Carmel Housing Element and RHNA Challenges (Cycle 6)

Start HERE: review our 2 page  "Did You Know - Carmel's Housing Element" - Mar 2024
and HERE "Housing Element - a Living Document" - Apr 2024

Sacramento HCD's status on each City/County Housing Element Submission HERE
Sacramento's HCD Housing Element - Incentives & Consequences 1 pager HERE and...
What's next - HCD preparation for RHNA Cycle 7
 California’s Housing Future 2040: The Next RHNA Report 

July Updates

July 8th Special City Council, the last agenda item is " Consider Resolution 2024-062, directing staff to begin working immediately on the development of alternative sites and programs that would allow for an amendment to the City’s adopted 6th Cycle Housing Element to remove the Vista Lobos and Sunset Center from the Sites Inventory List."   
This topic at City Council and public comments with community "stand up" support concluded with a 5 Yea/0 Nay Vote ! 
HERE is the Staff Report, 
HERE is the Resolution to be discussed and voted on by Council. 
HERE are Brandon Swanson's Slides. 
HERE are the AHA team (Hans Buder) Slides
HERE is the YouTube of this City Council that BEGINS with this topic

June Updates

HERE is the staff report with the end of 2023 Village Housing Element Status Report, as provided to the Planning Commission for their June 12th regular meeting. This is a annual requirement of Sacramento to report on progress on Village housing and programs. 

HERE are the slides as presented by Hans Buder at the June 4th City Council in Public Comments - announcing a Village group of Citizens and Businesses working to uncover replacement opportunities for affordable housing throughout our Town to substitute the City-owned Sites in our Housing Element as Certified by Sacramento in April. This team includes familiar last names including: Beach, Reimers, Delves, Byrne, Twomey, Robertson, Pepe, Watson, Prest, Bowman...  This teams's email address for questions and suggestions is [email protected].

HERE are highlights of the City Planning Department tasks and timing implementation ahead for our Housing Element program (as presented June 5th at Carmel Rotary - exact wording from slide).  
* To maintain certification, programs must be implemented.
* 49 housing programs, 54 tasks
* 19 tasks to complete by December 2024 (e.g. zoning code amendments)
* 6 tasks due in 2025 (e.g. Objective design and development standards, water allocation policy...)
* 7 tasks due in 2026 (e.g. Issue an RFP for the Sunset Center north parking lot...)
* 4 tasks due in 2027 (e.g. Partner with Carmel Foundation)
* 18 remaining tasks ongoing through 2031

May 7th - Carmel City Council - Consideration of Alternate locations to City-Owned Sites Topic

RESULTS - This concluded with agreement to have the Planning Departent update by/at the September City Council on progress of community efforts and others.  The Planning Department encouraged contributions by the community to provide outreach and contributions of new and existing locations and introductions of other interested parties for affordable housing.

HERE is the YouTube Video, this link begins with this topic.
HERE are the Slides presented by City Planning department
HERE is the Agenda Topic Staff Report with attachments. " Discussion/Direction on housing outreach to identify alternatives to the city-owned sites for the construction of affordable housing." 
    HERE is the Attachment - Housing Element Table C-3 Sites Inventory
    HERE is the Attachment - ECONorthwest Report dated January 27, 2023 (downtown focused scope)
    HERE is the Attachment - Church Site Data

As the Community works to contribute to alternative sites - this HCD "Housing Elements Sites Inventory Guidebook" has guidelines that informed which sites were and were not allowed in our Certified Housing Element. And this document provides expanded support for ADU applicability to RHNA number fulfillment HERE

Regarding potential sites on Religious Properties in our Village and beyond..
Here are some good information sources on what is possible and the legislation as shared by LandWatch in December 2023.
    HERE is the SB4 ruling details covering this topic
    HERE is the YouTube video on a presentation to/for Religious Property Owners
    HERE are the Slides used in the presentation

Apr 25th - Carmel's Housing Element is Certified by HCD - avoiding Builders Remedy projects for now.

This is a huge accomplishment on behalf of everyone who contributed: the City Staff, City Council, Residents and more.  HERE is the confirmation letter from California State's HCD department. HERE is the Certified and Adopted Housing Element for Carmel-by-the-Sea. There is significant work ahead, as noted in the confirmation letter, where we need your views and suggestions on the programs and options to embrace more housing - while we prioritize for the protection of our Village architectual charm and character. 

Apr 12th - Carmel Pine Cone covers our Village's tough "Adoption" decision

HERE This issue's cover article and Paul Miller's Editorial on page 18 highlights the Apr 8th challenge.  Quoting Paul "A quick internet search produces dozens of similar examples, which means the Carmel City Council made the right decision this week when it approved a housing plan it believes complies with state law. Doing that at least gives the city a say in what is eventually built at Sunset Center, Vista Lobos and other locations in town."

Apr 8th- Back-to-Back Planning Commission & City Council Hearings, Concluding with "Adoption" 

 A Special Meeting of the Planning Commission was held April 8th at 4:00 p.m. to make recommendation to City Council on Adoption.  HERE is the Staff Report.  HERE is the YouTube (2.5 hours).  There was extensive concerns and comments expressed by the public and by the Commissionors.  The top concern was concentrating most of our required affordable housing on the City Owned potential sites. The Commission concluded with a 3 Yea/2 Ney Vote for Adoption

In the following Special Meeting of the City Council, they both listened to and receive the Planning Commission's recommendation and they considered a Resolution adopting the Housing Element. HERE is the Staff Report.  HERE is the YouTube (1 hr 20 minutes).  The Council all listened to the full Special Planning Commission session and their findings, they also heard net new public comments and addressed the challenges in this decision given the risks and penalties in NOT approving this Housing Element. They agreed to consider a future agenda topic to further explore the alternatives to the City-Owned Sites in a future revision to the Housing Element. The Council concluded with a 4 Yea/1Nea Vote for Adoption.  

 HERE is the full Housing Element as revised and now officially "Adopted".  This is the version being submitted to HCD for "Certification", with their formal status and response expected before 4/15.  

Apr 5 - Recieved Reply from Sacramento HCD's "Substantial Compliance" letter

HERE is the HCD response and compliance designation.

Apr 4 - Revised Housing Element Published 

HERE is the full Housing Element as revised, 
HERE is a redlined version showing changes,
HERE is the revision matrix aligned with the 60 day HCD letter, 
HERE are the revised only pages, and
HERE is the public comment report. 

Apr 2 - Regular City Council - Housing Element Update

HERE is the YouTube (second half of this meeting) containing only this topic, containing a City update (covering proposed wording changes - on City Owned sites and Program language regarding Surplus Land Act), significant public comments (support, thoughts & concerns), and City Council conversation primarily for clarification of items inside this Housing Element. HERE are the Slides

Remaining Anticipated Timeline to Certification (as of 3/29/24)

Mar 27 Wednesday the City published the latest revision to our Housing Element (Full 3/26 draft HERE) open for public comment 7 day period.  Please email your comments to:  Marnie R. Waffle, AICP, Principal Planner ([email protected]) and Katherine Wallace, Associate Planner ([email protected])
Apr 2 Tuesday at 5PM the public comment period will close, DEADLINE for feedback.  This overlaps with Regular City Council time/date.
Apr 4 the Final Draft and all public comments received during the comment period will be submitted to the State for final review.
Apr 5 Shortly after Apr 3rd, Staff anticipates receiving a letter of substantial compliance from HCD, allowing the City to proceed with adoption hearings. (next)
Apr 8 Monday at 4PM the special Planning Commission and City Council public meetings will be held, back-to-back, considering adoption the Housing Element and the environmental document, in time to meet mid April deadline.
Apr 9 Tuesday - City to submit, the now adopted, Village Housing Element to Sacramento HCD for certification.
Apr 15 or sooner - HCD reply's with formal certification.

Mar 27 - City's Revisions/Edits Provided for Public Review - Feedback Required by Apr 2

A NEW revision to our Housing Element was revised and provided 3/27 HERE
Public written coments must be received by 4/2 (a redlined version is available on the City's website HERE).
The City will host a public session with City Council and Planning Commissions to review these revisions on April 8th for targeting approval to resubmition to HCD, meeting the 4/14 90 day extension for final approval/certification.  

Mar 26 - Response from Sacramento's HCD to our Mar 8th Housing Element Draft

Sacramento HCD's 3/20 most recent response letter was received HERE, requesting additional clarifications. A NEW revision to our Housing Element will be published by our City teams before Apr 1st for public comment on these new updates. The City will host a public Session on April 8th for targeted resubmission to HCD.  

Mar 15 - Pine Cone Article on Housing Element

This cover article HERE covers the public comments made at the City Council Meeting Mar 5th.  There has been significant public comments critical of the specific programs and timelines tied to the City Property Sites targeted for affordable housing without public discussion on these updates.  These targered sites are the north and south lots of the Sunset Center and Vista Lobos. 
As these potential City site housing projects are planned these locations are required to follow the official "Surplus Land Act" processes (for more on this process click here).   

Mar 8 - Updated Housing Element Draft - edits available

Based on many public comments including concerns on the specific deadlines and actions for City-Owned Sites, the City has updated our current draft of the Housing Element.  These two edited sections are here: 
2024Mach_Housing Element Chapter 2 Revisions (03-05-24 Council Edits).pdf and
2024March_Housing Element Appendix C page C22-23 (03-05-24 Council Edits).pdf

These edits were merged into the Housing Element submission HERE, that was sent on to HCD Sacramento for certification March 8th. 
Assuming certification is received, out Housing Element will go to City Council in April for it's final stop for implementation.  Yes, and the City teams will begin working on deliverables and programs included in this Housing Element portion of our General Plan.

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. Significant public comments were heard. 
HERE is the Staff Report for this Mar 5th City Council Meeting - summarizing the changes implemented since the Jan 24 version.
HERE is the YouTube that begins on this topic at City Council. 
HERE are the Slides from this topic.
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. 

   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 until January 23rd

Visit this city webpage to review the redlined updated Draft Housing Element. 
HERE is the full Jan 16th Draft
HERE is the Revisions Matrix
HERE are the Public Comments
HERE is the 90 day Review Letter from HCD
Public comments must be received by January 23rd 5PM for consideration in final resubmission to Sacramento HCD. 

Jan 9 - City Council - Update on upcoming revisions to Housing Element

HERE is the Staff Report on this work in progress. 
HERE are the slides from this report. 
HERE is the YouTube from this session - beginnig at this topic. 

Nov 16 - Monterey County Weekly article

Title is "It’s truth or consequences time for the county and cities facing a tight state housing deadline"  HERE

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 are the slides reviewed. 
HERE was the meeting agenda and staff report prepared prior to this meeting. 
 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

Aug 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 11 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 15  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 

June 5 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 24  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 YouTube. 
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.
May 12th John Laird State Senator Comments

Please also read the Carmel Pine Cone Issue Date May 19th HERE 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 6 - 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).

Feb 28, the SECOND Housing Element Special Workshop. 

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)