General Contact Number: (530) 621-5567


General Plan Housing Element Update (HEU) 2021

The County is in the process of updating the Housing Element, which is one of the seven mandatory elements of El Dorado County's General Plan.  This update is for the 8-year planning period 2021 to 2029. The County has contracted with PlaceWorks, Inc. to assist with this effort which is anticipated to be completed by May 2021.

State law requires that the County prepare and adopt an update to the Housing Element and related environmental documents every eight years. This update includes a review of the County's ability to accommodate its fair share of the region's housing needs for the 8-year planning period 2021 to 2029, based on the updated Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) determined by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG).

The 2021-2029 Housing Element provides an update of the County's housing inventory using the General Plan land use designation; a review of the goals, policies, financial resources, and necessary revisions to implement measures to reflect changes in local, state and federal law, along with a review of the success in meeting the goals and objectives. This effort will result in modifications to the current adopted 2013-2021 Housing Element to address the changing needs of County residents as well as changes to State housing law.

This website provides up-to-date information on the Housing Element Update process. It will provide you with information on upcoming community workshops, meetings, documents prepared for the Housing Element Update, and opportunities to be involved in the process and provide feedback.

​Background Information

Regional Housing Needs Allocation

As a part of the Housing Element, the County is required to demonstrate that it can accommodate a specific number of housing units for each income category within a specific time frame – this process is known as the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA). The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) works with each region's council of governments (COG) to determine the projected housing needs in the region. El Dorado County is within the jurisdiction of the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) and SACOG is responsible for distributing HCD's housing needs allocation between the cities and counties within the region. More information on SACOG's process for our region's RHNA process can be found here.

Housing Element Components

  • Housing Needs Assessment: Provides demographic and housing need information
  • Constraints Analysis: Analyzes governmental and nongovernmental constraints to the development of housing
  • Evaluation of Past Performance: Assesses the County's progress in implementing the policies and programs set forth in the prior Housing Element
  • Sites Inventory and Analysis: Identifies sites available for housing development in order to accommodate the County's RHNA
  • Housing Resources: Identifies financial and other resources available to support housing development, especially affordable housing
  • Goals, Policies, and Programs: Establishes new policies and programs and amends existing policies and programs to address the housing needs
  • Public Participation: Summarizes the efforts to involve community members as part of the Housing Element update process as well as the feedback community members provided and how that has been addressed in the Housing Element

The project schedule is outlined below. The upcoming Housing Element will cover a planning period of 2021-2029 and is due for adoption by May 31, 2021.

  • Project Initiation (Sept. 2018)
  • Planning Commission & Board of Supervisor Workshops (Sept. & Oct. 2020)
  • Prepare Draft Element (Mar. – Nov. 2020)
  • Public Outreach (Aug. 2020 - May 2021)
  • Board of Supervisors Adoption Hearing (May 2021)
  • HCD certification (Spring 2021)

Public Workshops​

Public Workshops, August 18, 2020

2021-2029 Housing Element Update - El Dorado

County Western Slope - 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM

Tahoe Region - 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM

Public Workshops Comments and Responses

​Board of Supervisors Agenda Items

DateItemFile IDDescription
01/28/20202519-1865Contract for Housing Element
11/19/20193619-1575RHNA Housing Allocation Update
03/19/20192219-0219RHNA Housing Allocation Presentation
09/18/20182018-1146Resolution of Intention

​Supporting Documents

​Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Housing Element?

The Housing Element is the main document that establishes the County's housing policies. It is intended to ensure that decent, safe, affordable shelter is provided for all residents in the unincorporated County. Every city and county in California is required to have a Housing Element. State law defines the specific topics that must be covered. These include:

• An evaluation of existing housing policies and programs

• A needs assessment, based on data on demographics and housing conditions

• An analysis of any obstacles to affordable housing production in the community

• An inventory of all potential sites where housing may be constructed

• Goals, objectives, and policies, defining the community's position on various housing issues and setting measurable targets for meeting housing needs

• An action plan identifying the specific steps the community will take to implement its housing policies

Once complete, the Housing Element must be submitted to the State Department of Housing and Community Development {HCD) for certification.  The State does not require cities and counties to actually build the housing necessary to meet the community's needs. However, it does require that each community adopt policies and programs to support housing development, as well as designate adequate land at appropriate densities to meet the housing needs. Additional information regarding State requirements can be found at the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

Why update the Housing Element?

State Law requires periodic updates to the Housing Element. The 2021-2029 Housing Element Update provides an opportunity to be forward thinking and strategic as we address housing needs in unincorporated El Dorado County. It is a chance for the County to articulate housing issues, take stock of its resources and opportunities, and engage in a meaningful discussion about El Dorado County's priorities.

Where can I find the County's current Housing Element?

The County's current Housing Element, adopted by the Board of Supervisors on October 29, 2013, is included in the County Adopted General Plan under the Elements section. The County General Plan is available on the County website. Click on the hyperlinks below: County Adopted General Plan Housing Element (adopted October 29 2013

What are the goals for the County's current Housing Element?

El Dorado County's current Housing Element established the following four goals:

1. Maintain and improve quality and affordability of existing housing stock, in order to minimize the displacement of existing residents.

2. Promote sufficient production of new housing, of affordable cost and diverse size to accommodate the housing needs of all persons who reside, work, or who can be expected to work or reside in the County.

3. Provide housing near employment, transportation, and community services.

4. Ensure equal access to housing for all persons regardless of age, race, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, ethnic background, income, disability or other factors.

Over the last seven years, the County has been implementing policies and actions designed to accomplish these goals.

Where can I learn about the County's existing housing programs?

El Dorado County provides numerous housing programs for lower-income residents including first time homebuyer and housing repair loan programs, community development programs, and affordable housing programs.

The following is a brief summary of County housing programs:

1. Rehabilitation of Existing Homes. Housing rehabilitation loan programs include lending to low and very low income homeowners in order to repair and maintain their home. Investor owners who rent to low and very low income tenants may also be eligible to receive assistance.

2. First Time Homebuyer Programs. Eligible low-income first-time homebuyers may receive loans and guidance to purchase a home within the unincorporated areas of El Dorado County

3. Financial assistance and fee offset programs for affordable housing development. Programs include the Traffic Impact Mitigation Fee Offset for Affordable Housing Units and Community Development funding programs such as HOME (Home Investment Partnerships Program) and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).

4. A full description of existing housing programs is located HERE.

What is Affordable Housing?

Affordable housing refers to housing in which occupants pay no more than 30% of their incomes on the rent or mortgage payment and utilities'. Affordable rental housing is typically targeted toward lower income households (those earning no more than 80% of the area median income), while affordable owner-occupied housing is targeted toward low- to moderate-income households (those earning no more than 120% of area median income).

Based on the Official State Income Limits established by the State Department of Housing .and Community Development for 2020, an El Dorado County family of four earning $69,050 or less would be defined as low income. Monthly housing expenses of $1,726 or less would be considered affordable for that household.

More information about the Official State Income Limits may be found HERE.

How much housing do the unincorporated areas in the County need in the future?

State law requires each community in California to address its fair share of the region's housing needs through its Housing Element. The Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) is responsible for allocating the "fair share" of this total to the six-county Sacramento region. In allocating each jurisdiction's share of housing, SACOG assesses factors such as job growth, water and sewer capacity, land availability, proximity to transit, and market demand.

Each county in the Regional Housing Needs Plan (RHNP) will receive a Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) of total number of housing units that it must plan for within the eight -year time period of its General Plan Housing Element. Allocations are also distributed within four economic income categories; very- low, low-, moderate and above moderate income. These four categories must add up to the total overall number a jurisdiction is allocated. The current RHNP period spans from January 1. 2013 through October 31, 2021. The RHNP that SACOG has adopted will span the period from June 1. 2021 through May 31, 2029. More information is available HERE.

Does the State require a certain number of residential and commercial developments? If a community is already thriving, why change?

State housing law does not require specific numbers of commercial or residential development. The State only requires that each local government provide sufficient and appropriately designated lands for housing development to address residential need of forecasted population growth and new jobs.  The Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) for the county, pursuant to California Government Code, Section 65580 et seq., provides a benchmark for evaluating the adequacy of meeting these projections.

What is SACOG's (Sacramento Area Council of Governments) involvement in the Housing Element Update?  Since 1969, California has required that all local governments (cities and counties) adequately plan to address its "fair share" of the region's housing needs of everyone in the community through its Housing Element.  SACOG plays a significant role in how this is done through the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) process for the six-county Sacramento region, comprised of the cities and counties within the counties of Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba Counties, and El Dorado County, except for the city of South Lake Tahoe.  SACOG assesses factors such as job growth, water and sewer capacity, land availability, proximity to transit, and market demand.

Is it the County, State or federal government making mandates on housing?

California Housing Element Law requires that each community adopt policies and programs to allow for housing development, as well as designate adequate land at appropriate densities to meet the housing needs.

Are we in compliance with the County's Housing Element?

The County's previous Housing Element was adopted by the Board of Supervisors on October 29, 2013, and was certified by the California Department of Housing and Community Development on November 23, 2013 for the planning period of 2013-2021. To retain compliance with the State, the County must have an adopted and certified Housing Element by May 2021.  Current Housing Element 2013-2021

Will the Housing Element Update consider allowing for higher density development?

No. Densities are within the Land Use Element, not the Housing Element of the General Plan. Pursuant to Government Code Section 65583.2(c)(3), the housing element must include analysis of identified sites which must demonstrate density standards to accommodate a jurisdiction's regional need for all income levels, including lower-income households. As an option and alternative to preparing the analysis described above, Government Code Section 65583.2(c)(3)(B) allows local governments to elect the option of utilizing a "default'" density standards that are "deemed appropriate to accommodate housing for lower income households." The default density option is not a mandated density.  The default density standard provides a streamlined option for local governments to meet the density requirement. A default density of 30 units per acre was analyzed through an Environmental Impact Report as part of the 2015 Targeted General Plan Amendment process. Following the analysis, the Board of Supervisors determined that an amendment to the County's current density of 24 units per acre was not necessary.

What is moderate income housing?

Based on the Official State Income Limits established by the Department of Housing and Community Development for 2020, a family of four is considered moderate income if they earn between $69,051 and $103,550 annually. Housing costs, including mortgage principal, interest, taxes and insurance (PITO) or rent plus utilities, of 30 percent or less of monthly income is considered by federal guidelines as an affordable housing cost. For example, a maximum affordable housing cost (PITI or Rent+) for a moderate income household of four would not exceed $2,589 per month ($103,550 ÷ 12 x 30% = $2,589).

What happens if we say we're not going to consider RHNA (Regional Housing Needs Assessment)? Are there consequences?

Cities and counties with Housing Elements that are not certified by the State may be ineligible for State and federal funding and also run the risk of becoming subject to lawsuits. California's Housing Element Law (Government Code, Section 65580 et seq.) mandates that SACOG develop and approve a Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) for its six county region, including the counties of El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba, and their 22 cities. The RHNA must also include the Tahoe Basin portions of El Dorado and Placer counties, and the city of South Lake Tahoe, which are not normally within SACOG's planning area. 

Public Review Draft - Housing Element Update 2021-2029

The County is preparing to submit the 2021-2029 Housing Element to the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) in accordance with State law. The Public Review Draft of the 2021-2029 Housing Element Update has been posted to the County web site on the Long Range Planning page under “What’s New,” as well as on the Housing Element Update web page found in the “Project and Documents” drop down named General Plan Housing Element Update 2021-2029 at

The Planning and Building Department will be taking public comments through July 8, 2021 to ensure that all comments can be incorporated into the final draft document for Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors review. The Housing Element is tentatively scheduled for approval by the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors in August 2021.

Public comment may be submitted by email to or by mail to C.J. Freeland, Planning and Building Department, 2850 Fairlane Court, Bldg. C, Placerville CA 95667.

Please note that additional opportunities for public participation will be available:

Tentative Dates:

  • Joint Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors Workshop – July 19, 2021
  • Planning Commission Public Hearing – August 26, 2021
  • Board of Supervisors Public Hearing – August 31, 2021

For additional information you may call (530) 621-5159.

Revised Public Draft 2021-2029 Housing Element Update

In response to review comments received from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) on July 21, 2021, regarding the Public Review Draft of the 2021-2029 Housing Element Update, the County submitted a revised Public Draft Housing Element to HCD on July 26, 2021. The revised draft also includes comments received from the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors during the July 19, 2021, Public Workshop, as well as response to public comments. Additional revisions made to the final adoption draft will be available to the public prior to the adoption hearing dates listed above.

El DORADO CO_Public_Draft_Housing Element_HCD Submittal_7.26.pdf

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