Planning Commission to discuss updates to housing and safety elements

Santa Clarita City Hall, as pictured on February, 26, 2020, is located on the 23900 block of Valencia Blvd. Dan Watson/The Signal

The city of Santa Clarita, alongside 196 Southern California jurisdictions, will undergo the process of amending the housing and safety elements of its General Plan for certification by the state. 

The city of Santa Clarita’s Planning Commission is slated to discuss and hold a public meeting on amendments its housing and safety elements on Tuesday at 6 p.m. According to the Planning Commision’s agenda, the updates will bring the city in accordance with housing requirements by the state. 

“About every eight years we update the housing element to be in accordance with new mandates, or statutes that may have changed,” said James Chow, a senior planner with the city of Santa Clarita. “We need to be in compliance.” 

This update covers the planning period between 2021 and 2029, according to the Planning Commission’s agenda report.  

The recent housing element cycle unofficially began in October 2019 when the California Department of Housing and Community Development provided a Regional Housing Needs Assessment, which required 1.34 million units to be allocated to the Southern California Association of Governments.  

According to the Planning Commission’s agenda, the city of Santa Clarita is responsible for planning and zoning 10,031 of those 1.34 million units. 

In addition to the RHNA allocations, the city of Santa Clarita must be in accordance with state laws Assembly Bill 1397, Senate Bill 166 and AB 686 when updating its housing and safety elements.  

AB 1397, Eligibility of Sites, places stricter requirements on local jurisdictions when identifying adequate and available housing sites. SB 166, No Net Loss, requires jurisdictions to ensure an inventory of housing sites with the ability to accommodate various income groups. And lastly, AB 686 requires state and local agencies to provide fair housing based on protected characteristics such as gender, sexuality, ethnicity and disability.  

The city has been developing its housing element since the winter of 2021, and as a result the Planning Commission will discuss minor changes to the city’s current housing element goals and policies, according to Chow. The commissioners will also discuss existing or future programs and measures such as zoning and housing rehabilitation to meet the city’s housing needs. 

Chow said the safety element update follows the housing element. As the city builds units, it has to adhere to state regulations. 

The housing element update is not a construction mandate, Chow reiterated. He described it as a way for cities such as Santa Clarita to reach certain goals. In this instance, the importance is ensuring the city is in accordance with state requirements to provide adequate and fair housing now and in the future. 

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