work from TWO consulting firms. 
  1. FIRST The upfront feasibility study report completed by consultant ECONorthwest is now published HERE
  2. NEXT will include drafting of the Housing Element document with/by EMC Planning (this consultants proposal and agreement as approved Feb 6 HERE). 
Our City is required* by law to update our Housing Element every 8 years with a deadline of Dec 31, 2023, including RHNA alignment.

As we go through this public comment and review cycle over this year, in addition to live public meeting participation our City welcomes your written comments, suggestions and questions. Please direct your email to the following Council Ad Hoc Committee and City Staff members: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected].  (especially to [email protected])
APPROVAL ORGANIZATIONS Once drafted, the Housing Element update will go through the following approval bodies, with continued opportunities for public participation along the way: a) Housing Ad Hoc Committee, b) Planning Commission, c) City Council, d) California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and e) California Coastal Commission.
GUIDELINES & ZONING  Also note that the Housing Element update, and any future proposed development that comes out of it, should take into account other applicable City regulations including the Design Guidelines and Zoning to ensure compatibility with the character of Carmel-by-the-Sea.  (see the Mission of this Ad Hoc Committee effort below)

* Should our City not meet this Dec 31, 2023 obligation, we risk significant fines, ineligible for
 grant $'s, local control over future development including building permits and others.

INDEPENDENT RESOURCES In addition to information found on this page, there are some independent efforts, resources and groups who are pushing back on California State's HCD & RHNA requirements.
1. IMPORTANT NOTE: Region's throughout California have different deadlines
for their approved Housing Element submissions.  Many cities have already contested their RHNA #'s and/or have also missed their deadlines. So as you explore press and online content, remember that our Village deadline for a completed & approved report is Dec 31 2023 (the Monterey County deadline to request adjustment to our city #349 housing units requirements has past)
2. Proposed Litigation against the State of California led by efforts.  Here is the proposed litigation HERE full of documents, presentations and video's.  (An interesting item found here identifies that the State has issued RHNA allocations for this 8 year cycle 2.5 million additional housing units, when in the average year all of California produces only 100,000 housing units.) 
3. Proposed Ballot Initiative for fall 2024 led by efforts. As they pursue support for this initiative with signatures, community support and funding, HERE is their draft. 
4. California Cities for Local Control is an organization that works with City officials throughout California to stop the passage of bills that remove or limit local control. They request each city passes an official resolution supporting "local control", here is their template and here is the listing of current cities with passed resolutions.
5. League of California Cities They provides many benefits to city leaders, one including educational material to municipalities on topics of interest.  This document addresses the new challenges of Housing Development tied to RHNA.
6. California State Auditor Report
on RHNA is available HERE.  This internal State audit calls out lack of sufficient reviews and support and identifies needs for further support of its household formation projections.  

Below is the original and still relevant content provided beginning in January 2023.

Every 8 years, required by California State Law, our City must update the Housing Element of our General Plan.  Our next update is due, all approved locally by December 2023.  With the most recent RHNA #'s (Regional Housing Needs Allocation of 349 housing units for Carmel-by-the-Sea), we must include updates that reflect feasibility, processes and incentives to increase the density of our 1 square mile village, with scarce open space. Note: our City is not responsible for building of new housing, this is optionally up to developers and property owners.

The Housing Element Document Outline is:
1. Land Use* and Community Character

2. Circulation*
3. Housing*
4. Coastal Access and Recreation Element
5. Coastal Resource Management
6. Public Facilities and Services
7. Open Space* and Conservation*

8. Environmental Safety*
9. Noise*
*State mandated elements

The City has created an Ad Hoc Committee with Council Members Karen Ferlito & Bobby Richards on point in partnership with the City Planning Department staff.   The November 2022 initial public meeting slides and recording are highlighted below and are highly recommended viewing. 

“The mission of the Housing Ad Hoc Committee is to provide guidance as the City updates the Housing Element of its General Plan. The Committee will participate in public outreach and education; consider opportunities and incentives for the development of affordable housing; and explore creative, tailored solutions to meet the City’s workforce and range of other housing needs while preserving the character of Carmel by-the-Sea”

Work already underway is a consultant engagement scoping many possibilities about town.

The Draft Housing Feasibility Study is being produced and finalized by ECONorthwest, that will include: Local Context, Market Overview, Zoning Code Review, High-Level Sites Analysis, Housing Capacity Opportunities and Recommended Actions and Potential Incentives

Copied directly from the City Planning Website Page, you will find the following in the Housing Element section of this page.  

The City has begun working on a Housing Feasibility Study which will inform the 2023 Housing Element Update. Public meetings will be held in the Fall/Winter of 2022 and throughout 2023.

Your comments and suggestions are welcome.   And please reach out directly to Karen and Bobby on our City Council with your feedback as this project continues from now through December 2023. 

Note:  This Housing Element update project is running in parallel with the Design Traditions 1.5/Carmel Architecture Design Guidelines update efforts over 2022 and 2023.   Staff suggests that although there are possible interconnection points, both of these efforts can continue separately, while benefiting from being mutually aware.   (example of possible intersections could include where incremental housing, especially targeted at our commercial zones, may benefit from added floors, or size)