File #: 2022-1873   
Type: Continued Agenda Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 5/3/2022
Title: Public Hearing to Review and Comment on Annual Report on the General Plan and Draft Housing Element Update. (Planning, Building and Transportation 20962710) [Continued from April 19, 2022]
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - General Plan Annual Report, 2. Exhibit 2 - Draft Housing Element, 3. Exhibit 3 - Draft Zoning Amendments, 4. Correspondence, 5. Presentation, 6. Correspondence - Updated 5/3



Public Hearing to Review and Comment on Annual Report on the General Plan and Draft Housing Element Update.  (Planning, Building and Transportation 20962710) [Continued from April 19, 2022]




To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council




Every year, the City of Alameda (City) prepares an annual report on the General Plan.   Staff provides these annual reports each spring so that the community and City Council is able to use the annual reports to inform budget decisions, which are typically made in June of each year.   The Annual Report was reviewed by the Planning Board on March 14, 2021. Several text improvements were made as the result of the Planning Board’s review.  Per State of California requirements, the Annual Report was sent to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) by April 1, 2022.  


As described in the General Plan Annual Report, the City has been working for approximately two years on an update of the Housing Element of the General Plan to accommodate the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) for the 2023-2031 Housing Element cycle.   This Housing Element public hearing provides an opportunity for the City Council and the public to review and comment on the April 2022 draft Housing Element. 

Per State Planning and Zoning Law (§§ 65000-66300), the City Council must review the Annual Report at a public hearing, and the City of Alameda must prepare a draft Housing Element for review by HCD.  At this time, staff is requesting that the City Council review and comment on both the Annual Report and the April 2022 draft Housing Element.   Based upon City Council direction, staff will make modifications to both documents.   No final actions or formal approval is required at this time. 

The Annual Report is attached as Exhibit 1.  The April 2022 draft Housing Element is attached as Exhibit 2, and the draft zoning amendments required by the draft Housing Element are attached as Exhibit 3. 



Every city and county in the State of California is required to adopt and maintain an up-to-date General Plan, which establishes the local development and conservation policies necessary to guide physical development and protect the general health, safety and welfare of the community.  The General Plan should be an “integrated, internally consistent and compatible statement of policies for the adopting agency.” (§ 65300.5.)  Section 65400 et seq. requires that the City of Alameda annually review the adequacy of the General Plan and progress made toward meeting the City’s RHNA.


Since 1969, California has required that every general plan must include a housing element to demonstrate how the jurisdiction can accommodate its share of regional growth, and the law requires that housing elements include an extensive amount of information about local land use regulations and zoning requirements that might restrict certain types of housing that is needed in California. The Housing Element must be updated every eight years to accommodate the local share of the regional housing need (more frequently if the jurisdiction does not have a certified housing element).  Under the Planning and Zoning Law, the City has the “responsibility to ... make adequate provision for the housing needs of all economic segments of the community.” (§ 65580, subd. (d).) This is accomplished through the adoption, amendment, and implementation of a general plan for the community (§§ 65300-65302), including a mandatory housing element (§ 65580 et seq.).  



General Plan and Housing Element Annual Report. The attached annual report (Exhibit 1) on the status of the General Plan provides an assessment of the City’s General Plan and progress made toward meeting Alameda’s regional housing need in 2021. As described in the Annual Report, Alameda’s housing production for the period 2015 - 2023 is projected to meet the housing need for total housing units (1,725), but is not projected to meet the housing need for lower income households.   The Housing Element update currently underway will need to address the need for non-deed restricted and deed restricted affordable housing. 


Housing Element Update:  Over the course of the last two years, the Planning Board and staff have been working with the community to update the Housing Element for the 2023 - 2031 period as required by State law.    As part of this community planning effort, the Planning Board has been holding a series of public workshops to review and comment on the draft zoning amendments that will be necessary to accommodate the RHNA and affirmatively further fair housing in Alameda, as required by State Housing Law.  The upcoming milestones in the Housing Element update public process will include: 

                     April 2022:  30-day public review period of Draft Housing Element.  

                     May:  Transmittal of draft Housing Element to HCD for 90-day review.

                     May - July:  Planning Board public hearings on draft Zoning Amendments. 

                     August or September: Planning Board public hearings to consider HCD comments.

                     October:  Planning Board public hearings and final recommendations to City Council on Draft Housing Element and Zoning Amendments.

                     November or December 2022:  City Council public hearings and action on draft Housing Element and Zoning Amendments. 

The April 2022 Draft Housing Element includes all content required by State law, including but not limited to the following:


                     A statement of goals and policies,

                     Programs to encourage and support housing development,

                     A site inventory showing where and how the City will accommodate the RHNA,

                     A review of the past Housing Element programs,

                     A fair housing analysis,

                     A housing conditions and needs analysis,

                     A housing constraints analysis, and

                     A housing resources analysis.

Site Inventory and Programs.  The draft Housing Element must include an inventory of land or list of sites properly zoned for housing to allow Alameda’s RHNA (5,353 units) to be built during the 2023-2031 period. HCD’s Housing Element Sites Inventory Guidebook (June 10, 2020) recommends that the City provide a buffer in the housing element inventory of at least  15% to 30% more capacity than required to ensure that sufficient capacity exists in the housing element to accommodate the RHNA throughout the planning period.  With a 20% buffer, the City’s 5,353 unit RHNA increases to approximately 6,400 units. 

The draft Housing Element accommodates the RHNA and includes a buffer of 20% as follows.

Housing Project Sites (2,198 units). The site inventory identifies opportunities for 2,198 units in nine projects on land currently zoned for residential development.

Alameda Point.  (1,482 units) The Housing Element commits the City to constructing 1,482 residential units on 55 acres of City-owned land at Alameda Point zoned for residential use. 

Areas to be Up-Zoned. To accommodate the remaining units, the draft Housing Element includes programs to up-zone specific areas and districts of Alameda to encourage and/or permit additional housing.   The areas and districts include:

                     Shopping Centers (1,200 units).   Exhibit 3 includes the revised draft Shopping Center Overlay Zoning District discussed at the January 10, 2022 Planning Board Workshop.  The new overlay district would be applied to four shopping centers comprising approximately 100 acres of land.   Based on communications with owners of the four shopping centers (South Shore, Harbor Bay, Alameda Landing, and Marina Village), staff estimates the realistic capacity of the four sites to be 1,200 housing units or approximately 150 units per year for 8 years.  Under the current zoning, these sites have produced no housing units annually.  

                     Park Street, Webster Street and Neighborhood Stations (400 units).  Exhibit 3 includes the revised amendments to the CC-Community Commercial District discussed at the February 14, 2022 Planning Board workshop. To accommodate 400 units, similar amendments to the C-1 Neighborhood Commercial Districts and the North Park Street Zoning Districts are also included in Exhibit 3.  Cumulatively, these three districts comprise approximately 90 acres of land already zoned for mixed use.  However, due to zoning constraints established in 1972 with the passage of Measure A, no new housing has been constructed on these mixed use corridors and sites since 1972.     The 400 unit realistic capacity (50 per year) is based on a list of over 20 sites that staff believes represent housing opportunity sites.   (This estimate may be too optimistic given that staff has not yet had direct communication with more than a few of these property owners.)  

                     Residential Districts (1,120 units). The residential districts (R-1 through R-6) include over 2,522 acres of land.   Staff is still developing the draft ordinance amendments for the residential districts based upon the Planning Board’s March 14, 2022 workshop, but the draft Housing Element programs anticipate that over the next 8 years: 

o                     The R-1 through R-6 districts will continue to generate approximately 560 accessory dwelling units (ADUs) under the existing ADU ordinance   (approximately 70 per year).

o                     The R-1 District will generate approximately 72 SB 9 units (approximately 9 per year).   (This estimate may be too optimistic given that since the passage of SB 9 on January 1, 2022, the City has not received any SB 9 applications.)

o                     The City will rezone a vacant 4-acre site at 2199 Clement for residential use and accommodate at least 125 units if the zoning establishes a minimum residential density of 30 units per acre.  (The vacant waterfront site is immediately adjacent to the Boatworks property.  The current site zoning prohibits residential uses.)   

o                     The Alameda Unified School District will surplus 4 acres of land for residential use at either Thompson Field or Lum School, which will result in at least 125 units if the sites are zoned for a minimum density of 30 units per acre.   Lum School is currently zoned R-1, and Thompson Field is currently zoned Open Space. 

o                     The City will amend the R-2 through R-3 Zoning Districts to permit multifamily housing, which will result in 238 additional units (approximately 30 per year).   Under the current zoning, the R-1 through R-6 Districts currently produce about one (1) unit per year in addition to ADUs.   


Conclusions and Recommendations:  The purpose of this public hearing is to give the City Council an opportunity to review and comment on the Annual Report, as required by State law. 

This public hearing is also an opportunity for the City Council to provide direction or requests changes to the draft Housing Element.  Staff is not requesting that the City Council take any final action on the draft Housing Element or the draft amendments at this time.  The draft Housing Element must first be reviewed by HCD, and the City Council must consider the comments from HCD and the Planning Board before taking any final action on the Housing Element. 



The City Council may:


                     Review and comment on the Annual Report (Exhibit 1), and request changes to the content or priorities identified in the Annual Report.

                     Review and comment on the April 2022 draft Housing Element and provide direction for changes to the draft document or draft zoning amendments  (Exhibits 2 and 3).




Reviewing and commenting on the Annual Report and draft Housing Element will have no impact on the General Fund or other City funds.  The recommended priority actions are designed to be accomplished within existing (or anticipated) approved budgets and with existing (or anticipated) funding sources, where the City is the lead agency. 




Review of the Annual Reports and draft Housing Element updates is consistent with General Plan and State law requirements.




Review and comment on an annual report is statutorily exempt from environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15061(b)(3), the general rule that CEQA only applies to actions that have the potential to cause a significant impact on the environment.


Once completed, the Housing Element will be subject to review pursuant to CEQA. 




The priorities established in the General Plan and construction of housing consistent with the RHNA and Bay Area Regional Plan will serve to reduce greenhouse emissions in Alameda and support global and regional efforts to address climate change. 




Review and comment on the General Plan Annual Report and draft Housing Element. 




The City Manager is seeking review and comment on both the General Plan Annual Report and draft Housing Element. 


The 2022 draft Housing Element will be for public review and feedback through May 9.


Respectfully submitted,

Andrew Thomas, Planning, Building and Transportation Director 


Financial Impact section reviewed,

Jennifer Tell, Principal Financial Analyst



1.                     General Plan Annual Report

2.                     Draft Housing Element

3.                     Draft Zoning Amendments


cc:                     Eric Levitt, City Manager