Housing Element Update
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What is a Housing Element? 

The Housing Element is a policy guide that provides an indication of the need for housing in the community, particularly the availability, affordability, and adequacy of housing. It serves as a strategy to address housing needs across the economic and social spectrum.

Cities and Counties are required by State law to update their housing elements every eight years. Although the City of West Hollywood recently adopted Housing Element 2008-2014 in September 2011, as part of General Plan 2035, it must now adopt an updated housing element for the next housing element cycle. The Housing Element update includes many opportunities for the public to get involved.

The existing Housing Element is available in the Applicable Planning Documents below. The 2013-2021 Housing Element was adopted unanimously by the West Hollywood City Council on December 2, 2013 and was approved by the California Housing and Community Development Department on January 14, 2014. Housing Element Update for the 6th Cycle will cover the 8-year planning period from 2021-2029.

 

 

 

 

 

What will the Housing Element Update Include?

As cities grow and evolve, the population’s housing needs change. The Housing Element Update will assess how current demands are being met and plan for projected housing needs over the next eight years. West Hollywood continues to prioritize affordable and inclusionary housing availability for all residents, tailored to the unique demographics of the community. The results of the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) allocation will inform planning and development to support the evolving housing needs of West Hollywood residents. In accordance with State law, the Housing Element Update will require updates to goals and policies to address environmental justice in the city.
In accordance with State law, the Housing Element Update must include the following:

  • Community Needs Assessment: A complete analysis of the specific needs and an inventory of the resources and constraints relevant to addressing housing needs;
  • An inventory of land suitable for residential development to meet the City’s RHNA allocation;
  • Identification and analysis of potential and actual government constraints;
  • Identification of specific programs to implement the policies and goals; and
  • Other analyses, policies, and goals required to meet community housing needs, and/or comply with applicable State law.

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH)

A requirement for the upcoming Housing Element update is to incorporate means of affirmatively furthering fair housing.  This will include assessing and developing programs and actions to address institutional and systemic racial and socioeconomic disparities in housing. To accomplish this, staff will incorporate AFFH guidance established by the California Department of Housing and Community Development, including an evaluation of the following topics: 

  • Housing Mobility
    • Housing Options and Locational Choices
    • Use of Housing Choice Vouchers
  • Displacement and Gentrification
    • Tenant Protection
    • Neighborhood Stabilization
  •  Segregation
    • Race, Income, Disability, and Housing for Families
    • Access to Opportunities and Resources
        Intersection with trees lining the street
        Sidewalk in a residential neighborhood with a dog and people on the sidewalk
        Houses on a street
        Families at a park

        Housing Element Update Schedule

        schedule of the west hollywood housing element update project

        Status Blogs

        LA Blade: West Hollywood Housing Survey is open through June 8

        06/02/2021

        The City of West Hollywood is inviting community members to take a short housing survey aimed at gathering feedback about housing preferences and needs….

        Task Force Introduction

        01/21/2021

        The role of the West Hollywood Housing Element Task Force is to provide expert- level input on how the City’s programs, regulations, and processes can best meet the upcoming RHNA (Regional Housing Needs Allocation) number…

        Daily Update: Help Shape the Future of Housing

        05/20/2021

        Learn how to attend the upcoming Virtual Scoping Meeting of West Hollywood’s Housing Element to provide your input on housing availability, affordability, and adequacy of housing in West Hollywood…

        Beverly Press: WeHo holds first community housing element update

        01/21/2021

        The city of West Hollywood held an introductory webinar on the housing element update on Jan. 19, offering the community its first chance to publicly ask questions and offer input into the process…

        WeHo Times: WeHo to Host Evening Meeting on Housing Element Environmental Impact Report

        05/17/2021

        The City of West Hollywood is hosting another virtual public scoping meeting for the housing element environmental impact report (EIR) The evening scoping meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 25, 2021…

        Beverly Press: New West Hollywood Task Force to Address Housing

        01/06/2021

        In anticipation of building 4,000 new units by the end of the decade, West Hollywood is taking creative measures to determine how to increase the city’s residential housing stock…

        How to Get Involved

        We want to hear your thoughts and ideas! Community engagement is vital to the Housing Element Update process. The City and their consultant team will be hosting a variety of community outreach and public engagement activities throughout the update.

        The Housing Element Update is a community-based process that will include a variety of public engagement opportunities. This will include:

        • Online community surveys
        • Community-wide workshops
        • Public hearings before Planning Commission and City Council

        The City will continue to take measures to protect the health and safety its residents and business owners during the COVID-19 pandemic. Community outreach will be facilitated in a manner that puts safety first while continuing to keep the community involved.

        Please join our email list to stay up to date on the project and leave your comments below.

         Community Outreach Events

        Housing Element Workshop #3 – June 15, 2021

        On Tuesday, June 15, 2021, the City of West Hollywood hosted a virtual webinar on the Housing Element Update. This presentation focused on key findings from community engagement, a summary of the Draft Sites Inventory, and a description of affirmatively furthering fair housing. Polling questions and a discussion on fair housing conditions and practices were used to gather feedback on meaningful actions for the Housing Element Update. The PowerPoint presentation and workshop recording are available below.

        Public Comment Period was Open from April 27, 2021 through May 31, 2021

        A Notice of Preparation (NOP) for the EIR was available to provide agencies, interested stakeholders, and the public with information describing potential projects and to request feedback on the scope and content of the environmental document, the potential environmental effects, and what alternatives there are for the project that should be analyzed within the EIR. The comment period for the NOP was from April 27, 2021, through May 31, 2021.

        Pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15082(b), written responses to this NOP needed to be provided by no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, May 31, in order to be considered for the record. Written comments should be sent to the City of West Hollywood Project Development Administrator Alicen Bartle at abartle@weho.org or 8300 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

        Housing Element Public Workshop #2 and EIR Scoping Meeting – May 11, 2021 and May 25, 2021

        On Tuesday, May 11, 2021, the City of West Hollywood hosted a virtual webinar on the Housing Element Update and adjoining Environmental Impact Report (EIR). This presentation focused an update of the Housing Element, gathering input on potential strategies and locations to accommodate required Regional Housing Needs Assessment, an explanation the role of the Environmental Impact Report, and a discussion of potential environmental impact topics. An additional meeting was hosted during evening hours on May 25, 2021, in order to present the same materials at a time that was more conducive to the community’s schedule. The PowerPoint below includes materials presented during both webinars.

        Housing Element Public Workshop #1 – January 19, 2021

        On Tuesday, January 19, 2021, the City of West Hollywood’s Rent Stabilization & Housing Division and Long Range Planning Division staff hosted an introductory webinar on the Housing Element Update. The PowerPoint below includes materials presented during the webinar. This presentation focused on why the update was necessary, a report on the state of housing in the City, and articulated what the Housing Element Update will accomplish. In addition, you can find the video link to this Zoom Webinar below.

        Community Surveys

        There are no surveys at this time.

        Task Force

        On December 21, 2020, the West Hollywood City Council appointed 10 representatives to the City’s Housing Element Task Force, which include two representatives appointed by each of the five City Councilmembers. The Task Force consists of the following members:

        • Craig Berberian, Empire, Multi-family Property Owner (Appointed by Councilmember Horvath)
        • Angie Brooks, FAIA Principal, (Appointed by Councilmember Horvath)
        • Chelsea Byers, Abundant Housing, CM (Appointed by Councilmember Erickson)
        • Sheila Lightfoot, Former Planning Commissioner, and West Hollywood Resident (Appointed by Councilmember Erickson)
        • William Korchek, AECOM (Appointed by Councilmember Meister)
        • Adam Kroll, Executive Recruiter and Community Activist, (Appointed by Councilmember Meister)
        • Marianne Lowenthal, Combined, Market Rate Developer (Appointed by Councilmember D’Amico)
        • Mike Manville, Urban Planning Professor, UCLA, and West Hollwood Resident (Appointed by Councilmember D’Amico)
        • Barry Talley, Architect/Director of Design (Appointed by Councilmember Shyne)
        • Dawn Collette Williams, Land Use Consultant, (Appointed by Councilmember Shyne)

        The intent of the task force is to gather specific feedback on current housing needs and conditions as well as preliminary goals, policies, and programs for the administrative draft of the Housing Element Update. In addition, the task force will provide opportunities for community representatives to review and contribute to defining and confirming the housing goals, policies, and programs necessary to address housing needs; and ensure the draft plan reflects the community’s needs.

        On February 1, 2021, City’s Housing Element Task Force met virtually to review community feedback, discuss previous Housing Element goals and policies, and discuss the 6th Cycle Housing Element goals and policies. In addition to this recording, a summary of the Task Force meetings will be made public and presented to the City Council.

        Task Force Meeting #1 – January 27, 2021

        Intersection with trees lining the street
        Sidewalk in a residential neighborhood with a dog and people on the sidewalk
        Houses on a street
        Families at a park

        Applicable Regulations

        Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA)

        State law mandates that each regional government in the State of California develop a plan for maintaining and increasing housing. For the Southern California Region, the metropolitan planning agency is the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). SCAG is responsible for allocating housing production goals within the six-county Southern California Region, including all jurisdictions in Los Angeles County. SCAG has conducted a Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) to determine the amount of housing needed in the region in the eight-year planning cycle overall, and then methodically distributed that need amongst all jurisdictions. The City of West Hollywood allocation was determined as a component of the total number of new housing units allocated to the Westside Cities Subregion (Cities of Beverly Hills, Culver City, Santa Monica, West Hollywood).  

        The RHNA is a projection of current and future housing needs across all income levels for each jurisdiction during a specified eight-year planning period. The current planning period (5th Cycle) is October 15, 2013 through June 30, 2021. SCAG is currently developing the 6th cycle of the RHNA, which covers the planning period of June 30, 2021 through October 15, 2029. Planning for and accommodating the construction of the number of housing units allocated through the RHNA is mandated by State Housing Law and implemented through updates of a jurisdiction’s local Housing Element of the General Plan.  

        On September 3, 2020, the SCAG Regional Council reviewed and approved the final RHNA allocation plan for the 6th planning cycle. On September 4, 2020, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) sent a letter to the City of West Hollywood confirming the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) allocation for the City. The City’s allocation for the 6th cycle is 3,924 dwelling units, including 1,063 very‐low income units, 687 low income units, 681 moderate income units, and 1,493 above‐moderate income units. 

        The City has elected to appeal that RHNA allocation by the October 26, 2020 deadline. RHNA appeals hearings will occur in December 2020 and January 2021.  At that time, any reduction for one city may result in an increase for other cities.  The final RHNA allocation should be adopted by February 2021. Once the RHNA numbers are finalized, the City will have until October 2021 to update its Housing Element to show how the City will meet its RHNA numbers.

        The City is currently working on the update to the Housing Element with Veronica Tam & Associates, Inc. and Rincon and Associates. The City of West Hollywood will develop policies and programs, and take action, to demonstrate the units can be built. The RHNA does not require the City to build the units; instead, the City must ensure there are no governmental or other barriers preventing the units from being built by a private developer. 

        Currently, West Hollywood achieves affordable housing through inclusionary zoning requirements (on-site units, in-lieu fees, and commercial linkage fees), limiting subsequent rent increases after moving in for the majority of renters, and by providing loans from the housing trust fund to non-profit housing providers to build 100% affordable housing projects. To ensure that the units allotted through the RHNA can be achieved in the upcoming eight-year planning cycle, the City will need to explore and create additional housing programs, such as the pilot programs currently being developed. Through the Housing Element update, additional programs will be identified and organized in an action plan to address any remaining capacity needs to achieve the RHNA allocation.   

        Census

        Census data on population and housing provides valuable information for City planning, such as evaluating needs and allocating resources. Census information for the City of West Hollywood can be accessed through this link –  https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/

        The Census Bureau’s mission is to serve as the leading source of quality data about the nation’s people and economy. We honor privacy, protect confidentiality, share our expertise globally, and conduct our work openly. We are guided on this mission by scientific objectivity, our strong and capable workforce, our devotion to research-based innovation, and our abiding commitment to our customers.

        Census Guidebook

        http://backgroundchecks.org/us-census-guide-how-to-get-the-most-out-of-census-gov.html