What is a Housing Element?

    Since 1969, California has required that all local governments (cities and counties) adequately plan to meet the housing needs of everyone in the community. California’s local governments meet this requirement by adopting housing plans as part of their “general plan” (also required by the state). General plans serve as the local government’s "blueprint" for how the city and/or county will grow and develop and include seven mandatory elements: land use, circulation, conservation, noise, open space, safety, and housing. The law mandating that housing be included as an element of each jurisdiction’s general plan is known as “housing-element law” and the document is called “Housing Element.”

    Why update Housing Element?

    California State law requires that local jurisdictions update the  Housing Element every eight years (or more frequently if they are not submitted on time) . These frequent updates are required because housing is critical to ensure economic prosperity and quality of life for our region and the state. The revised Housing Element for Foster City must be adopted by the  City Council and submitted to the State Department of Housing and Community Development Department no later than January 2023.

    What is included in a Housing Element?

    • A detailed analysis of the City’s demographic, economic and housing characteristics.
    • A comprehensive analysis of constraints to producing and preserving housing. 
    • A review of the City’s progress in implementing current housing policies and programs. 
    • An identification of goals, objectives, and policies, in addition to a full list of programs that will implement the vision of the plan.
    • An analysis of sites that could accommodate new housing at various income level, demonstrating the City’s ability to meet our Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA)

    What is RHNA?

    The Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) is a representation of future housing need for all income levels of a jurisdiction (city or unincorporated county) and is a requirement of California State housing law. Every jurisdiction must plan for its RHNA allocation in its housing element of its General Plan. Please visit our webpage for additional information on RHNA here.

    The ABAG Executive Board at its Jan. 21 meeting approved the Draft Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) Methodology and Final RHNA Subregional Shares. Marking a major milestone in the multi-year process for the 2023-31 RHNA cycle, the Draft RHNA Methodology and Final RHNA Subregional Shares integrate the Plan Bay Area Final Blueprint data via the 2050 Households baseline. The Executive Board also approved the Regional Planning Committee’s recommendation to include the equity adjustment as part of the Draft RHNA Methodology. For additional information, click here.

    Did the City raise objections to the RHNA 6 HCD numbers?

    Yes, the City's objections were raised in a letter to ABAG dated November 20, 2020:

    Foster City's letter to ABAG re: RHNA Methodology

     ABAG responded with a letter dated January 19, 2021:

    ABAG response letter re: RHNA Methodology