The Marin County Community Development Agency (CDA), which recently completed an update of a long-term housing plan for the unincorporated area of the county, is embarking on the next phase of planning to accommodate significantly fewer homes than the previous update.
The CDA planning staff, which will provide a work plan to the Marin County Board of Supervisors on March 18, is initiating the next housing element update to the Marin Countywide Plan for the period of 2014-2023. The next housing update will accommodate 185 new homes, about one-quarter of the allotment of the 773 homes included in the 2007-2014 housing update, which was certified by the California State Department of Housing and Community Development in December. The state-mandated housing allocation requires the planning for, but not construction of, the homes.
Given the reduction of required homes, CDA staff is recommending that considerations be limited to existing sites identified in the current housing element, although not all of the 16 listed sites are necessary to meet the new housing allocation.
CDA is providing several opportunities for the community to contribute ideas, including an online forum called Open Marin on which resident may take a survey about housing, and public workshops are scheduled for April and May. CDA also maintains an updated webpage specifically for the housing element update.
Following guidelines established by the state, Marin is charged with zoning for 185 homes for 2014-2023 across the range of income levels – specifically 87 homes for low-income residents, 37 for those with moderate incomes and 61 at the regular market rate. The County must demonstrate that parcels exist in unincorporated Marin with zoning to accommodate the potential for 185 homes.
The housing element requires that the County plan for a variety of housing options for different income levels. Marin has one of the highest median incomes in the United States – $97,100 for a family of four – yet many working families, seniors on fixed incomes and people with disabilities struggle to meet basic housing needs. Workers in retail, childcare and farming generally qualify for very-low-income housing, which is 50 percent below the media income. Marin’s senior population is projected to increase 30 percent by 2035 and account for nearly half the overall population.
By summer 2014, a draft housing element update will be presented to the Marin County Planning Commission, and Board of Supervisors hearings are tentatively set for winter 2014-15.
Learn more about the housing element work plan by reading the letter submitted to the Board of Supervisors in preparation for the March 18 meeting.