Carmel Housing Element and RHNA Challenges

For Statewide public information, efforts and grass roots organizations working to assure local control of land use and zoning, click HERE

Sacramento's HCD Housing Element - Incentives & Consequences 1 pager HERE 

Mar 5 - City Council Topic - Updated Housing Element (again) seeking Council Approval

City Staff continues to drive to an approved Housing Element by the extended deadline of end of April 2024. The newly updated Revised Draft Housing Element is available for a seven day public review period, which will run from Friday, March 1, 2023 to Friday, March 8, 2024. The Staff Report for this Mar 5th City Council Meeting is HERE, summarizing the changes implemented since the Jan 24 version. Updated version of the Housing Element is HERE.  The version with track changes can be found HERE

Jan 24 - Updated Housing Element Submitted (again) to Sacramento HCD

The final deadline for our City to recieve Sacramento's certifiction our Housing Element is April 14, 2024 - for our Village to be in "compliance". The newly submitted (as of Jan 24) Housing Element is HERE for a 60 day review by Sacramento. More info is available on the City's page HERE.  If approved, there are multiple programs and deliverables that will require development and public review.  Your continued participation and involvement is essential for the future and preservation of what makes our Village so special for us all.

Jan 16 - Revised Housing Element Published for public comment in next 6 days

Visit this city webpage to review the redlined updated Draft Housing Element.  Public comments must be received by January 23rd 5PM for consideration in final resubmission to Sacramento HCD. 

Nov 13 - Review of Findings from HCD (Sacramento) - Special Housing Ad Hoc Meeting

HCD sent their 9 page results from our Village Housing Element Draft November 1st. HERE .

At this meeting Nov 13, the Housing Ad Hoc team and city staff sumarized these findings and explored needed revisions and the new timline. HERE is the PPT reviewed. HERE was the meeting agenda and staff report prepared prior to this meeting. HERE is the Youtube on this Nov 13 Special Meeting. 

There is a 120 day deadline for those jurisdictions working on revisions to their submission, which will be relevant to our Village submission. (this 120 day clock starts on Dec 15th, so the deadline for final state approval is April 14, 2024 The HCD revisions required are tedious and time consuming and these revisions must receive public review and City Council approval in advance of the end of the 120 deadline.

Aug 30 - This topic breifly covered at the Strategic Priorities half yearly review.

View this YouTube at time stamp 52 minute mark - as Barriers to Constrution of Affordable Housing. Overall timeline reviewed, with focus on getting HDC approval by Sacramento. 

Also see the Aug CRA Survey Results - beginning on page 2 for Membership feedback on this topic. 
And see the Sept/Oct Voice Issue on page 5 for feedback on this topic from the City's Survey on Housing Element from June

August 1 City Council Topic - Housing Element Updates & Request for OK to submit to the State HCD

The City Council Approved the revisions as presented (vote 4-1), with anticipated submittal later this week.   And so now we wait to hear back from HCD (Housing and Community Development department in Sacramento).  They have 90 days (or less) to respond to our City on this submission.  And so now we wait.

Here is the Video link (Housing Element topic begins at the 0:19 minute mark)
Here  are Staff Slides Presented

Here is the Staff Report with Links to Updated Housing Element that includes key documents including:
    6th Cycle 2023/2031 Draft Housing Element - Redlined Here
    6th Cycle 2023/2031 Draft Housing Element - Clean Here

    6th Cycle 2023/2031 Public Comment Report  Here
    Reader's Guide 08.01.2023 Here

July 11th City Council Topic - Housing Element Update & Policy Guidance Requested

Community and Council input and policy were reviewed and approved at this regular City Council meeting.
Here is the Staff Report on this topic.  
Here is the Video link (this Housing topic begins at the 1:27 hour mark).
Here are the Slides of the Staff Report. 

Council agreed to include all of these potential future items, policies and incentives into our our Housing Element submission: 
* motel conversion transfer rights,
* develop objective standards for proposed multi-housing sites with 20% affordable units,
* explore housing trust fund that could be funded through a vacancy tax,
* support 3rd floor (mezzanines) with existing limits for new affordable housing,
* use of SB10 for incremental density in R1 districts,
* explore a standardized preapproved ADU options if deed restricted, and
* retain sites with parking lots in site inventory with condition that existing parking be included in rework of site
This feedback will be added to the draft of our Element and will be reviewed again by City Council Aug 1st prior to submission to HCD in Sacramento in early August. 

June 15th  Housing Element Community Meeting + City Council + Planning Commission

This was a great Community session with approximately 40 members of the public in attendance.  Here is the Youtube (that accidentally is audio only) .  Here are the slides that began this session.   Follow-up and more questions are welcomed at the City's Project Website at 
                                                                        Please Take the City's Survey on Housing at this link

June 5th DRAFT Housing Element is Published.  HERE is the full document.  The readers guide/summary is available here.

Great pre-reading for the session Thursday June 15th at 5:30 in Carpenter Hall. 

May 24th  The FOURTH Ad Hoc Housing Element Special Workshop was held.

This meeting focused on reviewing target locations for new housing in our village and programs to incent housing for property owners.  The City's initial target sites will exceed the #349 RHNA housing unit allocation for our Village and will not require rezoning.
HERE is the Agenda. HERE is the Video Recording. Here are the PowerPoint Slides. HERE is the article in the Carmel Pine Cone from May 26th highlighting this meeting. 
      Take the City's Survey on Housing at this link

The next Housing Element/RHNA Meeting will be held June 15th at 5:30 in Carpenter Hall, Sunset Center with Zoom option.  HERE is the  Draft 2023-2031 6th Cycle Housing Element Update as of June 5, 2023, for a 30-day public comment period. At the close of the 30-day public comment period, community feedback will be presented at the City Council at the July 11, 2023 City Council meeting.  The revised draft Housing Element will be reviewed by the City Council on Aug 1st.  Then final edits will be rolled into what is submitted to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for a 90-day DRAFT review period. Explore the City's project website ( for more details on this project.
Please also read the Carmel Pine Cone Issue Date May 19th Cover page article on a Chamber Panel Discussion held Friday May 12th with Senator John Laird, Dave Potter and Chip Rerig on this topic.   Also read the Editorial and Letter to the Editor in this issue relevant to this topic.   Only just this cover article is also provided HERE. 

April 6th - the THIRD Housing Element Special Workshop was held. 

The Community meeting YouTube #3 is HERE and the PowerPoint Slides are HERE. This session shared the cycle 5 results, the latest cycle 6 project timeline, prior workshop feedback and an update on the progress of the Ad Hoc Committee efforts, including a new website to provide a one-stop-shop place to go online at    Looking to the future SEVENTH Cycle of RHNA (we are challenged with the WIP 6th Cycle now), the State is looking for input via their Survey HERE (it's a bit technical in spots that you can skip over as needed).

February 28th, the SECOND Housing Element Special Workshop was held. 

Here are the Community Meeting Presentation Slides and Youtube 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.

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)