On October 15, 2019, the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) rejected Southern California Association of Governments’ (SCAG) objection to the state’s requirement that Southern California must plan for an additional 1.34 million housing units to be built between 2021-2029 through a state-mandated housing program called the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA). As the regional planning agency responsible for most of Southern California, SCAG had cited concerns that HCD did not properly follow State law when calculating the total housing need. SCAG has directed its legal counsel to evaluate what, if any, legal grounds it has to address this matter.
In the meantime, SCAG has also been working on preparing a draft methodology to be used to distribute the total housing need (i.e., the RHNA) to all 197 jurisdictions in the SCAG region, including Yorba Linda. Through this process, SCAG has received over 500 public comments on several different methodology options. In October, SCAG held a public hearing with two of its policy committees, which both recommended moving forward a methodology option that would focus housing growth into areas with greater access to public transportation and employment, but limit the total growth in each jurisdiction based on its own local growth projections. However, at SCAG’s Regional Council meeting, an alternative methodology was introduced that removed the factor limiting local growth in a jurisdiction, thereby shifting 125,000 additional housing units from Imperial, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties to Los Angeles County (approximately 50,000 additional units) and Orange County (approximately 75,000 additional units), with most jurisdictions in these two counties seeing significant increases in their draft RHNA. The Regional Council subsequently voted to support the alternative methodology.
With the draft RHNA allocation methodology approved for release, HCD will have up to 60 days to review it and provide comments to SCAG. Based on this schedule, staff expects comments from HCD no later than mid-January 2020, after which SCAG will review HCD’s comments and develop a recommended final RHNA methodology. The recommended final methodology will again go before the RHNA Subcommittee, CEHD Committee, and Regional Council for action, which is scheduled to occur between February and March 2020. Subsequent to the adoption of the final RHNA methodology by the Regional Council, SCAG will develop and distribute the RHNA methodology to all jurisdictions. Cities will have an opportunity to appeal their RHNA allocation once the final methodology is determined. City staff continues to closely monitor this important process. For more information about RHNA, please visit www.scag.ca.gov/RHNA.