Most Southern California cities missed the deadline to revise their plans for the remainder of the decade.

Yorba Linda is the first of Orange County’s 34 cities to win state approval of its new housing plan, providing a blueprint for the construction of 2,415 new homes needed for the remainder of the decade.

In an April 8 letter to the city, the state Housing and Community Development Department said it’s “pleased to find the adopted housing element in full compliance with state housing element law.

The finding is based on “a robust rezone (plan) to facilitate housing, the commitment to remove certain constraints (to homebuilding), and programs to affirmatively further fair housing,” the letter said.

State law requires cities in the six-county Southern California Association of Governments region to revise the “housing element” of their general plans every eight years to address shelter needs at all income levels. The current planning period runs from October 2021 through October 2029.

The state determined earlier that Southern California needs to plan for 1.34 million new homes by the end of 2029. Yorba Linda’s share of that target is 2,415 homes, divided among units that are affordable for very low-, low-, moderate- and above-moderate-income households.

Of those homes, at least 1,216 must be affordable to low-income residents, or those earning less than 80% of Orange County’s median income. Another 457 units must be affordable to moderate-income residents, or those earning from 80% below to 20% above the median income. And the city needs at least 742 market-rate homes.

If all those homes get built, it will boost Yorba Linda’s housing stock by 10%.

The city’s 144-page plan includes the rezoning of 27 sites, city Planning Manager Nate Farnsworth said. It also includes adding incentives for affordable housing development and zoning to allow residential development on religious sites.

And it commits the city to adopt measures to streamline approval of “accessory dwelling units,” also known as granny flats or mother-in-law units.

To complete its housing plan, the city hired Karen Warner Associates and RRM Design Group to assist in the update. It held over a dozen workshops to receive public comments, in addition to holding workshops with religious congregations and property owners and conducting an online survey.

The big challenge ahead is the rezoning of land to allow all the needed construction, a process that requires public hearings and environmental reviews.

Under a state law adopted in September, Southern California cities failing to get their housing plans adopted by Feb. 11 only have until next Oct. 15, instead of three years, to rezone all the needed parcels….


To read the full article, visit the Orange County Register here!