On October 22, the City Council submitted a plan for future housing to the Department of Housing and Development (HCD). In case you are not aware, every city must submit a housing plan (called a “Housing Element”) to HCD for certification. It is the state’s way of ensuring that cities have a plan to handle future population growth and provide opportunities for enough reasonable housing to help residents who need it.
Stand Up for Neighborly Novato agrees with many parts of Novato’s Housing Element, but sadly, we believe it falls short on providing enough reasonably-priced housing for Novato seniors, disabled residents, young families and others.
That’s because the sites selected by the City Council are not “viable”, meaning they have little chance of becoming locations where housing can be built. They are either too small, too remote or have other restrictions, and thus will not be used for much needed affordable homes.
Below is a letter we submitted to the Novato Planning Commission and City Council outlining our view of the Housing Element. We invite you to read it. Our letter gets into nitty-gritty details and can make your eyes glaze over. But the important thing to remember is that we believe this Housing Element will not get certified and Novato will be required to add more sites to the list.
When that happens about two months from now, we will work hard to help the City Council designate more sites for rezoning to accommodate Novato’s growing need for reasonably-priced housing.
We will also need your help to remind the City Council that there is a great need for housing in our communities and to support efforts to find more sites. We will keep in touch with you about that and update you on any developments.
We will stay in touch.