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:
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?
Where can I find the County's current Housing Element?
What are the goals for the County's current Housing Element?
Where can I learn about the County's existing housing programs?
The following is a brief summary of County housing programs:
What is Affordable Housing?
Based on the
Official State Income Limits established by the State Department of Housing and Community Development for 2012, an El Dorado County family of four earning $60,900 or less would be defined as low income. Monthly housing expenses of $1,522.50 or less would be considered affordable for that household.
How much housing do the unincorporated areas in the County need in the future?
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, 2006 through June 30, 2013. The next RHNP that SACOG has begun working on will span the period from January 1, 2013 through October 31, 2021. More information is available
Will the Housing Element Update consider differences in regional income levels within the county for housing?
How can I submit comments and suggestions regarding the Housing Element Update?
Does the State require a certain number of residential and commercial developments? If a community is already thriving, why change?
What is SACOG's (Sacramento Area Council of Governments) involvement in the Housing Element Update?
Is it the County, State or federal government making mandates on housing?
Are we in compliance with the County's Housing Element?
Current Housing Element (amended April 2009)
Does the County consider current economic and foreclosure conditions into the Housing Element Update?
The State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) made a one-time adjustment for this planning cycle due to extraordinary economic conditions impacting the housing market resulting in a decreased need for new housing within the region.
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 is being analyzed through an Environmental Impact Report as part of a Targeted General Plan Amendment process. Following the analysis the Board of Supervisors will determine if an amendment to the County’s current density is necessary.
What is moderate income housing?
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.
What are the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) and Regional Housing Needs Plan (RHNP)?
The State of California, through the Housing and Community Development Department (HCD), will issue a Regional Housing Needs Determination to SACOG's six-county region for the January 1, 2013, to October 31, 2021, planning period. HCD calculates the regional determination using information provided by the California Department of Finance. The regional determination includes an overall housing need number, as well as a breakdown of the number of units required in four income distribution categories.
Based on the regional determination provided by HCD, SACOG must develop a Regional Housing Needs Plan (RHNP) and a Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA). These State-mandated documents allocate a "projected share" of the regional determination to each of the cities and counties in SACOG's six-county region. The RHNA establishes the total number of housing units that each city and county must plan for within the eight-year planning period. Based on the adopted RHNA, each city and county must update its Housing Element to demonstrate how the jurisdiction will meet the expected growth in housing need over the eight-year planning period.
Who or what is SACOG?
The Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) is an association of local governments in the six-county Sacramento Region. Its members include the counties of El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba as well as 22 cities. SACOG provides transportation planning and funding for the region, and serves as a forum for the study and resolution of regional issues. In addition to preparing the region's long-range transportation plan, SACOG approves the distribution of affordable housing in the region to assist local government in planning for transit, bicycle networks, clean air and airport land uses.