Santa Clarita’s 2029 home-building target drops

Rows of houses line Stevenson Ranch on Monday, Jan 2, 2018. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal
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Santa Clarita’s proposed number of housing units it must plan for by October 2029 dropped from nearly 13,000 to 9,500, according to an updated, draft state-mandated plan that quantifies the need for housing within each jurisdiction. 

The city will have to prepare its share of housing production from the 1.34 million-unit regional housing need the California Department of Housing and Community Development determined in August. 

Of the proposed 9,535 total, 17% of units, ranging from homes to condos and apartments, could be designated as “low-income” and “moderate-income,” based on the draft’s figures. 

The breakdown could look like this: 

  • 3,229 units for very low-income levels.
  • 1,649 units for low-income levels.
  • 1,589 units for moderate-income levels.
  • 3,067 units for above-moderate-income levels.

Every eight years, the state requires local governments to calculate their needs for new housing in each jurisdiction of their member counties via a generated figure known as the Regional Housing Needs Assessment, or RHNA. The Southern California Association of Governments estimates that number for its six-county region, which includes Santa Clarita. 

Santa Clarita’s decreased RHNA number, which has changed since August as SCAG’s Regional Council reviews and votes on a final methodology on how to determine regional housing needs in the coming months, is a figure the city is comfortable with, according to Senior Planner James Chow. 

The city’s proposed figure dropped after HCD determined that the final regional determination of housing units across the region fell from 1,344,70 to 1,341,827 units during an Oct. 16 meeting. With a lower number, Santa Clarita is comfortable it can meet its housing goal, city officials said Thursday. 

“We’re pretty comfortable with that number as compared to the higher number. This is a number we have planned for,” Chow said, adding that the city will have to determine which areas are suitable for housing production once the final number is provided. 

In March, the Regional Council is expected to vote on whether to adopt the final RHNA methodology, which has placed greater importance on both jobs and transit accessibility rather than using local input as a factor in the calculation of existing need. After their vote, the council will receive a draft RHNA allocation by jurisdictions based on the adopted methodology in April.   

In the meantime, Santa Clarita will wait to hear back from an application to receive $625,000 in state grant funding to update its planning efforts to accelerate housing production and meet its housing needs goal. 

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