Updated housing element moving forward

by Steven Felschundneff | steven@claremont-courier.com

During the Claremont City Council meeting on Tuesday, senior planner Nik Hlady presented the annual update of the city’s housing element, outlining all the construction, building permits, and housing plans conducted in the city over the last year.

According to state law, Claremont must provide an annual progress report to the California Department of Housing and Community Development and the Office of Planning Research by April 1 of each year.

However, Claremont is out of compliance with the current sixth cycle of the housing element, which was due to be finished in October of 2021. As a result, the update heard by the council on Tuesday covered the previous, fifth cycle, that covered planning for 2014 to 2021.

“As of the date of this report, Claremont has reported 22 very low-income units, 5 low-income units, 2 moderate-income units, and 58 above-moderate units permitted in this planning cycle (from 10/15/2021 to 12/31/2022),” according to the staff report. “This means that the City is short of the required number of very low-income units by 534, low-income units by 305, moderate- income units by 295, and above moderate-income units by 490.”

Planning staff pointed out these low numbers do not include the South Village project which is proposed to include 700 housing units including 105 affordable homes for low and moderate-income households.

“The Housing Element is part of the City’s General Plan,” read the report. “It includes a demographic profile of the City, an analysis of opportunities and constraints for the development of new housing, including affordable housing, and an evaluation of existing housing programs.”

The Claremont City Council heard an update Tuesday on the status of the city’s housing element, including an inventory of all construction activity in the past year. The Docente development, seen above, was part of that report. Courier photo/Steven Felschundneff

The city is in the process of obtaining certification for the sixth cycle of the housing element, which covers the period from 2021 to 2029. Claremont must plan for 1,711 new housing units, its share of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation for Southern California. Of that total, 556 units, or 32%, must be for extremely and very low-income households; 310, or 18%, must be for low-income; 397, 32%, for moderate-income and the final 548 can be market rate homes.

In September, Californians for Homeownership, a nonprofit organization that aims to combat the “housing access and affordability crisis” in California, sued the City of Claremont because its sixth cycle housing element was so late.

Claremont was one of three cities, including Fullerton and La Mirada, targeted by Californians for Homeownership last summer in an effort to force the cities to comply with state law. The lawsuit against Claremont has now been settled and a timeline established for the city to submit its updated plan to the Department of Housing and Community Development.

“The city and the petitioner worked out a schedule for adoption of the city’s sixth cycle Housing Element Update, and it was approved by the court through a stipulated judgment,” City Attorney Alisha Patterson said.

Under that stipulated judgment, the city has several deadlines it must reach. But it also includes an acknowledgement that the state could deem the document to be incomplete and kick it back to Claremont planners for more work. If that happens, time extensions are built into the agreement, but the housing element absolutely must be approved by HCD no later than July 31, 2023.

In February the city published its third draft of the current housing element which can be seen by searching “housing element” on its website at ci.claremont.ca.us.


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