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Planning, envisioning, growing – Housing Element Changes Coming to Orange County

To meet state mandates for affordable and senior housing, Seal Beach and Los Alamitos are in the process of rezoning to enable high-density housing to be developed on sites  that will impact Rossmoor. 

Development is going to happen. Landowners, just like homeowners, have the right to build and optimize their properties within the guidelines of the area. This development will likely bring more people and cars to our area. These people will also provide more tax dollars and business for our local businesses, and maybe even some improvements.

The RHA is collecting the information and posting it below to provide a single “clearing house” resource to inform our community about these zoning changes, and the current and future projects which will likely impact Rossmoor. 

Planning, Envisioning, Growing - Housing Orange County Ca

Topical Articles

 

This article from James Brasuell of Planetizen shares some differing perspectives about the series of housing laws enacted in California and elsewhere. 

Public Input Solicited Starting in 2021

Community Workshops & Zoom Meetings

If there is enough interest from the community, we can hold workshops and or Zoom meetings  to help get answers to questions that area residents may have. If, after reviewing the information below, you have questions you’d like to ask, please comment below or submit them to us here. Based on the types and quantity of questions submitted, we will see if we can get answers from the appropriate sources.

We the People...

In the end, it is up to all of us to monitor our neighboring cities for projects that may impact Rossmoor. By building relationships with city officials and landowners, we may be able to influence the growth and changes that will occur in the next decade and beyond. 

If you discover a new project or resource, please do let us know here so we can update this page.

Why all the changes?

Homelessness and affordable housing are issues in many places including California. Our weather, economic opportunities, and abundant resources all play a part in attracting people to the Golden State.

In recent years, the state legislature in Sacramento, led by a strong Bay Area contingent has created legislation in an attempt to address these issues.

Senate Bill 828 was co-sponsored by the Bay Area Council and Silicon Valley Leadership Group and authored by state Sen. Scott Wiener in 2018. 

Approved by Governor Newsom in September 2018, among other requirements, Senate Bill 828: 

    • Requires every city and county to prepare and adopt a general plan, including a housing element, to guide the future growth of a community. The housing element must identify and analyze existing and projected housing needs, identify adequate sites with appropriate zoning to meet the housing needs of all income segments of the community, and ensure that regulatory systems provide opportunities for, and do not unduly constrain, housing development

There have been a number of additional bills that have extended the state regulation of local zoning, including SB8SB9, and SB10.

The end result of these pieces of legislation is that counties and cities in the state that meet the requirements of the law, must allocate properties within their jurisdictions to meet their housing quota as assigned by the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) and allow additional units to b added to existing single-family home lots. See FAQ below for details. 

Oh, if it were only that cut and dry

There are some that believe the state has miscounted (perhaps doubled) the number of homes needed to meet the demand.

The has inadvertently doubled the “Regional Housing Needs Assessment” in California.

And some cities like Huntington Beach are in ongoing lawsuits with the state over the housing requirements. 

Frequently Asked Questions

There are many sources of information we have collected above. We have linked to the authoritative sources below as a jumping-off point for you to do your own research if you’d like.

 

What is all this about Housing / Housing Element?

State Law requires that all cities and counties in California designate sites and create policies to accommodate “their share” of the regional housing needs for households of all income levels. The County and all cities in the county are in the process of updating their Housing Elements as part of their general plans.

The State legislature has made housing production a priority in recent years, adopting dozens of new laws that have made this 6th Housing Element update substantially more challenging than in previous cycles.

When was the public notified? & Why didn't I get notified?

The cities of Los Alamitos and Seal Beach both held public meetings on the housing element during 2021 and appear to have properly notified the area via mail to local agencies and citizens who requested notification, signs, social media, newspaper notices, and on their websites.

The county did a public survey in March 2021, held public meetings in September 2021 and Supervisor Do’s office helped get us some clarification from the County Planning staff about the changes and the potential impacts on the Rossmoor area. 

What is a Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA)?

The Regional Housing Needs Assessment or RHNA, is a state mandate set by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) which determines the total number of new housing units needed for each region in California.

Orange County is part of the six-county Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) region.

SCAG, as the regional planning body, is responsible for distributing the RHNA among its member cities and counties.

The RHNA allocation is the number of housing units the county/city must provide for in their Housing Element at the various defined income levels:*

    • Los Alamitos RHNA allocation is 769
    • Seal Beach’s RHNA allocation is 1,243 
    • Orange County unincorporated area RHNA allocation is 10,406

*Source: SCAG 6th Cycle Final RHNA Allocation Plan

How does the SCAG Housing Allocation work

To meet the State mandate, cities and counties need to designate sites where housing can be developed without additional approvals. This is typically done through changes to the site’s zoning.   

It is important to note that cities and counties are required to identify sites that have or can have adequate zoning to accommodate future growth and meet the allocations; however, there is no requirement to develop these housing units. 

In other words, the RHNA allocation is not a requirement for jurisdictions to construct these units; it is only a requirement to create policies and programs to encourage the construction of units and to identify adequate sites to accommodate the jurisdiction’s “fair share” of housing.

Will property owners be forced to develop their property?

It is the property owner’s choice to develop or redevelop their property. Any development activity will need to follow the regular planning and permitting processes including public hearings and reviews. 

It is unknown if or when a property owner will choose to develop or redevelop their property. The State Housing mandates require only that counties and cities allow for residential development at the site if a project is proposed by the property owner.

What are the "income levels" / What's "Low Income"?

There are generally four income categories that are identified in the state mandates and in the SCAG-required allocations:

    • Very Low Income
    • Low Income
    • Moderate Income
    • Above Moderate Income

The Orange County Income limits for these levels for 2021 are:

Category/Household2 Person3 Person4 Person
Very Low Income$ 53,800$ 60,550$ 67,250
Low Income$ 86,050$ 96,800$107,550
Moderate Income$102,450$115,250$128,050

 

Information Sources,

Citizen Groups, & Organizations

There are many sources of information we have collected above. We have linked to the authoritative sources below as a jumping-off point for you to do your own research if you’d like.

There are a number of local and statewide citizen groups and organizations who are actively working to slow down the required Housing element changes and/or repeal the state laws that created the changes. As an informed Rossmoor area resident, you should read through the opinions and facts presented by these groups and organizations to get a clearer picture of the situation and the impacts these laws could create for us.

    • Protect Our Communities Now (POCNOW.org). A locally based 501(c)(4) non-profit citizens group fighting the proposed Housing Element and Zoning changes.
    • Our Neighborhood Voices. A statewide coalition of California neighborhood leaders. It plans to put an initiative on the 2024 ballot that would repeal many of the laws that take away local control of zoning. 
    • Livable California. A 501(c)(4) non-profit group that advocates for the empowerment of local governments to foster equitable, livable communities, and affordable housing.
Questions | Ourrossmoor

3 Responses

  1. This is beyond insane. Residents from Seal Beach are already illegally parking their extra cars in front of Rossmoor homes. If Seal Beach wants to dump their problems on Rossmoor and destroy both shopping centers, I say just make Rossmoor a gated community to keep Seal Beach illegally parking even more residents cars in Rossmoor and bringing even more crime and traffic to Rossmoor streets! Just add electric gates and close off streets with parking barriers and huge planters like they do in Long Beach. Let Seal Beach REALLY deal with the traffic problem if we take back our parking and community! As Roy Rodger’s said, God made only so much land and it is NOW all gone in our area. We will have to live with the impact of the new insane racetrack development, and now they want to steal land in our shopping centers and country club? Hey Seal Beach, why don’t you first develop that nice chunk of land on 1st Street or finish destroying what is left of the Edison Power Plant property or the now vacated oil fields before you go and dump your housing problems on Rossmoor residents.

  2. Ya, Seal Beach will have all the benefits and zero impact. Very sad for Rossmoor. More traffic and congestion. And no say in the matter since Seal Beach owns the shopping center.

  3. These high density projects will destroy our communities — Rossmoor, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach, Cypress, etc.
    We need to say “No” just like Huntington Beach has. This is being mandated to our detriment, which is far different than “of, by and for the people”

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