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Appeal State Housing Construction Mandates for Corte Madera - YES

The State has a program called RHNA (Regional Housing Needs Allocation) whereby regions and individual cities are required to provide for the creation of new housing at various income levels.

Corte Madera's RHNA numbers for the coming 8-year cycle came in at 725 new units—an outrageous figure that's more than a tenfold increase over last cycle's requirements and, if met, would see Corte Madera's population increase by around 20%.

These mandates are part of the State's attempt to address the critical housing shortage, an important problem that must be solved, and I'm certainly not anti-housing or opposed to growth in general—but these numbers are ridiculous. Furthermore, they are born of a process that is itself deeply flawed; each city's mandate is produced by a complex formula that takes into effect factors like a city's population, land area, and local resources—but that formula fails to take into account the fact that virtually all of Corte Madera lies in either a flood or fire zone, effectively forcing us to cram new housing into disaster zones. I believe that's unconscionable and irresponsible.

Finally, if Corte Madera fails to meet this mandate, we stand to be penalized by fines, new regulations, and a further loss of local control over land use.

These are the main reasons why I voted for us to appeal our RHNA numbers, and ask for a more reasonable mandate. Unfortunately, I believe that Corte Madera's appeal is likely to be rejected out of hand, but I see this as akin to our recent move to challenge the federal government over the imposition of 5G—an important stand of principle that must be taken in defense of local residents and their right to autonomy, even if it is an improbable fight.

Beyond this, I continue to work with our State lawmakers on refining the RHNA system to make sure California's housing needs are met, while respecting local control, and without building new housing in disaster zones.


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