Housing element moves one step closer to certification

by Steven Felschundneff | steven@claremont-courier.com

Just nine days after the Claremont City Council approved its updated housing element, state housing authorities have already given the document an initial seal of approval.

The California Department of Housing and Community Development sent a letter to city planning staff last Thursday indicating the updated housing element the council passed on July 11 meets “statutory requirements” of state law.

While not entirely a surprise, the letter is good news for Claremont because the city’s planning staff had been through several versions of the housing element before finding one satisfying HCD auditors.

The city now has just under four months to complete the process of rezoning the opportunity sites identified in the planning document as potential locations for future housing.

Both the planning commission and the City Council will need to approve all zoning changes, but once that work is complete, it is expected that the state will certify the housing element.

For this sixth cycle of the housing element Claremont planned for 1,711 new housing units, including 556 for extremely low-income residents, 310 low income, 297 moderate income and 548 above moderate.

The sixth cycle covers the planning period from 2021 to 2029, which means the city will have to start on a new update in six years. In addition, part of updated state law requires the city to file an annual report on its progress toward meeting the targets in the document.

The biggest challenge that cities like Claremont face in meeting state housing mandates is the requirement to build a large quantity of affordable housing, which is expensive to construct and typically involves some type of government funding. To this end, Claremont updated its Inclusionary Housing Ordinance in 2021 so that future developments with more than five residential units will need to set aside 10% of those units for moderate income families and 5% for low income. This applies to both the rental and for sale markets.

The massive South Village development, which includes 705 residential units, will be of great help in reaching the city’s housing targets. The multistage housing complex will comprise a mix of housing types, including rental apartments and for sale residences. The council agreed to grandfather South Village into the former Inclusionary Housing Ordinance, meaning it will have no low-income affordable units but will include 15% for moderate income people.


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