Award $316,000 in Contracts for Major Housing Planning Process - YES
Housing and land use policy are two of the most important and labor-intensive tasks of local government. Every city is required to have a general plan (the main document that lays out the gist of all local policies), divided into chapters called "elements." One of these is all about housing: the "Housing Element."
In California, cities are required to update their Housing Element every 8 years. In addition, every city and county in California is assigned a number of new housing units by the state that it must plan for through each 8-year Housing Element cycle.
Corte Madera is preparing to begin its next Housing Element cycle, and we've been told by the state that we need to plan for the creation of 725 new homes—a more than 10X increase over last cycle, which makes the already herculean task of revising the Housing Element only that much more challenging.
We recognize that this signifies a radical shift in state policy with the potential for very noticeable impacts on Corte Madera, and that, as with all major decisions, it's critical that we take the time to understand and follow the community's vision. That's why our Planning Department staff has designed an incredibly robust, nearly two-year public process to thoroughly engage the public, putting residents in charge of determining where they want to see our required housing go (and where they don't).
I'm very impressed with the public process our staff has laid out, and voted to award a total of $426,000 in contracts to four different consultants, who will comprise the team of housing experts that will support our staff in developing a successful Housing Element. I'm glad to say that staff also successfully received $110,000 in grant funding for this undertaking, bringing the cost for taxpayers down to $316,000.
Developing a strong Housing Element is key to complying with state law and avoiding harsh penalties, including provisions that would allow the state to shoehorn even more development into Corte Madera than the 725 units we're already required to provide for, with even less local input.