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Planning Major Projects - Housing Element Amendment

Project Name: Housing Element Amendment

Applicant: City of Huntington Beach

Location: City Wide

Project Summary

Project Name: Housing Element Amendment

What is the Housing Element?

The Housing Element is one of the state-mandated elements of the City’s General Plan. State housing element law, enacted in 1969, mandates that local governments adequately plan to meet the existing and projected housing needs of all economic segments of the community. State housing element law also requires that each city and county develop local housing programs to meet its fair share of existing and future housing needs for all income groups, commonly referred to as the Regional Housing Need Allocation or RHNA. 

Housing element law also requires the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to review local housing elements for compliance with state law and to report its written findings to the local government.  If HCD finds that a local housing element complies with state law, the jurisdiction’s housing element is considered HCD certified. 

In September 2013, the 2013-2021 Housing Element was adopted by the City Council and subsequently certified by HCD in October 2013.  It was then de-certified by HCD following an amendment to the Beach and Edinger Corridors Specific Plan (BECSP) in May of 2015, which affected the City’s ability to accommodate its lower income RHNA targets.  The City is interested in pursuing an HCD certified housing element for the purpose of being eligible for state SB 2 Funds.  SB 2 funds can be used to support the City’s homelessness response programs, but eligibility for the funds requires a HCD certified Housing Element.  On November 4, 2019, the City Council directed City staff to prepare an amendment to the Housing Element for future consideration.   

Notice of Public Comment Period:

A draft of the Housing Element Amendment will be available for public review and comment for 30 days starting November 14, 2019 and ending December 13, 2019.  A copy of the document is available at the link below.  The document is also available at the following locations:

  • City of Huntington Beach City Hall, 2000 Main Street, Huntington Beach, CA 92648
  • Community Development Department, 3rd Floor;
  • City Clerk’s Office, 2nd Floor; and

Any person wishing to comment on the draft Housing Element Amendment may do so in writing by 5 p.m. on Friday, December 13, 2019, by providing written comments to Jennifer Villasenor, City of Huntington Beach Community Development Department, 2000 Main Street, Huntington Beach, CA  92648 or via email at [email protected]

Subsequent to the public review and comment period, the City Council will hold a noticed public hearing on the draft Housing Element amendment.  The public hearing is tentatively scheduled for February 2020.

Changes to the Housing Element

In order to address the remaining lower income RHNA, the City is proposing to undertake an adequate sites program within the parameters of state law consisting of the following:

  • Establish an "Affordable Housing Overlay" within the BECSP to be applied to the 7 sites (approx. 11 acres) to accommodate the RHNA shortfall.
  • Allow for residential development within the Overlay to continually accommodate the remaining lower income RHNA throughout the entire planning period.
  • Replace the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) requirement with a “by-right” administrative Site Plan Review process on sites designated with the Overlay that propose at least 20% lower income units (encompassing extremely low, very low, and low income units) on site (no in lieu fees allowed).
  • Replace the amended BECSP parking requirement with requirements in line with the citywide multi-family parking standard for sites within the Overlay.
  • Provide for exclusively residential uses on sites in the Overlay (no commercial component required). 

For further information, please contact Jennifer Villasenor at 714-374-1661 or [email protected].

Updated: November 13, 2019

Project Status: Planning

Project Planner: Jennifer Villasenor

Last Updated: November 14, 2019


  1. Housing Element Stakeholder Meeting Presentation
  2. Public Review Draft Housing Element Amendment_111419
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