Marin County, nine communities appeal for housing allocations
Marin County and nine towns and villages have filed appeals against an executive order from the Association of Bay Area Governments stating that they make room for 14,405 new homes between 2023 and 2031.
Marin County’s share of the allocation of 3,569 units is a 1,900% increase over the 185 units that the county’s unincorporated area was allocated in the previous eight-year cycle.
“It is important to understand that Marin County is committed to supporting and encouraging housing construction, especially affordable / workforce housing, but we believe the total number assigned by ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments) is unreasonable given the fire hazards we face. , sea level rise potential and limited developable plots in Marin, ”wrote Dennis Rodoni, chairman of the Marin County Board of Supervisors in an email.
Every eight years, the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development forecasts how much new housing will be needed in the Bay Area to meet expected population and employment growth. ABAG then decides how many of these houses to allocate to each county and municipality in the region. Local jurisdictions are required to adjust their zoning laws to make it possible to create this number of dwellings.
Marin bases his appeal on many factors.
He states that ABAG did not adequately take into account the amount of land in the unincorporated Marin that is preserved for agricultural purposes; that the missions would require the development of housing in rural areas that do not have access to public transport and services and that ABAG did not take into account the challenges such as drought, sea level rise and the increase in forest fires due to climate change pose to fulfill the missions.
The appeal also claims that the assignments include too many units that are priced for people with moderate and above moderate incomes, and that the county has been assigned a disproportionate number of units compared to the cities and towns and cities. villages of Marin.
The county is asking ABAG to reduce the number of units allocated to moderate and higher income categories by 1,288 units, which would reduce the county’s total allocation to 2,281 units.
When Marin supervisors voted 4-1 to file the appeal on June 22, Tom Lai, director of the county’s Community Development Agency, told the board that if a county appeal was successful, the number of reduced units would be redistributed to the towns and villages of Marin. .
“This potentially pits the county and the 11 towns and villages against each other,” Lai said.
In his email, however, Rodoni wrote: “From what I understand now, reassignment is not a zero-sum game for Marin, and if the numbers were reduced they would be reassigned across the region. from the bay.
Lai confirmed the change on Thursday, writing in an email: “It makes things less confrontational between the county and our towns / villages.”
In its appeal, the county says, “Our unincorporated communities have fewer services, infrastructure and jobs to accommodate the 3,569 units of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) project than cities and towns. By comparison, the county’s largest cities, San Rafael and Novato, were allocated 10% and 41% fewer units, respectively.
Three other counties besides Marin – Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Sonoma – have also filed appeals, along with 23 towns and villages. The list includes the 11 municipalities of Marin with the exception of the two largest: Novato and San Rafael. Novato Mayor Pat Eklund said filing an appeal would have taken staff time for other projects when the likelihood of the appeal succeeding was low.
San Rafael did not file an appeal, but did submit comments in a letter. The letter, signed by San Rafael Mayor Kate Colin and City Manager Jim Schutz, notes that San Rafael was pre-allocated 2,785 units, a 177% increase over its allocation in the previous cycle. , before being informed that she was allocated 3,252 units, an additional increase of 17%.
“This increase is unreasonable and unrealistic given that the city does not build housing and does not control barriers to housing construction once the rights are issued,” the letter said.
The letter adds: “We continue to hear from real estate developers that one of the barriers to development continues to be the high cost of land and materials.”
And the letter, dated June 30, concludes, “The city opposes any redistribution of units that would result in further increases for the city of San Rafael, should one of the county-wide appeals succeed. “
A final decision on the appeals is expected from ABAG by the end of the year.